What you can earn


1-2 years

Credits earned




Time commitment

Part-time or Full-time

Upcoming deadline

January 3, 2025

Explore, Shape, and Empower Education

The Educational Foundations, Leadership, and Policy (EDFLP) M.Ed. program delves into critical questions about education in society. It aims to prepare multidimensional leaders and scholars who address major issues in U.S. education. These issues are essential for creating equitable learning opportunities and outcomes for students across various educational contexts, from early childhood through K-12 and transitions to post-secondary education.

Rooted in an understanding of social and cultural contexts, education policies, organizational dynamics, and leadership principles, EDFLP students learn about educational issues spanning from early childhood to post-secondary levels and beyond, emphasizing the imperative of addressing disparities based on race, nationality, socioeconomic status, gender, language, ability, and other social factors.

Your studies across one to two years (attending full- or part-time) provide an opportunity to prepare for future engagement in academia, formal school settings, informal learning spaces, community educational organizations or government spaces. The specific coursework in these various dimensions will be shaped by the specialization you choose to pursue:

  • Social and Cultural Foundations
  • Educational Policy, Organizations, and Leadership
  • Leadership in Higher Education
  • Early Childhood Policy

What you'll learn

Overall, the program emphasizes addressing disparities related to race, nationality, socioeconomic status, gender, language, ability, and other social factors. Graduates emerge as informed and compassionate leaders committed to improving education for all. 

Specializations include:

Social and Cultural Foundations

SCF explores the role of education in society through a humanities and liberal arts lens. It aims to develop a deep conceptual understanding about educational goods and value conflicts in schools and universities. Students learn to critically engage with the public purposes of education, understand the social and historical struggles associated with schools, and recognize sources of deep disagreement over values and purposes in education.

Educational Policy, Organizations, and Leadership

EdPOL trains students to improve education policy, organizations, and leadership. Students learn to address U.S. education issues, ensuring equitable learning opportunities from early childhood through K-12 and beyond. They understand the need to address disparities across various social identities.

Leadership in Higher Education

LHE aims to develop well-rounded leaders by integrating theory and practice. Students enhance their skills through partnerships with community and campus organizations, providing internships and deep knowledge exposure. Students learn to navigate complex educational structures, focusing on student experience, organizational dynamics, and change.

Early Childhood Policy

ECP is designed to build a newly established and growing field, developing policy leaders who are prepared to take on critical work in early childhood education and chart new pathways toward a more equitable and inclusive early childhood education system.

After graduation

Upon graduation, you'll be prepared with the knowledge and skills to work in diverse educational contexts. Through critical analysis of research, contextual awareness, and a commitment to educational justice, students emerge as informed leaders, scholars, and education practitioners. They are prepared to navigate complexities, collaborate effectively, and advocate for equitable policies, shaping education for all.

Graduates can go on to career paths in schools and universities, in leadership roles within districts, government agencies, as well as in non-profit and community organizations. 

Want to earn your Ph.D.? After earning your master's degree, you can continue your studies through our Educational Policy, Organization and Leadership Ph.D.Leadership in Higher Education Ph.D., or Social and Cultural Foundations Ph.D.

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    Working with your advisor, you will forge a learning path that maximizes the pursuit of your individual passions and professional goals. Our coursework allows students to explore one or multiple pathways in Social and Cultural Foundations, Educational Policy, Organizations, and Leadership, Leadership in Higher Education, and Early Childhood Policy.


    The master’s degree program requires a minimum of 45 credits that follows a general course of study: 

    Core Coursework (15 credits minimum)

    Core Coursework explores fundamental questions that have faced educational leaders in the past and most likely will continue to face them in the future. Foundational studies in the history, philosophy, sociology, and politics of education provide the basis for discussion and writing about these fundamental questions. 

    Students will select a primary cognate: either Social & Cultural Foundations OR Educational Policy, Organizations, and Leadership. (If the primary cognate is SCF, the secondary cognate will be EdPol. If the primary cognate is EdPol, the secondary cognate will be SCF). Students choose three core courses in their primary cognate and two core courses in their secondary cognate.

