MA in Educational Policy Studies

The Master of Arts in Educational Policy Studies program prepares students for a variety of careers including positions in research firms, think tanks, foundations, nonprofits, or government research offices. This program balances training in research methods with deliberations on the foundations, design, and implementation of education and child policies. Students will gain understanding of policy research and research methods through both coursework and direct research experience. Full-time students are expected to complete the degree in one year (fall and spring semester). A part-time option allows students to complete the program over two academic years.

Learning Outcomes

This program is designed to prepare you to conduct applied policy-relevant research related to early childhood, K–12, and higher education. At the end of this program, you will be able to demonstrate professional competence in:

  • Understanding how policies are formed, implemented, and evaluated.
  • Analyzing and discussing the effects of existing educational policies (federal, state, local) on important outcomes of interest (e.g., student achievement, graduation rates, teacher retention, program/school quality).
  • Preparing and analyzing data for quantitative statistical analysis and for qualitative analyses.
  • Conducting research independently on education and/or child policy topics using both qualitative and quantitative methods.
  • Disseminating research results to multiple audiences, including academics, policymakers, and the public.

Required Core Coursework (23 credits)

  • SED AP 600 Diversity and Justice in Education (4 cr)
  • SED AP 635 Public Policy for Research (2 cr)
  • SED AP 753 Educational Policy (4 cr)
  • SED RS 652 Qualitative Research Methods (4 cr)
  • SED RS 653 Quantitative Research Methods (4 cr)
  • SED RS 710 Educational Research Seminar (2 cr)
  • One of two available courses in advanced research methods:
    • SED RS 752 Seminar in Qualitative Research (4 cr)
    • SED RS 753 Causal Design in Education Research (4 cr)

Elective Coursework (8 credits)

Students complete 8 credits of graduate-level courses (approximately two courses) on topics related to research methods, education, human development, and/or policymaking. One elective course can be taken outside of the Wheelock College of Education & Human Development. Courses are selected in consultation with an academic advisor.

Research Apprenticeship (2 credits)

Students are required to successfully complete an apprenticeship (SED RS 699) with a BU faculty member or a partner organization on a student-led research project focused on a policy-relevant issue. Students will be assisted by their faculty advisors with the search and placement process during the fall semester and conduct research in the spring semester that culminates in a capstone project research brief and policy presentation.

Workshop on Fundamental Statistics

Students are encouraged to attend a free 4-day statistics workshop the week before the degree program starts in the fall, led by BU Wheelock faculty. The goal of this workshop is to refresh and prepare students for the Quantitative Methods research course RS 653 and any other advanced research methods courses.