The Programs in Curriculum and Teaching is designed for teachers, administrators, and other educators who: (1) have received formal professional preparation in preschool through grade twelve teaching at an accredited college or university, and/or; (2) hold, or are eligible to receive, teacher certification.
Students will have opportunities to become experts in such areas as curriculum development, school change and reform initiatives, action research and other school- based inquiry strategies, and will gain perspectives on teaching as complex intellectual activity. The overarching intention of the program is to assist educators who expect to exert leadership in their school settings and with their colleagues.
Any applicant seeking initial teacher certification should apply for the preservice, or initial certification, M.A. program in Early Childhood Education or Elementary/ Inclusive Elementary Education.
Entry Terms: Summer/Fall
The MA in Curriculum and Teaching (MA-CURR) is a flexible but structured 32 point program. It provides students a core of common experiences, driving questions, and shared challenges in conjunction with the opportunity to shape a course of study reflective of their individual needs, interests, and purposes.
The MA-CURR (as it is referred to for shorthand) is designed for educators practicing and/or aspiring to practice in a diversity of contexts, including but not limited to formal school and school district settings (whether as teachers, building leaders, coaches, mentors, cooperating teachers, and the like). Museum educators, community-based educators, activists, and many others also find the program a good fit. Some prior experience is recommended, but not required. A commitment to public education is welcome (but not required). In short, the program is for educators and the educationally minded who wish to deepen their knowledge, skill, and vision as teachers, educational leaders, and developers and designers of curriculum, broadly understood. The program is well-suited both to those who are at a highly exploratory point in their work and those who have very clear ideas of where they want to bear down in their studies. Either way, we seek students who are intellectually curious and who want to play an active role in shaping their own course of study.
Core tenets of the program are:
Teachers are necessarily and rightly adapters and designers of curriculum;
Curriculum specialists are properly grounded in and informed by first-hand understanding of teaching and learning and real contexts;
Inquiry is central to the tasks of education at every point;
Educators in all contexts have the responsibility to orient their work to, and assess it in light of, ever-present, variously manifested, needs for and goals of social justice.
Structurally, the program is organized around a core of common coursework, and associated field experience, dealing with principles, history, and skills of curriculum design and of pedagogy, in context of an alert and critical attention to social, ethical, professional and other challenges facing educators and children/young people in schools. Beyond these common requirements, MA students, working closely with an advisor, design a course of study reflecting their particular interests, needs, and desired area(s) of professional expertise. As a source of continuity, and a culminating activity, all students conduct an “Integrative Project,” focused on an issue, problem, and/or question identified by the student.
Students in the MA-CURR take some courses, and engage in some joint activities, with students in other Curriculum and Teaching programs, in particular, the Master of Education (Ed.M) in C&T (60 points) and the MA in Curriculum and Teaching with Professional Certification, Elementary (MA-CUED) or Secondary (MA-CUSD). Faculty, as well as students, work together across all of these programs—all of which are devoted equally to the critical study and improvement of pedagogy, curriculum, and society.
Please see “MA in Curriculum & Teaching Program Guide” for further information about program purposes, structure and expectations; and for answers to Frequently Asked Questions.
All students are assigned an advisor upon admission. It is essential that students begin working with their advisor well before commencing their studies at Teachers College. Advisors can help students decide what program timeline makes best sense for them; students and advisors work together to develop the Program Plan; students are required to consult with their advisor prior to initial course selection and registration.
Please see “MA in Curriculum & Teaching Program Guide” for further information about advising.
Requirements and schedule notes are correct as of publication. Please check the online schedule for most current scheduling information: https://www.tc.columbia.edu/courses/. In case of confusion, consult with your advisor. Students are responsible for meeting all program requirements. Please plan accordingly.
Common (core) courses. All students in the MA in Curriculum & Teaching are required to take the following (14 points):
C&T 4005 Principles of Teaching and Learning (4 credits)
Fall only (includes a required 50 hour field experience component: see below) To be taken concurrently with C&T 4502 semester 1
C&T 4002 Curriculum Theory and History (3 cr) Fall, Spring, Summer
C&T 4052 Designing Curriculum and Instruction (3 cr) Fall, Spring, & Summer; Consult with advisor to assure proper section
One of the following age/level specific courses:
C&T 4130 Critical Perspectives in Elementary Education (K - 6) (3 cr) Fall only; OR
C&T 4145 Critical Perspectives in Secondary Education (3 cr) Fall only;
OR If teaching focus is in Early Childhood or Higher Education, consult with advisor
C&T 4502.002 Integrative Project seminar (0-1 cr) Fall only
Pre- or co-requisite: C&T 4005
Register for section designated for MA-CURR students
Consult with advisor regarding credit allotment
C&T 4502.002 Integrative Project seminar (0-1 cr) Spring only
To be taken immediately following first semester of C&T 4502
Field Experience (in conjunction with C&T 4005)
Students who are, while in the program, working in a school or other setting organized for teaching and learning may (but are not obliged to) do their field experience in that setting, although mostly not in their own classroom or comparable space, with program approval. In other cases, program staff work with students to find placements in New York City schools or informal educational spaces for 50 hours of observation and reflection on instructional practices, interactions between and among students and teachers, critical issues, curricular enactments, and design activities. The field placement typically spans ten weeks and averages five hours per week.
