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Education Policy Studies

Department of Other Areas of Interest


Program Description

The breadth and depth of education policy studies at Teachers College is unmatched at any other school of education in the United States. Teachers College faculty who teach education policy courses include economists, lawyers, political scientists, psychologists, and sociologists as well as specialists in a wide range of interdisciplinary areas such as early childhood education, K-12 school reform, higher education policy, and law and education policy. Thus, policy courses and research at Teachers College are grounded in a full range of disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives. 

Many education policy faculty members focus on the U.S., particularly the special challenges facing large cities, but we also have a very strong cadre with research and teaching interests in comparative and international education. Methodologically, we prepare students in quantitative, qualitative and mixed-methods approaches, and we encourage students to learn methods by doing original research of their own or through organized team projects. In addition to our emphasis on research and teaching, Teachers College policy faculty work closely with legislators, governors and other policy makers 
and provide opportunities for students to participate in this important work. Thus, through coursework, seminars and internship opportunities, Teachers College students can examine the politics of social and educational change, how policies should be evaluated, and how climates of support for policies are created. 

Advancing both theoretical and applied dimensions of policy, our internationally renowned policy faculty teach courses, undertake path-breaking research, and help shape policy debates through their publications and commentary. TC students augment their theoretical training with fellowships, internships, colloquia, and policy student network activities. Some put their primary emphasis on studying education policy by enrolling in one of the degree programs that, beginning in Fall 2011, will be housed in the new Department of Education Policy and Social Analysis. Others concentrate their efforts on important issues dealt with in depth by other programs and sample selectively from the array of policy-focused courses and activities available to all students. Given the strength of faculty and students, and the unique opportunities offered, TC provides a dynamic policy experience. 

From taking one or two policy courses to enrolling in one of the six policy related programs, students at Teachers College have a range of options when it comes to 
studying educational policy:

  • Dabbling in Policy Study: Students enroll in individual policy courses that are open to everyone at Teachers College. The bulk of these courses are in the six policy programs; however, some are located in other programs, including Measurement and Special Education.

  • College-wide Policy Activities: The Policy Student Network (PSN) is a student-run group which offers students an informal forum to share thoughts, policy experiences, internships and job opportunities, course advice, and recent work. The PSN regularly sponsors and organizes events for academic and professional advice and networking, 
 and broadcasts opportunities for internships and jobs.

The Brown Bag Lunches are colloquia open to the Teachers College community and the broader New York education community. The colloquium series expands the education dialog at TC by introducing students to noted academics, researchers, and policymakers from across the country. 

To find out about policy internships, students may sign up with TC Policy Connections. The goal is to connect students with “real world” experience and understanding of edu-cation policy through public, private, and non-profit organizations. In order to participate in the TC Policy Connections internship program you must have completed one graduate level policy course. For international and comparative education students, the require-ment is one ITSF course. For more information about this opportunity, please visit the website at: http://www.tc.columbia.edu/edpolicy/?Info=Internships

  • College-Wide Policy Concentration: (Non-programmatic Concentration offered through the Sociology and Education Program): Students from any program at Teachers College can enroll in a specified sequence of policy courses within the Sociology and Education Program (Department of Education Policy and Social Analysis) and complete a Policy Concentration (see description below).

  • Policy-Related Programs: Students who want educational policy to be more central to their graduate studies can apply to one of six degree programs that weave many policy classes into their required curriculum. Four of these programs are housed in the newly created Department of Education Policy and Social Analysis:
    •     Economics and Education
    •     Leadership, Policy, and Politics
    •     Politics and Education 
    •     Sociology and Education

Early Childhood Education is housed in the Department of Curriculum and Teaching. 

International Educational Development is housed in the Department of International and Transcultural Studies.

Whether students are enrolled in a policy related program or interested in taking only one or two policy courses, the list of policy courses at Teachers College is long and impressive. For more information about the College-wide policy experience, please visit www.tc.edu/edpolicy.

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