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Programs in Curriculum & Teaching

In the Department of Curriculum & Teaching

Frequently Asked Questions

Professional Certification in Elementary Education (CUED, M.A.) FAQ

Twelve points is considered a full time load in the fall or spring semester.  Six points is considered a full-time load in each summer session.  With approval from your advisor, you can take up to 14 points a academic year semester.

One or two courses, at most, a semester would be advisable during the academic year when you are teaching.

During the semesters you are enrolled in a practicum (4005 for 4 points) or working on your master’s project (4502 for 1 or 0 points), your advisor can sign a “certificate of equivalency” form indicating that the college considers you a full-time student.

The 4005 practicum requires 50 hours of field work during the fall semester.  Time commitments for the master’s action research project vary depending on the nature of the project, but generally students average 10-15 hours a week in the classroom from October through mid-April.

Yes, the 50 hour practicum is a requirement by New York State for professional certification. All students in the program have already completed student teaching or its equivalent.


Professional Certification in Secondary Education (CUSD, M.A.) FAQ

The M.A. program in secondary education (CUSD) is a 32 credit program, which can lead to professional certification as a grades 7-12 teacher in New York State in the areas of English, Social Studies, Science, Technology, or Mathematics. The program supports three shared philosophical stances underlying our long-standing tradition of preparing teachers as education leaders.  These stances include teaching as inquiry, teaching as curriculum making and teaching for social justice.  The overarching intention of the program is to assist educators who expect to exert leadership in their school settings and with their colleagues.

In order to enroll in the M.A. Secondary Professional Certification Program, students must hold an Initial Certification in Secondary Education in one of these areas: English, Social Studies, Mathematics, or Science & Technology. The application form allows applicants to indicate when they anticipate applying for or receiving their Initial Certification. TOEFL scores are required for international students for whom English is a second language. Due to state law, the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or an equivalent national assessment is now required. However, it is Teachers College policy to assess applicants from a holistic perspective in which no single score is considered to be determinant in admissions decisions.

It is a 32-credit program. With careful planning and advising, students who begin coursework in summer or fall terms can complete the degree in 12 months. Students who begin in January can expect to take approximately 17 months to complete. Some students attend part-time and take longer to complete the program.

The M.A. degree must be completed within 5 years. If the student has an adequate reason for needing an extension, she/he must petition the director of the program (Professor Knight-Diop, 2009-2011). At that point, the student’s transcript will be reviewed to ascertain that satisfactory performance (“B” average minimum) has been maintained, that the student has a reasonable plan to complete the degree, and that any current requirements for the degree will be met.  The student must also meet the college requirement that at least 16 credits be completed in the 5 years prior to graduation.  Once a plan has been devised and approved by the program chair and the department chair, the petition will be forwarded to the Registrar’s Office for approval.

No transfer credits are allowed for this M.A. program.

This program can lead to New York State professional certification as a secondary teacher (7-12) in the areas of English, Social Studies, Science, Technology, or Mathematics, when the student meets other requirements (e.g., tests, years of teaching experience).  These other requirements are the responsibility of the student.

There may be additional requirements if a student holds an initial teaching certificate from another state. For example, NYS only acknowledges science education coursework that is subject-specific, such as biology or chemistry; “general” science courses are not accepted. It is the student’s responsibility to check this information with the State Department of Education. In many cases, any additional requirements can be worked into the student’s program through electives or some extra coursework.

New York State has licensing reciprocity with most states. Please check to make sure that the NYS license will be accepted in another state.

The project is an action research, or teacher research, project, initiated in C&T 4502 Master’s Project.   C&T 4502 is taken in the fall and the instructor assists you in designing your study and completing your research proposal. The research is completed independently in the spring term. The action research project can be conducted in one’s own classroom or in a host teacher’s classroom. Host classrooms are arranged for students, or students may choose their own placement.