    Social & Cultural Foundations:

    • EDLPS 520: Education as a Moral Endeavor
    • EDLPS 521: Philosophy of Education
    • EDLPS 530: History of Education
    • EDLPS 540: Sociology of Education
    • EDLPS 561: Education Policies and Leadership in Political Context

    Educational Policy, Organizations, and Leadership:

    • EDLPS 510: School Finance
    • EDLPS 550: Dynamics of Educational Organizations
    • EDLPS 560: Educational Policy Studies & Practice
    • EDLPS 565: Race, Equity, and Leading Educational Change
    • EDLPS 575: Education Policy Implementation
    • EDLPS 590: Student Populations and Experiences in Higher Education
    Supporting Coursework (12 credits minimum)

    Supporting Coursework deepens the student's chosen area of interest and allows further study of specific disciplines, contexts, or issues. (This selection typically includes additional EDFLP courses from the Core Coursework options listed above. This selection may also include up to two courses from outside EDFLP and/or out of the College of Education that apply to the student's area of interest.) 

    Within EDFLP, courses that are regularly offered and that can fulfill the Supporting Coursework requirement include (but are not limited to): 

    • EDLPS 510: School Finance
    • EDLPS 520: Education as a Moral Endeavor
    • EDLPS 521: Philosophy of Education
    • EDLPS 524: Seminar in Philosophy of Education
    • EDLPS 530: History of Education
    • EDLPS 535: Historical Inquiry in Education Research
    • EDLPS 538: Education for Liberation
    • EDLPS 540: Sociology of Education
    • EDLPS 550: Dynamics of Educational Organizations
    • EDLPS 551: Educational Theory and Organizational Change
    • EDLPS 560: Educational Policy Studies & Practice
    • EDLPS 561: Education Policies and Leadership in Political Context
    • EDLPS 564: Seminar in Economics of Education
    • EDLPS 565: Race, Equity, and Leading Educational Change
    • EDLPS 575: Education Policy Implementation
    • EDLPS 590: Student Populations and Experiences in Higher Education
    Methods & Data Literacy (6 credits minimum)

    Methods & Data Literacy courses focus on research methodologies (quantitative, qualitative, and/or conceptual), the consumption of data, and/or the use of data and application of research findings to decision-making. 

    • EDPSY 490: Basic Educational Statistics
    • EDLPS 524: Seminar in Philosophy of Education
    • EDLPS 535: Historical Inquiry in Education Research
    • EDLPS 558: Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods in Education
    • EDLPS 574: Mixed Methods in Educational Research
    • EDLPS 593: Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education
    • EDLPS 596: Secondary Data Analysis
    Professional Seminar (4 credits maximum)

    The EDFLP MEd Professional Seminar (EDLPS 579) is a 1st year cohort experience that offers a mix of general professional development, scholarly skills training, and student community-building. 

    • Fall quarter of the 1st year (2 credits)
    • Winter quarter of the 1st year (1 credit)
    • Spring quarter of the 1st year (1 credit) 
    Capstone Project (8-9 credits)

    Every EDFLP MEd student must complete a Capstone Project prior to graduation. Options include:

    • An academic thesis (9 credits minimum) 
    • An independent study project (8-9 credits)
    • An internship project (8-9 credits) 

    Admission requirements and process

      Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution
      • Degree can be in-progress when applying but must be completed before program starts
      Unofficial transcript(s) with minimum 3.0 GPA
      • Include one from each institution from which you've earned a degree and one from every institution you have attended in the previous 5 years.
      • Your transcripts must include your name, coursework and degree (if completed)
      • If you are offered admission, the UW Graduate School will request an official transcript from your most recent degree earned

      The UW Graduate School requires a cumulative GPA of 3.0, or 3.0 for your most recent 90 graded quarter credits (60 semester credits). However, we review your application holistically. If your GPA is below 3.0, contact us at edinfo@uw.edu for advice on how to strengthen your overall application by connecting with a Graduate Admissions Advisor.

      Two letters of recommendation
      • You will add recommenders during the online application process
      • Recommenders will be contacted via email with instructions on how to submit their letter
      • At least one letter should be from a former professor or academic professional

      A current academic and professional resume or vita is required. In addition to educational degrees and professional experience, you should include a listing of all relevant awards, publications, presentations or other achievements that will help us evaluate your application.

