Economics and Education | Teachers College Columbia University

Skip to content Skip to main navigation
Banner

Academic Catalog 2017-2018

Skip to content Skip to content

Economics and Education

Department of - Education Policy & Social Analysis

Contact Information

(212) 678-3677
(212) 678-3589
Prof. Judith Scott-Clayton

Program Description

Economics is a powerful research and policy tool for scholars and educational practitioners who wish to develop a better understanding of educational institutions and decisions. The program in Economics and Education at Teachers College is a dynamic program that has maintained its position of leadership in this rapidly growing field. The goal of the program is to train students to apply economic concepts and tools to address both domestic and international issues in pre-kindergarten through post-secondary education, including:

  • How does educational attainment influence individual productivity and income, as well as broader economic growth?
  • How do educational inputs such as teacher training, class size, or technology impact student achievement?
  • What policies and practices are most effective in improving student outcomes while reducing gender, socioeconomic, and racial/ethnic gaps in those outcomes?
  • How can we measure the return on educational investments?
  • Which educational technologies are cost-effective?
  • How can college financial aid programs be designed to maximize their impact?

Our M.A. and Ed.M. graduates have gone on to work at foundations, education advocacy and service organizations, and government agencies, as well as to pursue doctoral study in related fields. Our Ph.D. graduates have gone on to research, leadership, and academic teaching positions in a range of settings. Recent Ph.D. graduates are currently employed as tenure-track faculty members at both domestic and international postsecondary institutions, as research associates at leading policy research organizations, and as institutional researchers for large urban school districts and colleges and universities.

Students in our M.A., Ed.M. and Ph.D. programs take courses in core areas including applied microeconomics, the economics of education, education and economic development, econometrics, statistical analysis, and benefit-cost analysis. Beyond required coursework, students in each degree program can choose from a range of elective courses to individualize their experience and satisfy their unique interests and career objectives. With the help of an academic advisor, students select courses from those offered within the program of economics and education and supplement these with courses outside the department, including courses offered in other schools of Columbia University.

As one of four programs in the Education Policy and Social Analysis (EPSA) department at Teachers College, the Economics and Education program is a discipline-based program within a multidisciplinary environment. Students and faculty across the four programs interact around shared research and policy interests, and students in the Economics and Education program are encouraged to take advantage of the broader resources in EPSA. These broader resources include not just relevant course offerings but also policy events, seminars, student-led “pop-up” conversations on current topics, job networking events, and social gatherings.

 

Degree Summary

Economics and Education (ECON)

  • Master of Arts (M.A.)
  • Master of Education (Ed.M.)
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

(Education Policy option available for degree levels above)

For a complete listing of degree requirements, please click the "Degrees" tab above

For a complete listing of degree requirements, please continue on to this program's "Degrees" section in this document

Degree Requirements

Master of Arts

Master of Arts

The objective of the 33-point M.A. Program in Economics and Education is to equip education professionals and policy-makers with the skills required to interpret and synthesize education-related research, to design and implement effective educational policy, and to assess the consequences of education policy, both domestically and in international settings.

The program begins in the Fall term and can be completed within one calendar year with enrollment during the summer and careful course planning, although many students choose to take longer (for example, by taking the summer to work in a related area and returning to complete coursework in the subsequent fall term).  Some students are able to work full-time while pursuing their degree, although this requires a flexible schedule since many courses are only held in the afternoon.

The curriculum of the program aims to build students’ technical competence in the basic tools of educational management and policy making; provide the academic and professional environment for students to apply these skills; and educate students about the global educational landscape, including current thinking on educational reform and the financing of education. Please click on the course planning worksheet link below for specific course offerings and requirements.

In addition to completing required coursework, all M.A. students must complete an Integrative Project (I.P.) on a topic of their choice, under the guidance of a faculty advisor. The I.P. may take the form of original research and data analysis on a topic of interest or may entail a review and synthesis of the theory and evidence around a specific education-policy question. The goal of the I.P. is for the student to apply concepts and methodologies from the Economics and Education curriculum to a real-world issue in education.

