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 Webinar for Prospective Students

To request a copy of the Economics and Education webinar video, please contact Katherine Y. Chung at

Thursday, December 5, 2019 at 11:00 AM until 12:00 PM (Eastern Daylight Time)

Join us to learn about the Economics and Education program at Teachers College, Columbia University. During this interactive webinar, you will have the chance to ask questions to faculty, staff, and students. 

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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Alex Eble


Jack Mountjoy


Viviana Rodriguez


Mauricio Romero




Josefa Aguirre


Abhijeet Singh


Michela Carlana


Columbia Workshop in Economics and Education for AY2019-2020

Professor Peter Bergman as the Host Faculty
Selected Thursdays from 12:00pm-1:50pm with lunch provided
Zankel Building in Room 212-C unless otherwise noted

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. Fall 2019 presenters included Tatiana Homonoff, Eric Chyn, Dan Hamermesh, Michael Kofoed, Barbara Biasi, Nolan Pope and Magdalena Bennett.

The Spring 2020 workshop series will resume in mid-February.  More details are forthcoming.  

Alumni Profiles

Kara Chesal

Economics and Education Program
Teachers College, Columbia University, M.A. 2011

Project Manager
Office of Innovation (iZone), New York City Department of Education

My interest in economics and education developed when I was an undergraduate student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute working towards a dual degree in Economics and Science, Technology, and Society Studies. As a freshman, my work study was in a nearby kindergarten and it inspired me to look more deeply at the challenges facing our education system. In order to dive deeper into issues of economics and education I decided to pursue a MA in Economics and Education immediately after graduating. As a student at Teachers College I worked at the Columbia Center for New Media, Teaching, and Learning and was a research intern for the Connecticut Commission on Educational Achievement where I helped the Commission make recommendations to Governor Rell on closing the achievement gap in Connecticut.

After I completed my degree at Teachers College I was hired by the NYC Department of Education and for the past three years I’ve worked as a research analyst and project manager for the Office of Innovation (iZone). In my role as a researcher I supported evaluation efforts and developed research projects primarily focused on the iLearnNYC blended and online learning program. I supported survey and instrument development, implementation, and data management for over 150 schools. My research led to a co-authored book chapter in “Blended Learning Research Perspectives: Volume 2; Routledge, (2014).” Through my experience at the iZone, I learned how to develop and implement research studies and interpret educational outcomes. I’ve had to opportunity to work with researchers from SRI, NYU Research Alliance, Harvard Ed Lab, and John Hopkins University on numerous grant-funded research projects.

I’ve also worked on the iZone central team where I led grant management, strategy, and partnership development. My current role at the iZone is on the Innovate NYC Schools team where I design and execute market-facing engagements with early-stage companies and education stakeholders. These engagements allow me to explore the role of incentives and behavioral economics in developing symbiotic relationships with the private sector.

Outside of work I enjoy volunteering with high school students and I’m passionate about improving access to STEM education, especially for women and minorities.

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.

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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