Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




This dissertation study focused on master's students experiences with multicultural competency curriculum in graduate preparation programs (GPPs) and contributes to gaps in the extant literature on multicultural issues in higher education. The two overarching research questions for the study considered how, if at all, students' understanding of core concepts of the required course (privilege, oppression, and social justice) changed over time as evidenced by a primary curricular component called the photo elicitation project. Educators' experiences were also addressed, per their impact on the context in which students learned. This study employed a qualitative approach and, in line with the study's epistemology, represented findings through two multi-genre mediations (i.e., two separate chapters). Primary sources of data for this study were 12 master's students' two-part photo elicitation projects and one-on-one semi-structured interviews with the 12 students and three educators.

Findings from this study showed that students' understanding of core concepts of the required multicultural competency and social justice course changed over time. Curricular experiences that related privilege, oppression, and social justice in relationship to students' daily lives facilitated the most change in students' understanding of the three core concepts. Educators' experiences in teaching the curriculum overlapped with students' experiences in many ways. Select implications for higher education research and practice include shifting the discourse from multicultural competency to social justice literacy as a way to understand master's students' experiences with required multicultural competency and social justice-related curriculum. Additionally, there is more room to foreground the voices of students from diverse backgrounds and to focus solely on the impact of educators who teach required multicultural and social justice-related curriculum.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.