Master's in Education Program


Curious and Committed Graduate Students

Our Master’s program serves graduate students who have a variety of interests in topics such as learning sciences, the politics of school reform, explorations of race and inequality, and educational measurement and research methods.

We look for curious and committed thinkers, intent on improving human learning and schools -- people who seek to master an academic discipline and remain active in civic organizations, educational institutions, or policy arenas. Many of the master’s students have recently graduated with their bachelor’s degree, while others bring a decade or more of professional experience.


Master’s students join the Berkeley community for one academic year, typically affiliating with a cluster of specialization. Students often complete courses and field projects during the summer. They are required to complete 24 semester units, which equals seven to eight classes, depending on how many units are awarded for each class.

Core requirements for all master’s students include:

  • The core seminar that meets two hours weekly in the first semester, introducing the GSE faculty for discussions of educational research and practice (two units).
  • At least one research methods class selected from courses that introduces basic qualitative or quantitative methods of analysis (three or four units).
  • Courses in the cluster of specialization: Two to three required courses where MA students study alongside PhD students. Courses often feature a field project tied to the cluster specialization (see cluster coordinators listed below).
  • A master’s research paper developed in consultation with your lead faculty advisor, who will be assigned to you.

The GSE admits 25-30 new master's students annually, as a unified cohort. This fosters new friendships and a robust intellectual community.

Clusters of Specialization

  • Critical Studies of Race, Class, and Gender: Prof. Patricia Baquedano-López (

This Master's specialization provides students an opportunity to engage in the study of schooling in its broader social, cultural, political, and economic contexts. In particular, race, class, and gender relations are social forces that inform and shape the organization of schools and learning in its broadest sense. We aim to provide students with a solid grounding in social theory and research methods. Faculty interests within the cluster are varied and include the political economy of education, structural racism, globalization, and migration. Two courses are selected from the cluster listing in addition to the GSE-wide Master's requirement.

  • Cultural Studies of Sport in Education: Prof. Derek Van Rheenen (

The specialization examines the ways in which institutionalized physical activity embodies and reflects social meanings and identities. The social practice of sport provides a space in which dominant discourses of race, gender, sexuality, (dis)ability and social class are reproduced or resisted. As these physical activities become commercialized and embedded within educational institutions, individuals must navigate a nuanced and conflicted terrain as they participate and perform in sports. This Master’s specialization fosters the capacity of students to delve into the intersection of athletics and academics within the educational system. 

Allied fields that lift the early growth of young children continue to grow ­– child health, developmental studies, and early education. Berkeley prepares assertive and inventive y leaders who understand the small-scale family and organizational practices that advance young children, along with policy and advocacy efforts required to improve pro-family institutions. Our Master’s specialization requires one educational policy or politics courses, and one course in developmental or learning science. Faculty typically foster a field project that informs your Master’s paper.

This specialization requires two selected courses taught by faculty in learning and data science. Master’s students are encouraged to conduct a hands-on field project in consultation with your assigned faculty advisor. Students are expected to attend a research group, studying alongside PhD students, ideally each semester. Some students complete their field project and Master’s paper during the summer. A listing of all courses offered in this area is available from the program coordinator.

This specialization prepares young professionals who aim to pursue careers in applied statistics, data science, program evaluation, or assessment. Many of our graduates move into local schools districts, research and development firms, testing companies, and nonprofit organizations. Master’s students work alongside PhD colleagues in three introductory courses tied to measurement and quantitative research methods. Students would take an oral exam at the end of their second semester, focused on their chosen topics, or complete a research paper, possibly during the summer session.

How to Apply

Feel free to contact the Master’s Program Coordinator, along with any of the faculty who manage the specializations in which you are interested.

To review the application process for the Master’s program, please visit the GSE's Admission page.

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