Economics and Education

Welcome to the Economics & Education program


The program in Economics and Education at Teachers College is a dynamic program that has maintained its position of leadership in this rapidly growing field. Economic concepts and analytic methods are increasingly influential in education policy and administration, and graduates who can combine quantitative skills with substantive expertise are in high demand. Our program prepares students to apply the economic approach, as well as its methodological tools, to contemporary education policy issues both domestically and globally. 

Economics and Education Program's Webinar for Prospective Students

Fall 2021 OPEN HOUSE

Come meet program faculty, staff, and students!

Monday, November 8, 9:30am-10:30am ET -- Please register for the webinar here.  

Prospective doctoral students who want to learn about the PEAR Fellowship can register for an online webinar on Tuesday, October 26, 6-7 pm ET here.

If you wish to receive more information about the program, please complete your inquiry form here and be sure to select "Policy" as your area of Interest and "Economics and Education" for the program. 

Choose Your Degree


Our 33-credit Master of Arts (M.A.) in Economics and Education is designed to equip education professionals and policy-makers with the skills required to interpret and synthesize education-related research, to design and implement effective educational policy, and to assess the consequences of education policy, both domestically and in international settings.

The program can be completed in 1.5 years of study (fall, spring, fall) though students often take four semesters to take full advantage of program offerings and the educational environment of Teachers College.

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Our 60-credit Master of Education (Ed.M) program is intended for individuals who already have a graduate degree in a related field, who would like to build upon that foundation with additional training in Economics and Education. Courses in the program provide a serious analytical benchmark for the analysis of financial and economic issues in education, in the United States and other countries.

The program allows a student to specialize in a number of areas including economic growth, immigration, higher education, privatization, and international education, but provides a foundation in economics and educational policy through courses that address these topics.

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Our 75-credit Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) program is intended for individuals who want to acquire advanced training in the theory, methods, and practices in the economics of education. It is a highly selective program to prepare individuals for leadership roles in teaching, research, or administrative settings.

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Columbia Workshop in Economics and Education for AY2021-2022

Professor Alex Eble as the Host Faculty
Selected Thursdays from 12:00pm-1:50pm 

The Columbia Workshop in Economics and Education offers a series of presentations and papers reflecting the state of the art in the field of economics of education. Guests from universities, international organizations, think tanks and other institutions will present their latest research or policy-oriented work in the field of economics of education. Faculty and students affiliated with the economics and education program at Teachers College, Columbia University will also present their own work. Students will receive a series of guidance through writing referee reports, meeting with the speakers, and in-course teaching about research production and presentation.

The Fall 2021 workshop series will be held in-person on campus with on-line option available.  

Date Presenter  Affiliation
9/16 Javaeria Quereshi University of Illinois, Chicago
9/30 Rachel Yang Zhou Teachers College, Columbia University
10/14 Carolyn Heinrich Vanderbilt University
10/18 (M) Tatiana Velasco Teachers College, Columbia University 
10/28 Sue Dynarski Harvard University
11/4 Manisha Shah University of California, Los Angeles
11/18 Eric Bettinger Stanford University
12/16 Jishnu Das Georgetown University
1/20 Aparna Anand  Teachers College, Columbia University 
2/10 David Figlio  Northwestern University 
2/17  Amanda Chuan  Michigan State University 
3/3  Esteban Aucejo Arizona State University 
3/10 James Habyarimana  Georgetown University 
3/24  Abhijeet Singh  Stockholm School of Economics 
4/7  Felipe Barrera-Osorio  Vanderbilt University 
4/21  David Deming Harvard University 
5/5  John Singleton University of Rochester

Alumni Profiles


Economics and Education Program
Teachers College, Columbia University, M.A. 2018

Content Director
Hanover Research

My passion in life has always been to affect change in the education system. As an undergraduate, I studied mathematics and economics, while also having the opportunity to intern as at an education policy non-profit and teach high school Mathematics at a public school. My early interests in education and professional experiences motivated me to pursue a career where I could use economics to better understand how to affect this change in education I spoke about so frequently.  Stumbling upon the Economics and Education program in a search for greater opportunities to make an impact in education, I knew instantly it was the program for me. My experiences with my fellow classmates and incredible faculty gave me a solid knowledge of education policy, a deeper understanding of economic theories, and molded me into the professional I am today. As a master's student, I had multiple opportunities to apply the concepts I was learning about in my work as a Resident Researcher and the non-profit New Visions for Public Schools.

