Sociology and Education

Welcome to the Sociology & Education program

The sociological examination of education has a long tradition at Teachers College, a graduate school with a strong commitment to social justice. Our Sociology and Education program, one of the oldest and most revered such programs in the nation, provides a curriculum that centers on the examination of educational and social inequality as it prepares graduate students to analyze evidence of its sources.

The curriculum emphasizes the social context of schools in both cities and suburbs; the organization and structure of schooling; and the intersection of race, ethnicity, social class and gender with educational policies and practices. Students are trained in both quantitative and qualitative research methods. Hands-on research opportunities are available on a wide range of projects, including those examining racial segregation, urban gentrification, conditions of New York City Public Schools, and school organization.

The program faculty for the Sociology and Education Program includes sociologists from several other programs at the College as well as other nearby academic institutions. Faculty strengths are in sociology of education generally, but also in organizational studies, the sociology of teachers and teaching, stratification, racial inequality, critical race theory and urban sociology. They are actively engaged in the analysis and evaluation of educational policies and programs designed to serve educationally disadvantaged populations.

Come to our program to find your sociological imagination and apply that deep understanding of the connection between day-to-day experiences and the wider social context of schools to meaningful change in the field of education. Our program prepares change agents to challenge the inequality within our schools through a deep understanding of its social, political and economic causes.

The program in Sociology and Education also offers a specialization/concentration in Educational Policy for students in the M.A. and Ed.M. programs. For more information on this concentration, which is open to students throughout Teachers College, please contact Professor Amy Stuart Wells.

Sociology and Education Program's Webinar for Prospective Students

Fall 2021 OPEN HOUSE

If you would like to view a video copy of the webinar for prospectives students that premiered on November 4, please email Katherine Y. Chung at to request your copy.

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M.A. degree in the Program of Sociology and Education - minimum of 33 points.

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Ed.M. Degree in the Program in Sociology and Education – minimum of 60 points

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The coursework for the Ed.D., which totals a minimum of 90 points, has seven components: basic social research design and methods, advanced social research design and methods, social theory, core coursework in the sociology of education, seminars and colloquia, coursework in the social context of teaching and learning, and elective courses.

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The coursework for the Ph.D., which totals a minimum of 75 points, has seven components: social theory, basic social research design and methods, advanced social research design and methods, foundational coursework in sociology, core coursework in the sociology of education, seminars and colloquia, and elective courses.

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Student Profiles

Yeonsoo Choi
Ph.D. candidate in the Sociology and Education program

Yeonsoo Choi is a Ph.D. student in Sociology and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. She earned her B.A. and M.A. in Education from Yonsei University, South Korea. Her research interests include the sociology of elite education, globalization and education policy, school choice, and critical policy analysis. Yeonsoo is interested in better understanding how broader social discourses shape education policies and students’ educational experiences. Prior to coming to Teachers College, she worked as a research assistant for education policy research projects funded by the Ministry of Education, South Korea, and the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education.

Previous Education:

B.A. in Education, Yonsei University and M.A. in Education with concentration in Curriculum and Instruction, Yonsei University

Diana Cordova-Cobo
Ph.D. candidate in the Sociology and Education program
Diana Cordova-Cobo is a doctoral candidate in the Sociology and Education program and a Research Associate at the Center for Understanding Race and Education (CURE). She previously worked as a Research Fellow at the City University of New York (CUNY) and as a Senior Research and Policy Analyst at the NYU Furman Center, where she led projects on New York City’s public housing and the racial and ethnic diversity of New York City’s neighborhoods and elementary schools. She has also served as a research consultant for the New York City Department of Education and the New York Civil Liberties Union.

Diana's main areas of study include race and ethnicity, social policy, and inequality. Her current research focuses on the relationship between neighborhood gentrification and school demographic change with attention to how public schools respond to the racial and socioeconomic inequities brought on by these changes. Building off of this research, her dissertation explores the neighborhood and school preferences of Latinx families amid demographic change in the New York City Metropolitan Area post-2000. 

