Field of Critical Policy, Equity, and Leadership Studies

MA | Field of Critical Policy, Equity, and Leadership Studies

Critical Policy, Equity, and Leadership Studies (CPELS) faculty have expertise in at least one of following specialization areas:  1) Aboriginal Education; 2) Critical Policy in Education; 3) Equity, Gender and Queer studies; 4) Educational Leadership, or 5) Globalization and International Education.


Our onsite MA program in the field of Critical Policy, Equity, and Leadership Studies introduces students to the foundational knowledge, theoretical and methodological approaches, multiple perspectives, key issues and current debates within a specialization. The program provides an understanding of the intersections between the specialization areas, as well as the interconnections between local, national and global contexts of each specialization area.


8 courses + MRP (Master’s Research Project)

6 courses + Master’s Thesis

(Exceptional students may be invited by CPELS faculty to fast track into our PhD program at the end of their first year.)

Prospective students are strongly encouraged to visit our Faculty Research page for more information on the exciting research being conducted at the Faculty of Education.

Important note: When submitting an application to the Master of Arts in Education Studies program, applicants must indicate their preferred Thesis Supervisor in their Statement of Intent. Applicants are advised to review the Faculty Research page and contact faculty in their area of interest to confirm that this potential exists.


Below is a summary of the Thesis process. Students must consult the Master's Thesis Guide (PDF), Program Policies web page, and the School of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies' Thesis Regulation Guide for complete thesis guidelines and regulations.


Once a student completes their required and elective courses they will register in ED 9683 Individual Proposal Preparation (IPP). By the end of the semester in which a student completes the last required course decide on a topic for their thesis, and submit the Individual Proposal Preparation (IPP) - Supervisor Approval Form (found on the Forms & Guidelines page).

The IPP provides a structure for the writing of a thesis proposal. An initial review of relevant research provides the background for the proposed study. The methodological framework and the method to be employed are studied and developed. Ethical considerations are investigated and, where appropriate, an ethical review document prepared. The IPP is not a course but a milestone and compulsory element for those writing a Thesis.

The IPP should be completed in one term. The IPP is completed when the proposal and ethical review (where required) have been submitted for approval.

The Thesis Supervisor after consulting with the faculty members concerned, will formally appoint a Thesis Advisory Committee. The Committee will consist of a Thesis Supervisor and at least one additional faculty member who will act as a Thesis Advisory Committee Member. The Thesis Supervisor must be a member of the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies with Ph.D. supervisory status, as approved by the Credentials Committee of the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

When the Thesis Supervisory Committee is satisfied with a student's written proposal, the student may submit the proposal for approval. The student submits one copy of their proposal and the MA Thesis Proposal Approval form to the Graduate Programs Office for approval by the Associate Dean, Graduate Programs.

If the proposed research involves human subjects, the student has to receive ethics approval from Western University Research Ethics Board before the research begins.  Please see the Research Ethics page for more information.

The student may proceed with their research and thesis preparation when all approvals have been obtained.


Only after all approvals have been obtained the student must register in ED 9590 Master's Thesis and may proceed with the research and the preparation of the thesis under the guidance and review of the Thesis Supervisory Committee. Please note that ED 9590 is not a course but a milestone.

When the thesis has been completed and approved by the Thesis Supervisory Committee. The student will submit the Application for Thesis Examination - Form B and Master's Thesis Supervisor Approval Form (found on the Forms & Guidelines page) to the Graduate Programs Office. The necessary arrangements will be made by the Graduate Programs Office for the examination of the thesis in accordance with the appropriate University regulations.


The MA program in the field of Critical Policy, Equity, and Leadership Studies is offered on a full-time basis.

Times to Completion:

Full-time - Typically 24 months

Below is the typical program of study for full-time students in the Research Intensive MA:

Term Full - Time

Year 1

ED 9200 Social Context of Education

2 Elective Courses

Year 1

ED 9201 Introduction to Educational Research

2 from list of CPELS Recommended courses

Year 1
ED 9693 Individual Proposal Preparation (IPP)
Year 2
ED 9590 Thesis
Year 2
ED 9590 Thesis
Year 2
ED 9590 Thesis

Below is the typical program of study for students in the MA - MRP:

Term Full - Time

Year 1

3 courses

Year 1

3 courses

Year 1

2 courses



Critical Policy, Equity, and Leadership Studies: Students may focus in one or more of the following: 1) Critical Policy Studies in Education; 2) Equity and Social Justice Education; 3) Globalization and International Education; 4) Leadership Studies in Education.

