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M.S.Ed. Critical Studies in Education Practice and Policy

Evaluator talking to community members in cafe

Develop skills to conduct evaluations, research, and policy critique to assess and improve the educational and institutional systems of our society.

Program Info

The Masters of Science in Education in Critical Studies in Education Practice and Policy is a 30-credit program which prepares students to analyze, evaluate, and assess issues of power, culture, and ideology in educational policy and the larger society. The curriculum consists of 7 core courses and 3 courses in each of the three areas of concentration: Educational Evaluation, Policy and Practice in Systems and Culture, Education, and Community

Program Highlights

  • Learn from highly qualified faculty who are leaders in their fields
  • Receive individualized attention
  • Choose from one of the three areas of concentration

Preparation for the Job Market

The M.S. Ed. in Critical Studies in Educational Practice, Evaluation, and Policy prepares students for:

  • Careers in evaluation at for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, schools, and a variety of learning settings.
  • Careers and consulting in policy analysis.
  • Executive level positions related to diversity, equity, and multicultural education.
  • Continuing graduate studies in educational leadership.
  • Research and Data Analysts, Internal Evaluators, Measurement Consultants, Evaluation Coordinators, Policy Associates, and/or Project Managers.

Areas of Concentration Learning Outcomes

Educational Evaluation

The Educational Evaluation concentration supports students in developing quantitative and qualitative evaluation skills and helps them understand the application of different methodologies to conducting evaluations.

  • Students will be able to identify different evaluation models, theories and techniques of conducting program evaluation
  • Students will apply qualitative and quantitative techniques to conducting evaluation
  • Students will be able to design and conduct culturally-responsive evaluation

Policy and Practice in Systems

The Policy and Practice in Systems concentration focuses on providing students with hands-on experience in investigating educational policy and practice central to their individual interests and goals.

  • Students will be able to critique the moral and political reasoning behind educational policy decisions
  • Students will explore the consequences (both intended and unintended) of educational policies and practices
  • Students will explore how educational policies can be improved to further advance agendas of social justice and equity

Culture, Education, and Community

The Culture, Education and Community concentration enables students to understand the sociocultural contexts of critical education in a wide range of learning settings. The cultural sites of these learning settings might include, but are not limited to, youth spaces, community centers, sports, the arts, church, popular culture, etc.

  • Students will be able to understand the political implications for education of youth voice
  • Conduct educational research in community-based settings
  • Develop an understanding of the conceptual framing around the meaning and cultural context of community

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Admission Requirements

  • 3.0 GPA*
  • All applicants must complete the Duquesne University Online Application
  • Submit official transcripts from an accredited university, college, or seminary where you previously
  • One-page statement of purpose addressing motivation for seeking admission to the program (250 word maximum)
  • Due to higher education regulation changes, Duquesne University is unable to accept applications for admission to online programs and courses from students residing in certain states. Before applying, please review the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA).

*Applicants are customarily expected to have a 3.0 grade point average, based on a four-point scale, in their undergraduate work. However, exceptions may be granted on a limited basis, in which there is substantial additional evidence of a student's academic competency. 

All application materials for applicants of all concentrations can be submitted to:

Duquesne University School of Education
Office of Graduate Admissions
214A Canevin Hall
600 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15282



International Applicants

Duquesne University requires submission of Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores for all non-native English-speaking applicants.

Score Requirements
All international students must receive a score of 550 (paper version) or 80 (online version) of the TOEFL Exam or a score of 7.0 on the IELTS Exam, current to within one year.

Additionally, the English as a Second Language program conducts a review of each matriculated student upon arrival to determine individual needs for English instruction to support success in their chosen degree program. International students are also asked to submit a WES ICAP report.

Visit International Admissions for additional information and requirements.

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Tuition and Aid

A Duquesne degree is an investment in your future. Join one of the nation's top-tier universities with the best value, considering cost and academic quality, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report. At Duquesne, you'll become part of a community of nearly 9,500 students studying at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels.