The action research project must be completed by the end of summer term (in other words, students have approximately 11 months to design and complete it). If a student fails to complete an acceptable master’s project by the announced deadlines, the student must retake C&T 4502 for 0 points. If the student fails to complete an acceptable project again, the Department faculty will consider whether or not the student should be allowed to continue in the master’s program and under what circumstances.

To provide a sense of the range of research topics, here are the titles of some recent secondary Masters Action Research Projects:

  • Education equity through mathematics: A case study of the young women’s leadership school
  • Resistant learners and homework: Perspectives of students in one South Bronx middle school.
  • “That’s so gay:” An examination of the homophobic classroom.
  • Can we create responsive schedules to meet our students’ academic and social needs?
  • Teacher professional learning and change: A case study in a suburban public high school in New York State
  • The main ideas/topics that should be taught in AP biology or equivalent levels
  • Road to college:  Active preparation towards college admission for 9th graders at Urban Academy

There is a 50 hour practicum associated with C&T 4005 Principles of Teaching and Learning. There is fieldwork associated with C&T 4502 Master’s Project.

If students are teaching, they can use their own classroom for both 4005 and 4502 fieldwork. Students should consult with the instructor of 4005 about setting up practicum and fieldwork placements associated with 4005 and 4502.

For information on scholarships and financial aid, please consult the Teachers College financial aid website: http://www.tc.columbia.edu/admissions/financial-aid/

When an applicant creates an admissions account, s/he will have full access to financial aid information and guidelines. The TC application system is available at: http://www.tc.columbia.edu/apply

Students may begin their program in fall, spring, or summer. New students are required to meet with their advisors in person before registering for their first courses.

Additional information about Teachers College, living in New York City, orientation sessions, and other materials for prospective students is available at: http://www.tc.columbia.edu/housing/

An application for Teachers College housing is available at the TC Online Application System: http://www.tc.columbia.edu/apply

Applications are submitted online. Step-by-step directions are available at: http://www.tc.columbia.edu/apply


Please e-mail your questions and requests to the following address:  ctmed@tc.edu


Master of Education FAQ

The M.Ed. is an advanced masters’ 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, as well as, to design their own program of study and pursue their individual interests. Leadership is interpreted broadly in this program to include developing curricula, studying teaching, designing professional development, and engaging in research, all with a focus on challenging inequalities and imagining new possibilities for education. The M.Ed. program allows students considerable latitude to design a program of study in consultation with their advisor. Program advisors draw on knowledge of the many Teachers College programs and professors to help students construct a program of high interest, interdisciplinary coursework, and educational relevance. The M.Ed. program of study does not lead to New York State certification as teacher or as building administrator.

The following are minimal requirements for admission to the M.Ed. program:

  1. two years of full time teaching experience or the equivalent
  2. a master's degree is ordinarily required


The applications committee reads applications holistically and will consider grade point average, letters of recommendation, your personal essay, and your teaching-related experiences. Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores are not required in the application. 

If you do not meet the two criteria above, please consider the M.A. Elementary or Secondary Professional Certification Programs (CUED or CUSD).

The applicable experience depends on your career and career goals. For example, if you have been working in children's television and want to continue in that work but gain experience in curriculum design, then two years in children's television would be the applicable experience.  Or, if you have been working in a youth organization or a research or policy organization, then two years of experience in that field  (or one year of teaching and one year in that field) would be sufficient.  If you are interested in teaching infants through high school, then it does not matter how many years of applicable experience you have in another career; you would still need two years of teaching experience or you could apply to one of our preservice or inservice programs.

Up to 30 credits from a recent masters degree can be transferred to the 60 credit program. Once admitted to the M.Ed. program, you apply to have your transcript reviewed for transfer credits by the admissions office.  Then your advisor approves the total number of applicable transfer credits. This assessment is completed during your first semester of enrollment. You can find more information about applying for a transfer credits review here: http://www.tc.columbia.edu/transfercredit/

If your masters degree is from Teachers College, all of your credits will transfer to the M.Ed. program, with the exception of student teaching credits.

