Skip to navigation menu

Skip to main content

Curriculum & Teaching
Teachers College, Columbia University
teachers college logo columbia univertsity logo

The Department of

Curriculum & Teaching

Apply > General Information

General Information

Initial certification and professional certification programs are designed to meet New York State certification and New York City licensure requirements.

Departmental Program Descriptions

Master of Arts
There are two different types of Master of Arts programs within the Department of Curriculum and Teaching: Initial Certification programs and Professional Certification programs.

With one exception, initial certification M.A. programs are designed for people with little or no teaching experience or preparation who wish to become teachers. Programs in this department leading to initial certification are: Early Childhood Education, Early Childhood Special Education, Early Childhood Education and Special Education: Dual Certification-Initial, Elementary Inclusive Education, Elementary Inclusive Education with an extension in Gifted Education, and Dual Certification in Elementary Inclusive Education and Teaching Students with Disabilities.

The Literacy Specialist Program is also an initial certification program, but is designed for people who already hold initial certification as a teacher in New York State. The Literacy Specialist Pro-gram thus enables people who are already certified teachers to add a new certification area to their professional credentials. Upon completion of the program and two years successful teaching experience, students may receive professional certification in their first certification area, if they meet all other state requirements.

Professional Certification M.A. programs are designed for individuals who are already certified to teach in New York, or another state, and who seek a Master of Arts degree in the area of their initial certification: Elementary or Secondary Education, Gifted Education, or Teacher of Stu-dents with Disabilities. Graduates of these programs meet the formal educational requirements for professional certification in the State of New York, provided they meet the state’s requirements (initial certification in the area, successful performance on state tests, and two years teaching experience).

Master of Education
The Ed.M. is an advanced master’s degree (between an M.A. and an Ed.D.) that offers a flexible program of study focusing on leadership in curriculum and teaching in a range of educational settings. This degree program offers students the opportunity to develop specialized understandings and a capacity for leadership in curriculum and pedagogy. Leadership is interpreted broadly in this program to include developing curricula, studying teaching, designing professional development, and engaging in action research, all with a focus on challenging inequalities and imagining new possibilities for education.

The Ed.M. is a 60-point program, with the possibility of transferring in 30 points from relevant graduate study. It does not lead to New York State certification as teacher or as building administrator.

Two years of teaching experience or the equivalent is a prerequisite for admission. An initial master’s degree is usually required.

Doctor of Education
The Department of Curriculum and Teaching offers a single Doctor of Education program with different areas of concentration. The program requires 90 points of graduate study beyond the baccalaureate, 40 points of which may be transferred from previous graduate work at other institutions, should they meet requirements of the Teachers College degree.

Applicants interested in the Ed.D. program in the Department of Curriculum and Teaching should consult the booklet, “Studying for the Ed.D. Degree in the Department of Curricu-lum and Teaching,” available from the Depart-ment of Curriculum and Teaching.

The concentrations within the Ed.D. program are:
  • Curriculum Studies
  • Early Childhood Education (specialization)
  • Early Childhood Policy 
  • Early Childhood Special Education (Concentration within Early Childhood Education) 
  • Educational Leadership and School Change
  • Gifted Education
  • Literacy Education
  • Urban and Multicultural Education
Doctoral students in all concentrations may also take coursework to prepare themselves as teacher educators.

Enrollment Requirements for First-Year Ed.D. Students
Every first-year Ed.D. student in the Department of Curriculum and Teaching is required to enroll in C&T 5000, Theory and Inquiry in Curriculum and Teaching, in both the fall (6 points) and the spring (3 points) semesters of his or her first year. C&T 5000 meets for a double class session once per week  in the fall, and for a single class session once per week in the spring. A student can enroll for more than this minimum, but C&T 5000 must be part of his or her first-year course of study.

C&T 5000 is designed to make beginning doctoral students aware of important problems and issues in curriculum and teaching, to introduce students to methods of formulating questions and to modes of inquiry appropriate to doctoral-level research, and to build a cohesive student cohort.  

This is a rigorous course, with respect to both the quantity and sophistication of the material for which students are held responsible. The course requires a commitment of time and effort commensurate with the norms of scholarship at the doctoral level.

It is our belief that the demands placed on the students by this course will benefit students and that those who complete the course and pass the certification examination will be well prepared to continue their doctoral studies successfully through the dissertation phase. Students accepted into the Ed.D. program will receive a list of course texts with their acceptance letters so they can begin their reading early.