A multidisciplinary 30-credit Masters program addressing the foundations of community engagement and education.

Our Courses

  • Examine the ways social forces affect urban schools and communities
  • Teach skills for working in community-based organizations and schools*
  • Address challenges facing urban areas and schools
  • Help students develop creative solutions for social change
  • Draw from the fields of sociology, history, philosophy, and anthropology

Online Learning Support

Having challenges with your online class or with Canvas? Find help by visiting the Educational Policy Online Course Support webpage.

Optional Focus Areas

Our students often focus on specific topic areas within the program.  These include:

Alternative Education/Students Placed At Risk, Race Relations/Racial Justice, African Americans and Education, Community Engagement and Partnerships, Community Action and Change, Policy and Leadership in Community-Based Organizations, Culturally Relevant Pedagogy, Educational Reform, Gender and Education, Latinx Education, and more.

Why Choose Our Program?

  • Fully online**, face to face, or in combination
  • No GRE Required
  • Program designed for busy working adults
  • Rolling admissions: Join any semester
  • 30 credits—finish in one year full time, two years part-time
  • Online for more than a decade with experienced instructors

Lower Tuition Option for Online Out of State Students

Are you an online, out of state student? Out of state graduate students who take online courses (only) within the department are charged a “fee-in-lieu-of-tuition” that is largely the equivalent of in-state tuition (although “fee” students pay for credits beyond the 8 credit cost “plateau” for tuition paying students). So if you are out of state and are interested in attending the Cultural Foundations MS program online, don’t let the out of state tuition cost stop you from applying.

Alumni careers in the flourishing nonprofit sector, schools, and universities

  • Administrators in Community-based organizations
  • Teachers in public, private and alternative schools*
  • Supervisors of youth work programs
  • Community organizers and social activists
  • Program directors in higher education
  • Administrators and advisors in student services
  • Managers of social service programs
  • Analysts in educational and social policy
  • Community developers
  • Police officers
  • Doctoral students

Certificate in Racial and Social Justice in Education

Interested students can complete the Certificate in Racial and Social Justice in Education concurrently with their MS in Cultural Foundations. Completing the Certificate and the MS together requires students take only three additional credits.

*Note: The Cultural Foundations of Community Engagement and Education MS program does not license teachers for public k-12 schools.

**Note: Required classes for the MS are offered face-to-face/hybrid in alternate years. A course that is online this year will be face-to-face/hybrid in the next year. Students wishing to complete the program in a single format (e.g., fully online) will need to plan accordingly.

Contact Us

For more information or questions about the program and admissions.

Dr. Raji Swaminathan


Admissions is handled by UWM’s Graduate School. Individual faculty advisors are assigned after you are admitted. To learn more about the application process and start your online application to the UWM Graduate School Online Application page.

The Master’s Application Checklist (PDF) is a helpful resource.


Optional Focus Areas in Cultural Foundations of Community Engagement and Education

  • Alternative Education/Students Placed At Risk
  • Race Relations/Racial Justice
  • African Americans and Education
  • Community Engagement and Partnerships
  • Community Action and Change
  • Policy and Leadership in Community-Based Organizations
  • Culturally Relevant Pedagogy
  • Educational Reform
  • Gender and Education
  • Latinx Education, and more

Information Sheets for Current Students

Cultural Foundations of Community Engagement and Education Academic Catalog Requirements

Course Requirements Checklist (PDF)

Planning Your Program of Study FAQ (PDF)

Exit Requirements FAQ (PDF)

Academic Catalog Requirements Sheet

  • Visit the Academic Catalog webpage linked above, then click on the Print Options link in the lower right hand column
  • Click the Download Page (PDF) link
  • Print or save the condensed program requirements document

Core Courses & Sample Electives

Core Courses

  • ED POL 702: Cultural Foundations of Education Graduate Seminar
  • ED POL 705: Sociology of Education and Community Engagement
  • ED POL 710: Research Methods in Education and Community Engagement
  • ED POL 740: Philosophy of Education and Community
  • ED POL 750: History of Education in American Communities

Sample Electives

Community Focused Departmental Electives Include:

  • ED POL 501: Collective Action for Social Change
  • ED POL 601: Foundations of Community-Based Organizations
  • ED POL 608: Social Media and Technology for Community Engagement
  • ED POL 609: Community Partnerships
  • ED POL 633: Community Development

K-12 Education Focused Departmental Electives Include:

  • ED POL 531: Alternative Schools
  • ED POL 533: Educating Black Males
  • ED POL 534: Students Placed At Risk (causes)
  • ED POL 560: Education and Hispanics
  • ED POL 579: Critical Race Theory and Culturally Relevant Pedagogy
  • ED POL 621: History of Native Education and Policy Development
  • ED POL 624: Gender and Education
  • ED POL 625: Race Relations in Education
  • ED POL 626: Antiracist Education

