Society, Culture & Politics in Education

About Society, Culture & Politics in Education (SCPE)

The MA degree in Educational Studies (with a concentration in SCPE) and MEd degree in SCPE offer students opportunities to develop critical or empirical understandings of education from the multi and interdisciplinary fields of cultural studies, disability studies, history, philosophy, sociology, political science, geography, indigenous knowledge systems, and policy studies, including the areas of globalization, internationalization, and micropolitics.

We define education very broadly to include formal school contexts, as well as non-formal education and informal learning at all levels and life stages. SCPE courses examine the meaning and outcomes of critical theories of education, policies, and practices for public life in Canada and across the world. As scholars working within and across many disciplines, we view education as a central field within the arts, social sciences, and humanities.

Students and faculty in SCPE share interests in the part played by education in developing socially, ecologically, politically and culturally just societies.

*Note for British Columbia K-12 teachers: the M.Ed. degree in SCPE and MA degree in Educational Studies, with a concentration in SCPE, both consist of 30 semester credits of course work or projects and a capstone element relevant to teaching in BC schools. The degrees meet TQS graduate program requirements for a Category 6 upgrade. Consult the TQS website or call the service for confirmation.

Sample areas of study

  • history of education, sociology of education, philosophy of education, and cultural studies in education
  • social justice
  • international education
  • Indigenous education and ways of knowing
  • educational policy studies
  • feminist, post-colonial, anti-racist and critical disability studies approaches to education
  • children and youth
  • gender

Admissions Requirements for Graduate Study

All graduate program applicants in the Department of Educational Studies (EDST) must meet the minimum entry requirements established by the Faculty of Graduate Studies, which oversees graduate work at UBC. Applicants who do not meet the minimum requirements will be considered for admission only in exceptional circumstances.

More Info: https://www.grad.ubc.ca/prospective-students/graduate-degree-programs/master-of-education-society-culture-politics-education

Applicants to the MEd degree in SCPE, or the MA degree in Educational Studies, with a concentration in SCPE, should be able to demonstrate academic strength in one or more areas in arts, humanities, education, or social sciences, especially in one of the fields or areas that inform SCPE programs (history, sociology, philosophy, cultural studies, Indigenous studies, gender studies, child and youth studies, social justice, or another area).

To be eligible for admission to the MEd degree in SCPE or the MA degree in Educational Studies, with a concentration in SCPE, applicants must hold a four-year bachelor’s degree (apart from applicants from Quebec) with

  1. honours in the field of the proposed master’s courses with at least 12 credits of third- and fourth-year courses in the A− grade range (at UBC 80% or higher) in the field of study; or
  2. a minimum overall average in the B+ range (at UBC 76%) in third- and fourth-year courses prescribed by the Department concerned as prerequisite to the master’s program.

Experience Requirements

Evidence of experience in the field of education, which is quite broadly conceived to include K-12 teaching; employment in a university or college or with an educational organization; volunteer or service experience in a field related to education; work with a government, non-profit, or private entity that has formal or non-formal education or training as part of its mandate, etc.

General Eligibility

To be eligible for admission to a master’s degree program at UBC, applicants must hold a four-year bachelor’s degree (apart from applicants from Quebec) with a minimum overall average in the B+ range (at UBC 76%) in third- and fourth-year courses prescribed by the Department concerned as prerequisite to the master’s program.

Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies - Minimum Academic Requirements: Canadian or U.S. Credentials
https://www.grad.ubc.ca/prospective-students/application-admission/minimum-academic-requirements-canadian-or-us-credentials

Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies - Minimum Academic Requirements: International Credentials
https://www.grad.ubc.ca/prospective-students/application-admission/minimum-academic-requirements-international-credentials

English Requirements

English Proficiency Test Score: Applicants whose degrees are from a university outside Canada in which English is not the primary language of instruction must present evidence of competency to pursue studies in the English language prior to being extended an offer of admission. Acceptable English language proficiency tests for applicants to graduate studies are:

  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language): Minimum score of 600 (paper version), 250 (computer version), 92 with a minimum of 22 in each component (iTB) is required for admission to all programs in Educational Studies. Visit TOEFL’s website
  • IELTS (International English Language Testing Service): Minimum overall band score of 6.5 with no other component score less than 6.0.
  • MELAB (Michigan English Language Assessment Battery): Minimum overall score of 81.