The Ed.M. is an umbrella program that includes all specializations in the Department of Curriculum & Teaching. Applicants cannot indicate a specific programmatic focus on the Ed.M. application.  However, the program is intentionally flexible to allow for students’ interests and specializations. Once admitted, you will be assigned an advisor to support your programmatic focus.

The Integrative Project is the culminating requirement of the M.Ed. program. The Integrative Project is an individually designed project that will integrate each student’s learning experiences and expand her/his knowledge and practice of leadership. The project may take a number of forms, including an article for publication, a curriculum framework, curriculum development, and action research. 

It is strongly recommended that new M.Ed. students enroll in the one credit Integrative Project Seminar (C&T 5500) in the fall term of their first year. The seminar instructor will be responsible for guiding students’ design of and completion of their integrative projects. The final project will be evaluated by two readers, the seminar instructor and one other faculty member in the Department of Curriculum and Teaching. Students will have up to four semesters following the seminar (not including summer) to complete the integrative project.

Here are the titles of some recent M.Ed. Integrative Projects:

  • Instructional Leadership: Making Principals Leaders of Learners (A Model for the Singapore Principal)
  • Proposal for Service-Learning at a Rural School in India
  • Rethinking Mathematics Education in Singapore
  • Teacher Professional Development Course: Challenging Stereotypes in a Global Context


Students who completed an M.A. program in the Department of Curriculum & Teaching will have designed and written a Masters Action Research Project, with a similar course number (C&T 4502). However, the M.Ed. Integrative Project is required of all degree candidates, and it is not a duplication of the M.A. Action Research Project.

The following Core Courses are required, in addition to the Integrative Project Seminar (1 credit):

C&T 4002   Curriculum theory and history (3 credits)
C&T 4005   Principles of teaching and learning (3 credits, no practicum)
C&T 4052   Designing curriculum and instruction (3 credits)


A total of 15 credits with the Department of Curriculum and Teaching must be taken (including the above 10 credits). 

Three out-of-department Teachers College courses are required (2-3 credits each).

Course selections should be made in consultation with a faculty advisor. The program is extremely flexible and allows enrollment in the wide array of courses offered at Teachers College.

Please consult the Teachers College website for current tuition and fees: http://www.tc.columbia.edu/admissions/tuition-and-fees/

For information on scholarships and financial aid, please consult the Teachers College financial aid website:
http://www.tc.columbia.edu/admissions/finaid.htm

When an applicant creates an admissions account, s/he will have full access to financial aid information and guidelines. The TC application system is available at:
https://app.applyyourself.com/?id=col-tc

Students may begin their program in fall, spring, or summer. New students are required to meet with their advisors in person before registering for their first courses.

Additional information about Teachers College, living in New York City, orientation sessions, and other materials for prospective students is available at: http://www.tc.columbia.edu/housing

An application for Teachers College housing is available at the TC Online Application System: http://www.tc.columbia.edu/apply

Applications are submitted online. Step-by-step directions are available at:http://www.tc.columbia.edu/apply


Please e-mail your questions and requests to the following address:  ctmed@tc.edu


Doctor of Education FAQ

The degree of Doctor of Education emphasizes broad preparation for advanced professional responsibilities through a program based upon extensive study in a specialized branch of the field of education or in an area of instruction. Additionally, several programs leading to the Degree of Doctor of Education for persons preparing for college teaching of an academic subject are offered in some departments. A detailed statement will be found in the bulletin, 

"Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Education in College Teaching of an Academic Subject," which may be obtained from the Office of Doctoral Studies.Every Ed.D. student in Teachers College must be enrolled in a department and in a designated area of specialization, or in an Interdepartmental Program of Study. Ed.D. programs are offered in most areas of study in Teachers College but not all. A prospective student should consult the current Teachers College catalog, and inquire by conference or correspondence whether the Ed.D. degree is offered in the field of interest. Inquiries may be made to the Office of Admission or to faculty advisers in the departments or programs concerned.

