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Education for Empowerment

The Education for Empowerment minor is designed for students interested in examining the critical role of education in building our individual and collective capacity to advance the aims of justice and democracy in society.

Students will explore questions such as:

  • What is the relationship, historically and today, between education and power?
  • How do individuals, communities, organizations, and societies leverage teaching and learning as tools for social change and social movement?
  • Beyond schools and classrooms, what are the sites of educational and youth work that offer opportunities to advance justice, in the United States and around the world?
  • How might we develop our imagination for humanizing educational spaces—both within and beyond schools—that recognize everyday people’s power in the ongoing struggle for justice?

The 15-credit minor includes:

  • One foundation course (3 cr.)
  • Three elective courses, from a single pathway (see below; 9 cr.)
  • A field-based internship (2 cr.)
  • A culminating capstone course (1 cr.)


Currently, students may pursue one of the following three pathways.

Children and Youth in Context: Culture, Communities, and Education

This pathway is for students who wish to explore the ways in which education shapes and is shaped by race, culture, and (im)migration; poverty and social class; gender and sexuality; environmental and social contexts; and language.

Advancing Equity through Education Policy

For students working at the intersections of public policy and education, this pathway focuses on policy inquiry, design, and implementation that intervene in the problems of educational injustice and social inequities.

Education in a Global Context

The global pathway is intended for students interested in exploring education across international borders, with particular attention to global factors including migration, border politics and conflict, language, and global economic development.

Students may also draw from a list of approved courses to propose an individualized pathway of their own design, with the support and approval of a minor advisor.

Currently, the Education for Empowerment minor is open to students enrolled in:

  • College of Engineering
  • College of Literature, Science, and the Arts
  • Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy
  • Penny W. Stamps School Of Art & Design
  • School of Information
  • School of Kinesiology
  • School of Public Health
  • Stephen M. Ross School of Business

If you do not see your school listed here, please still reach out to us with your interest. Approvals of the minor by several other schools and departments are still pending.

Reach Out to Us!

For more information or to set up an advising appointment, email us at SOE.Minor@umich.edu.