Social and Cultural Pedagogy, MA

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.

2 year program
30 credit hours
12 faculty members

Degree Overview

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).

Thesis Track:
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.

How to apply

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 2-3 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:

Applicants can now upload unofficial transcripts to the application in the Graduate Application portal. This is the only method by which applicants will be allowed to submit unofficial transcripts. An applicant may wish to submit unofficial transcripts in order to help the application move to “committee review” status quicker and doing so can help ensure that an application is completed by the priority deadline. However, if admitted, students are required to provide official transcripts to the university.

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:

To expedite the processing of your application, please write your application reference number on all documents and envelopes submitted to ASU. Materials submitted without your application reference number will delay the processing of your application.

If sending by stamped mail:

Arizona State University 
Graduate Admission Services 
PO Box 871004 
Tempe, AZ 85287-1004

If sending by FedEx, DHL or UPS:

Arizona State University 
Graduate Admission Services 
1150 East University Drive Building C, Room 226
Tempe, AZ 85281


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!

Dana Keller 
Social and Cultural Pedagogy MA Alumni
President, Social Pedagogy Association


Students work closely with a mentor to complete required coursework, determine best electives to pursue for the students individual plan of study goals, and successfully complete and defend the culminating experience. Students will complete either the applied Project program track or Thesis program track, dependent upon on their personal research and advise from their self-designated faculty committee chair.

A minimum of 30 hours is required. 

Requirements and electives


Core courses




Culminating experience 


Total hours required


Courses and electives

Students take 30 credit hours, choosing between a thesis or an applied project.

The core program courses include:

  1. Research Methods
  2. Foundations of Social Transformation
  3. Social and Cultural Pedagogy: Theoretical and Practical Issues

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. 


Choose 5 courses from the list below


American Indian Studies


  • AIS 502 American Indian Studies Research Methods
  • AIS 503 Contemporary Issues of American Indian and Alaska Natives
  • AIS 508 Indigenous Language Revitalization
  • AIS 516 Concepts of Power and Indigeneity
  • AIS 524 Indian Control of Indian Education: Tribal Colleges and Universities
  • AIS 598 Tribal Community Planning






  • COM 691 Communication for Social Change: Theories and Praxis
  • COM 691 Facilitating Intercultural Dialogue
  • COM 691 Rhetoric and the Public Sphere






  • EDA 591 Paulo Freire seminar
  • EDA 505 American Education System
  • EDP 540 Theoretical Views of Learning
  • EPA 565 Topics in Critical Education Policy
  • EPA 691: Educational Ethnography
  • GLE 501 Global Thinking in Education






  • ENG 584 Teaching Internship in Florence and Eyman State Prisons
  • ENG 598 Topic: Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy
  • ENG 656 Studies in Cross-Cultural Discourse




Indian Education


  • IED 510 History of American Indian Education
  • IED 530 Language/Literacy Indigenous People
  • IED 598 Research in Indigenous Schools and Communities
  • IED 535 Community-based action research




Justice Studies


  • JUS 550 Gender, Race and Economics
  • JUS 588 Justice and the Mass Media
  • JUS 591 Disney, Culture and Society
  • JUS 591/ECD 591 Social Policy and Critical Advocacy
  • JUS 591 Youth and Justice
  • JUS 633 Community Research
  • JUS 691 Critical Indigenous Methodologies
  • JUS 691 Futures of Justice: Theoretical Perspective on Utopia
  • JUS 691 Humanities Behind the Walls
  • JUS 691 Theories of Public Pedagogy
  • JUS 691 Theory and Research on Culture & Disability
  • JUS 691 Writing for Publication




Nonprofit Leadership and Management


  • NLM 510 Foundations of Nonprofit Management
  • NLM 520 Financial Management in Nonprofit Organizations
  • NLM 540 Strategic Nonprofit Human Resource Management
  • NLM 545 Volunteer Resource Management
  • NLM 560 Leadership and Ethics
  • NLM 562 Social Entrepreneurship
  • NLM 565 Grant Writing in Nonprofit Organizations
  • NLM 572 Community and Social Innovations
  • NLM 570 International Non-Governmental Organizations




