About Us | Economics and Education | Education Policy & Social Analysis

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Economics and Education

The Department of Education Policy & Social Analysis

About Us

Economics is a powerful research and policy tool for scholars and educational practitioners who wish to develop a better understanding of educational institutions and decisions. 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. The goal of the program is to train students to apply economic concepts and tools to address both domestic and international issues in pre-kindergarten through post-secondary education, including: 

  • How does educational attainment influence individual productivity and income, as well as broader economic growth?
  • How do educational inputs such as teacher training, class size, or technology impact student achievement?
  • What policies and practices are most effective in improving student outcomes while reducing gender, socioeconomic, and racial/ethnic gaps in those outcomes?
  • How can we measure the return on educational investments?
  • Which educational technologies are cost-effective?
  • How can college financial aid programs be designed to maximize their impact?

Our M.A. and Ed.M. graduates have gone on to work at foundations, education advocacy and service organizations, and government agencies, as well as to pursue doctoral study in related fields. Our PhD graduates have gone on to research, leadership, and academic teaching positions in a range of settings. Recent PhD graduates are currently employed as tenure-track faculty members at both domestic and international postsecondary institutions, as research associates at leading policy research organizations, and as institutional researchers for large urban school districts and colleges and universities. 

Students in our M.A., Ed.M. and Ph.D. programs take courses in core areas including applied microeconomics, the economics of education, education and economic development, econometrics, statistical analysis, and benefit-cost analysis. Beyond required coursework, students in each degree program can choose from a range of elective courses to individualize their experience and satisfy their unique interests and career objectives. With the help of an academic advisor, students select courses from those offered within the program of economics and education and supplement these with courses outside the department, including courses offered in other schools of Columbia University.

As one of four programs in the Education Policy and Social Analysis (EPSA) department at Teachers College, the Economics and Education program is a discipline-based program within a multidisciplinary environment. Students and faculty across the four programs interact around shared research and policy interests, and students in the Economics and Education program are encouraged to take advantage of the broader resources in EPSA. These broader resources include not just relevant course offerings, but also policy events, seminars, student-led “pop-up” conversations on current topics, job networking events, and social gatherings.


Click Here to view our Faculty

Click below for the following faculty-led research centers:

Community College Research Center
Center for Benefit-Cost Studies for Education
Center on  Chinese Education
National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education

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