Schools, Culture, and Society is an interdisciplinary program that will enhance your ability to analyze the influence of social and historical factors that frame contemporary issues in  education. The Schools, Culture, and Society program is perfect for those who want to work on issues in education that they see as the most crucial.

The Schools, Culture, and Society MA and PhD programs are currently not admitting new students.

In this rigorous and methodological program, you will take courses in sociology and history of education and will choose sociology or history as your area of emphasis. The program encourages you to nurture and explore your interests with a flexible curriculum that allows you to tailor your educational experience to fit your academic and career goals.



MA Schools, Culture, and Society

The Schools, Culture, and Society MA program is currently not admitting new students.

PhD Schools, Culture, and Society

The Schools, Culture, and Society PhD program is currently not admitting new students.

EdD Educational Policy and Leadership Studies

A practice-based terminal doctorate preparing scholar-educators for upper-level leadership.

Small Program Feel

The Schools, Culture, and Society program gives you a small, tight-knit academic experience while receiving all the benefits of learning at a Big Ten institution. With our small cohorts, you will receive one-on-one attention from faculty and a close community with fellow students dedicated to the discipline of educational policy-making.

Diverse Student Groups

The Schools, Culture, and Society program welcomes students from all around the world. Students come from a variety of countries including Korea and Brazil. In addition to geographic diversity, Schools, Culture, and Society students come from all walks of life, from those with years of professional experience, to those who recently completed their undergraduate work.

“It is a pleasure to be intellectually challenged and learn from the diverse work and life experiences of my fellow SCS students”

- Emily Guenther (MA ‘17)

Faculty and Research

The Schools, Culture, and Society program is led by faculty who are dedicated historians and sociologists. Additionally, as part of this multi-disciplinary program, you will work with experienced faculty across the University of Iowa.

To see associated faculty, please visit: Faculty Listing.

Areas of expertise:

  • Educational Inequality
  • Gender
  • History of Black Education
  • History of Education
  • History of Teaching
  • Race and Ethnicity
  • Social Inequality
  • Sociology of Education

Admissions and Application

For general admissions information, please visit Graduate Admissions. Please visit the degree pages for specific admissions information:


The William Duffy Schools, Culture and Society Doctoral Fellowship

The Duffy Fellowship is for first-year graduate students of exceptional promise entering the doctoral program in Schools, Culture and Society (SCS).

Bill Duffy was a central part of the Educational Leadership and Policy Studies (EPLS) Department and the College of Education from his hiring in 1965 to his retirement in 1994. He was a valued colleague and a student favorite for his knowledge of philosophy and politics, his honesty, and his irrepressible irreverence. His favorite haunt was on the steps just outside of the second floor of Lindquist Center, where he puffed on his cigars and entertained colleagues and students with his commentaries and insights. He is missed.

In his will he gave a sizeable portion of his estate to the SCS Program, and we have started this scholarship fund in his honor. It is a fitting memorial to the ongoing memory of Bill Duffy -- student advocate, scholar, and friend.

This fellowship will be a 1/4 time appointment (plus full tuition).

The Duffy is a two-year commitment. We recommend using it the first year, finding other funding for the following year(s)—with our help—and using the second year of Duffy during the dissertation phase.

Nominations are made by the EPLS DEO on the basis of the student's Graduate College application credentials.

No special application is required.

Criteria for qualification, equally weighted, are:

  • Prior Relevant Graduate work;
  • Recommendations (in Application for Admission);
  • Statement of Purpose (in Application for Admission);
  • GRE scores.

Graduate Assistantships

Program Assistantships

Schools, Culture, and Society (SCS) offers a variety of graduate assistantships reflecting the diverse scholarly activities of its faculty. SCS graduate students find assistantship opportunities within the EPLS Department, other departments of the College of Education, and departments outside the College of Education, reflecting the interdisciplinary nature of the program. An assistantship of one-quarter time or more will provide: a) a monetary stipend; b) a Graduate Assistant Scholarship Award; and, c) a benefits package.

  • Graduate assistantships available to SCS students include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • Teaching assistantships for "Human Relations for the Classroom Teacher"
  • Teaching assistantships for "Foundations of Education"
  • Research assistantships emphasizing a range of methodologies (e.g., quantitative, historical, qualitative)
  • EPLS Lab Staff assistantships
  • Research assistantships in postsecondary education

Most appointments are for nine months beginning with the start of the academic year.

Students who have assistantships are guaranteed a Graduate Assistant Scholarship that is applied toward tuition which covers most tuition costs. For detailed information see the Graduate College's Stipends and Scholarship page.

Educational Policy and Leadership Studies Office
N491 Lindquist Center (319-335-5303)

Special Graduate Assistantships

Special graduate assistantship recipients assist the faculty in research and other scholarly activities in a field related to the student's interests. Students from all education program areas may apply. Assistantships are awarded on a competitive basis.

Contact: 334 Lindquist Center (319-335-5405)

Graduate College Fellowships, Scholarships, and Assistantships

Approximately half of the University's graduate students receive some form of University-administered financial assistance, including teaching and research assistantships, and a variety of fellowships and scholarships.

The Iowa Fellowship
The Iowa Fellowship is for first-year graduate students of exceptional promise entering doctoral programs. This fellowship accompanies a minimum stipend of $17,500 (academic year plus summer session) plus full tuition. Renewable nominations are made by the appropriate Department chair on the basis of the student's Graduate College application credentials. No special application is required. Nominations are accepted beginning in the fall one year in advance.

Graduate Opportunity Fellowships
Graduate Opportunity Fellowships are one year fellowships administered by the Graduate College for entering minority graduate students. Nominations are made by graduate programs

Scholarships provide up to full tuition and fees.

Apply Now

Please review your specific degree requirements before starting the general graduate application.

Program Resources

PhD Student Handbook

  • The William Duffy Doctoral Fellowship
  • Obermann Graduate Fellowship
  • Ballard & Seashore Dissertation Year Fellowship
  • Presidential Graduate Research Fellowship
  • College of Education Scholarships

Contact Us

Program Coordinator

Christine Ogren
N495 Lindquist Center


For admissions and application questions, please contact: