Social and Cultural Studies of Education Emphasis, Ph.D.

The School of Education and Division of Teaching, Learning, Leadership and Policy (TLLP) offers a Ph.D. in Education with an emphasis in Social and Cultural Studies of Education (SCS). SCS interests are guided by questions such as:

  • What ethical and philosophical commitments should inform schooling?
  • How have our histories and contexts shaped learning in and out of schools?
  • What types of inequities persist in schools, and why? What should we do about them? In particular, how do we close the opportunity gaps in the lives of minoritized student populations?
  • How are people (e.g., teachers, activists, students, parents) resisting and fighting for equitable educational outcomes? 

Distinguishing features of SCS are its attention to the past as a powerful influence on the present, and its deconstruction of knowledge, identity, and power dynamics as central to the work of reimagining schools and society for a socially just future. As a land grant university, Iowa State University is uniquely positioned to use its resources to be in service to and in partnership with communities. We therefore are invested in research that not only advances scholarly understanding of the pressing educational issues of our moment, but how we also work toward enacting transformative change.

SCS is interdisciplinary in nature, allowing students to apply a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches in their scholarly inquiry. Current faculty expertise includes:  

  • Ethnography & Autoethnography
  • Civic & Education 
  • Culturally Relevant & Sustaining Pedagogy
  • Cultural Studies
  • Cultural Studies of Science Education
  • Curriculum Development
  • Discourse Analysis 
  • Latinx Education
  • Multiculturalism & Multilingualism 
  • Philosophy of Education
  • Student Identity & Belonging
  • Teacher Education and Professional Development
  • University-School-Community Partnerships
  • Education in Demographically Transitioning Schools & Communities


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