I am currently a Content Director for Hanover Research outside of Washington, D.C., where I lead strategic relationships with domestic and international higher education clients to help them solve critical issues within their institutions. I design and implement projects with a team of researchers to help institutions answer their most pressing questions, often utilizing economic theories, content knowledge, and research principles I learned in the Economics and Education program. I utilize multiple methodologies to go about answering the questions ranging from secondary research to qualitative, quantitative, and survey methodologies.

I am still connected to Teachers College in a number of ways and will forever be thankful for the opportunities afforded to me thanks to Teachers College and the Economics and Education program. During my tenure at Teachers College, I created wonderful relationships with my cohort and continue to stay in touch to this day.

Jete Aliu

Economics and Education Program
Teachers College, Columbia University, M.A. 2017
 
Advisor on Youth Employment and Vocational Education and Training
The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)
 
My firm belief in the transformative power of education is rooted in my own educational journey. I finished my undergraduate studies at RIT Kosovo where I studied Economics and Management. The strong interest in education and economics sparked after taking courses on economic and social development. Living in a post-war country which is still in the development process, I have always wanted to give my contribution to the development of my country. And what a better way to help societal positive changes than through education! However, to make a positive contribution I was aware that I should first invest in my own education and professional development and use the knowledge and skills towards my cause. I was fortunate enough to receive a fully funded scholarship supported by the USAID and Ministry of Education in Kosovo which enabled me to receive my Master’s in one of the most renowned universities in the world. The knowledge, skills, and education that I received from TC changed the trajectory of my professional career and is helping me do my share in paving the way for prosperity in Kosovo.

My time at TC was the highlight of my educational journey. The Economics and Education program trained me to apply economic concepts and tools to address issues in education. The curriculum of the program helped me build technical competence in the basic tools of educational management and policy making. Courses that I took during my studies involved statistical analysis, and evaluation of education and social programs that helped me gain understanding of the importance of evidence-based reforms in effectively tackling issues in the education sector. While at TC, I also had the opportunity to learn from truly inspirational professors and had the privilege to meet a host of thoughtful and engaged individuals with deep expertise and passion for education. I left TC with many life-long friends, colleagues, and enriching experiences.

After I completed my studies at TC, I immediately came back to Kosovo to bring back the knowledge and skills in my country. I started to work as an Education Consultant with a local NGO where I had the opportunity to conduct several research projects about the education sector in Kosovo, including analyzing the impact of teacher quality and in-school resources on Kosovar students’ performance in  PISA 2015, identifying some of the challenges in the management of the pre-university education in Kosovo, and understanding the challenges of the Vocational Education and Training (VET) system in Kosovo, with the purpose of supporting the Ministry of Education, schools, teachers, and other relevant stakeholders in their continuous effort to improve the quality of education delivery.  

Currently, I work as an advisor with the Youth, Employment, and Skills Project in Kosovo – a project commissioned by German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, which aims to enhance the employability of young people by improving the quality of VET and strengthening matching mechanisms between labor market supply and demand. In this role, I am able to design labor market measures that facilitate labor market integration for youth. As a strong advocate of social inclusion and equality, I focus my work mostly in the labor market integration for women and minorities.

Economics and Education Program
Teachers College, Columbia University, M.A. 2019

Program Officer – Research

Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation - Kansas City, MO

The relationship between education and economic development first captured my attention in an undergraduate capstone course called State and Society. I had yet to decide what to do after graduation but was certain I wanted to continue learning about the role of education policy, human capital, and innovation in stimulating economic growth. I knew I should go to graduate school but had no idea what type of degree or field of study would be best. I ended up spending several years in Asia, teaching health and English in rural Thailand and starting a teacher training and job placement company in Shanghai, China, while I looked for the right graduate program.

I still remember exactly where I was when I discovered the Economics and Education program at Teacher’s College. While working in Asia, I had become increasingly interested in the gap between education policy and the functional skills needed to grow the local economy. I was curious if and how policy interventions could distribute the knowledge and skills among the local population and effectively close these gaps. After discovering the Economics and Education program, I stopped searching for other graduate programs and focused all my energy on applying to TC.

The knowledge and skills that I acquired during my two years in the Economics and Education program jumpstarted my career. Each professor has their own expertise, which exposed me to a blend of literature and theory across a variety of disciplines. In addition, the courses in statistics and data science provided me with tools to conduct quantitative analyses, which I previously had no experience.

The most impactful aspect of the Economics and Education program, in my experience, was the networking. Within a few months of my first semester, I received a TC email regarding a job at the New York City Department of Education. The department director was a former TC graduate. Despite being in my first semester at TC and having no prior quantitative experience, the director knew I was enrolled in statistics courses and trusted the TC program enough to offer me a position as a data manager. It was the best job I had ever been offered.

