Fields of Study

Fields of Study


Below you will find information about the professional concentrations offered by the International and Comparative Education Program.

Liaison Faculty: Professor Oren Pizmony-Levy and Professor Gita Steiner-Khamsi


The Global Governance, Policy, and Planning cluster prepares students for policy, planning and advocacy in an international context. The students acquire skills to prepare data-based reports, develop education sector plans and sector strategies, learn how to monitor and evaluate programs, and understand the different approaches for comparing educational systems. In addition to practicing these professional skills, students learn to problematize and reflect on the opportunities and limitations of global norm-setting for national developments and priorities, including the impact of PISA, TIMSS, and other large-scale student assessments.

Students that complete the degree at the Masters level typically work in policy or planning sections of governments or non-governmental organizations or are hired as consultants for preparing program design, evaluation, and planning documents. They work for intergovernmental organizations (OECD, Global Partnership for Education, UNESCO, UNICEF, World Bank), bilateral donors (FCDO, JICA, USAID, etc.), international NGOs (Save the Children, Open Society Foundations, World Vision, etc.), foundations (Al Qasimi Foundation, Lego Foundation, Mastercard Foundation) and other organizations that work internationally.


Examples of Courses

ITSF 4038 Monitoring and Evaluation in International Educational Development

ITSF 4105 Civil Society and NGOs in IED

ITSF 5006 Comparative Policy Studies (required)

ITSF 5034 Climate Change, Society, and Education

ITSF 5035 Social Analysis of ILSAs (required)

ITSF 5102 Public Opinion on Education around the World

ITSF 5509 Globalization, Society and Education Policy


Testimonials from graduates

Sarah Fuller — UNICEF Innocenti

Teachers College was the best decision I have made to launch my career in international educational development. The program gave me the opportunity to personalize my learning to focus on the topics about which I care most, to engage in research and teaching, to present at international conferences, and to intern with UN organizations. Looking back on my time at TC after three years in the field, I appreciate even more the program’s perfect balance between academic and practical experience. Moreover, at TC I found a community of peers who support one another and professors who care deeply about students’ holistic and moral development. The International Policy and Planning concentration prepared me to bring an analytical perspective to my work and to be aware of how key moments and processes influence education systems around the globe, which I think is an invaluable asset for practitioners. TC is unique in how it challenges students to think critically and to care deeply about the impact of our decisions, our work, and our field in general and the responsibility that we have to ensure that these contribute to a more equitable and just world.


Jeremy Monk — Canada Statistics

The IPP concentration provided me with great analytical and statistical training specific to work in education and economic development. The analytical skills I learned coupled with classes and projects on a range of topics allowed me to think critically and creatively about course work and gave me the tools to work and grow professionally in the international education field.   


Liaison Faculty: Professor Mary Mendenhall and Professor S. Garnett Russell


The Human Rights, Emergencies, and Peacebuilding cluster is designed for students interested in research, policy, and practice in humanitarian (natural disasters and armed conflict), forced displacement, post-conflict, and peacebuilding settings. The cluster brings together interdisciplinary and critical approaches to examine the role of education (including its limitations) in fostering social justice, social cohesion, sustainable peace, and human rights across the humanitarian-development nexus. Students are able to cross-register in relevant courses at the Graduate School of Arts and Science (GSAS), the Mailman School of Public Health, and the School for International and Public Affairs (SIPA). Students acquire skills in program design, curriculum development, monitoring and evaluation, policy analysis, and empirical research. 

Students who complete the master’s degree typically assume roles doing project design; program implementation; technical assistance; and research, evaluation and learning. They work for international, national, and local non-governmental organizations (e.g. ChildFund International, Concern, Education Development Center, Facing History and Ourselves, FHI360, Global Nomads Group, International Rescue Committee, IREX, Save the Children, Norwegian Refugee Council, Sesame Workshop, The Brookings Institute, The DREAM Project, Visions Global Empowerment, World Education); intergovernmental agencies (Global Partnership for Education, UNESCO, UNESCO IIEP, UNHCR, UNICEF, World Bank); global networks (Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies); foundations (LEGO Foundation, Open Society Foundation); and bilateral donors (USAID).  


