In our M.Ed. program, we address pressing problems of U.S. education practice that are essential to equitable learning opportunities and results for students in and out of school, from early childhood through K-12 and transitions to post-secondary education. Our program emphasizes the importance of addressing disparities by race, class, language, ability and other social identities.

This two-year program is an individually tailored course of study culminating in a choice of a final project (either a thesis or a project that can include an internship or applied research project). The thesis option is a good option for students interested in pursuing a Ph.D. in the future. Students may also undertake a field-based internship to integrate their academic and practice-based learning or a project of their own design. Students are assigned an advisor who will work with them to identify an individualized course of study, opportunities to participate in research projects and other learning opportunities as well as opportunities to engage in EdPOL graduate student events. 

NEW! Specialization in Early Childhood Policy

Beginning in the 2024-25 school year, EdPOL offers a Specialization in Early Childhood Policy (ECP). With support from faculty members across the College of Education, students in the ECP Specialization will complete a program of study designed with an interdisciplinary approach to early childhood policy with foundational coursework in policy design, advocacy, implementation and evaluation.

The specialization 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. Fellowships with full tuition remission are available for a limited number of applicants.

If you are interested in the ECP specialization, follow the admissions process for EdPOL. At the start of your statement of purpose, indicate you are interested in Early Childhood Policy specialization. Be sure to include details about your interest and experience in early childhood throughout your statement.


Coursework for this program clusters around three interrelated core strands:

  • Policy: The formulation, implementation and evaluation of educational policy.
  • Organizations: The nature, design and dynamics of educational and organizational change.
  • Leadership: The exercise of significant, responsible influence in educational organizations.

Students take a core course in each of these three strands. Students then further explore one or more of the core strands through coursework in particular areas, such as:

  • Economics and educational finance
  • Education accountability
  • Educational equity and disparities
  • Educator labor markets and effectiveness
  • Family and community leadership
  • Leadership for equitable systems
  • Policy implementation
  • Politics of education
  • School and system improvement and redesign

Other courses, offered elsewhere in the College of Education and the University of Washington, round out individualized programs of study, which are built to maximize your ability to pursue your individual passions and professional goals.

Master's project

Sample EdPOL master’s projects from recent years:

  • How Communities of Color Influence Educational Policy: Can ESSA be a Vehicle for Change?
  • Principals as Leaders of Teacher Learning: Challenges & Possibilities
  • Expanding Notions of Student Achievement: Exploring alternative approaches to measuring student growth
  • Collaborative Betterment vs. Collaborative Empowerment: Head Start’s Potential to Engage Parents and Community in Education Reform
  • Supporting Refugee Students’ Transition into America’s School System
  • Developing Youth and Adult Leadership across Educational Contexts: Community-based Organization and Charter School Contexts
  • Washington School and System Improvement Networks that Turn Around consistently underperforming schools
  • Factors that Predict Student Dropout in K-12 Public Schools
  • Peer Assistance and Review (PAR) for Teachers

Further, students can include a formal focus with certificate including Non-Profit Management (through the Evans School of Public Policy) and Education, Equity + Society.


You should carefully review the Program Requirements for details about all components of the M.Ed. course of study. You must also follow the Degree Requirements of the Graduate School; among these are that a course of study should include at least 18 credits at the 500 level or above as well as 18 graded credits.


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