After graduating, a TC professor suggested that I look into working at the Kauffman Foundation. Being from Kansas City, I was familiar with Kauffman’s work in entrepreneurship and education but did not know any of the current staff. This professor happened to have a strong professional relationship with a few associates at Kauffman and offered to email them a recommendation. The introduction led to a full-time job as a research economist, where I currently manage a research grant portfolio and conduct data analysis on entrepreneurship.

My ability to perform the functions of my job is directly attributable to the knowledge and skills that I have acquired through the Economics and Education program. As I map my career path for the foreseeable future, I continue to reference the positive impact of my experiences at TC.

Economics and Education Program
Teachers College, Columbia University, M.Ed. 2019

Head of Research and Development
EDUCA

My passion for education started when I took a course in Development Economics during my undergraduate studies in Economics, and all my doubts to become a public official disappeared. Just thinking about solutions to the most urgent social problems of the Dominican Republic made me feel overly excited and motivated. During this course, it was obvious that education was the greatest threat for the social development of the Dominican Republic. Hence, I decided to take another more specialized course in the topic: Education Economics. There, I understood the high need for more and better evidenced-based education policy in the country, and that I could contribute with that. That moment was precious. Finally, I found my passion in life!

I worked very hard to enter to the Economics & Education program at TC. It was my number one option, and definitely exceed my expectations. It was a marvelous experience to learn from leading faculty members in the field. In addition, TC has a remarkably diverse and large number of programs, and therefore, of courses. I took advantage of that, and I enrolled in courses from different fields, including data mining, management, and monitoring & evaluation. Furthermore, TC offers a wide range of a variety of events and the opportunity to participate in student associations, which are excellent ways to discover the newest trends in education, get to know new colleagues and friends, and discuss ideas. Actually, in those TC events, I discovered my interest in the use of Artificial Intelligence and ICT in education.

After graduating, I returned to my county, Dominican Republic. It was relatively easy to find job offers. Currently, I am the Head of Research and Development at EDUCA, a think tank in the Dominican Republic that researches and advocates for policies that ensure an inclusive and equitable quality education. Moreover, I have worked as Research Consultant at World Bank and United Nations Population Fund, conducting studies about teenage pregnancy in the Dominican Republic.

Economics and Education Program
Teachers College, Columbia University, Ph.D. 2020

Assistant Professor
McCombs School of Business
The University of Texas at Austin
   

I started working in economics of education topics when I was still an Engineering undergraduate student at Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile. Given the context of the Chilean education system and reforms that were happening at the time, I was very interested in studying the potential impact of different policies on outcomes such as school segregation and educational opportunities.

After working at the Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) in Chile for a year, and completing my Masters in Social Policy in London, I decided to pursue a doctorate in Economics of Education. I was interested in a rigorous program that had a clear focus on education and social policy topics more broadly, so the PhD at Teachers College was a good fit.

During my time as a PhD student at TC, I was able to pursue and develop my interest in causal inference methodologies, combining it with important economic of education questions, particularly focused on educational opportunities and school segregation. I had the opportunity to colaborate with faculty both at Teachers College as well as Columbia at large, which was a great advantage for my own development.

I am currently an Assistant Professor in the Statistic Group at the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin. My research is focused on developing new methods for causal inference and expanding on current ones, to improve the evidence we can obtain from both observational studies and experiments. My work also primarly focuses on using these methods for building new evidence on pressing educational policy questions.

Eric Chan

Economics and Education Program
Teachers College, Columbia University, Ph.D. 2018

Assistant Professor of Statistics and Public Policy

Babson College

 

My interest in education piqued when I started working as a data analyst for the Boston Public Schools. There, I ran engagement surveys for parents, students, and teachers and analyzed the results. I found it fascinating that there were large gaps in parent engagement between high- and low- achieving schools, and desired to dive more into the subject through research.

I initially searched for graduate programs in education, but I soon realized that economic inequality was a significant determinant of family engagement. I widened my search for economics programs, and found TC’s Economics and Education program to be firmly what I wanted to study. I soon enrolled in the M.A. program, but proceeded to continue in the Ph.D. program.

During my doctoral experience, Professor Peter Bergman told me about his interest in studying how families respond to information and its effects on student outcomes. Soon, I was working with Peter on projects directly related to my subject of interest. My dissertation even focused on the role of parents as a determinant of educational inequality.

This led me to a tenure-track position at Babson College, where my studies currently help me pursue policy-oriented research using advanced quantitative methods. Since I am employed in a quantitative methods department in a school of management, I am seen by my peers as the expert on statistical analysis of education policy issues. Recently, I was tasked with studying the effect of the institution’s instructor evaluation on teaching behavior. The skills I learned in the Economics and Education program gave me much insight into answering such real-world problems.

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