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Education Policy and Social Analysis
Teachers College, Columbia University
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Education Policy and Social Analysis

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Course Listing

Department Courses:

Please check the Class Schedule or contact the department for specific course availability for each semester:

EDPA 4002 Data analysis for policy and decision making I
This is an introductory course in quantitative research methods that focus on non-experimental designs and the analysis of large-scale longitudinal datasets, especially those related to education policy. Students become familiar with the logic of inferential statistics and the application of basic analytic techniques. No prior knowledge of statistics or quantitative methods is required.

EDPA 4013 Education Policy and the Management of Instruction
This course explores current ideas about desirable goals for student learning and development in K-12 education and will use a backward-mapping approach to consider how curriculum and instruction; classroom and school environments; organizational strategies; leadership practices; and local, state, and federal education policies can facilitate progress towards those goals. The course is intended to help students develop and articulate ambitious theories of action for school improvement and the management of instruction that can be useful in their work as education policy makers or analysts, academic researchers, and practitioners.

EDPA 4025 Higher education policy
An introduction to the higher education policy making process. Main topics: the general nature of policy making with examples and readings from higher education; key actors, institutional structures and processes in the federal, state, and local higher education policy arenas; and the origins and consequences of key policy enactments affecting college access and success, instruction, performance accountability, and the economic development role of higher education.

EDPA 4033 Comprehensive Educational Opportunity

The course will provide students an overview of the concept of comprehensive educational opportunity and will analyze the feasibility of its implementation. Topics will include the impact of poverty on children's opportunities to succeed in school, the role of early childhood learning, out of school time, health factors, and family and community support on school success; the history of past attempts to overcome socioeconomic disadvantages; and the economic, political, administrative, educational, and legal issues that must be considered to advance this concept on a large scale.

EDPA 4046 School Finance: Policy and Practice

Examination of the judicial and legislative involvement in school finance reform, taxation, and the equity and efficiency of local, state, and federal finance policies and systems.

EDPA 4047 Politics and Public Policy

What are the relative roles of research and politics in determining public policy? One tradition considers public policy from the perspective of rational decision-making and considers research to be a source of objective enlightenment. A second tradition considers public policy as the outcome of battles among organized interests and portrays research as a weapon exploited by the powerful to further their own ends. This course addresses these and other issues as they relate to each of the stages in the policy process and as manifested in contemporary education policy debates such as that around school choice.

EDPA 4048 Education Policy Analysis and Implementation

Explores the issues of policy (or reform) implementation in schools and districts by focusing on the political reactions and organizational buffers to policy change and the ways that policies become adapted and changed to fit locally defined problems. Distinctions between implementation issues in bottom-up and top-down policy change are explored.

EDPA 4086 Law and education: Regulation, religion, free speech, and safety

This survey course focuses on legal issues that arise in public and private schools. Topics include governmental regulation of public and private schools; church-state issues (prayer, vouchers, evolution); free-speech rights of students, teachers, and extracurricular groups; who controls the curriculum; the school's authority to make and enforce rules governing student and staff conduct on and off school grounds; the duty to protect the safety of students and others; child abuse; search and seizure; and due process. The course draws on the multidisciplinary perspectives of law, policy, research, and educational practice.

EDPA 4899 Federal Policy Institute

The purpose of the Federal Policy Institute is to examine three themes: the enduring values of American education, contemporary issues in national school reform efforts, and the role of the federal government. During a week-long program in Washington, students will have the opportunity to identify a policy issue of personal interest and to explore that issue with the nation's senior policymakers. Introductory and concluding sessions meet at the College.

EDPA 4900 Research and independent study in education policy

For students wishing to pursue independent study and/or research on topics not covered in regular courses. Requires faculty member's approval of a study plan, reading list, and final paper or other products or projects. Permission required from individual faculty.

EDPA 5002 Data Analysis for policy and decision making II

This is an intermediate-level course in non-experimental quantitative research methods, especially those related to education policy. The class examines such topics as factor analysis, modeling non-linear relationships and interactions using regression, analyses of change, logistic and multinomial logistic regression, missing data analyses, and fixed effects models. Prerequisite: students should have completed at least one graduate-level course in applied statistics or data analysis (e.g., EDPA 4002).

