M.Ed. in Ed Psych: Social Foundations

This master’s degree provides a broad understanding of the complexities and processes of today's education environment, while also providing the focused knowledge and skill development that are directly applied to helping students in the classroom. Join us in this stimulating, challenging, and highly applicable program for today's complex and dynamic education field.

Individuals with a M.Ed. in Ed Psych – Social Foundations (often called the “humanities of education”) find that the solid foundation of broad educational knowledge allows them to more effectively teach a more diverse student body. Courses such as History of Education, Philosophy of Education, Anthropology of Education, Sociology of Education, and Comparative Education provide insight into our educational system and how it effectively, or ineffectively, supports various student populations.

In addition, elective courses in areas such as Gifted Education, English Language Learners, Literacy and Instructional Technology provide the knowledge required to address specific needs in the classroom and offer our master’s students the opportunity to build the necessary skills to be more effective educators to various types of learners.

This program is offered full-time or part-time, and the courses are available online and in person. While earning this M.Ed., you can simultaneously earn or work toward an add-on Endorsement in Gifted Education, but this program does not offer initial teacher licensure. We also offer focus area elective courses in Literacy and Instructional Technology. Course Overview tab below for details.


Graduate training in Social Foundations at the Master's level prepares students for positions in policy-related functions in schools and school systems, and employment in various governmental agencies. It may also enhance teachers’ pedagogy in the areas of social justice and human rights.

Learn About our Program

View a recording of the October 12th Information Session.

Program Details

  • Prerequisites and Admission Requirements

    Admission to the master's program is based on the potential for academic and professional success using the following criteria:

    • Record of academic achievement.
    • Record of potential for academic achievement as evidenced through EITHER of the following:
      • Two recent writing samples may be substituted for the GRE score. Please put these into one document when submitting in the application; OR
      • ​Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores that are no more than 5 years old. For reference, GRE scores for MEd, MT, EdS students admitted for the 2014-15 academic year were at or above the 150 (verbal), 145 (quantitative), and 4.0 (analytical writing).
    • Strong writing skills and clear professional goals demonstrated in the Statement of Purpose.
    • In your statement, please address the factors that have encouraged you to seek an M.Ed. from the UVa Social Foundations program. This is also an opportunity for you to describe your background, significant personal and professional experiences, important aspects of your academic record, and professional and/or further academic goals upon completion of the program.
    • Excellent academic and professional references via two (2) letters of recommendation from professors, supervisors, and/or professional colleagues.
    • Resume outlining your professional or para-professional experience, leadership roles, experiences in undergraduate organizations, and/or volunteer work.

    Applicants may submit unofficial test scores and transcripts with their application. However, official test scores (taken with 5 years) and official transcripts showing degree conferral are required prior to matriculation.

    Applicants are responsible for ensuring that all required materials are submitted by the deadline. Incomplete applications will not be read and may be cancelled if left incomplete. Materials should be tracked using the checklist in the application.

  • Application Due Date

    Students may enter the program during the fall, spring, or summer session.

    • Fall entry: April 15, applications will be accepted until July 1 on a space-available basis
    • Spring entry: November 1
    • Summer entry: March 15, applications will be accepted until May 1 on a space-available basis

    Decisions will be available 6 weeks after the deadline.

    Applicants are responsible for ensuring that all required materials are submitted by the deadline. Incomplete applications will not be read and may be cancelled if left incomplete. Materials should be tracked using the checklist in the application.

  • Degree Requirements

    Effective Spring 2022, a minimum of 33 semester-hours of graduate course credit must be completed to earn an M.Ed. The 30 credit requirement applies to students who entered the program in and all semesters after the Fall 2018. Up to 6 semester-hours of graduate credit taken prior to admission may be counted toward the degree, as long as courses are current and related to the program of study. This program requires the submission of a comprehensive paper, due in the last semester of study.

    Comprehensive Exam:

    Students are required to submit a comprehensive exam in the form of a research or scholarly paper during their final semester of coursework. The comprehensive exam may be a revised and updated version of a paper written in a Social Foundations course. The purpose of paper exam format is for students to show competence of a Social Foundations topic of field of studies and leave the program with a well vetted piece of scholarly work. The exam will be evaluated by Social Foundations faculty based on a rubric provided in Canvas. Comprehensive exams will be submitted to Canvas. 
    Due dates are as follows:
    Fall: October 31st
    Spring: March 31st
    Summer: June 30th

    Students must complete an application for graduation during the semester they plan to graduate. Deadlines are Feb. 1 (May graduation), June 1 (August graduation), and October 1 (December graduation). 

  • Funding Opportunities

    Students may apply for federal financial aid, including work-study. Information about federal aid programs, including applying using the FAFSA, can be found through Student Financial Services. Additional financial aid information can be found on EHD's Financial Aid webpage.

