Education is a social process – always. It involves social institutions, culture, and social resources. These are central themes of sociology. Education always involves values and dilemmas, both in making curricula and in designing methods of teaching. It involves science, art and ways of being in the world. These are major themes of philosophy. Education continues over time, linking our society to its past and to its future. It creates capacities for practice that transform the social arrangements that have come to us from the past. These are central issues in history. Education is, therefore, a field that links to, and draws from, knowledge across the disciplines of the social sciences and humanities.
- Philosophy of Education: This concentration seeks to provide students with a rigorous methodological and theoretical training in philosophical research. The general purposes of the program are to foster the understanding and development of educational theory in the context of the broader questions of philosophy and to develop the capacity to engage in effective discussion of theoretical problems pertaining to education, especially educational justice, peace, and democracy.
- History of Education: This concentration seeks to provide students with a rigorous methodological and theoretical training in historical research, so that they acquire and are able to advance a deep understanding of the origins and development of American education within the context of American social and intellectual history. This concentration involves an understanding of the history of social injustice and the political and economic history of the social and educational reproduction of inequality.
- Educational Sociology: This concentration seeks to provide students with a rigorous methodological and theoretical training in sociological research. Sociology of education explores the school-society/educational-cultural interface – how socio-cultural forces define the limits and possibilities of schooling and how education impacts society. Of particular interest is an understanding of how social institutions produce injustice/justice, the nature and dynamics of social stratification, an understanding of the dynamics of racial, gendered, and ethnic discrimination, and the nature and development of a pluralistic democratic culture.
- Foundations of Education: This concentration seeks to provide students with a rigorous methodological and theoretical training in interdisciplinary research involving sociology, philosophy and history of education.