Examples of Courses

  • ITSF 4005 Education in Emergencies
  • ITSF 4038 Monitoring and Evaluation in International Educational Development
  • ITSF 4093 Curriculum and Pedagogy in International Contexts
  • ITSF 4160 Human Rights Education in Africa
  • ITSF 4613 International Perspectives on Citizenship and Human Rights Education
  • ITSF 5029 Education, Conflict, and Peacebuilding


Testimonials from graduates

Jon Kwok  – Regional Research, Monitoring, Evaluation, & Learning Manager, PlayMatters @ International Rescue Committee

While at Teachers College, I developed my own theoretical perspective and technical skills both in and out of the classroom as an Education in Emergencies (EiE) professional. The combination of courses that challenge the theoretical underpinnings of our work combined with skills-building and issues-focused courses to develop technical skills prepared me for my current position. My favorite part has been the opportunity to work closely with faculty, post-doctoral researchers, and fellow doctoral and master’s students on relevant projects to address pressing gaps in EiE. Collaborating on these projects has shown me the bi-directional relationship between rigorous research and practice as well as how to adopt a critical approach while working towards meaningful change with crisis-affected people and the sector at large.


Shenshen Hu — UNHCR, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer (Humanitarian Education Innovation)

TC gave me new and powerful perspectives on education. I learned that it is much more than just personal development––it helps to re-establish the sense of normalcy and gives hope to the vulnerable ones in extraordinary circumstances. TC also created conditions in which I was able to discover what I can do and reflect on what I want to do. My time at TC helped me realize that I can use my skills to enable purpose-driven and context-relevant education interventions and ensure that they are implemented with quality.


Marissa Wong - Independent Consultant

The passion and insight of Teachers College faculty solidified my interest in teacher professional development and youth empowerment, and helped me navigate how and where I could make an impact. The freedom to explore my interests, from class assignments to my final Integrated Project, allowed me to uniquely hone my skills and expertise in curriculum development and peace education. Through the research grants and awards made available to students, I was able to gain practical experience in educator capacity building and social-emotional learning in a conflict setting during my time at TC, which was crucial to my professional growth. The organization I worked with ended up hiring me as a consultant after graduation, proving the value I was able to provide thanks to my TC education!


Liaison Faculty: Professor Regina Cortina, Professor Hope Leichter, Professor Nicholas Limerick and Professor Prem Phyak


The Multilingual and Decolonial Dimensions of Education cluster focuses on building knowledge about language policies, multilingualism, and literacies; gender inequalities; interculturality; and the role of families and communities as they relate to policy and practice. It is an interdisciplinary field of study that encourages students to focus on key social, cultural, and political dynamics that affect education systems around the globe, and alternative ways of seeing education. Through graduate courses, individual research, and group projects, students develop critical thinking skills from a comparative perspective to advocate for educational access and quality. Students consider strategies for the inclusion of Indigenous and other non-dominant languages and cultures in education and the decolonization of schooling practices throughout the Global South. Our cluster’s strengths include topical knowledge and research methods such as comparative policy analysis, participant observation, discourse analysis, assessment of student achievement and literacies, and classroom-based observation.

Students who complete this master’s degree become educators and professionals in various international organizations, civil society organizations, foundations, and schools. Those with strong interest in forms of multilingualism and education, for example, are working at USAID, the Education Development Center, Pass Education, and various NGOs and schools. Graduates who completed their degree and focus on Latin America are working in the Fundación Escuela Nueva and The Alas Foundation, organizations advocating for education quality, intercultural and bilingual schools, education for climate change and biodiversity, and as teachers and administrators within international schools domestically and abroad at the World Bank, UNICEF, and Brookings Institution. Several graduates interested in Latinx education have become consultants and project managers in companies and organizations advocating for education equity, immigrant rights, language rights, and culturally competent teachers in U.S. schools.