In addition to graduate tuition rates, students may also incur fees for administrative services, room, and meals, if applicable. At Duquesne University, we believe that financing your education is a partnership between the student and the university. As part of that partnership, The School of Education offers financial assistance in many forms including:

  • Tuition awards between 25-35%
  • University-offered graduate assistantships are available for competitive applications.
  • Current full-time lay teachers of pre-K through high school or school administrators in a Roman Catholic school in the Pittsburgh, Greensburg, or Altoona-Johnstown Dioceses pursuing a non-doctoral degree or certificate in the School of Education may be eligible to receive a 60% tuition award. This Lay Teacher award does not apply to the doctoral programs. Only one Duquesne University degree may be earned under this reduced tuition program. The Catholic School Lay Teacher & Administrator Award Form details information pertaining to this award.

For further assistance, please contact the Duquesne University Office of Financial Aid.

Federal government financial aid options:

In addition to awards and scholarships, you may be eligible for financial aid with the federal government. The federal government has loan options that can cover education and living costs. Loan forgiveness options are also available for those working inside and outside of the classroom, these include:

  • Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program
  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)

For further assistance, please contact FedLoan Servicing.

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Gibbs Kanyongo

Gibbs Kanyongo, Ph.D.

Program Director
Department of Educational Foundations & Leadership

410E Canevin Hall
Phone: 412.396.5190
Curriculum Vitae
Full Profile

Gibbs Kanyongo (Ph.D., Educational Research and Evaluation (Statistical Analyses & Design), Ohio University, 2004) is Professor of Educational Statistics and Research and the Program Director of the Master's of Science in Education in Critical Studies in Education Practice and Policy. His work has been published in several peer -reviewed journals and he has presented his work at several international, national, and regional conferences. Dr. Kanyongo served as an Associate Editor for the journal, Educational Measurement: Issues and Practice from 2006 to 2009. He is the previous chair of the Research and Methodology division of the Mid-Western Educational Research Association. He is an active member of the Southern African Association for Research in Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, American Educational Research Association and the American Evaluation Association. Dr. Kanyongo served as a PI and Co-PI on several grant-funded evaluation projects. Recently, he served on a panel of expert reviewers to evaluate the Center for Disease Control (CDC) grant proposals. He was also appointed to the board of Monticore Consulting Group (which is a Global Health Economics and Outcomes Research firm) as a Statistical Adviser. He teaches courses in: quantitative research methods, univariate statistics, multivariate statistics, and statistics modeling courses in the School of Education, and together with a colleague, Dr. Kanyongo was awarded the Duquesne University Creative Teaching Award in 2005.

Launcelot Brown

Launcelot Brown, Ph.D.

Department of Educational Foundations & Leadership

103B Canevin Hall
Phone: 412.396.1046
Curriculum Vitae
Full Profile

Launcelot Brown (Ph.D, Educational Research, Evaluation, and Policy Studies, Virginia Tech University) is a Professor of Educational Research and Evaluation at Duquesne University. At Duquesne University he teaches courses in educational statistics. Dr. Brown is a former teacher, special educator for students with emotional and behavioral difficulties, and a former principal of the School for Deaf Children in Trinidad and Tobago. He has served on many national educational boards in Trinidad and Tobago, including the National Advisory Committee on Special Education. His research interests are in the area of school leadership, student achievement and school effectiveness, and inclusive education. In conducting his research, he utilizes both quantitative and qualitative methodologies. Dr. Brown has been invited speaker and presented his work at several international, national, and regional conferences. He served as an Associate Editor for the journal, Educational Measurement: Issues and Practice from 2006 to 2009 and is an active member of CIES and AERA where he is actively involved with the Caribbean and African Studies in Education SIG.

Gretchen Givens Generett

Gretchen Givens Generett, Ph.D.

Chair of the Department of Educational Foundations & Leadership
Associate Professor
Department of Educational Foundations & Leadership

401B Canevin Hall
Phone: 412.396.1890
Curriculum Vitae
Full Profile

Gretchen Givens Generett (Ph.D., Foundations of Education, University of North Carolina at Chapel) joined the faculty in 2007. Dr. Gretchen Givens Generett is the Chair of the Department of Educational Foundations & Leadership. Her work supports adult development by creating learning experiences that are generative, that serve disempowered groups, are co-created, and that are built with communities through actions that break down barriers to deeper understandings of group processes.

