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The Master of Arts in Social and Cultural Pedagogy focuses on the study of learning beyond the school curriculum and delves into research, theory and practice for non-formal education across cultures, ages and education levels. Students work with communities to address and solve complex societal problems by analyzing social structures and cultural dynamics, and by planning, implementing and evaluating social and educational strategies in a variety of areas, with a focus on informal education.
The program is the first of its kind in North America. Housed in the School of Social Transformation, it places students in the center of a transdisciplinary learning environment with scholars dedicated to creating social innovations to change the world. Backed by the resources and commitment of Arizona State University to developing solutions to real-world challenges, School of Social Transformation students catalyze social change while receiving their degree.
Students pursue careers in non-formal education environments, including but not limited to: youth programs, local governments, museums, nonprofits, intercultural programs, co-operatives, citizenship education, human rights programs, anti-poverty programs, community development programs, literacy programs, community centers, and social movements.
The MA in Social and Cultural Pedagogy is a 30-hour program designed for educators with professional experience who seek to develop real-world skills and practical knowledge that will help them accomplish specific career goals. A master's degree in social and cultural pedagogy provides educators with the skills they need to create positive change in nontraditional educational settings. Each student creates a highly individualized and transdisciplinary path of study, taking classes tailored to meet their unique goals.
Students select between the Applied Project program track or Thesis program track.
Applied Project track:
The applied project typically consists of a study (often a participatory action research project) with applied results that can contribute to the improvement of social pedagogy practice. The applied project could assist the needs of an existing organization, but it could also be a response to solve a problem identified by the student, without necessarily being connected to a specific organization. The applied project should identify the problem to be addressed, and include a brief literature review on the topic, an analysis of the situation, and conclude with recommendations. The output of the applied project could be a report, but it could also be a video, a curriculum proposal, an evaluation, a website, or other formats. For written reports, the estimated length of the applied project is around 7,500-10,000 words. The student will present and defend the applied project in an oral examination, attended by their chair and committee member(s).
The thesis option is recommended for students who intend to pursue a doctoral program or conduct research in the future. It is an academic exercise that could be theoretical or research oriented. The thesis should address questions relating to social pedagogy, and/or social and educational dynamics. The length of a master's thesis for this program is typically around 25,000 words. The 25,000 word count does not include endnotes and references. The student will present and defend their Thesis in an oral examination, attended by their chair and committee member.
The application process for the Social and Cultural Pedagogy MA is completed online through the ASU Graduate Admissions Portal. Prospective students must submit the admission application form along with the fee and official transcripts.
ASU Graduate Admissions requires that all successful applicants hold at least a 3.00/4.00 GPA in the last 60 semester hours (or 90 quarter hours) of undergraduate coursework.
GRE or other official test scores are not required for this program.
Required application materials:
1. ASU Graduate Admission Services application
2. Non-refundable application fee as specified by ASU Graduate Admission Services
3. Official copies of transcripts from all college and universities where you have earned a bachelor’s and/or master’s degree. Please see additional details for mailing options.
4. Resume or curriculum vitae
5. Statement of purpose: Approximately 1-and-a-half to two pages, double spaced, outlining areas of interest, educational and career goals
6. Students whose native language is not English must meet ASU’s English proficiency requirements. English proficiency requirements can be found here: https://international.asu.edu/graduate/proficiency
Except for official transcripts, all of the application components above can be uploaded directly through the ASU Graduate Admission Services online application process. Transcripts need to be physically mailed to ASU Graduate Admission Services at the address below:
Arizona State University Graduate Admission Services
PO Box 871003
Tempe, AZ 85287-1003
If sending by FedEx, DHL or UPS, use this address:
Arizona State University
Graduate Admissions Services
PO Box 870112
Tempe AZ 85287-0112
The School of Social Transformation accepts applications for the Social and Cultural Pedagogy MA for both fall and spring semester starts.
Deadline to submit an application for fall is the prior December 15.
Deadline to submit an application for Spring is the prior September 15.
Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis after the priority deadline until the cohort is full.
Not only did I enjoy the diversity of the students in the Social and Cultural Pedagogy program, I also gained new insights into local and global issues I knew little about. Because each student is pursuing their own area of interest—from civics education, to foster children’s rights, to museum education, and more—you get exposed to a wide variety of concepts and ideas. It’s also exciting to be part of the growing study and practice of social and cultural pedagogy in North America…we are pioneers!
Social and Cultural Pedagogy MA Alumni
President, Social Pedagogy Association
A minimum of 30 hours is required.
Requirements and electives
Total hours required
Students take 30 credit hours, choosing between a thesis or an applied project.
The core program courses include:
Students who elect to complete the applied project option must take 18 credit hours of elective coursework to reach the required 30 credit hours for the program.
SST 510 Social and Cultural Pedagogy (3 credits)
Engages students with the academic literature and scholarly debates on social and cultural pedagogy, reviews practical lessons from the field, and provides an overview of different areas of intervention and professional practice. Considers the historical, local, and international dimensions of social and cultural pedagogy, and illustrates with selected case studies. Encourages the study of social and cultural pedagogy using a critical and interdisciplinary perspective.
SST 501 Foundations of Social Transformation (3 credits)
Introduces the foundations of social transformation and social change. Looks at social transformation through an interdisciplinary lens and explores the connections between the objective and subjective factors that enable or inhibit social transformation in different contexts.
JUS 500 Research Methods (3 credits)
Theories and methods of qualitative and quantitative research.
MA students are required to complete five electives courses (15 credits). Electives courses should be chosen in collaboration with a faculty advisor. A faculty advisor will help direct the student’s elective choices to ensure they focus on a common theme and ultimately help inform the student’s thesis or applied project.
Students who elect to complete the applied project option must take an additional 3 credit hours of elective coursework to reach the required 30 credit hours for the program.
American Indian Studies
Nonprofit Leadership and Management
Studies in Social Transformation
Students complete the degree with a culminating experience; either a thesis or an applied project.
Applied Project Track:
Students must compete 1 additional seminar elective (3 credits)
SST 593 Applied Project (3 hours)
SST 599 thesis (6 hours)