Elective courses (18 points)
In addition to the core courses, students create their own program plans in consultation with and subject to approval of advisor. Advisors may recommend coherent sets of courses or course possibilities aligned with particular student interests and departmental strengths, for example, early childhood, literacy, diversity, equity, urban education, inclusive education (elementary), gifted and talented education, further depth in curriculum theory and design. Advisors may also recommend or approve courses reflective of student interests that do not fit neatly into these categories but that cohere around other desires, needs, and purposes. Elective courses may be taken in the Department of Curriculum & Teaching, in other departments of Teachers College, and at Columbia University.
In order to assure breadth of study, the College requires students to earn at least six credits at Teachers College (which may mean two or three courses) outside of their home department (i.e., outside of the Department of Curriculum and Teaching). MA CURR students frequently take more than six credits outside of the Department.
Please note that a minimum of 20 credits (of the minimum of 32 required for the degree) must be earned in the Department of Curriculum and Teaching.
The Integrative Project
The Integrative Project is an opportunity for MA – CURR students to design and conduct a disciplined and substantial inquiry into an issue, problem, and/or question of particular interest, germane to the student’s curricular and/or pedagogical investments, educational and social values, and professional contexts and aims. Students’ inquiries may take multiple forms, for example, practice-based action research, design study, or academic paper synthesizing and critiquing prior research. In all cases, an end goal is for students to arrive at a well-grounded, articulated perspective and/or a set of recommendations for their own practice and continuing thought. Students present their projects, to colleagues, faculty, friends and family, at an “Academic Showcase” at the end of the spring term.
Only 1 credit is earned for the Integrative Project (in CT 4502, see next), but the work is substantial, and spans two semesters/a full academic year. The two semester seminar sequence, CT 4502 fall and CT 4502 spring is the primary site for support in conceptualizing, designing, and carrying out the project. Full time students ordinarily take the seminar sequence beginning in their first fall semester. Part time students who will be enrolled for two fall and spring semesters ordinarily take the seminar sequence in their second fall and spring. (In other words, to whatever extent it may be possible, the seminar sequence is taken towards the end of a student’s studies.) Please note that the seminar may only be taken in consecutive fall and spring semesters. The Integrative Project is also supported in CT 4005 (Principles of Teaching and Learning), which must be taken prior to or concurrent with the fall semester of CT 4502. The critical observation and reflection on customs and practices of teaching, learning, curriculum, and assessment that play a big part in CT 4005, in conjunction with course readings and discussions, typically prompt new or deepened thoughts, curiosities, and interests, and often lead to inquiry questions that may catalyze the Integrative Project.
As noted, the Integrative Project is a substantial undertaking, one that demands significant independent effort on the student’s part. For this reason, students sometimes find it helpful to apply for a “Certificate of Equivalency” (“COE”) while conducting it—typically during the second semester of CT 4502. The COE is the student and advisor’s statement that, during the semester in question, the student is doing academic work equivalent to what is ordinarily done for a specified number of credits, but is not actually earning credit for the work. For example, a student might be conducting observations or interviews, and/or doing extensive readings, for their Integrative Project but are not required to receive credit in any course. Given this effort, a full time student (for example), might prefer to take ten credits of course work in a given term, and to apply for a two credit COE. In such a case, the student would be considered full time for Financial Aid purposes (and/or certain other purposes), even though they would be carrying less than the mandated full time allotment of credits. (In this same case, the student would thus have to earn those two credits at a later date. A COE does not count towards the degree.)
Consult with your advisor if you think a COE may be helpful. You should, in any case, consult with your advisor early in your program—preferably, at initial advising—about when to take CT 4005 and CT 4502.
New Student Advising and Online Registration
Please see note above and in the MA in Curriculum and Teaching Program Guide: Newly admitted students need promptly to seek advising with the assigned advisor or Professor Roosevelt and begin to draft their Program Plan. A PIN (Personal Identification Number) will be assigned after consultation and agreement about first semester courses. The student will then be able to register for courses online. The Office of Admission may provide further information to assist you in the registration process (https://www.tc.columbia.edu/admission/; 212-678-3710; email@example.com). If you have not been notified of your advisor, please seek guidance from the Program Director.