Amy Olson

Amy Olson, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Department of Educational Foundations & Leadership

405A Canevin Hall
Phone: 412.396.5712
Curriculum Vitae
Full Profile

Amy Olson (Ph.D., Educational Psychology, University of Arizona, 2014) is an Assistant Professor of Educational Psychology and Classroom Assessment in the Department of Educational Foundations and Leadership at Duquesne University. Her research is primarily focused on the ways in which student, teacher, and principal self-beliefs and beliefs about academic content influence instruction and assessment decisions. Although much of her work has taken place in mathematics classrooms, she is also interested in issues of equity more broadly. Her teaching focuses on supporting future teachers to create engaging learning environments in which learning is made visible to both students and teachers.

Carol Parke

Carol Parke, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Department of Educational Foundations & Leadership

412C Canevin Hall
Phone: 412.396.6101
Curriculum Vitae
Full Profile

Carol Parke (Ph.D., Research Methodology, University of Pittsburgh, 1998) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Foundations and Leadership. Dr. Parke's early research focused on the impact of middle school math performance assessments and using psychometric analysis to improve items and rubrics. She also examined the impact of large scale math performance assessments and their alignment with math teaching in the classroom. Recent research has focused upon math teachers’ beliefs, mindsets, and classroom practices that support equitable math instruction.

Darius Prier

Darius Prier, Ph.D.

Associate Dean for Teacher Education
Assistant Professor
Department of Educational Foundations & Leadership

101D Canevin Hall
Phone: 412.396.4470
Curriculum Vitae
Full Profile

Darius Prier (Ph.D., Educational Leadership, Miami University, Oxford, 2009) is the Associate Dean for Teacher Education and an Associate Professor for the Department of Educational Foundations and Leadership in the School of Education. In addition, he serves as the current Chair for the School of Education Faculty Council. Prier uses prophetic criticism as an intellectual and methodological practice for interrogating transdisciplinary approaches to educational leadership within their moral, political, and social justice contexts. Dr. Prier uses popular culture (e.g. media, film, news, music, memoir, sports, etc.) as a cultural site by which the cultural production, reading, and evaluation of innovative practices in educational leadership might take shape. For educational leaders, prophetic criticism challenges traditional Western-based discourses, works across and between multiple theories/disciplines/cultural sites, and advocates for cross coalition building across and between diverse communities.

Fran Serenka

Fran Serenka, Ed.D.

Clinical Associate Professor
Department of Educational Foundations & Leadership

312 Canevin Hall
Phone: 412.396.5274
Curriculum Vitae
Full Profile

Fran Serenka (Ed.D., Educational Leadership, Duquesne University, 2009) is a leading practitioner-scholar in the areas of education leadership, administration, and supervision. She is a member of the Pennsylvania Leadership Development Center offering professional development for educational leaders in the areas of customized learning, innovation, and collaboration helping organizations implement the most effective leadership practices. Dr. Serenka has presented in a variety of local, state, and national forums on strategic planning, program funding, and creating school cultures of excellence. Education law, policy, finance, and a continuum of care and support for students are her areas of expertise. Her research interests include leadership, resiliency and social/emotional wellness for students and school communities. Dr. Serenka remains active in the PK-12 schools and community by teaching and supervising internships and practicum experiences for program participants in collaboration with practicing educational leaders and practitioners. She also collaborates with school and district leaders nationally to remain current in practice.

Dr. Gary Shank

Gary Shank, Ph.D.

Department of Educational Foundations & Leadership

410C Canevin Hall
Phone: 412.396.4154
Curriculum Vitae
Full Profile

Gary Shank (Ph.D., Educational Psychology and Research Methodology, Indiana University, 1980) is a Professor in the School of Education at Duquesne University. Gary teaches Educational Psychology for undergraduates, and a variety of research methodology courses for graduate students. He has co-written two books on research design and has written two books on qualitative research, one for Prentice-Hall and the other for Cambridge University Press. He has an international reputation in semiotics, where he has written numerous papers and presentations, and is finishing an invited book for DeGruyter Mouton.

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