In addition to her research interests, Diana is passionate about making research accessible and practical for educators, parents, community members, and policymakers. Prior to starting in the Sociology and Education program, Diana was a middle school social studies teacher in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City. The lessons she learned from her students and the experiences they shared with her continue to motivate and inspire the work she does today.

Diana holds an M.A. in Social Studies Education from Teachers College, Columbia University and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Florida.
Ph.D. candidate in the Sociology and Education program

Jose Luis Vilson is a doctoral student in Sociology and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. Prior to starting his doctoral program, he was a math teacher in New York City public schools for 15 years. He is the author of the best-selling This Is Not A Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education, and executive director of EduColor, an organization dedicated to race and social justice issues in education. He is primarily interested in how the nexus of policy, practice, and research proliferate or inhibit the recruitment and retention of educators of color. He earned a BS in Computer Science from Syracuse University and a MA in Mathematics Education from City College of New York. 

Previous Education:

Syracuse University, B.S. in Computer Science

City College of New York, M.A. in Mathematics Education

Ed.M. candidate in the Sociology and Education program

Elijah Gardner is a Masters of Education Candidate in the Sociology and Education program at Teachers College, Columbia University. He earned his B.A. in Abstract Mathematics at Rutgers University Newark. Elijah has 5 years of experience as a mathematics tutor and mentor to middle school, high school, and undergraduate students in Newark, New Jersey. His interest includes developing anti-racist pedagogy and policy and expanding social safety nets for African American, Latinx, and other marginalized American students and communities. Future plans include Urban education research and education policy development, with a critical focus on Newark, NJ, and NYC public schools.

Previous Education:

B.A. in Abstract Mathematics at Rutgers University Newark

M.A. candidate in the Sociology and Education program

Deborah Palileo Bitanga is a 1.5 generation immigrant from the Philippines, who moved to Kodiak Island, Alaska at age 12. She is the eldest of three children raised by Filipina/o immigrant parents who were long-time seafood processing workers.

Her life, schooling, and educational experiences both in the Philippines and Alaska propels her to learn more about the impacts of colonialism in the schooling, education, and identity development of young people. As a 1.5 generation Filipina immigrant and a student, she hopes to bring light to the often-forgotten Filipina/o American community, which is the second highest Asian American population in the U.S. with over 3.8 million.

In addition to being the first in her family to graduate college in 2019, she is currently pursuing an MA in Sociology and Education Policy program. Deborah is also a visual artist, a proud Gates Millennium Scholar and a Zankel Fellow with Dr. Lalitha Vasudevan’s Youth Media and Wellbeing Project through the Educational Video Center. In the future, she plans to attain a PhD in education.


Previous Education: 

B.A. in Political Economy and Sociology from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA

M.A. candidate in the Sociology and Education program

Lila Stenson is an M.A. candidate in the Sociology and Education program at Teachers College, Columbia University. The past three years she taught Middle and High School Spanish in Memphis, Tennessee, starting out as a Teach for America Corps Member (‘17). Through her teaching experience, Lila saw the disturbing inequities present in our public schools and the overwhelming burden placed on teachers especially in under resourced schools, with low-income students. She felt that Teachers College was her place to address these systemic issues and continue to fight for quality schools for all students. 

In addition to her being a TC student, Lila currently works as a Zankel Fellow at the Teachers College Community School teaching 8th Grade Spanish, and as an Administrative Fellow for the Columbia Office of Work/Life. Both of these opportunities allow her to understand the New York educational landscape and to understand how schools affect families, students and communities. 

Lila originally hails from Denver, Colorado and used the pandemic as an opportunity to move back with family, and enjoy all the outdoor offerings in Colorado. She is also looking forward to moving to New York City soon. 

Previous Education: 

B.A. in Sociology, B.A. in Spanish from Goucher College, Baltimore, MD

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