Frequently Asked Questions

Master of Arts (M.A.) FAQs

No. A fall start is appropriate for full time students intending to complete the program in three consecutive semesters (fall, spring, summer), but students may begin the program in the fall or summer semesters. Many full time students find it advisable to begin in the summer and to plan on completing their program in the spring, or following summer.  Entering students should consult with their advisor about the start date that makes most sense for them; students are in any case required to get advisement before registering for their first courses.

Nine points or more 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 an 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 (i.e., when taking C&T 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 Integrative Project vary depending on the nature of the project, but students whose project has called for them to be in the field average 10-15 hours a week from October through mid-April.

Information about current tuition and fees, and more, can be found at: http://www.tc.columbia.edu/admissions/tuition-and-fees/

Prospective students may find it helpful to start at the Teachers College Admissions website: http://www.tc.columbia.edu/admissions/

Various scholarships and sources of financial aid are available, please see: http://www.tc.columbia.edu/admissions/financial-aid/

Good places to find additional information about Teachers College, living in New York City, orientation sessions, and more are: http://www.tc.columbia.edu/admissions/ and: http://www.tc.columbia.edu/

Information about housing at Teachers College is available at: http://www.tc.columbia.edu/housing/

Please direct your questions and requests to the Program Manager, Dorsa Fahami at dif2121@tc.columbia.edu

Master of Education (Ed.M.) FAQs

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.

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

Please e-mail your questions and requests to the program manager, Dorsa Fahami at dif2121@tc.columbia.edu  

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

  1. Two years of full time teaching experience or the equivalent
  2. Many students hold an initial masters degree, but this is not 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. in Curriculum & Teaching or the M.A. Elementary or Secondary Professional Certification 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.

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

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

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.

For information on scholarships and financial aid, please consult the Teachers College financial aid website:

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:

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.

The following Core Courses are required:

C&T 4005   Principles of teaching and learning (3 credits, no practicum)

C&T 4052   Designing curriculum and instruction (3 credits)

C&T 5500   Integrative Project Seminar (1 credit)

A total of 15 credits with the Department of Curriculum and Teaching must be taken (including the above 10 credits). At least six credits towards Teachers College courses taken outside of the C&T department. 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.

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

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. 

The one credit Integrative Project Seminar (C&T 5500) is usually taken in the fall semester of the first or second year of the program, depending on each student’s individual timeline for program completion. 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:

  • Proposal for Service-Learning at a Rural School in India
  • Teacher Professional Development Course: Challenging Stereotypes in a Global Context
  • Complicating Nonformal “Girls Only!” Educational Programs
  • The Privilege of Play: A Look at the Role of Play in Early Childhood Education
  • Developing Students’ Historical Thinking Through Primary Source Analysis and Argumentation: A Curriculum Design and Analysis Project
  • Learning Literacy and Empathy Through Virtual Reality
  • Exploring Professional Development that Supports Urban Teachers’ Adoption and Implementation of Culturally Relevant Pedagogy
  • Developing Students’ Historical Thinking Through Primary Source Analysis and Argumentation: A Curriculum Design and Analysis Project

Students who completed an M.A. program in the Department of Curriculum & Teaching will have designed and written a Masters Action Research or Integrative 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 or Integrative Project.

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) FAQs

The program has four core courses, and every other course is for you to choose with your advisor’s approval. In that sense, almost all graduate-level courses can be electives.

All applications for admission must include the following: 

  • Official transcripts from each college or university the applicant has attended,
  • 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.

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. 

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.

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.

All first-year doctoral students are required to enroll in our three-course sequence in the first year: 6100 and 6101 in Fall, and 6102 in Spring. In addition, students must complete the Department’s research core requirements, which include three research methodology courses. Students must also take at least one advanced 6000-level seminar and one semester of dissertation seminar (C&T 7500) .

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. 

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.

The application deadline is December 1.  Applications are submitted online. 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 Website.

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. 

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 doctoral degree requires 75 points of total coursework, including up to 30 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.

The Office of Doctoral Studies is located at the following address:
Teachers College, Columbia University
Box 172
528 West 121st St., Room 324
New York, N.Y. 10027
(212) 678-4058

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.  

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. 

The program is highly flexible. In addition to completing the core courses, 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. 

Due to heavy workload, students are encouraged to complete several readings before their first year of coursework, specifically in preparation for C&T 6100 & 6101. 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.

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 advice from colleagues and professors in order to locate methodology courses that best inform and support their research interests.

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 requirements of the program, but will receive credit for any TC courses previously taken.

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. 

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. 

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.

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