Teachers College students must apply (i.e., declare their intent) to graduate by a specified date well in advance of each of the College’s three annual graduation dates: http://www.tc.columbia.edu/registrar/pages/degree-information/ how-to-file-for-a-masters-degree/
Please note there is only one commencement ceremony each academic year, at the end of the Spring Term . Participation in this ceremony presumes successful completion of all degree requirements as of the end of the spring term. Under certain limited circumstances specified by the College, students in good standing who have not yet completed all degree requirements may also participate (“walk”) in the May ceremony. Please consult Registrar’s Office and/or your advisor about criteria and procedures for “walking” (taking part in the ceremony without yet being awarded the diploma).
Graduation application due
Entry Terms: Summer/Fall
The Ed.M. is an advanced master’s 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. Leadership is interpreted broadly in this program to include developing curricula, studying teaching, designing professional development, and engaging in action research, all with a focus on challenging inequalities and imagining new possibilities for education.
The Ed.M. is a 60-point program, with the possibility of transferring in 30 points from previous relevant graduate study. It does not lead to New York State certification as a teacher or building administrator. Two years of teaching experience or the equivalent is a prerequisite for admission. Many students hold an initial master's degree.
The program of study for Ed.M. students is as follows:
Curriculum & Teaching Courses
A minimum of 15 points (including 9 points for core courses and 6 points for social context courses) must be taken in the Department of Curriculum and Teaching.
Core Courses (9 points)
Social Context Courses (at least 6 points selected from the following list of suggested courses)
Students must also complete the College’s breadth requirement, which consists of three Teachers College courses taken outside of the Curriculum and Teaching Department.
Breadth Courses (6 points)
An Integrative Project allows students to focus their studies on particular issues related to their professional background and aspirations in the field. Students begin conceptualizing this project in the EdM Project Seminar.
C&T 5500: Ed.M. Project Seminar (1 point)
An initiating seminar is usually taken in the fall semester of the first or second year of the program depending on the student’s individual timeline for program completion. The purpose of this seminar is to initiate a 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, curriculum development and analysis, or action research. Students have a total of four semesters (not including summer semesters) to complete the integrative project.
The Ed.M. 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. This flexibility allows Ed.M. students to select additional courses that support their unique professional goals for curriculum leadership.
Internships | Research
The program does not require an internship, but students may arrange an experience as part of their program plan. Research positions are available at the discretion of faculty. Search the TC Next Career Resources Portal for opportunities.
Entry Terms: Fall Only
The Department of Curriculum and Teaching offers a single Doctor of Education program with different areas of concentration. The program requires 90 points of graduate study beyond the baccalaureate, 40 points of which may be transferred from previous graduate work at other institutions, should they meet requirements of the Teachers College degree.
Applicants interested in the Ed.D. program in the Department of Curriculum and Teaching should consult the booklet, “Studying for the Ed.D. Degree in the Department of Curriculum and Teaching,” available from the Department of Curriculum and Teaching.
The concentrations within the Ed.D. program are:
Doctoral students in all concentrations may also take coursework to prepare themselves as teacher educators.
Enrollment Requirements for First-Year Ed.D. Students
Every first-year Ed.D. student in the Department of Curriculum and Teaching is required to enroll in C&T 5000, Theory and Inquiry in Curriculum and Teaching, in both the fall (6 points) and the spring (3 points) semesters of his or her first year.
C&T 5000 meets for a double class session once per week in the fall and for a single class session once per week in the spring. A student can enroll for more than this minimum, but C&T 5000 must be part of his or her first-year course of study.
C&T 5000 is designed to make beginning doctoral students aware of important problems and issues in curriculum and teaching, to introduce students to methods of formulating questions and to modes of inquiry appropriate to doctoral-level research, and to build a cohesive student cohort.
This is a rigorous course, with respect to both the quantity and sophistication of the material for which students are held responsible. The course requires a commitment of time and effort commensurate with the norms of scholarship at the doctoral level.
It is our belief that the demands placed on the students by this course will benefit students and that those who complete the course and pass the certification examination will be well prepared to continue their doctoral studies successfully through the dissertation phase. Students accepted into the Ed.D. program will receive a list of course texts with their acceptance letters so they can begin their reading early.
The basic curriculum for Ed.D. students includes:
Two (2) research methodology courses relevant to the student’s research interests. Students must complete at least two of the required research core courses prior to enrolling in Dissertation Seminar. The third course may be taken concurrently with Dissertation Seminar.
At least one semester of a research seminar taught by a member of the department faculty is also required.