Thesis based students will be required to complete 6 courses + Thesis. MRP based students will be required to complete 8 courses + MRP

  • 2 required half courses
    • 9200 Social Context of Education
    • 9201 Introduction to Educational Research
  • 4 of 5 Recommended Courses include
    • 9202 Critical Policy Studies in Education
    • 9629 Equity & Social Justice in Education
    • 9507 Graduate Seminar in Leadership
    • 9203 Globalization and Education
    • 9204 Indigeneity and (De)colonizing Research
  • Thesis

Note: In lieu of the recommended courses, up to two electives inside or outside the ARC can be made with the approval of the student's supervisor. Students may have the option to enrol in an Independent Reading and Research Course

Potential Supervisor

Critical Policy, Equity, and Leadership Studies (CPELS) faculty have expertise in at least one of following specialization areas:

  1. Aboriginal Education;
  2. Critical Policy in Education;
  3. Equity, Gender and Queer studies;
  4. Educational Leadership, or
  5. Globalization and International Education.

Faculty in this cluster are interested in:

  • Contemporary educational practices, processes and policies, as well as issues of power and privilege
  • Foundational knowledge, key issues and current debates within their specialization area
  • Ethical assumptions and implications of educational research
  • Intersections between the specializations areas in our field
  • Interconnections between local, national and global contexts


Pam BishopView Profile

Brent DebassigeView Profile

Brenton FaubertView Profile

Rita GardinerView Profile

Marianne LarsenView Profile

Jun LiView Profile

Wayne MartinoView Profile

Erica NeeganagwedginView Profile

Katina PollockView Profile

Goli Rezai-RashtiView Profile

Augusto RiverosView Profile

Prachi SrivastavaView Profile

Paul TarcView Profile

Melody ViczkoView Profile


Please visit this link for Admission Requirements.


Tuition amounts are set each year by Senate and then published on the Office of the Registrar's Fees Schedules web page. Fees are assessed once each term (Fall, Winter, Summer) according to the full or part time status of students (not by course).

Current students can access fee information by logging into the Student Centre (use your Western email log in and password). Students are notified each term once fee amounts have been posted in the Student Centre; it is each student's responsibility to log into the Student Centre and pay fees by the due date indicated. Failure to do so may result in a late payment fee or deregistration.

For questions about fees, including how to pay fees and the methods of payment that are accepted, students should go to the Student Financial Services pages of the Office of the Registrar's web site or contact Student Financial Services (Office of the Registrar) at 519-661-2100.

For students receiving WGRS funding, this amount is applied to the fees account on the first day of each term (i.e. September 1, January 1, May 1). For questions related to funding, students should contact the Manager of Graduate Affairs in the Graduate Programs Office. More information about funding is located on the Funding tab.

Please note: Fall term ancillary fees are proportionately higher for domestic students because part of this fee is the SOGS (Society of Graduate Students) Health & Dental Plan.  Health & Dental Plan fees provide coverage from September through August and are collected from graduate students in September. Students who are admitted and have their own coverage will be provided information on how to "opt out" of the SOGS Health Plan.


Please visit our Scholarships Page for more information.


Instructors of onsite courses use the Sakai OWL platform, although it is not required.  Access to a course in Sakai OWL is typically opened the first business day of each term. Please note that although your own access may be granted prior to the first business day, course content may not be posted until closer to the scheduled term start. Your Western University login and password is required to access the course (your Western email without the and its accompanying password). Access to Sakai OWL is found here:

For online courses, students are required to have access to the following:

  • High speed Internet access
  • Access to a computer that enables connection to outside websites (flexible firewall restrictions)
  • Multimedia playback capabilities (video/audio)
  • WebCam
  • Computer capable of running a recent version of Internet Explorer, Safari, or Firefox; and/or Cisco MOVI client for PC or Mac
  • Audio headset and microphone for computer