General Policy and Sociology Departmental Electives Include:

  • ED POL 610: Reproduction of Minority Communities
  • ED POL 630: Race, Ethnicity, and Public Policy in Urban America

Exit Requirements

After you successfully complete and orally defend a final paper, final project or master’s thesis under the direction of a faculty thesis chair and a second reader, the department graduate representative will give final approval for the inclusion of “Master of Science in Cultural Foundations of Community Engagement and Education” on your transcript.


profile photoRaquel Farmer-HintonAssociate ProfessorEducational Policy & Community Studiesrfarhin@uwm.eduEnderis Hall 523
profile photoDarwyn FehrmanLecturerEducational Policy & Community Studiesdfehrman@uwm.edu
profile photoJames H. Hall Jr.LecturerEducational Policy & Community Studieshalljh@uwm.eduEnderis Hall
profile photoKalyani RaiAssociate ProfessorEducational Policy & Community Studies(414) 229-2587kalyanir@uwm.eduEnderis Hall 519
profile photoRajeswari SwaminathanProfessorEducational Policy & Community Studiesswaminar@uwm.eduEnderis Hall 557
profile photoJavier TapiaAssociate ProfessorEducational Policy & Community Studies(414) 229-5261jtapia@uwm.eduEnderis Hall 563
profile photoBen TragerLecturerEducational Policy & Community Studies(414) 229-3161bwtrager@uwm.eduStudent Union WG28
profile photoAaria TroianoTeaching Faculty IIIEducational Policy & Community Studies(414) 229-4724atroiano@uwm.eduEnderis Hall 529
profile photoAgnes WilliamsLecturerEducational Policy & Community Studies(414) 229-7356avw@uwm.eduEnderis Hall 549


This list provides a sample of actual positions held by alumni of the Masters Program in Cultural Foundations of Community Engagement and Education. It gives a sense of the broad diversity of jobs our graduates have found with the background provided by the degree.

Sample of Nonprofit Organization and Government Careers

Position TitleOrganization
Youth Programs ManagerKellogg PEAK Initiative
Program and Policy AnalystDepartment of Children and Families
College Access & Success Services Mgr.Boys and Girls Clubs
Program CoordinatorLa Causa
Grants ManagerHoward Area Community Center
Manager of Community EngagementMedical College of Wisconsin
Program DirectorHolton Youth and Family Center
Assoc. Director, Instit. for Child Well-BeingMedical College of Wisconsin
Program CoordinatorMilwaukee LGBT Community Center
Director of ProgramsMilwaukee Christian Center
Executive DirectorWalker’s Point Youth and Family Center
Program Officer, Workforce DevelopmentBader Foundation
Director of Workforce PlanningAurora Health Care

Sample of K12-Education Careers

Numerous teachers and administrators have completed the program, working in a wide range of places, including:

  • Milwaukee
  • Kenosha
  • Racine
  • Wauwatosa
  • Oneida Nation
  • Auburn, AL
  • Brazil
  • among many other locations

Sample of Higher Education Careers

Position TitleOrganization
Student Advisors
UW-Milwaukee, Madison College, others
Director, Roberto Hernandez Center
Scholarship Program Director
Mount Mary University
Director of Multicultural Affairs
Carleton College
Assist. Director, MKE Scholars Program
Interim Co-Director, 4-H
UW Department of Extension
Administrative Manager Madison College
School Intervention Program Manager
Medical College of Wisconsin
Director of External RelationsUW-Milwaukee

PhD Programs

Students often go on from the Masters program to pursue PhD’s in a range of related fields.


We invite you to explore these brief interviews with Cultural Foundations of Community Engagement and Education MS graduates. Learn how the degree supported their careers and about the jobs they are doing now.

Alberto Maldonado
Graduation: 2010 Masters Degree in Cultural Foundations of Community Engagement and Education
Position: Director, Roberto Hernandez Center, UWM

Anna Gibson
Graduation: 2019 Masters Degree in Cultural Foundations of Community Engagement and Education
Position: Social Studies Teacher, Whitefish Bay School District

Millie Coby
Graduation: 2006 Masters Degree in Cultural Foundations of Community Engagement and Education
Position: Community Engagement and Strategic Initiatives Manager, Employ Milwaukee

Kevin Foley
: 2014 Masters Degree in Cultural Foundations and Community Engagement and Education
Position: Administrative Manager, Madison College

Angie Cervera
Graduation: 2005 Masters Degree in Cultural Foundations and Community Engagement and Education
Position: English Teacher, Racine Unified School District