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Programs in International and Comparative Education
Teachers College, Columbia University
Teachers College
Columbia University


Description of the Two Programs

In 1899 Teachers College (TC) became the first graduate institution in the United States to develop a program in comparative and international studies in education (now called Comparative and International Education). Program faculty members were co-founders of the Comparative and International Education Society in 1954 and edited the Society's journal, Comparative Education Review, for many years. From the 1960s, TC also became instrumental in the study of the international development of education, founding the program in International Educational Development. Faculty members of the programs continue to be active in conducting research or participating in educational activities around the world. The programs, in addition to various centers and institutes in the ITS department, play dominant roles in international activities and research at TC.

The programs in Comparative and International Education (CIE) and International Educational Development (IED) provide advanced preparation for professional careers in a wide range of teaching, policy and evaluation, administrative and research roles. Graduates of the programs are found in numerous educational positions including academic research and teaching, in educational planning, implementation, and evaluation roles in foundations, non-governmental organizations, governmental institutions, businesses and corporations, and private and public educational institutions.

The programs are designed to provide students challenging course work related to international and transcultural dimensions of education. Program requirements include work in four areas: a core curriculum, a concentration which is either an academic discipline (for the CIE track) or a professional field of education (for the IED track), transcultural or geographically related study, and broad and basic/elective credits. The program arrangements are designed to be as flexible as possible so that previous educational and professional experience and the future career goals of the student may be taken into account in the choice of appropriate course work. Each student is expected to assume major responsibility for formulating, in cooperation with the program advisor, a plan of study that will best meet the general program requirements in a way most compatible with her/his own professional goals.

The major difference between the two tracks is that CIE is based on an academic discipline in the social sciences, while IED is based on a professional specialization of education. Students in both tracks specify a specific discipline or specialization, either within the Department of International and Transcultural Studies, or outside of it.

Students should also specify a geographical area of interest. The regional areas of concentration may include Africa, the Caribbean, Central Asia, East Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, and the U.S. (for a transcultural/immigration focus).