All applications to enter the program are evaluated on an individual and holistic basis. However, the curriculum of the program assumes that students have some previous coursework (at least at the undergraduate level) in economics and basic statistics, possess intellectual maturity, and demonstrate an interest in education policy and practice. Compelling applications for admission demonstrate the applicant’s capacity for success and also clearly explain how the Economics and Education curriculum fits with the applicant’s past experiences and future goals.


Master of Education (Ed.M., 60 points)

Master of Education

This 60-point program is intended for individuals who already have a graduate degree in a related field, who would like to build upon that foundation with additional training in Economics and Education. Required coursework mirrors the requirements for the M.A. degree but gives students room to take more advanced courses in the economics and education concentration and related programs (including the other programs in EPSA as well as relevant courses in other departments/programs).

All applications to enter the program are evaluated on an individual and holistic basis. However, the curriculum of the program assumes that students have some previous coursework (at least at the undergraduate level) in economics and basic statistics, possess intellectual maturity, and demonstrate an interest in education policy and practice. Compelling applications for admission demonstrate the applicant’s capacity for success and also clearly explain how the Economics and Education curriculum fits with the applicant’s past experiences and future goals.


Doctor of Philosophy ( Ph.D.,75 points)

Doctor of Philosophy

This 75-point program is intended for individuals who want to acquire advanced training in the theory, methods, and practices in the economics of education. It is a highly selective program to prepare individuals for leadership roles in teaching, research, or administrative settings.

The coursework for this program consists of three parts: core courses, courses in research methods, and courses in a specialized area of study, such as higher education, early childhood education, field experimentation, or a regional focus. Students work on their dissertation under the guidance of faculty advisors within the program; additional members of the dissertation committee may be drawn from other TC departments, and at least one committee member must be from Columbia’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. All degrees are conferred by Columbia University.

Admission to the Ph.D. program is highly selective. All applications to enter the program are evaluated on an individual and holistic basis. However, the curriculum of the program assumes that students have some previous coursework in economics and statistics, possess intellectual maturity, and demonstrate an interest in education policy and practice. Compelling applications for admission demonstrate the applicant’s capacity for success and also clearly explain how the Economics and Education curriculum fits with the applicant’s past experiences and future goals.


Application Information

The GRE General Test is required for the Ph.D. program. A strong background in economics is also required. The Ph.D. program prefers applicants with a solid background in mathematics.

Applications are reviewed on an ongoing basis and will be reviewed throughout the year. Preference in scholarship awards will be for those applicants who meet the early application deadline.

Faculty List

Faculty

Lecturers

Visiting Faculty

Adjunct

Full-Time Instructors

Instructors

Director of NCSPE
George and Abby O'Neill Professor of Economics and Education
Assistant Professor of Economics and Education
Assistant Professor of Economics and Education
William H Kilpatrick Professor of Economics and Education
Adjunct Professor of Economics and Education
Associate Professor of Practice
Associate Professor of Economics and Education
Professor of Economics and Education Policy

For up to date information about course offerings including faculty information, please visit the online course schedule.

Course List

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.

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

Educational privatization and school choice raise fundamental questions about the purposes of education, the nature of community, and the boundaries of the market. Through close reading of court decisions and legislative acts as well as works in economics, sociology, history, political science, pedagogy, and investigative journalism, students in this course address these questions. Requirements include four essays and one research paper.

EDPE 5430 Internship in Economics and Education

Permission of advisor required.  Supervised training in diverse settings designed to gain work experience and/or research skills related to economics of education.

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 6025 Conducting Field Experiments: Design and Implementation

The purpose of this course is to introduce students familiar with causal methods to the design and implementation of field experiments in economics and education. In the first part of the course, students will study experimental design. In the second part of the course, students will focus on the practical aspects of running an experiment. The course assignments will lead up to a completed proposal outlining the theory, design, and implementation of a field experiment. In addition, students will complete an IRB application for human-subjects approval and present their proposals.

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 6590 Doctoral Research Seminar on Economics of Education

Through presentation and discussion of their research studies, students learn research skills and improve their understanding of various issues in the research process from the initial stage to dissemination. 

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.