Graduate degree offerings in Social Foundations provide students with the conceptual tools essential for a full understanding of educational processes and policies. The program prepares future educational practitioners and policy-makers to perform their roles and responsibilities, as well as to confront issues that reach beyond those roles, by exploring the complex interrelationships between school and society, education and culture, policy and context. The multi-disciplinary approach of the program affords insight into the origins, aims and consequences, intended or unintended, of any given educational activity or of education taken as a whole.
The Social Foundations Program is an inquiry-oriented area of study. It provides graduate students with opportunities to engage in educational research and acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to conduct, interpret and apply research and evaluation studies in education and educational policy. The interdisciplinary nature of the program encourages students to engage in course work and seminars throughout the University of Virginia in disciplines such as government, sociology, law, economics, finance, philosophy, history, and urban planning. Through the study of the historical, philosophical, sociological, anthropological and international comparative dimensions of educational policy, students are encouraged to be reflective about current educational practices and institutional arrangements, giving them added breadth to bring to roles in education and in government.
Graduate education in Social Foundations prepares individuals for positions in universities and colleges, public and private school systems, educational research institutions, and for other professional positions in education. Opportunities also exist for graduates to find employment in federal or state government, as well as with international agencies.