The applicants must have an official report of their score on one of these tests sent directly from the testing service to the Graduate Program Assistant, Department of Educational Studies at the address below by the application deadline. Score reports more than two years old will not be accepted.

More Information: http://www.grad.ubc.ca/prospective-students/application-admission/english-proficiency-requirements

Questions and Answers

Q: Who Are These Programs For?

A: The graduate programs in Society, Culture and Politics in Education are of interest to

  • those who are, or who wish to become, educational researchers at universities or non-university research centers;
  • those who are, or wish to become, policy-makers, political activists (through, for example, NGO work) or analysts in education;
  • those who work as K–12 teachers, community educators, vocational curriculum developers, or other kinds of educators.

Q: What is the Difference Between the MA and the MEd Program?

A: The MA degree in Educational Studies, with a concentration in SCPE, involves the completion of a master’s thesis. This is the most common path for those wishing to pursue doctoral studies and to become educational researchers, and prepares graduates to conduct educational research independently.

The M.Ed degree in SCPE does not involve a thesis. Instead, students complete the program through either a capstone course (EDST 585, 3 credits), or a graduating paper that they write under the direction of a faculty advisor (EDST 590, 3 credits). The M.Ed. degree in SCPE  is for students interested in analysing and applying educational scholarship and research to policy and practice, rather than conducting research themselves.

Educational practitioners and those who are, or wish to become, policy-makers or analysts may choose to pursue either the MA in Educational Studies, with a concentration in SCPE, or the M.Ed  degree in SCPE, depending on how much independent research they wish to carry out during their studies.

Q: Can I Be a Part-Time Student in SCPE?

A: Yes, but you have to decide at the beginning of the program that you will be a part-time student throughout. It is not possible to switch from full-time to part-time status or vice versa during your program. For more information, please go to: www.grad.ubc.ca/policy/index.asp?menu=002,003,000,000

Q: Is it possible to switch to the M.Ed. degree in SCPE after I have been accepted to the MA in Educational Studies, with a concentration in SCPE? Or what happens if I switch from the M.Ed. to the MA?

A: Yes, it is generally permissible to switch from the MA to the M.Ed., but the reasons for the switch must be laid out in a memorandum to the Faculty of Graduate Studies. Generally the decision to switch, which must be made for academic reasons, should be discussed with the student’s supervisor and the program coordinator. The program coordinator then makes the formal request to transfer programs to the Faculty of Graduate Studies. Please note that the M.Ed. degree in SCPE requires students to undertake six credits more in elective courses than the MA in Educational Studies, with a concentration in SCPE, does.

Or, if you have been accepted as an MEd student and, after you have taken a few courses, you decide that you would like to undertake an independent research project of the scope of a thesis, it may be possible to switch to the MA. Acceptance into the MA is dependent upon your grades in the graduate courses you have taken, the motivation of your request, and the willingness of your pro tem supervisor or another faculty member to supervise your thesis work.

Q: Can I take undergraduate elective courses as part of my SCPE graduate program?

A: Yes, you can, as long as you take a minimum of 24 credits in your program at the 500 level and discuss your rationale for choosing such courses with your adviser.

Q. Can I take graduate courses offered by other Faculty of Education departments and by other UBC Faculties?

A: Yes, you can, in your electives and/or as a second research methodology course.

Q: I am a BC K-12 teacher. Does the M.Ed. degree in SCPE or the MA in Educational Studies, with a concentration in SCPE count towards the TQS requirements for a Category 6 upgrade?

A: The M.Ed. degree in SCPE and MA degree in Educational Studies, with a concentration in SCPE, both consist of 30 semester credits of course work or projects and a capstone element relevant to teaching in BC schools. The degrees meet TQS graduate program requirements for a Category 6 upgrade.

However, the TQS advises students as follows: “Before enrolling in courses or programs for upgrade, it is strongly recommended to get written approval from the TQS.” Visit the TQS website, or call the TQS, for further information.

Q: What is the maximum time allowed to complete the MEd degree in SCPE or the MA degree in Educational Studies, with a concentration in SCPE?

A: The maximum time to complete a Master's program is five years.

Q: Does a Master’s degree qualify me to be a classroom teacher?

A: No, it does not. For information on becoming certified as a classroom teacher, please go to teach.educ.ubc.ca.

Q: Where do graduates go on to work or study?

A: Some of our graduate students are K–12 classroom teachers and use their degree to enhance their practice; others take up positions in aid organizations, government departments, and community-based settings. Our graduates also go on to do PhD work in universities across the country and around the world where they continue to generate important research into challenges facing education in local and global settings.

Program Requirements

Requirements for graduation from the SCPE program differ depending on whether the student is accepted into the MA or MEd program.

Both the MA and MEd programs in Society, Culture & Politics in Education are 30 credit programs. MA and MEd specific requirements are listed below.

Program Worksheets are available on the Info page under Policies and Forms: http://edst.educ.ubc.ca/information/

MA Requirements

The EDST MA is a 30-credit program that culminates in the completion of a research thesis. Students enrolled in the SCPE concentration are required to complete 9 credits of required MA courses, 9 credits of SCPE core courses, 3 credits of advanced research methods coursework, 3 credits of an elective, and a 6-credit MA thesis. The required SCPE courses are listed in the chart below.

Note: MA students who began their studies prior to September 2012 should meet the requirements of the program they enrolled in at that time.

The focus of the MA program is educational research, and students applying to this program should have an interest in conducting a substantial research project that culminates in a thesis. For students who intend to go on to pursue a Ph.D., we recommend the MA route.

Access the EDST MA Program of Studies Worksheet on the Info page under Policies and Forms: http://edst.educ.ubc.ca/information/

MEd Requirements

The SCPE MEd is a 30-credit program that is primarily course based. This program requires more elective courses than an MA degree and the completion of a graduating paper (EDST 590) or capstone course (EDST 585) in lieu of a thesis. For the MEd course requirements, see the chart below. Course requirements for SCPE MEd students are also listed in the program worksheet.

Access the SCPE Program Of Studies Worksheet on the Info page under Policies and Forms: http://edst.educ.ubc.ca/information/

Core Courses – Course Descriptions

EDST 577 – Social Context of Educational Policy ( 3 credits)

What is educational policy? Should policy analysts take social problems as given, or should they study the social construction of these problems?  Which voices are dominant and which ones absent in the educational policy process?  Who benefits from educational policy and who loses? EDST 577 examines the process of policy making as well as some persistent themes in educational policy (such as equalizing opportunity, providing more choice) through an analysis of policy issues and the social contexts from which they emerge.

EDST 509 – Constructing ‘Citizens’ – Canada and the Educational Past (3 credits)

This course explores how understandings of race, gender, class, sexuality, ability, and other markers of identity, change over time and affect conceptions of citizenship. This course gives particular attention to the role played by education – both formal and informal – in the historical construction of ‘nation’ and ‘citizen.’  EDST 509 offers a space for the critical examination of how and why we have inherited institutions and traditions that continue to serve some groups better than others. Through critical reflection on the past, this course encourages conversations about how we might enact a more equitable present and future.

EDST 597 – Educational Theories (3 credits)

Education is a central social institution, forming an organizing force in society together with other institutions such as law, health care, or family. Ideas about what education is, what purposes it should serve, and how we should go about it, are therefore closely entwined with ideas about what a society is and how it should function. This overview course is designed to introduce graduate students to influential historical and contemporary political theories and their connections to education (e.g., classical liberalism, Marxism and critical pedagogy, Indigenous critiques of Western political theory), focusing upon the concepts of equality, democracy, and justice.

EDST 585 – Capstone: Society, Culture and Politics in Education (3 credits)

This course serves as a final course requirement in the M.Ed. program (and as an elective in the M.A. program) in Educational Studies for those students completing a specialization in Society, Politics and Culture in Education (SCPE).  This capstone course will provide students with the opportunity to refine their understanding of various social justice frameworks (introduced in earlier courses) and the complexities of translating them into educational practices.  An overview of the multiple traditions of practitioner inquiry in the field of education will be provided.  The rudiments of critical practitioner inquiry will be introduced, including developing a research question, exploring methods for conducting a small-scale inquiry, and analyzing and sharing the results of one such inquiry.

