Education Policy

Welcome to the Education Policy program

The degree programs in Education Policy examine both formal and informal institutions of schooling and the political, legal, bureaucratic, organizational, economic, and social factors that affect both schools and the broader educational enterprise. Students address critical problems affecting education, develop a broad and inclusive view of the kinds of issues facing policymakers, and are encouraged to study and reflect on the processes by which research becomes linked to policy and practice. Our graduates embark on policy careers in government agencies, national scohol reform organizations, non-profit groups dedicated to advocacy, private research institutes, and higher education institutions.

Degree Programs

M.A. in Education Policy

Our 33-credit M.A. degree focuses on the preparation of policy analysts, policy advocates, and education researchers. Student become experts in a range of educational policy issues and gain tools for policy analysis.

Ed.M. in Education Policy

The advanced 60-credit Ed.M. is for students who have already acquired an M.A. with at least some coursework with education policy content. Graduate students focus on a policy area relevant to their interests.

Ph.D. in Education Policy

The campus-based Ph.D. degree in Education Policy prepares its graduates to build new knowledge, teach new leaders, and craft new policies. The program may be completed in 75 credits, of which up to 30 credits may be transferred from another graduate institution.

Learning Theater Spotlight: The Game of School

For their end-of-semester culminating event, graduate students in the Education Policy Foundations Seminar transformed the Smith Learning theater into a life-sized board game and facilitated an interactive “Game of School" experience for the Teachers College community.

Music: Chooby by Dim Dim

Non-degree Programs

For over 20 years, this five-day program has offered public- and charter-school educators (administrators, teachers, guidance counselors, etc.), policy analysts, policymakers, union reps, advocates and others the tools they need to address important current issues of law, policy, research, and practice.

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The Education Policy and Social Analysis Department and Columbia Law School offer courses that prepare students for positions that require knowledge and expertise in education law. There are at present no formal joint-degree programs between Teachers College and Columbia Law School, but students admitted to both schools may be eligible (through ad hoc arrangements) to pursue education and law degrees concurrently.

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Student & Alumni Profiles

Ria Mehta
Education Policy Program, M.A. 2016

Ria Mehta is the Director, Strategic Partnerships at the Office of Teacher Recruitment and Quality (TRQ) in the New York City Department of Education.
She concurrently serves as the Project Director for a five-year $34 million federal Teacher and School Leader Grant that she co-authored in order to build, retain, and sustain the teaching pipeline in all Bronx schools. In these capacities, she leads 13 district-level partnerships in aligning and implementing talent acquisition and retention initiatives through NYC DOE’s most evidence-based activities such as, clinical preparation of teachers, pre-budget hiring, formal teacher leadership teams, and principal talent development. Ria manages a team that strategically partners and continuously improves the combination of these initiatives with superintendent teams and program teams in order to ultimately eliminate the teacher vacancy and retention gap in the Bronx; and, for the long-term, build the framework to do so for the city’s most underserved districts.
Having taught in Memphis, TN, and graduated from The University of Georgia, Ria has southern roots, but a heart for the Big Apple. Ria received her Masters of Arts in Education Policy (with a concentration in Law) from Teachers College, Columbia University in 2015. 

Katharine Parham
Ph.D. student. Specialization: K-12 education policy.

Previous Colleges:

B.A. with Honors in Political Science from the University of South Carolina

Masters in Public Policy from Georgetown University


Katharine Parham is a second year Ph.D. student in Education Policy at Teachers College, Columbia University. Her research interests span the field of K-12 education reform, and include school choice and charter schools, state takeovers and turnaround school models, and the impacts of accountability policies at local, state, and federal levels.

Katharine began her career in New Orleans, LA as a special education teacher in the Recovery School District and went on to serve as Assistant Principal at a turnaround charter school in New Orleans East. She left the critical work in New Orleans’ public schools in 2015 to pursue a career in the policy field, hoping to impact core education issues on a broader scale. She worked in Washington, DC for three years, logging time at both the U.S. Department of Education and with the U.S. Senate Education Committee. 

With a background in both education and policy, Katharine has seen the gaps between research, policy, and educational practice firsthand. She hopes to engage in work that closes those gaps and enables more strategic decision-making by those designing policy solutions for our nation’s most vulnerable students.



Devin Thomas
Specialization: K12 Education Policy

Previous Colleges:

B.S. in Biology, The City College of New York, 2017

M.A. in Secondary Science Education, The City College of New York, 2019


Devin graduated from the City College of New York with a Bachelor of Science in biology and a minor in secondary education as an NSF Noyce Teaching Fellow and NYC Men Teach Fellow. He continued at City College pursuing a Master of Arts in Secondary Science Education with a focus on biology, as a fellow of the Peter Greeman scholarship. After graduating, Devin worked as a middle school science teacher in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn for two years before transitioning into a high school. Devin is currently a biology teacher at Brooklyn Technical High School, one of the nine specialized high schools in the New York City Department of Education. He is a first-year student in the K-12 Education Policy specialization of EPSA at Teachers College. Devin wishes to become a key policymaker that develops and sees the implementation of equitable policies and procedures within the New York City Department of Education. He has a special interest in teacher evaluation systems and post-NCLB policies that are still affecting the classroom.  


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