Teaching of Social Studies PhD

Doctor of Philosophy in the Teaching of Social Studies


Prepare to be a leader in social studies educational research.  Our graduates take up research careers often in universities or other educational institutions.  

Students in the Doctor of Philosophy program take coursework that offer them a depth of knowing the field of social studies education and prepare them as experts in their area of focus and their research.  The program supports the development of students’ scholarly identities. Throughout the program, students consider where and how they situate themselves in the field as a researcher of/in contemporary social studies issues.  They also do the things that scholars do – engage in research with faculty, present at conferences, publish papers, mentor students, explore college teaching, and find their intellectual community.  Students select courses as Teachers College, Columbia University, and in the Doctoral Consortium in NYC to develop a focus area of study – historical understanding, memory studies, activism and civics, peace studies, global education.  Students take introductory and advanced coursework in specific research paradigms so they are prepared for the independent work of the dissertation. This coursework is determined with an advisor and the entire program faculty.  

Our location in New York City makes us unique, whether students conduct their research here or elsewhere.  The city is a wonderful educational laboratory for an array of student interests. Here, so many different kinds of educational institutions exist within the NYCDOE and in the multitude of non-profit entities that educate.  We are also a significant place in the global flow of intellectual, cultural, and civic discourse and possibility.



A graduate student has an animated conversation with his peers at TC.

Admissions Information

Doctor of Philosophy

  • Points/Credits: 75
  • Entry Terms: Fall Only

Application Deadlines

  • Spring: N/A
  • Summer/Fall (Priority): December 15
  • Summer/Fall (Final): December 15

Supplemental Application Requirements/Comments

  • Academic Writing Sample

Course Requirements

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

The Doctor of Philosophy in Social Studies requires 75 points of graduate study and a dissertation. The Ph.D. degree program in Social Studies leads to a strongly research-oriented degree designed for individuals preparing for a career in teaching, conducting research, and working in teacher education in a university setting or a private or public policy organization.

Courses in the major field (15 points minimum):
Please note: Curriculum changes are underway for the 2018-19; see Doctoral Handbook and your advisor for most up-to-date info on requirements.

  • A&HW 5030 Diversity and the social studies curriculum
  • A&HW 5031 Teacher education in social studies
  • A&HW 5530 History of American social thought
  • A&HW 6500 History of social studies
  • A&HW 6530 Curriculum development, research, and supervision

Content courses in the major field (21 points minimum):

Soon after beginning the program, students must select an area of specialization. Students should select courses with an advisor, taking care to include courses relevant to the area of dissertation research. These courses may be taken at either Teachers College or the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Columbia University.

Research Courses (18 points minimum):

Required Courses:

  • A&HW 5503 Research paper in social studies (done in conjunction with the fourth round of doctoral seminar)
  • A&HW 6503 Doctoral seminar in social studies (taken four times consecutively during the first two years of the program)
  • A&HW 7503 Dissertation seminar in social studies (taken at the time of presentation of the doctoral proposal)
  • A&HW 8903 Dissertation advisement in the teaching of social studies

 Other offerings:

  • A&HW 5931 Guided investigations in the teaching of social studies
  • A&HW 6030 Research in social studies education
  • A&HW 6203 Advanced fieldwork in social studies
  • A&HW 6903 Research and independent study in social studies
  • A&HW 6935 Studies in history and in the teaching of history and social studies

Broad and basic areas of professional scholarship (15 points minimum):

Same as “Broad and basic areas of professional scholarship” in Ed.D. degree program. See above.

Further requirements:

In addition to the dissertation, students must satisfy the foreign language requirements equivalent to those of the department of the Columbia University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences with which their work is most closely identified. For Ph.D. students in Social Studies, the usual cognate department in the Graduate School is History or Political Science, though courses should be selected that support the student’s scholarly interest and in close consultation with an academic advisor. Students should read the Requirements for Doctor of Philosophy obtainable from the Office of Doctoral Studies at Teachers College.

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