Degree Required Courses Research Methods Concentration or Elective Courses Comprehensive Exam Capstone Course/Paper/Thesis
MEd EDST 577
EDST 509
EDST 597
EDUC 500

One 3-credit SCPE-specific elective(e.g.,

EDST 502
EDST 506
EDST 570
EDST 576
EDST 578
EDST 593 )

And 12 credits of Open Electives.

not required

EDST 585 CapstoneOr

EDST 590 - Graduating Paper

MA EDST 571
(6 credits)
EDST 572
3 credits of Advanced Research Methods Concentration courses:EDST 577
EDST 509
EDST 597Plus one elective
not required MA Thesis EDST 599
(6 credits)

Apply Online: http://www.grad.ubc.ca/apply/online/

The number of graduate students who can be accommodated is limited and only the best qualified applicants can hope to secure places. To ensure that all applicants are treated equitably, your application will go through several stages before a decision is made on acceptance or rejection. Once your transcripts have been reviewed to determine if you are eligible for admission to graduate study at UBC, several faculty members in scholarly areas related to your area of interest will read your application and individually assess your suitability for admission.

As well as evaluating all components of your application, we must be convinced by the statement of intent that your academic interests are congruent with those of the department and the SCPE Program, that your background is adequate for graduate work in your area of interest, and that the department and university possess the necessary resources for you to complete the degree. An Educational Studies faculty member in your area of interest must be willing to become your adviser.

You will be informed of the department’s decision as soon as possible. The department recommends applicants to the Faculty of Graduate Studies for admission. If you are admitted conditionally, subject to completing a degree in progress or courses, these conditions will be included in the offer of admission. Successful applicants are asked to inform the department as soon as possible whether they will accept a place in the SCPE Program in the Department of Educational Studies. If you decide to accept our offer, you must contact your adviser as outlined in your acceptance letter. Together with your advisor, you should plan a program of study.

More Info: https://www.grad.ubc.ca/prospective-students/graduate-degree-programs/master-of-education-society-culture-politics-education

Applications should be submitted online at www.grad.ubc.ca/apply/online. All of the following components of an application must be received by the department’s Graduate Program Assistant before the file can be reviewed by the appropriate admissions committee.

  1. Online UBC application form. When you submit an online application at www.grad.ubc.ca/apply/online, the completed form is automatically forwarded to the Graduate Program Assistant. Non-refundable processing fee payable to UBC. See the cover of the official UBC application form for the exact amount.
  2. Upload digital copies (.pdfs) of official transcripts. See Digital Copies of Official Transcripts tab for details.
  3. Three references – The purpose of the references is to give as complete an idea as possible of your relevant background and capacity to complete the degree. Two of the references should be from a course instructor or other person able to assess your academic ability. Other suitable referees include a supervisor, president, academic dean, or another person to whom you are, or have been, accountable in employment or as a volunteer. The reference letters must be in English. If the original letter is in another language, the letter must be accompanied by a certified English translation.
 There are three possible formats for references:
    • Electronic references: In the online application system, applicants are asked to provide an email address for each referee. (Please note that we are unable to accept emails from Hotmail, Yahoo, Gmail, MSN or other free email accounts for referees.) Once the online application has been submitted, a unique link will be emailed to each referee, allowing them to log in to a secure site and submit an online reference or upload a reference document as an attachment.
    • Paper letters of reference: Your referee may wish to send a paper letter. Paper letters of reference should be on referee’s official letterhead and must be mailed directly to the relevant program (see address below) in a sealed and endorsed envelope by the referee.
    • Paper reference forms: UBC provides a general reference form. Your referee may fill out this form and mail it directly to the relevant program in a sealed and endorsed envelope.
  4. Statement of intent. You need to describe in one to two pages your specific interests in pursuing a graduate degree and precisely why you are applying to the SCPE Program in the Department of Educational Studies. This statement should relate your academic background, work experience and other relevant considerations to the course work and research that you propose to pursue toward a graduate degree. Some applicants will have more precise academic goals or intellectual passions than others, but anyone applying to the SCPE Program is doing so for some purpose, and these reasons need to be made explicit in your statement of intent
  5. Writing Sample. You must also include an example of scholarly writing, preferably a senior undergraduate paper written for a university course. It is useful to include the instructor's comments or other assessment. Other acceptable writing samples include policy reports, journalistic pieces or other formal documents generated as part of your work life. The sample of writing should demonstrate your ability to think clearly about complex issues and to communicate in an organized and readable manner.

