Overview and Philosophy


The academic concentration in International Education (IE) and its affiliated center, the Center for International Education (CIE), develop leaders in the field of International Education who are active agents for change to make education systems better around the world. As part of the Department of Educational Policy, Research & Administration (EPRA) in the College of Education at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, International Education and CIE are closely integrated.


International Education Concentration. The academic concentration offers degrees at the Master’s and PhD levels and has awarded nearly 300 doctoral degrees and over 250 Master’s degrees. Graduates come from over 70 different nations and work world-wide in education. The academic concentration in International Education reflects the belief that generative professional development occurs when a person can move between periods of reflection and study, and field experiences. Much of the learning, therefore, takes place through the design and implementation of educational projects,in both the United States and other countries, in which students take an active part. Since the vitality and substance of this type of training depends heavily on the mutual commitment and contribution of all participants, we seek to maintain a diversity of members who bring considerable field experience as well as commitment to international education.


Center for International Education. CIE serves as the grants and contracts unit which brings in externally-sponsored projects in the areas of education reform, teacher development, literacy and non-formal education, and education in conflict-affected countries and regions of the world. Since its founding in 1968, CIE has been awarded and managed nearly $100 million in grants and contracts (See Our Work). Recent projects have been implemented in Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Palestine, Sudan, Malawi, India, Uganda, Nepal, Azerbaijan, and Guatemala. One current project focuses on education and conflict and crisis which spans several countries.


Domestically, CIE recently completed a seven-year research grant on adult basic education learners in the New England region. In addition, we host the state-funded Global Horizons project which works with Massachusetts teachers to bring international dimensions to their classrooms. This project has been ongoing for more than a decade. 


The Community. The International Education academic concentration and CIE operate as a collaborative community where all are encouraged to take an active role. Participants include faculty, staff, current students, and graduates who represent a world-wide network of colleagues. Together they form a learning community that combines the study of theory and rigorous research and evaluation with the practical development and management of educational programs.


Students. Currently there are about 30 students in the academic concentrations, with roughly one-third in the Master's program and two-thirds in the Ph.D. program. We are committed to maintaining a diverse community of early- and mid-career professionals, balancing gender (currently 52% women, 48% men) as well as nationality. Currently about one-third of the students are from the U.S. and two-thirds are international students. In fall 2017, countries represented include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bolivia, China, Ethiopia, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Malawi, Malaysia, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestine, Peru, Senegal, Tibet and Zimbabwe.  


Faculty and StaffFaculty and staff members round out the International Education on-campus community. There are currently fou regular faculty members, two emeritus faculty members,  two affiliated faculty members from within the EPRA department, and two adjunct faculty members. The staff currently is made up of two professional staff members and one administrative staff member.


Research Interests. Research interests in the concentration are diverse with common themes within the various research activities: concern for social equity; gender issues; teacher education; alternative and empowering approaches to education; non-formal/popular education; education in conflict and crisis affected regions; critical analysis of development in the context of globalization; capacity building in higher education; and adult basic education and literacy. Browse through a list of Master’s capstone projects and doctoral dissertations which provide examples of recent work.