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San Diego State University

SDSU Department of Dual Language and English Learner Education (formerly Policy Studies in Language & Cross-Cultural Education)

Master's of Arts Program - Critical Literacy & Social Justice

Interested in pursuing an MA Degree Program in Curriculum Development with an emphasis in Critical Literacy & Social Justice? The Department of Dual Language and English Learner Education (formerly Policy Studies Department) offers an MA Program that provides teachers and those in the education profession with skills in critiquing current school programs from a social equity and social justice perspective.

Stipend opportunities available to participants living or employed in San Diego County. Visit Project CORE for more information. Download the 2014 Masters Orientation Packet.

Program Description

The program is designed to:

  • develop school-wide curriculum change focusing on critical literacy.
  • focus on the integration of language, culture, and codes of power as part of the development of school programs.
  • examine curriculum from a constructivist perspective that recognizes the voices of students, community and teachers as one learning community who inform curriculum and program design.
  • introduce participants to the concepts and the authors of critical pedagogy; a theory of education that gives professionals the opportunity to reflect on their own educational beliefs, practices, and processes in the context of standard curriculum, high stakes testing, and curriculum reform.
  • gives teachers the voice and tools to reflect upon their teaching methodology vis-a-vis their student's critical thinking;
  • promote equality and social justice through action research within the school and community.

Professional Development Certificates

All Certificate courses completed with a grade of B or better are applicable to the Master of Arts degree in Education with Concentration in Dual Language and English Learner Education (formerly Policy Studies). Read more about Professional Development Certificates.

Program Principles / Values

The Department of Dual Language and English Learner Education (formerly Policy Studies Department) program philosophy is based on a philosophy and belief of empowerment that views school communities and all K-12 students from an educational benefits model. This model values and integrates the language, culture and social context of the student into the school curricula giving equal status to home, community and school experiences. In addition, this program is based on the belief that all children, if properly nurtured, have high expectations of themselves to realize their potential. Furthermore, the program values the transformation of schools that seek to produce students that are multicultural/biliterate competent.

Option 1: Curriculum Development - Emphasis Critical Pedagogy: Literacy & Social Justice

For individuals interested in applying the concepts of critical theory in their work in curriculum change, school reform, or student, parent and community advocacy. Students who choose this option take all 30 units in Dual Language and English Learner Education (formerly Policy Studies). Learn more about Option 1.

Option 2: Curriculum Development and Emphasis

For individuals interested in the principles of our program and in further development of specific subject competencies in other discipline areas (i.e., Reading, Educational Leadership, Spanish, Math, Linguistics, International Program in Mexico, etc). Learn more about Option 2.

Faculty Involved and Their Research

In the area of research, department faculty are involved in projects, grants, contracts with an action research approach that integrates theory and application in their work in the fields of:

  • bilingual/multicultural education--teacher education,
  • public equity and school achievement,
  • parent empowerment,
  • literacy in the first and second language,
  • cross-cultural education,
  • organizational effectiveness,
  • language policy and assessment,
  • action research, and
  • career ladder professional development.

To learn more about our faculty, please visit our Faculty and Staff page.

Application Deadlines

CSU Mentor applications for Fall 2015 open October 1st and extend through March 2nd.

Applicants have until March 15th to submit their departmental applications. 

How to Apply

All College of Education graduate-level programs require that you complete two online applications:

  1. CSU Mentor Application (including transcripts and GRE)
  2. Supplementary Program Application

Other Requirements:

  1. Two letters of recommendation (request via the supplementary program application)
  2. Letter of intent that includes reasons you wish to be admitted to the MA program (500 Words)
  3. Entrance interview (scheduled in March/April)

Visit COE Apply Now for more information.

Visit Graduate Admissions Test Scores for more information about the GRE.


Prospective Student Advising is available through the Department of Dual Language and English Learner Education (formerly Policy Studies Department) (EBA-248). To make an advising appointment:

(619) 594-5155 |