Please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope if you wish to have submissions returned.

To find out whether all materials have arrived safely, you may want to contact the department’s Graduate Program Assistant at 604.822.6647 or email grad.edst@ubc.ca.

Applicants from outside Canada should be aware of additional requirements that may apply. Please read the following to determine which of these requirements may apply to you.

International Credentials Equivalency

Please see the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website:
http://www.grad.ubc.ca/prospective-students/application-admission/minimum-academic-requirements-international-credentials

International Transcripts and Translation Requirements

See International Transcripts and Translation Requirements tab for details

Entering Canada

To enter Canada, a “Student Authorization” (Student Visa) is required. Apply as soon as possible to the nearest Canadian Consular or Immigration Office since it may take 8–10 weeks for processing. For applicants applying from the People’s Republic of China it may take 3–6 months. Applying for a Student Authorization requires a UBC letter of admission/acceptance; a valid passport; and evidence of adequate funds for tuition, maintenance of the student and, if married, the student’s spouse and children, plus travel funds to and from Canada. Please consult the Immigration Canada website: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/index.asp.

If the application for a visa is approved, the UBC letter of admission/acceptance will be returned to the student and must be retained for presentation to the Immigration Officer at the Canadian point of entry.

Canadian Transcripts

UBC has changed its application document requirements.

If you are applying to begin study in 2016 or beyond, you will normally scan and upload digital copies (.pdfs) of official required documents in the application system. These are considered "unofficial documents". These uploaded copies of your official documents will be used for initial evaluation of the applicant.

Conditional admission offers may be made based on documents uploaded to the application system. However, admission offers will not be finalized and applicants will not be allowed to register in a graduate program until one set of all required official academic records are received and validated by the University.

UPLOADING UNOFFICIAL COPIES OF TRANSCRIPTS IN THE APPLICATION SYSTEM

Applicants with Canadian transcripts (other than UBC) must obtain an official paper transcript for every post-secondary institution they have attended.  UBC transcripts are not required.

Each transcript should be scanned as an individual .pdf file and then uploaded to the application system as indicated. They should be named: "Applicant Full Name-Document Description.extension"

Examples:

Kelly Smith-University of Waterloo Transcript.pdf
Kelly Smith-CV.pdf
Kelly Smith-Journal of Neurosciences Paper.pdf

Transcripts must be scanned front and back. All pages of one transcript, front and back, should be uploaded as a single file (rather than a separate file for each page).

OFFICIAL TRANSCRIPTS

To be considered official, academic records must either be received in official university envelopes, sealed and endorsed by the issuing institution, or be sent via secure electronic delivery by the issuing institution.

If you have been offered admission conditional upon receipt of official documentation, you must provide UBC with one set of official transcripts for every postsecondary institution you have attended for the equivalent of one year or more of full-time study. UBC reserves the right to also require any individual applicant to provide official transcripts for study of less than one year duration. Do not send official transcripts before receiving an offer of admission unless you have received special instructions from the graduate program to which you have applied.

Documents being provided to meet conditions of admission should be sent directly to:

Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies
University of British Columbia
6371 Crescent Rd
Vancouver, BC CANADA  V6T 1Z2

CURRENT AND FORMER UBC STUDENTS

You do not need to submit UBC transcripts as part of your graduate application, as this data is already available through the student database system. However, be aware that you are still responsible for submitting transcripts from all other post-secondary institutions that you have attended (e.g., exchange year, transfer year, etc.).

International Transcripts and Translations

UBC has changed its application document requirements.

If you are applying to begin study in 2016 or beyond, you will normally scan and upload digital copies (.pdfs) of official required documents in the application system. These are considered "unofficial documents". These uploaded copies of your official documents will be used for initial evaluation of the applicant.

Conditional admission offers may be made based on documents uploaded to the application system. However, admission offers will not be finalized and applicants will not be allowed to register in a graduate program until one set of all required official academic records are received and validated by the University.