The early deadline for applications is January 2. All applications received by the Office of Admission after January 2nd will be held until April 1, the final deadline. Applications received after April 1 will be held in the Office of Admissions until January of the following year.  

Applications are obtained from and submitted to the Teachers College Admissions Office. Questions about the status or processing of applications, should be directed to the Office of Admissions at (212) 678-3710, at Teachers College Box 302, or see the Teachers College Web Site.

All applications for admission must include the following: 

  • Official transcripts from each college or university the applicant has attended,
  • An official report, not more than 5 years old, of the results of the Graduate Record Examination or Miller Analogies Test,
  • Personal statement of the applicant’s interest in doctoral work in curriculum and teaching, including evidence of relevant teaching, research and other work experience in education,
  • A sample of the applicant’s academic or professional writing,
  • Two letters of recommendation; letters from college and university faculty carry more weight than do letters from friends, co-workers, and supervisors,
  • For international students, an official report of the results of the TOEFL.

Admission to the Ed.D. program in the Department of Curriculum and Teaching is based on the applicant’s prior academic work and his or her potential for research, development, or leadership in education.  Applicants for admission into the program must provide evidence of three years of successful teaching or equivalent experience. Applications are obtained from and submitted to the Teachers College Admissions Office.

The doctoral degree requires 90-points of total coursework, including up to 40 credits that may be transferred from previous graduate study. Eligible courses are chosen through a transcript review conducted by the advisor. Students are responsible for submitting all necessary materials to their advisor. Upon advisory review, students are then required to include these into their Program Plan and submit relevant forms to the Office of Doctoral Studies.

In order to transfer into the program from a different department, students need to re-apply with the Office of Admissions. If admitted, students will need to complete the core and concentration requirements of the program, but will receive credit for any TC courses previously taken. 

Each year Teachers College awards over $5 million of its own funds in scholarship and stipend aid, and $2 million of endowed funds to new and continuing students. Most scholarship awards are made on the basis of academic merit. Scholarships are applied to tuition only, and students should expect to provide additional funds for the tuition balance, fees, medical insurance, academic and living expenses. Some scholarships may require students to reapply every year. Students are responsible to obtain details on re-application processes if they may apply. 

Information and applications for Teachers College grants and scholarships can be obtained from the Office of Grants. Please see this link for more information.

Scholarships awarded from the Department of Curriculum Teaching include competitive stipends for conference attendance and presentations, among others. Information on department scholarships can be obtained from Alisha Arthur, Director of Academic Affairs.

Due to heavy workload, students are encouraged to complete several readings before their first year of coursework, specifically in preparation for C&T 5000. A partial reading list will be made available to all students admitted into the Ed.D. program sometime in the early summer following admission. It is also advised that students begin to familiarize themselves with faculty expertise within the department and to forge professional relationships with colleagues across varying stages and concentrations. 

In addition to advisors and sponsors, it is highly recommended that students take initiative to form study groups with other program colleagues. In many cases, students find these groups extremely valuable for academic and social support. 

When students are admitted to the program, they are assigned an advisor to assist with program planning. Advisor assignments are made on the basis of the information contained in a student’s application.  To the extent possible, students will be matched with faculty with whom they share some interests.  However, once students are enrolled they are free to change advisors, if they find another faculty member with whom they would like to work. This is not an unusual occurrence. Changing advisors requires agreement from both the current and the proposed faculty advisor and is accomplished by obtaining both their signatures on a form obtained from the Doctoral Program Administrator.  

Dissertation sponsors will provide the most continuous and specific support to students as they plan, conduct, report, and defend their dissertation work.  In some instances, the sponsor will be one’s advisor, but this is not always the case.  Students should select a faculty sponsor who is interested and competent in both their topic and method of inquiry.  It is expected that students will take the initiative in selecting their sponsor and in seeking his or her agreement to serve on their committee.