EDPA 5016 Educational equality: Role of Law

Historically, many barriers to educational equality and many important efforts to overcome such barriers have involved the law. This course examines major efforts to use law to attack discrimination and to ensure high-quality education for all children. Topics include: addressing racial segregation and concentrated poverty; the standards movement and high-stakes testing; the right to an adequate education; sex and gender discrimination; harassment; services for English-language learners; special education; and affirmative action. The course draws on the multidisciplinary perspectives of law, policy, research, and educational practice.

EDPA 5023 Policymaking for effective high school to college transition

The course examines policymaking efforts by the federal and state governments to facilitate the movement of students from high school to college and their effective preparation to meet college requirements. The policies reviewed include student financial aid, the TRIO and GEAR UP programs, state common core curriculum standards, accelerated learning programs, and state longitudinal data systems. The course examines the content of these policies, their political origins and implementation, and their impacts. The aim is to help students develop a broad and deep understanding of the main directions of – but also limitations to – national and state policymaking with respect to high school to college transition.

EDPA 5086 The role of courts in education reform

Beginning with the school desegregation decrees issued by the federal courts in the wake of Brown v. Board of Education, the federal and state courts have been called upon to consider a range of asserted educational rights and to oversee far-reaching institutional reforms that bear little relationship to traditional judicial remedies. This course will examine the legal and political justifications for the courts' role in making educational policy and reforming public institutions, as well as the courts' capacity to undertake these functions. The course will give particular attention to school desegregation and special education cases in the federal courts and education adequacy litigations in the state courts, including the recent decisions of the New York State Court of Appeals in CFE v. State of New York.

EDPA 5515 Master's seminar in leadership, policy, and politics

This seminar is designed to give students the opportunity to demonstrate a theoretical and analytical understanding of the practical problems inherent in conducting policy research for education clients. Policy analysis requires its practitioners to evaluate available information, to weigh the possible impacts of alternative policies; to understand political, legal, and/or economic ramifications; and to produce plans for action that are organizationally feasible and publicly valuable.

EDPA 5880 School Law Institute

Explore important, timely issues of education law, including issues of race and poverty in education; serving English-language learners; the legal rights of students with disabilities; the right to an adequate education; and issues of safety and order (harassment, child abuse, tort liability, search and seizure, and cyber-bullying). For more information, visit SLI website at, and/or contact Professor Jay Heubert at

EDPA 6013 Early childhood development and education: Integrating research and policy perspectives

First section of a two-semester course with students participating in both semesters. Focuses on diverse perspectives framing the field and in so doing will present the most critical issues that require policy attention. Building on this background, the second semester will address steps that have been taken to ameliorate these issues, focusing heavily on research. By design, then, the first semester will present an array of issues and perspectives in order to provide the conceptual foundation for an exploration of salient strategies to address them in the second semester. By looking at early childhood development and learning from this stance, students will not only be exposed to diverse ideas about the content but will also be armed to address pressing challenges the field faces with them all in mind. (The second semester course is HUDK 6013, taught by Professor Jeanne Brooks-Gunn in the Department of Human Development.)

EDPA 6027 International Perspectives on Early Childhood Policy

This course looks at early childhood education policy through an international lens, addressing often neglected—but highly salient—policy questions, including: What have been the real effects of the Millennium Development Goals and the Education for All goals on education systems in general and on early childhood education in particular? How have poverty, gender, and the needs of marginalized populations/cultures shaped early childhood policy in diverse countries? What are the unique policy properties that must be considered when developing policies for young children and their families? To what extent do the policy contexts of nations differ, and how do these differences impact early childhood policies directly? To what extent can lessons learned in one context be faithfully transported across national boundaries? Based on readings and discussions of these issues, students will demonstrate their understanding of the role of policy in shaping early childhood education in a given country though the final paper, a situation analysis. Building on sequenced assignments, this paper will provide the platform for students to use policy tools and make recommendations for concrete early childhood policy improvements.

EDPA 6030 Institutional Theory: Sociological Perspectives on Institutional Change in Education

An introduction to organizational theory as it applies to a variety of institutions with particular attention to the potential of educational activities as a force in formal organizations.

