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Educational Psychology - Social Foundations: M.Ed. - Master of Education

This program is intended for current and aspiring education professionals who wish to explore the “big questions” in education–such as concerning justice, race, culture, and difference–from the perspective of the humanities and humanistic social sciences.

At a Glance

Program Results

M.Ed. - Master of Education

Educational Psychology—Social Foundations

Career Outcomes

This program 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.

Best Suited To

Current and aspiring educators and administrators in K-12, higher education, non-profit organizations and government agencies who wish to develop the capacity to critically analyze contemporary educational issues from historical, philosophical and social scientific perspectives. This includes honing the capacity for written and oral communication, research literacy and understanding of the role of cultural and social forces in schooling. 

Program Type

  • Full Time
  • Part Time


  • Online

Estimated Length

1.5-2.5 years



About This Program

The M.Ed. in Educational Psychology-Social Foundations program is not accepting applications in 2024, pending program review. We offer three programs with related content:  M.Ed. in Higher Education, the M.Ed. in Educational Psychology-Applied Developmental Science, and the M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction.

  • Students will examine different and contrasting conceptions of what it means to be educated, what equity and equality in education require, what justice demands, and what cultural difference entails, from distinct historical, philosophical, and anthropological perspectives. The program is intended for students who do not only want to know “what works” in education, but who wish to investigate competing ideas about the purposes, values, and ends for which education is intended to work. 
  • Individuals with an M.Ed. in Educational Psych – Social Foundations (often called the “humanities of education”) find that the solid foundation of broad educational knowledge allows them to 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. 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. 

Program Overview


To learn more about specific courses taken as part of the completion of this degree, visit the Graduate Record website. These webpages represent the official repository for academic program requirements. A link to these publications can be found in the Curriculum Information section at the bottom of this page.

A minimum of 33 semester-hours of graduate course credit must be completed to earn an M.Ed. 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.

(Please note: Students who began their studies between Fall 2018 and Fall 2021 have a 30-credit requirement.) 

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 the 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. 

Comprehensive Exam Due Dates:

  • Fall: October 31st
  • Spring: March 31st
  • Summer: June 30th

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

Social Foundations Course Descriptions

Information on courses that are part of the M.Ed. in Educational Psychology-Social Foundations curriculum can be found on the UVA Graduate Record website.

Additional Program Details

In 2024, the UVA School of Education & Human Development is ranked #8 for best graduate schools of education in the country by U.S. News and World Report.

The school is ranked #17 in educational psychology for graduate schools of education.

M.Ed. in Educational Psychology-Social Foundations News

Program Faculty

Derrick P Alridge

Derrick P. Alridge

  • Philip J. Gibson Professor of Education
  • Director, Center for Race and Public Education in the South
Diane M Hoffman

Diane M. Hoffman

  • Associate Professor
Alexa Rodriguez headshot

Alexa Rodriguez

  • Assistant Professor of Education
Rachel L. Wahl

Rachel L. Wahl

  • Associate Professor

Contact Us


As a member of the State Authorizations Reciprocity Agreement (SARA), the University of Virginia (UVA) is authorized to provide curriculum in a distance learning environment to students located in all states in the United States except for California. (34 CFR 668.43(a)(6)& 34 CFR 668.72(n)). Although California does not participate in SARA, it allows students to enroll in out-of-state programs.

Upon completion of the Master of Education in Educational Psychology at the UVA School of Education and Human Development, graduates may be eligible for initial professional licensure in another U.S. state by applying to the licensing board or agency in that state.

Please visit the University’s state authorization web pages to make an informed decision regarding which states’ educational requirements for initial licensure are met by this program. (668.43(a)(5) (v)(A) - (C))

Enrolled students who change their current (or mailing) address to a state other than Virginia should update this information immediately in the Student Information System as it may impact their ability to complete internship, practicum, or clinical hours, use Title IV funds, or meet licensure or certification requirements in the new state. (34 CFR 668.402).