  • Typical Length of Study

    Students may enroll on a full- or part-time status. All requirements must be completed within a five-year period.

    Students enrolled on a full-time basis complete the program requirements at the end of three semesters.
    Students enrolled on a part-time basis normally complete the program in 2.5 years.

  • Course Overview

    Core Courses

    Students must take EDLF 7601: Social Foundations of Education, plus 12 semester-hours of core courses in social foundations. A Total of 15 credits. The core courses include:

    EDLF 7602: History of American Education
    EDLF 7603: Philosophy of Education
    EDLF 7604: Sociology of Education
    EDLF 7605: Anthropology of Education
    EDLF 7606: Schools and Society: Culture and Politics in the Globalization of Western Education
    EDLF 7630: Education in Multicultural Societies: Global Perspectives (a core course only for students in the online program) (note: students with an ESL focus area should take this course)

    Elective Course Options:

    There are several options below, choose a Focus Area or a combination of courses:

    1. Select a Focus Areas - there are 4 Focus areas, and all courses are ONLINE (see chart below for each Focus Area course listing):

    • Gifted & Talented Education (5 courses, 15 credits) - Add-on Endorsement opportunity
    • English as a Second Language/ESL (5 courses, 15 credits) 
    • Literacy Education (5 courses, 15 credits)
    • Instructional Technology (5 courses, 15 credits)

    2. One or two Social Foundations core courses listed above not used to satisfy degree requirements (3 or 6 credits)

    3. Any EHD School 3 credit online graduate course (see your Advisor to discuss)

    Focus Areas Course Listing - All ONLINE:

    The Gifted courses meet Virginia, and most state, add-on Endorsement requirements.

    Gifted Education English as a Second Language Literacy Education Instructional Technology


    EDIS 7220 - Intro to the Gifted* (REQUIRED, take as first course)

    EDIS 5770 - Social, Emotional, and Counseling Issues in Talent Development*

    EDIS 7250 - Models and Strategies for Teaching the Gifted*

    Choose at least 1:

    EDIS 5080 - Differentiating Instruction*

    EDIS 7230 - Curriculum for the Gifted and Talented*

    If needed, choose 1:

    EDIS 5000 - The Exceptional Learner

    EDIS 6800 - Creativity and Problem Solving

    One additional course from above

    Advisor - Tracy Missett



    EDLF 7630 - Education in Multicultural Societies

    EDIS 5423 - English Linguistics

    EDIS 5424 - Second Language Acquisition

    EDIS 5428 - ESL Methods PreK-12

    EDIS 5270 – Teaching Reading and Writing for ELLs

    EDIS 5470 - ESL Assessment and Curriculum Design

    EDIS 7700 – Foundations of Reading Instruction

    Possible ESL elective, pending advisor approval:

    EDIS 5080 - Differentiating Instruction

    EDIS 5014 - The Trauma-Sensitive Classroom

    Advisor - April Salerno

    Students may choose from the following:

    EDIS 7700 - Foundations of Reading for Diverse Learners

    EDIS 7710 - Reading and Writing in the Content Areas

    EDIS 7720 - Understanding the Code

    EDIS 5425 - Teaching Writing

    EDIS 7310 - Children's Literature OR EDIS 5410 - Young Adult Literature

    Advisor - Ottilie Austin 



    EDIS 7000 – Instructional Design

    EDIS 5075 – Online and Blended Learning

    EDIS 7010 – Computer Courseware Tools

    EDIS 7070 – Instructional Materials Design

    EDIS 7072 – Performance Improvement

    EDIS 7076 – Technology, Learning Systems, and Culture

    Advisor - Anne Jewett


  • Alumni Spotlight: Isobel Forsyth

    Isobel Forsyth (M.Ed. '20 Social Foundations) is currently working as a teaching fellow at St. Anne's Belfield School in Charlottesville. She shares the benefits of the program's breadth and flexibility and how she's using her degree to build a career in education.

    Read More
  • Alumni Spotlight: Corey Haynes

    Social Foundations Graduate Scholar Earns Fulbright Grant to Teach and Study Abroad

    Read More
  • Alumni Spotlight: Helaine Klasky

    Helaine Klasky (M.Ed. ’94 Soc Foundations) was recently named Chair, U.S. Public Affairs and Crisis Practice for Burson-Marsteller, a leading global strategic communications and public relations firm.

  • Alumni Spotlight: Jay Jackson

    Jay Jackson (M.Ed. ’85 Soc Foundations) after a 21-year career in K-12 classrooms, began working in various positions at UVA development 17 years ago.

The information contained on this website is for informational purposes only. The Undergraduate Record and Graduate Record represent the official repository for academic program requirements. These publications may be found at http://records.ureg.virginia.edu/index.php.