UPLOADING UNOFFICIAL COPIES OF REQUIRED DOCUMENTS IN THE APPLICATION SYSTEM

Applicants with transcripts from non-Canadian post-secondary institutions must obtain an official paper transcript for every post-secondary institution they have attended.

Each transcripts should be scanned as an individual .pdf file and then uploaded to the application system as indicated. Otherwise, they should be named: "Applicant Full Name-Document Description.extension"

Examples:

Peng Zhang-Peking University Transcript.pdf
Peng Zhang-Peking University Transcript English Translation.pdf
Peng Zhang-CV.pdf
Peng Zhang-Journal of Neurosciences Paper.pdf

Transcripts must be scanned front and back. All pages of one transcript, front and back, should be uploaded as a single file (rather than a separate file for each page).

If you have transcripts that are issued in a language other than English, then in addition to uploading digital copies of the documents in their original language, you must also upload a certified literal English translation of your transcripts from your home university's translation service or certified English translator.

Please consult the document scanning and uploading instructions provided within the online application for detailed instructions.

OFFICIAL DOCUMENTS

To be considered official, academic records must either be received in official university envelopes, sealed and endorsed by the issuing institution, or be sent via secure electronic delivery by the issuing institution.

After being offered admission: If you have been offered admission conditional upon receipt of official documentation, you must provide UBC with one set of official transcripts for every postsecondary institution you have attended for the equivalent of one year or more of full-time study. UBC reserves the right to also require any individual applicant to provide official transcripts for study of less than one year duration.

If an official transcript does not indicate the degree name and the degree conferral date, then an official copy of the degree certificate must also be submitted

If your university issues only one original copy of transcripts/degree certificates:

Make photocopies of your original academic records and send them to your home university. Ask your home university to:

  • verify that the photocopies are consistent with their records.
  • attest that the copies are true photocopies and stamp them with an official university stamp.
  • put the attested, stamped photocopies in sealed envelopes endorsed by the Registrar.
  • mail the sealed, endorsed envelopes directly to Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies.

If your transcripts are issued in a language other than English:

  • arrange to have a set of all official transcripts issued in their original language.
  • obtain a certified literal English translation of your transcripts from your home university's translation service.
  • send both the original transcripts and the literal English translation to UBC Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies.

If your home university does not provide English translations of transcripts:

  • make a photocopy of your copy of your transcripts. Do not open a sealed, endorsed envelope containing transcripts intended for submission to your program.
  • take the copy to a certified English translator and ask them to provide a complete, word-by-word, literal English translation.
  • tell the translator to put both the original language photocopy and the English translation into a sealed envelope, and endorse the envelope by signing across the seal.
  • send the sealed, endorsed envelopes from the translator to UBC Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies.
  • send your original transcripts in the original language to UBC Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies.

Note: Academic records must be translated in their entirety, including any information that appears on the reverse side of any document.

UBC does not accept the following:

  • photocopies that have not been stamped, attested and endorsed by the Registrar at your home university
  • documents in envelopes that have been opened
  • documents that do not arrive in sealed envelopes endorsed by the issuing institution or certified translator
  • documents that arrive without the official seal of the university
  • photocopies notarized by a notary public
  • photocopies endorsed by a lawyer, professor, judge etc.
  • unofficial translations
  • non-literal translations

Do not send academic records that are not in sealed and endorsed envelopes. It will only delay the processing of your application.

Documents being provided to meet conditions of admission  should be sent directly to:

Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies
University of British Columbia
6371 Crescent Rd
Vancouver, BC CANADA  V6T 1Z2

 

Note that fees are subject to change by the University.

Tuition for SCPE Program

Tuition fees for MA and MEd Programs are found on the UBC Calendar website.

Deadlines for applications

Deadlines for the EDST SCPE program can be found on the EDST website.

Contact Us

For more information about this program, the department and admission procedures can be found at www.edst.educ.ubc.ca or by contacting

Sandra Abah, Graduate Program Assistant

Email: grad.edst@ubc.ca
Tel: 604.822.6647
Fax: 604.822.4244

Department of Educational Studies
Faculty of Education
The University of British Columbia
6445 University Boulevard, Vancouver, BC  V6T 1Z2

or

Dr. Taylor Webb, Coordinator
taylor.webb@ubc.ca
Tel: 604.822.6381