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.

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Sociology and Education Program Webinar for Prospective Students

Fall 2020 Term, Day/Time TBD. 

Join us to learn about the Sociology 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. 

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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

Diana Cordova-Cobo
Ph.D. candidate in the Sociology and Education program

Diana Cordova-Cobo is a doctoral student in the Sociology and Education program and a research associate with The Public Good Project and the Center for Understanding Race and Education (CURE). She previously worked as the Senior Research and Policy Analyst at the NYU Furman Center, where she led projects on New York City’s public housing and the racial/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, and as a research assistant for the NYU Research Alliance’s High School Choice in NYC study.

She is interested in the relationship between housing and school demographic change- particularly as it relates to racial/ethnic stratification and inequality amid gentrification and segregation trends. Diana’s work aims to understand and center the experiences of communities of color through the application of critical race theory and spatial theory. Her dissertation takes a mixed-methods approach to understanding school enrollment trends for Black and Latinx students in the context of changing housing and education policies.

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.

Previous Education:

B.A. in Political Science and Women’s Studies from the University of Florida

M.A. in Social Studies Education from Teachers College, Columbia University

Yarimar Yari Gonzalez
M.A. candidate in the Sociology and Education program

Prior to attending Teachers College, Yarimar (Yari) Gonzalez obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Barnard College. Growing up in the South Bronx Yari felt the need to understand the effects of socialization on individuals, especially on youth, in a society. In her educational experience, she obtained an education outside of the norm; an education that did not match the research and statistics gathered for and experienced by those in her community. This experience shaped her interest in education reform and the racial impact on education.

In addition to her being a student at TC, Yari also works on the Program Readiness team at the Division of Early Childhood in the New York City Department of Education. In her role, she works to help prepare programs newly contracted within the NYC DOE as part of the Mayor and Chancellor’s initiative of free, quality 3-K and Pre-K for All services to families and children all throughout the five boroughs of New York City. She enjoys supporting and contributing to the efforts in ensuring that NYC children in underserved communities receive free, quality education.

Yari knows attending TC will further her understanding of the inequalities within educational systems among different communities and would help her reach new heights as not just a professional, but an advocate for educational equity.

Previous Education:

B.A. in Sociology from Barnard College, Columbia Unversity

Jonathan Pérez
Ed.M. candidate in the Sociology and Education program

Jonathan Pérez, a Virginia native, is a first-year Master’s student in Sociology and Education. At the University of Richmond, Jonathan’s studies and community engagement encouraged him to explore innovative strategies that incorporate multiculturalism in education. Jonathan became a high school teacher for parenting and pregnant teenagers through his teacher residency program, Teach Kentucky. His experience working with such a unique demographic enabled him to observe the benefits of non-traditional education and the need for specialized curricula in mainstream schooling. To expand his pedagogy, Jonathan earned two consecutive Fulbright grants to teach English in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In addition to immersing himself into a new culture, his grant consisted of teaching at the university-level and collaborating with the US State Department’s project to build empowering curricula for various underserved communities throughout Rio.

Since returning to the United States, Jonathan has interned as a Program Specialist for The School of the New York Times and currently teaches middle school in Brooklyn. He intends to apply his TC education to learn how best to implement a sociological lens to both policy and education.

Previous Education:

M.A. in Teaching in Secondary Education from the University of Louisville

B.A. in Sociology and Latin American and Iberian Studies from the University of Richmond

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