      Statement of Purpose
      • Two pages, double-spaced
      • Admissions committees use your statement of purpose, along with other application materials, to determine whether your goals are well-matched with our programs. Your statement should address academic interests, career goals, relevant experiences, future plans, and how the desired specific program meets your needs. Be sure to include personal experiences that have prepared you for the challenge of graduate school. Please also indicate which EDFLP specialization(s) you are currently interested in pursuing. These specializations include: 
        • Education Policy, Organization, and Leadership (EdPOL) 
        • Education Policy, Organization, and Leadership in Early Childhood (EdPOL – EC) 
        • Leadership in Higher Education (LHE) 
        • Social and Cultural Foundations (SCF) 
      Writing Sample (required)
      • The committee will review one sample of scholarly writing (e.g., course papers, articles, essays). The sample should demonstrate how well you can analyze or synthesize and critically reflect on information. The writing sample must have been written by you alone. You are limited to one sample that faculty will review.
      • If you have no appropriate examples of scholarly writing, we urge you to consider preparing a medium-length (10-12 page) critical essay review of a book that you feel is central to your interests in education. 
      Personal History Statement (optional)
      • No more than two pages, double-spaced
      • Share your personal history, family background and other influences on your intellectual development
      • Address educational, cultural and economic opportunities, and disadvantages, that you have experienced
      • Describe how these experiences have affected the development of your special interests, career plans and future goals
      1. Gather all required documents
      2. Visit the Graduate School website
      3. Log into your account or create a new profile if you are a first-time applicant
      4. Complete all steps in application process and upload your documents
      5. Pay the nonrefundable $90 application fee
        • You may request a fee waiver during the application process
      6. Submit your application

      Here is our general timeline for decisions. Have questions about the process? Visit our graduate admissions page.

      Step 1: Application processing

      • Within 7 business days after the deadline, we will check if your application if fully complete
      • We will email you whether your application is complete or incomplete
      • If your application is missing anything, you will have a short amount of time submit these items
      • You can also log into the online application and check your status and see any missing items

      Step 2: Application review

      • Committees begin reviewing applications about three weeks after the deadline
      • You will receiving an email when your application has entered the review phase

      Step 3: Decision notification

      • The final decision will be emailed to you
      • Your status will also be updated in the online application

      We value and welcoming applications from international students! If you are applying from outside the United States, there are additional requirements and application materials.

      Prior degree requirements
      • At minimum, you must have the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor's degree (a four-year degree from an institution of recognized standing)
      • Evaluation of your degree will be based on:
        • The national system of education in the foreign country
        • The type of institution
        • The field of study and level of studies completed
      • International transcripts must be submitted in the original language.
      • Your transcript should include date of graduation and title of the awarded academic degree
      • If your transcript is not in English, you must also provide a certified English translation
      • You do not need to have your transcript evaluated for the degree by an agency
      English language proficiency

      Per UW Graduate School policy, you must submit a demonstration of English language proficiency if your native language is not English and you did not earn a degree in one of the following countries:

      • United States
      • United Kingdom
      • Australia
      • Bahamas
      • Canada
      • Ireland
      • Jamaica
      • New Zealand
      • Singapore
      • South Africa
      • Trinidad and Tobago

      The following tests are accepted if the test was taken fewer than two years ago:

      • TOEFL
        • Minimum score: 80
        • Recommended score: 92+
        • The UW's 4-digit code is 4854
      • IELTS
        • You must request from the center where you took the test that your scores be sent electronically using the IELTS system (E-TRF) to the following address:
          • University of Washington All Campuses, Organisation ID 365, Undergrad & Graduate Admis, Box 355850, Seattle, WA, 98105, United States of America
        • Minimum score: 6.5
        • Recommended score: 7.0+
        • School information for submission:
          University of Washington, All Campuses
          Undergraduate & Graduate Admission
          Box 355850
          Seattle, WA 98195
      • Duolingo
        • Minimum score: 105
        • Recommended score: 125+
        • Follow the instructions on the Duolingo website to submit your scores
      Financial ability

      If apply and are offered admission to UW, you will need to submit a statement of financial ability.

      Costs and funding

        We are a tuition-based program. Estimated tuition rates are based on your residency: 

        • Washington state residents: $19,584 per year
        • Out-of-state students: $35,352 per year

        Estimates are subject to change and may differ due to course load and summer quarter enrollment. Estimates include building fees, technology fees, U-Pass, etc. Additional program-specific fees are not included in this estimate.

        View the UW tuition dashboard →
        Visit the Office of Planning & Budgeting →

        Federal financial aid is available for students. Visit the UW Financial Aid website for information and resources. The College of Education also provides scholarship and other funding opportunities.

        Graduate students can be awarded $2,000 - $5,000 if they are earning their M.Ed, Ed.S, Ed.D or Ph.D through a College of Education program.