Program DescriptionTeachers College has been a pioneer in both Anthropology and Education and Applied Anthropology. These two programs function as one entity and provide a unique research and training experience for a very select group of students. This highly personal academic environment within the larger university complex maximizes the interaction between students and faculty while offering a variety of scholarly and professional resources.
Both programs prepare students to enter current research and policy conversations about education and the application of anthropology to other fields. The programs are built on the premise that one can apply anthropology only to the extent that one has been rigorously trained in the theory and methodology of the discipline.
Theoretical emphasis is given to social and political processes, cultural theory, and psychological anthropology—all from a strong cross-cultural and comparative perspective. Methodological emphasis is placed on intensive and systematic ethnography. The faculty has a distinguished record of publications and research projects, most of which has been conducted in the United States, Africa, the Caribbean, South America, and Europe.
Anthropology and Education
The program in Anthropology and Education offers a disciplinary approach that carefully explores and contributes to the analysis and understanding of educational processes in schools and classrooms, in families, on street corners, in community centers, in churches and in all settings where education may proceed. The department houses the largest group of anthropologists of education to be found in any university in the world.
Applied Anthropology (a joint program)
In 1968, Teachers College and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences of Columbia University initiated and implemented a joint program of Applied Anthropology. This joint venture trains graduate students registered at either graduate school. By this agreement, all applied anthropological training at Columbia University is administered through Teachers College. The joint program offers a course of study and thorough training in applied anthropology that is certified by both institutions, and capitalizes on the strength of the university’s faculty.
This program focuses on the complex issues involved in applying anthropological knowledge and approaches to matters of policy concern in medicine, psychiatry, psychoanalysis, economic and community development, education, businesses and corporations, institutional programs, and ecological and environmental change.