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 Webinar for Prospective Students

Fall 2020 Term

  • Tuesday, October 27, 2020 at 6pm (ET).  General Session for Prospective Master's and Doctoral Students.
  • Tuesday, September 29, 2020 at 6pm (ET) and Tuesday, November 10, 2020 at 6pm (ET).  Informational Sessions for Prospective Doctoral Students. 

If you would like to view a video copy of any of the informational sessions, please contact Katherine Y. Chung at kc2610@tc.columbia.edu.

If you would like more information about the program, please complete your inquiry form here and be sure to select "Policy" as your area of Interest and "Sociology and Education" for the program. 

Choose Your Degree


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 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

Ed.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

M.A. candidate in the Sociology and Education program

Alexandria Lowe is an M.A. candidate in the Sociology and Education program at Teachers College, Columbia University. Her passion for helping Black and Brown students in the United States’ educational system motivates her. Growing up in Queens, New York, one of the most diverse cities in the world, Alex was surrounded by people of varied races and cultures. However, during her undergraduate experience, Alex began to notice how the reality of certain inequalities affected children and families of color, especially within the realm of education. This realization encourages her to examine how the school system has viewed students of color and their ability to succeed, as well as how these students survive and thrive in school while battling negative self-fulfilling prophecies placed on them historically.

With her degree, Alex plans on creating actionable and meaningful change in the world for these students, and beyond. She is determined to be part of the reformation of a system that is finally inclusive of Black and Brown students.

In addition to her being a student at TC, Alex is a kindergarten teacher at a public school in Brooklyn. She enjoys working with these young students of color as they acquire the skills needed to succeed.

Previous Education:

Bachelor of Science in Elementary and Special Education and minor in Sociology from the University of Miami

Eleanore Melaragno
M.A. candidate in the Sociology and Education program

Eleanore Melaragno is a first-year Master's student in Sociology and Education. Her main interests in the education sector include plugging the school-to-prison pipeline and fixing the problem of over-punishment and zero-tolerance policies in schools. This past year, she served as an AmeriCorps VISTA with Habitat for Humanity in Lexington, Kentucky, where she enjoyed creating needs assessment surveys for the surrounding community in order to help LHFH target their services to where they will help the most. Eleanore also loves acting and participating in theatre.

Previous Education:

Eleanore received her B.A in Sociology (as well as an additional major in Spanish) from the University of Kentucky in 2018.

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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