UC Santa Barbara General CatalogUniversity of California, Santa Barbara


Department of Education
Gevirtz Graduate School of Education
Education Building 3102
Telephone: (805) 893-4515
Website: http://education.ucsb.edu/education
Chair: Julie Bianchini

Graduate Program

The Department of Education prepares highly capable individuals to perform as researchers, scholars and skilled professionals in the field of Education at universities and school districts, as well as for a variety of governmental and nongovernmental agencies that work with children and communities. The department offers a doctor of philosophy in Education as well as two options for the master’s degree. Most students pursue the doctorate. Doctoral applicants who do not have a master’s degree should apply for both the M.A. and Ph.D. Students admitted to a M.A./Ph.D. program may elect to exit the program with completion of the master’s degree.

The research master’s degree option prepares students to enter a doctoral program, either here or at another university. The professional master’s option is designed to enhance academic and research competencies of elementary or secondary school teachers and other educational leaders. All master’s degree course requirements are a subset of the doctoral requirements.

Students study in one of seven research foci. These are: 

Culture and Development
Faculty in the Culture and Development area take multidisciplinary research perspectives that bring anthropological, linguistic, psychological, and sociological theories to studies of children, youth, and adults in cultural contexts of education and other lifeworld activities. Areas of specific focus include studies of lifelong learning and development, as well as the socialization of children, youth, and adults from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds in a variety of national and international settings. Faculty with a developmental focus specifically conduct research on the cultural contexts of development throughout the lifespan (from early childhood to adulthood), cross-cultural and cross-national comparative studies, and gender studies. 

Language and Literacy
Faculty in this area do research in a variety of sub-fields dealing with language (e.g., first and second language learning, and sociolinguistics) and literacy studies. The language sub-fields include bilingualism/multilingualism of ESL/ELL and heritage learners, language socialization, sociolinguistics of education, language and identity, and the use of technology in language teaching and learning in the schools. The literacy sub-fields encompass issues in composition and rhetoric, including history and theory of composition and writing instruction; writing in the disciplines and writing across the curriculum; assessment of writing; sociolinguistics of literacy, including classroom discourse and the construction of knowledge; and the impact of digital technologies on writing and communication.

Learning, Culture, and Technology Studies
Faculty in this area do research to enhance the knowledge and capacity for learning of students, educators, researchers, and community members in 21st century technology-enabled environments in P-20 school and non-school contexts. This research area brings together those interested in developing and supporting innovative directions for technology-enabled learning. The relevant research perspectives are multidisciplinary and span traditional disciplines, such as psychology, sociology, anthropology, and communication-related disciplines. Research addresses state-of-the-art applied problems that are created, impacted, and informed by emerging information technologies, educational policies, and technology networks and systems. 

Policy, Leadership, and Research Methods
Faculty in this area pursue programs of research that focus on the exploration of both substantive and methodological questions. Substantively, faculty examine the ways in which the broader contexts of education can be affected by the policies and practices of educational organizations and their leaders, and in turn, how those policies and practices can affect the lives of people both inside and outside educational settings. Methodologically, faculty research the application of diverse quantitative and qualitative approaches to the analysis of educational data, the development and assessment of new analytic approaches, and the evaluation of effective policies and practices. Students who work within this area will gain a multidisciplinary perspective on policy and practice that focus directly on issues of diversity and equity, and will receive comprehensive and rigorous training in the design and analysis of quantitative and qualitative data. 

Science and Mathematics Education
Faculty in the Science and Mathematics Education area examine mathematics and science teaching and learning in both formal and informal contexts, ranging from preschool through college. Faculty research interests include diversity and equity in mathematics and science education, the development of quantitative and spatial reasoning, cross-national comparisons of academic achievement, the professional development of teachers, culturally relevant pedagogy and curriculum, model-based instruction, argumentation, engineering design thinking, and the relation between motivation and achievement.   

Special Education, Disability, and Risk Studies
The key research foci of the SPEDR faculty include: autism (development of pivotal response treatment delivery systems through families, schools, and non-disabled peers that can support children with autism in home and educational settings); learning (including reading) disabilities; developmental risks; instruction and behavioral supports for students with mild, moderate, and severe disabilities; family support for families of children with disabilities (development of theoretical models of family adaptation and resilience, family and professional partnership, and cultural diversity and family support); teacher education and professional development; and cross-cultural comparative study on inclusive education (policy, research to practice, and teacher education reform). 

Teacher Education and Professional Development
Faculty in the Teacher Education and Professional Development research focus area examine the development of, influences on, and consequences of teaching practices in and out of school. Research interests include: preservice teacher education; the professional development of practicing teachers; the problem of stability in teaching practice; the development of subject matter and pedagogical knowledge; curriculum formation and implementation; teacher thinking, problem-finding, and decision-making; educational relations among teachers, students, and their communities; and the relationship between what teachers do and what students learn, including but not limited to conventional measures of student achievement.

All doctoral students fulfill the same basic course and milestone requirements. Students pursuing a research master's have a set of course and milestone requirements that are different from students pursuing a professional master's. Particular requirements will be made by faculty advisors in cases where students need specialized skills in foreign language or other areas. Doctoral students must pass qualifying examinations to be advanced to candidacy. Doctoral candidates must conduct original research and write an acceptable dissertation to be awarded the Ph.D.


Applicants must submit the online Application for Graduate Study through the Graduate Division (www.graddiv.ucsb.edu). Admission to the program is based on past academic record, intellectual promise, professional experience, and programmatic fit. Required application materials include a detailed statement of purpose, official transcripts, 3 letters of recommendation, and official Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores. Degree applicants may submit a writing sample based on your research experience (i.e., thesis, term paper, etc.).

In addition to departmental requirements for admission, applicants must also fulfill the university requirements for admission as described in the “Graduate Education” section of the UCSB online catalog. The final admission deadline is December 1.

See the Gevirtz School web site for specific program and department admission requirements: www.education.ucsb.edu.

Master of Arts – Education: Strand I (Requirements - PDF)

Master of Arts – Education: Strand II (Requirements - PDF)

Doctor of Philosophy – Education (Requirements - PDF)

Optional Interdisciplinary Emphases

Students pursuing a doctoral degree in Education may petition to add the following Optional Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Emphases: Applied Linguistics; Black Studies; Cognitive Science; Environment and Society; Feminist Studies; Global Studies; Information Technology and Society; Language, Interaction, and Social Organization; Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences; Writing Studies.