Public Affairs


  • PAF 504 Public Affairs Economics
  • PAF 505 Public Policy Analysis
  • PAF 548 Women, Politics, and Public Policy
  • PAF 565 Theories and Practices of Democracy
  • PAF 566 Participatory Governance and Civic Engagement
  • PAF 574 Diversity, Ethics and Leading Public Change
  • PAF 591 Affordable Housing and Sustainability
  • PAF 591 Policy, Leadership and Value Systems
  • PAF 591 Sex & Public Policy
  • PAF 591 The Art and Strategy of Building Community: Social Services, Social Engagement, Social Change




Studies in Social Transformation


  • SST 428 Critical Race Theory
  • SST 590 Reading and Conference
  • SST 591 Art Activism as Pedagogy
  • SST 591 Building Community through Film: Pedagogical Moves through Film Making
  • SST 591 Education for Sustainability
  • SST 591 Education and Social Transformation
  • SST 591 Film as Social Pedagogy
  • SST 591 Culture and Education
  • SST 591 Mixed Race Identity
  • SST 591 Peace Education
  • SST 591 Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation of Social Pedagogy Programs
  • SST 591 Prison Education
  • SST 591 School-Community Relations
  • SST 591 Social Change Through Human Connection
  • SST 591 Social Media as Social Pedagogy
  • SST 591 Social Pedagogy and Popular Education
  • SST 591 Sports Pedagogy
  • SST 591 The Craft of Teaching in Post-secondary Education
  • SST 591 The Practice of Social Pedagogy: Innovative Approaches
  • SST 591 Transformational Leadership and Embodied Activism
  • SST 591 Youth and Adult Education
  • SST 598 Digital Activism
  • SST 598 Social Policy and Critical Advocacy
  • SST 598 Youth Participatory Action Research
  • SST 691 Critical Pedagogy, Education and Digital Media
  • SST 691 Quantitative Methods for Qualitative Researchers
  • SST 691 Seminar: Teaching for Social Transformation




Social Work


  • SWG 562 Global Social Welfare
  • SWG 579 Critical Incidence Stress Management
  • SWG 591 Aging: A Social Work Perspective
  • SWG 591 Community Inclusion of People with Disabilities
  • SWG 591 Immigrants and Refugees
  • SWG 591 Introduction to Mental Health Services
  • SWG 591 Mental Health and Aging
  • SWG 591 Spirituality and the Helping Professions
  • SWU 626 Crisis Intervention
  • SWG 655 Quality of Life: Development of Mindfulness
  • SWG 656 Treating the Whole Person
  • SWG 682 Community Participation Strategies




Women's Studies


  • WST 501: Foundational Feminist Thought
  • WST 502: Gender Research Methodologies
  • WST 602 Mapping Intersections of Gender
  • WST 603 Engendering methodology
  • WST 691 Biopolitics
  • WST 691 Feminist Pedagogies
  • WST 691 Feminist Phenomenologies




Other Classes


  • ART 442/542 Art and Community
  • ASB 591 Museums in Community
  • CDE 598 Home Impact on Children's Development
  • CED 523 Psychological Tests
  • CMN 531 Communication and Social Change
  • CRD 610 Sustainable Communities
  • DCE 554 Graduate Dance Pedagogy 
  • DCI 691 Critical Theory in Education
  • DCI 691 Ethnography and Language Policy
  • EXW 598 Topic: Health Promotion and Program Evaluation
  • FAS 598 Family and Social Policy
  • HDA 510 Seminar in Socially Engaged Practice
  • HSD 598 Topic: Equity in Climate Action
  • MGT 545 Becoming Leaders Who Matter
  • MGT 591 Ethical Leadership
  • MHL 691 Music and Sustainability
  • PSY 563  Prevention Planning and Evaluation in Service Settings
  • SOC 598 Family and Social Policy
  • SOS 514 Human Dimensions of Sustainability
  • SOS 530 International Development and Sustainability
  • SOS 591 Sustainability and Social and Family Welfare
  • SOS 598 Transformational Sustainability Entrepreneurship
  • THP 514 Projects in Community-Based Drama
  • THP 582 Theater for Social Change
  • TSS 507 Theory and Method of Transborder Studies: Culture, Language and Learning




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) 


Thesis Track: 

SST 599 thesis (6 hours)