EDPA 6542 Education policy foundations seminar

Over the past century, educators have experienced wave after wave of reforms intended to address the latest education “crisis.” This perpetual cycle of school improvement stems in part from the competing and often contradictory demands placed upon public education. In response, school improvement efforts have alternated between a focus on equity and excellence, progressive and traditional pedagogical approaches, centralized and decentralized governance, and private rights versus public needs. Students in this course will explore the social and political roots of these pendulum swings and examine the historical forces that fuel America’s desire for continual school reform. Issues of race, religion, class, and language--which are intimately tied to these tensions--are woven into the readings, discussions, and course work. Permission of the instructor is required.

EDPA 6641 Advanced topics in research methods and design
This course provides students the opportunity to explore advanced topics in research design and analytic methods, especially as they relate to studies of educational contexts and policies.

EDPA 6900 Directed research and study in education policy

For students wishing to pursue independent study or original research as they prepare for their doctoral certification examination and/or dissertation proposal. Permission required from individual faculty.

EDPA 7500 Dissertation seminar in education policy
This course provides students the opportunity to discuss topics related to the preparation of their dissertation proposal in a seminar format. Students present their ideas and writing for feedback from the instructor and other students. Students may enroll in this seminar once. Permission of the instructor is required.

EDPA 8900 Dissertation advisement in education policy

Individual advisement on the doctoral dissertation. Requires ongoing consultation between the student and dissertation sponsor. The fee equals three points at the current tuition rate for each term. Permission required from individual faculty.

EDPE 4050 Economics of Education
Teaches the basic economic concepts and methods to be used for further study and analysis of educational finance, education and inequality, education, and economic growth, the impact of educational policies on education; and outcomes, school reform, and school choice.

EDPE 4051 Education and economic development
This course examines the links between education and various aspects of economic development. Topics include the impact of human capital accumulation on economic growth, the educational attainment of men and women in developing countries, the effects of schooling on labor force participation, wages and fertilities, and the issues of school finance and educational policy in the Third World.

EDPE 4055 Resource Allocation in Education
This course reviews the literature on school effectiveness with respect to the allocation of resources. It addresses and analyzes education production functions and cost-effectiveness analysis in educational decision-making.

EDPE 4056 Microeconomic Theory Applications Education
A survey of intermediate microeconomic theory combined with applications of relevance to the economics of education. At the theory level, the course covers utility maximization, income and substitution effects, labor supply, the analytics of market equilibrium, consumer surplus, cost minimization, production and cost functions, the determinants of the demand for factors of production, labor demand and the demand for skilled labor, market imperfections, monopoly pricing, monopolistic competition, externalities and public goods. Applications are included for each of these topics in the area of education. Instructor(s): Francisco Rivera-Batiz

EDPE 4058 Economics of higher education
This course uses theoretical and empirical economic analysis to analyze the behavior of higher education students and institutions and to study private and public policy related to post-secondary education.

EDPE 4097 International and comparative studies in educational finance
Educational finance in international settings. Financing role of international development agencies. International and comparative studies in educational finance.

EDPE 4155 Evaluating educational privatization and school choice
This course addresses the increasing emphasis on market-type choice systems including educational vouchers, for-profit educational firms, and charter schools. It places great emphasis on the theory of emerging empirical evidence underlying these developments in education.

EDPE 4900 Research Independent Study: Economics & Education
Instructor(s): Thomas Bailey, Hank Levin, Francisco Rivera-Batiz, Judith Scott-Clayton, Mun Tsang

EDPE 5550 Workshop in Economics and Education
For doctoral students and others with research projects or potential research projects in the field. Participation required for doctoral students writing their dissertation. Students who are beginning to think about their dissertation topic or working on proposals are also encouraged to participate. Faculty members may also be invited from within or outside the department to present their work.

EDPE 5650 Readings in the economics of education
Selected readings in the economics of education. Recommended for students with background in economics or a related discipline. As the selection of readings differs in different semesters, a student may register for more than one semester of ITSF 5650.

EDPE 6000 Advanced analysis in economics of education
The course focuses on the evaluation of state-of-the art research papers in the economics of education. The purpose is to provide critical readings and reviews of articles and papers across many different methods.