All first-year doctoral students are required to enroll in two semesters of C&T 5000, Theory and Inquiry in Curriculum and Teaching, six credits in the fall and three credits in the spring. In addition, students must complete the following Department’s research core requirements, which include HUDM 4122    Probability and Statistical Inference plus two additional research methodology courses relevant to the student’s research interests. Students must also take at least one advanced 6000-level seminar and two semesters of dissertation seminar (C&T 7500 and/or 7501 in any order) unless the proposal is successfully defended in the first semester of dissertation seminar. 

In addition to completing the core courses, students admitted into the Ed.D. program in the Department of Curriculum and Teaching must eventually choose a concentration of study. Each concentration has its own course requirements in addition to the department-wide required Ed.D. core requirements. However, it is important to stress that these requirements are not intended to be strictly prescriptive, nor are they meant to limit students to one area of professional interest.  In conjunction with their advisors, students have considerable latitude in tailoring a course of study that will meet their needs and prepare them to develop and carry out a dissertation.  

Concentrations within the Ed.D. program in the Department of Curriculum and Teaching are:

  • Curriculum Studies
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Early Childhood Policy
  • Educational Leadership/School Change
  • Gifted Education
  • Literacy Education
  • Urban and Multicultural Education

Students are able to take courses outside of Teachers College according to reciprocity criteria established by the College. All courses taken outside TC are subject to the tuition rates of the school offering the course. Consult the Registrar for current rates and for instruction on how to register to courses outside TC but within CU. Please see the TC Catalogue for information about taking courses through the Inter-University Doctoral Consortium. There are necessary forms that may require advanced planning. 

Although, most students opt to take methodology courses within the department, some do elect to enroll in courses offered across the college’s various departments. Students are encouraged to seek advisement from colleagues and professors in order to locate methodology courses that best inform and support their research interests.

Each concentration requires elective coursework in addition to the doctoral core requirements. Students need to consult with their respective advisor for details on these electives.

The qualifying examination, sometimes referred to as the “certification exam,” is a take-home examination that is distributed on the day following the last day of C&T 5000. It is due two weeks later. For more information on the process of certification, please see the EdD Guide.

Once certified, students normally have between 4 and 6 years to complete their dissertation. If extenuating circumstances force students to take a temporary leave, students are authorized for two semesters of exemptions for personal reasons, or may obtain waivers for documentable reasons out of the student’s control. Extensions can be granted only under special circumstances. These must be arranged with student’s advisors and with ODS. 

In the writing of the dissertation, a candidate must make use of the manual, "Preparation of Doctoral Dissertations," obtainable from the Office of Doctoral Studies. Arrangements of alternative formats may be decided only through arrangements made with dissertation committee members, involving full support from the dissertation sponsor. 

Once certified, students normally have between 4 and 6 years to complete their dissertation. This can be dependent on whether students choose to commit to either full-time or part-time status. Students are responsible for obtaining information from the Financial Aid Office on how changes in status may impact financial aid. 

If extenuating circumstances force students to take a temporary leave, students are authorized for two semesters of exemptions for personal reasons, or may obtain waivers for documentable reasons out of the student’s control. Extensions can be granted only under special circumstances. These must be arranged with student’s advisors and with ODS. 

After publication, full dissertations can be accessed digitally from the library website, under the link Digital Dissertations. Hard copies are shelved on the third floor of the main Russell Library. Dissertation proposals specific to the Department are located in 308 Zankel Hall and may be borrowed for in-house use only through permission from the office secretary. 

The Office of Doctoral Studies is located at the following address:
Teachers College, Columbia University
Box 172, 324 Thorndike
525 West 120th Street
New York, N.Y. 10027
(212) 678-4058
http://www.tc.columbia.edu/doctoral/

Teachers College offers a variety of work study and graduate assistantships for students. A full listing for work opportunities and instructions for application can be obtained from the Human Resources Office.

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