Anthropology and Education

Welcome to the Anthropology program


Anthropology is positioned to answer some of the toughest questions of education and policy-making because of its emphasis on spending time with and learning from people. Our program highlights participatory ethnography: engaging in and observing human activities and conversing with people as a means of improving education and collaborating with local groups and organizations. We offer one of the only master's programs in Anthropology and Education in the world and we offer a unique outlook on how to understand and support diverse approaches to education in and outside the classroom.

Our two doctoral programs help student develop the complex theoretical and methodological issues involved in the application of 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.

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The masters program in Anthropology and Education is concerned with the cultural, social and linguistic dimensions of education. Our program offers insight to better understand inequalities, cultural differences, linguistic diversity, and the wealth of human life for educational purposes. We examine educational processes in schools and classrooms, in families, on street corners, in community centers, in churches, and in all other non-conventional education settings.

The Doctoral Programs are research degrees designed to help students develop the complex theoretical and methodological issues involved in the application of anthropological knowledge and approaches to matters of policy concern in medicine, psychiatry, psychoanalysis, economic and community development, education, businesses and corporations, institutional programs, ecological and environmental change, etc. The programs lead to a Columbia degree and capitalize on the strength of the university's faculty.

Two doctoral programs are offered and differ slightly in their focus and the career paths for which they prepare.

The program in Anthropology and Education emphasizes theories of education and their uses in the analysis and planning of educational efforts in and out of schools. An Ed.D. in Anthropology and Education is also available under special circumstances.

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Anthropology at Teachers College

Anthropology Blog

The Anthropology Programs at Teachers College, Columbia University

Andrew Wortham (PhD ’21) on his dissertation research, joining the academic work force, and finding teaching opportunities.

Andrew Wortham is a Lecturer at Kunming University of Science and Technology in the Yunnan Province of Southwest China. He is an incoming postdoctoral fellow at NYU Shanghai. His research focuses on the creation of LGBTQIA communities around HIV/AIDS organizations in Yunnan. Can you start by telling me a little bit about yourself, your research […]

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Rongwei Tang (MA ’22) on applying for PhDs, IP writing, and making the most of the TC experience

Rongwei Tang is a second year MA student studying the dissemination of Chinese intangible cultural heritage on Chinese social media. She was recently accepted into the Mass Communication Doctoral Program at the University of Minnesota and will be attending in the fall. First of all, congrats on your acceptance to your PhD program! Thank you! […]

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Scott Freeman (PhD ’14) on working for NGOs, developing relationships during fieldwork, and the interdisciplinary nature of anthropology

Scott Freeman is a Professorial Lecturer at American University’s School of International Service in Washington, D.C. His research interests focus on the intersection of anthropology of the environment, critical development studies, and the anthropology of labor with an area focus on Haiti and the Dominican Republic. His current research concerns the ways bureaucratic and financial […]

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