EDPE 6023 Quantitative Methods for Causal Inference in Education Research
This doctoral course covers the design, implementation, and interpretation of econometric methods used for evaluating causal relationships in education research, reading and discussing applied methodological texts as well as journal articles using advanced causal methods. The course covers randomized experiments, natural experiments, differences-in-differences, instrumental variables, regression discontinuity, and propensity score matching.

EDPE 6050 Education and Economic Development: advanced topics
This course provides an advanced discussion of the links between education and economic development, including both theoretical frameworks and empirical models.

EDPE 6052 Labor Economics
This course covers important concepts in labor economics, with a focus on how those concepts can be applied and tested in practice. The course will provide an overview of labor market topics such as the returns to education and training, non-monetary forms of compensation, models of labor migration, and models of imperfect or asymmetric information about skills. For each topic, we will examine influential papers and the empirical methods they use. The course is intended for doctoral students and will count towards the Labor Economics requirement for the Economics of Education Ph.D. program.

EDPE 6151 Advanced microeconomics with applications to education
A doctoral-level survey of microeconomic theory with applications of relevance to the economics of education. Includes the theory of the firm and its implications regarding factor demands, educational production functions, and the demand for education. Consumer theory and the theory of labor supply. Human capital externalities. Intertemporal decision-making. Public finance and local public goods.

EDPE 6900 Studies in economics and education
In each of the areas within the department, advanced students may register for intensive individual study of some aspect of their specialization. Registration is only by permission of the instructor under whose guidance the work will be undertaken. Times for individual conferences will be arranged. Enrollment may be for 1 or more points each term, and registration is not limited to one or two terms.Instructor(s): Thomas Bailey, Hank Levin, Francisco Rivera-Batiz, Judith Scott-Clayton, Mun Tsang

EDPE 7500 Dissertation seminar in economics and education
Faculty. Permission required. Proposal writing. Required of doctoral students in the semester following successful completion of certification examinations.

EDPE 8900 Dissertation advisement in economics and education
Individual advisement on doctoral dissertations. Fee to equal 3 points at current tuition rate for each term. For requirements, see section in catalog on Continuous Registration for Ed.D./ Ph.D. degrees. Instructor(s): Thomas Bailey, Hank Levin, Francisco Rivera-Batiz, Judith Scott-Clayton, Mun Tsang

EDPP 4040 American politics and education
Introduction to the basic analytical categories of political science as they apply to the politics of education, including the influence of federal, state, and local governments in school policy-making, decentralization, school finance, and desegregation.

EDPP 4042 Comparative politics and education

The politics of education in settings outside the U.S. topics, including the role of education in political development, political socialization, and student politics.

EDPP 5041 Politics of centralization and decentralization

Analyzes the political underpinnings and consequences of centralization versus decentralization at various levels of governance with special but not exclusive attention to educational decision-making.

EDPP 5042 Urban politics and education

Politics in the nation's largest cities with a particular focus on educational politics and policy.

EDPP 5045 Race, ethnicity, and U.S. educational policy

Examination of the impact of race and ethnicity on the formation and implementation of policies such as desegregation, affirmative action, bilingual education, and choice.

EDPP 5640 Colloquium on the politics of education

Continuous participation required of doctoral students until their dissertation proposals are accepted. A critical review of important works in politics and education, discussions with invited guests, presentations of work in progress.


EDPP 5642 Colloquium in political economy and education

Political and economic perspectives on contemporary problems of public policy and education.

EDPP 6540 Seminar in politics of education

Permission required. Selected topics in the politics of education.

EDPP 6900 Research and independent study

Permission required.

EDPP 6940 Studies in politics and education

Permission required. Independent study.

EDPP 7503 Dissertation seminar

Permission required. Development of doctoral dissertation proposals.

EDPP 8900 Dissertation Advisement
Individual advisement on doctoral dissertations. Fee to equal 3 points at current tuition rate for each term. For requirements, see section in catalog on Continuous Registration for Ed.D./Ph.D. degrees.

EDPS 4000 Education and public policy
Examination of the federal role in k-12 educational policy over the course of the 20th century and its impact on states and districts.

EDPS 4021 Sociology of education
A broad analysis of education using basic sociological concepts, including schools as organizations, socialization, stratification, and ethnic relations.

EDPS 4022 Sociology of urban education
Analysis of urban schools and districts within the context of urban social and political systems.

