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Education Policy
Teachers College, Columbia University
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Education Policy

In the Department of Education Policy and Social Analysis

Degrees > Degree Programs

Degree Programs

The course of study in Education Policy prepares students for such positions as policy analyst, policy advocate, and educational researcher. It develops students’ skills in the political, economic, social, and legal analysis of education policy issues, while focusing on the role of leadership. Students are required to explore one policy topic in depth as part of a field experience. Coursework includes a research methods sequence suitable to the requirements of education policy professionals and experience writing policy briefs for a variety of audiences. M.A. students select a substantive specialization tied to students' professional and academic goals, in four areas: Early Childhood Education Policy, K-12 Education Reform Policy, Higher Education Policy, and Law and Education Policy. The newly updated Ed.M. degree develops students’ knowledge and skills by drawing on interdisciplinary policy studies, the social science disciplines of economics, law, politics, and sociology, and substantive content of policies and practice in early childhood education, K-12 education, higher education, and law and education. Doctoral students complete the master’s-level core courses, a two-part advancement to candidacy process, and a research dissertation. Coursework beyond the core is chosen individually in conjunction with a faculty advisor. Most coursework is offered during the school year. Contact Professor Luis Huerta at . For individual degree program planners and special applications go to

M.A. in Education Policy

Applicable for students starting Fall 2012 and later

The 33-point degree aims to build a cadre of education policy experts whose deep grounding in a range of educational policy issues is matched by their understanding of the policy process and the tools of policy analysis. The Masters of Arts (M.A.) degree offered by the Education Policy Program is focused on the preparation of policy analysts, policy advocates, and education researchers. The program develops students’ knowledge and skills by drawing on interdisciplinary policy studies, the social science disciplines of economics, law, politics, and sociology, and substantive content on policies and practice in early childhood education, K-12 education, higher education, and law and education.

Ed.M. in Education Policy

The 60-point degree is intended for educators and non-educators seeking careers in education policy in either the private or the public sector. The program of study builds on the required Ed.M. course sequence with additional work in a policy area relevant to the student’s interests. Up to 30 points of eligible coursework from another graduate institution or program may be applied to the Ed.M. degree.

Ed.D. in Leadership, Policy and Politics

The 90-point degree in Leadership, Policy, and Politics, is intended for aspiring experts in the political, economic, or legal analysis of educational issues, emphasizing the practice of education leadership as policy analysts, researchers, or advisors. The program anticipates strong commitments to education from applicants and prepares candidates to excel in the integration of theory and practice. It requires the completion of the Leadership, Policy, and Politics master’s degree core curriculum, a substantial methodological strand, and a two-part (theory and practice) advancement to candidacy process before students may begin a research dissertation. Applicants experienced in the practice of education are expected to focus on developing their skills in policy analysis, while those with policy-related experience are expected to develop a solid understanding of the unique ways that schools function and are governed. Up to 40 points of acceptable credit may be transferred from another graduate institution with an advisor’s approval, and required coursework may be completed on a full- or part-time basis.

Not accepting applications for 2015-2016.

Ph.D. in Education Policy

In the rapidly changing and increasingly complex world of education, a crucial need exists for better knowledge about how schools and school systems can be organized and led most effectively. We need to reach deeper understandings of how policies, politics, and the law can advance the twin goals of excellence and equity, how schools and school systems can best acquire and use resources, how leaders can support teacher development and student achievement, and how education policymakers and leaders can make best use of information from student assessments, program evaluations, and analytical research. This knowledge should be based on thoughtful reasoning and solid evidence; it should be theoretical in scope but also have clear implications for education practice.

The school-year Ph.D. degree in Education Policy responds to these knowledge demands by focusing on the scholarly study of education leadership and policy. This degree program provides the opportunity to develop expertise in many interconnected subject areas, as preparation for careers in academic research and teaching or in applied policy development and research. Graduates of the Ph.D. program are able to build new knowledge, teach new leaders, and craft new policies.

In the Education Policy program, students will consider how laws and policies can impact the reform of educational systems and how they support or impede improvements in curriculum, teaching, and student achievement. Furthermore, students will analyze the political, social, economic and legal dynamics that affect policy development and implementation.

The program may be completed in 75 points, of which up to 30 acceptable credits may be transferred from another graduate institution. In addition to study in education leadership, policy, and politics, the program requires extensive preparation in quantitative and qualitative research methods and in one of the cognate social sciences offered by the University, for example, Political Science, Sociology, or Economics. For information, please contact Professor Luis Huerta at (212) 678-4199 or via email at