EDPS 4024 Social stratification and education
An examination of the link between education and social inequality in Western societies, questioning whether schools are a mechanism of social mobility, enabling poor and disadvantaged children to get ahead in life, or whether schools perpetuate the hardships faced by poor and minority populations. Topics include the importance of quantity and quality of schooling for adult success; the ways in which race/ethnicity, sex, and social class background structure students' educational experiences; the role of tracking and ability grouping within schools; and the link between schooling and the economy.

EDPS 4027 Sociology of classrooms
An examination of sociological research on the structure and operation of classrooms. Particular attention to the processes of stratification, socialization, legitimation, and social organization.

EDPS 4028 Sociology of the life course
Sociologists define the life course of individuals by when, and in what order, people assume key social roles, such as becoming an adult or moving from the workforce to retirement. This course looks at the sociology of the life course. Focusing on how historical and societal factors combine with the personal characteristics of individuals to produce unique life course patterns.

EDPS 4029 Sociology of schools
An examination of sociological research on the structure and operation of schools. Particular attention to the processes of socialization, stratification, and legitimation as well as social organization and the sociology of school curriculum.

EDPS 4030 Sociology of Organizations

Introduction to concepts and theories in sociological research on organizations, covering internal organizational dynamics, organizations and environments, and organizations as contexts for human action, with a focus on organizations in education.

EDPS 4032 Gender, difference and curriculum
A study of the extent and causes of gender inequality in society and the ways in which schools work both to reduce and exacerbate inequality.

EDPS 4620 Introductory colloquium in sociology of education
Permission required. Intensive readings and discussions of basic literature in sociology of education, with attention to common issues and research strategies.

EDPS 4903 Research and independent study
Permission required.

EDPS 5020 Survey Research Methods

Relationship between research problem and study design, choice of population, sampling methods, instrument construction, interviewing, data processing, and analysis.

EDPS 5022 Sociology of educational systems

Analysis of local and national education systems through application of sociological perspectives and organization theory, with special attention to problems of equity, effectiveness, and the embeddedness of education systems in their larger contexts.

EDPS 5057 Qualitative Methods for Education Policy and Social Research

This course is designed to assist students in conceptualizing and designing research projects – for Master’s Theses or Doctoral Dissertations – that examine, interrogate and evaluate public policies in the fields of education and social welfare through methodological approaches we commonly think of as qualitative. The curriculum emphasizes the benefits and limitations of qualitative methods for studying particular policy issues and programs with the goal of defining when a qualitative approach is most helpful. We will explore qualitative case studies as a research design as well as several different data collection methods employed by qualitative researchers, including interviews, observations, ethnography, and document analysis. The class also addresses what sort of research questions can best be answered through qualitative data collection and how qualitative researchers can frame their inquiry in a manner that speaks to public policy debates and issues. Furthermore, the course will require students to appreciate the significance and meaning of a more contextual approach to education policy analysis. This course, therefore, fulfills the qualitative research methods requirement for the Sociology and Education Program and other programs across the EPSA Department and College. 

EDPS 5620 Advanced colloquium in sociology of education
This course is designed to enhance student knowledge of social theory in sociological research. Particular attention is devoted to deductive models of explanation and their use in the construction of theory and its application as a basis for empirical inquiry.

EDPS 5646 Evaluation of Educational and Social Programs

An introduction to the evaluation of social and educational programs. Topics include evaluation to inform program conceptualization and design; measuring program implementation; impact assessment, including randomized experiments; cost-effectiveness analysis; and the social and political context of program evaluation.

EDPS 6021 Master's Essay in Sociology and Education

Students wishing to complete a master's essay or thesis instead of taking the master's exam will design a study, collect and analyze data and write an extensive paper.

EDPS 6525 Seminar in sociology of education
A seminar for doctoral students to further their professional development and to prepare for doctoral research.

EDPS 6903 Research and independent study
Permission required.

EDPS 6920 Studies in sociology and education
Studies in sociology and education

EDPS 7503 Dissertation seminar
Permission required. Required of doctoral students in the semester following successful completion of certification examinations.

EDPS 8903 Dissertation advisement
Individual advisement on doctoral dissertations. Fee to equal 3 points at current tuition rate for each term. For requirements, see section in catalog on Registration for Ed.D./Ph.D. degrees.