Examples of Courses

  • ITSF 4060  Latinxs in Urban Schools

  • ITSF 4013  Literacy and International Development

  • ITSF 4025  Languages, Societies, and Schools

  • ITSF 5008  Gender, Education, and International Development

  • ITSF 5023  The Family as Educator

  • ITSF 5050  Language, Cultural Politics, and Education

  • ITSF 5120  Education in Community Settings: Museums

  • ITSF 5500  Education Across the Americas

  • ITSF 5043  Decolonial Theories in Comparative Education


Testimonials from graduates

Denise Recinos, MA – Education Elements  

I'm a Design Associate at Education Elements, and in my job there I support school districts with curriculum planning, their strategic plan and personalized learning. The experiences that I had at Teachers College were very helpful to transition into that role because I have experience in doing research. Having a fellowship, and then conducting consulting projects throughout my time there were very helpful to gain those skills to consult [and to] support districts across the country… A lot of the courses that I took were on Latinx education in the US, and Latin America as well. One of the things that we started noticing is that in the US the Latinx population has increased and that is affecting where they're [moving]. Most of them were in cities, but now we've seen that many of them have moved to small towns and rural areas, and that's affecting where families are settling. It's also affecting the way that communities are adapting to Latinx students who are coming in. So, teachers and schools have to adapt to working with students who are either English Learners or just new to the community. That's also affecting the curriculum that they use, and a lot of school districts right now are seeing that they want to be able to support students; they're working towards building curricula that are more culturally and locally relevant to a lot of the districts that we work with. That's one of our main goals for the next few years: how can we make curricula relevant to the students that we work with? Because a lot of the time students weren’t able to connect with the curriculum, so our job is trying to figure out what experiences suit them, and how can we make those connections to make learning more joyful and enjoyable for them?


Judith Pineda Munguia, MA – Global Partners in Christian Education

I found that my time at Teachers College in the MA program was very effective and efficient; all the knowledge and skills that I acquired, as well as the networks I created at the time. They did help me to put into practice the knowledge that I was gaining in the classroom. It really helped to be part of internships as much as possible, and to just engage or jump into any project that seemed to align nicely with my interests. That aided my transition from what I was learning in class to what is happening in the field, and in my success at my job. During my internship I was working an NGO that provides support for victims or survivors of human trafficking coming from Central America. I was working alongside the manager of professional education, and we provided workshops as well as English courses in which we prepared the women for re-entering society in a new country, giving them tools such as interview practice, writing resumes. We helped them gain practical skills connected to child care, daily life things, and I was very blessed to be part of the transition that took place during Covid and that supported each individual more one on one during that period, and that really did help. When I came back to Canada and began working, it was very, very helpful to have gained that experience while being a student at TC.


Victor Llanque Zonta, PhD – Green Farms Academy

I did my master’s in social studies because I was a teacher when I started working and I wanted to become a Spanish teacher or history teacher, and the last course I took in that process was with Dr. Cortina, which led me into several years of study of Latin American education questions which became my dissertation. So, it was an exciting time for me to be at Teachers College, and to be able to develop a deeper understanding of education in the region. But it was also exciting to understand better how to engage in inquiry through research under Dr. Cortina's mentorship, and in company with many other amazing people who were pursuing their dissertation at Teachers College. While I was going through that process, I retained a foot here at the school where I currently work as Associate Head of School. I was teaching a course or 2, and then, eventually, when I finished my degree, I became an administrator developed an inquiry program for the students here to complete something like a dissertation, but at the high school level, and so everybody who graduates from Green Farms Academy has an opportunity to complete what we call an advanced inquiry, which is essentially a thesis, or similar to it. We recently held a symposium which reminded me of the academic conferences that I attended with Dr. Cortina. There's a lot that I was able to bring from academia to the high school space that is preparing these students for college and getting them ready to pursue their interests even beyond college, connecting my work at Teachers College and what I do today.


Academic Disciplines

Below you will find information about the academic disciplines offered by the International and Comparative Education Program.

Anthropology has a long and distinguished history of contributing directly to the major issues facing all educators. Throughout its history, the discipline has offered powerful alternatives. Anthropologists have participated in the shaping of policy and reform at all levels, from the most general to the most local. The anthropology concentration offers a disciplinary approach to analyzing the entry of matters of social class, ethnicity, language, race, gender, and other factors into issues of educational achievement, of health disparity, disability, among other concerns. It also helps students understand the ways of knowing specific to the discipline, how to apply them to practical issues, and participate in the continuing evolution of the field, including better methods for application.

Economics is a powerful tool for scholars and educational practitioners who wish to develop a better understanding of educational institutions and decisions. The concentration in Economics and Education allows students in the program to develop an array of skills in the application of economic concepts and theory, in benefit-cost analysis and other evaluative procedures, and in the statistical treatment of mass data.

The History and Education concentration addresses important educational questions, first, by examining the ideas, individuals, and institutions of the past to determine their influence on their own times; and, second, by bringing historical knowledge and perspective to bear on current educational issues. Courses cover a range of topics including the educational history of urban areas, women, immigrants, and African-Americans. Students acquire a deep understanding of education in historical perspective through a comparative lens.

The concentration in Philosophy and Education offers students a unique opportunity to develop their humanistic and critical thinking about comparative and international education. Coursework allows educators to broaden and deepen their understanding of the processes and aims of education through inquiry into the fields of aesthetics, ethics and moral philosophy, and epistemology and the philosophy of science. Study of a variety of historical and conceptual frameworks enables students to develop theoretical perspectives on education and to effectively critique arguments in contemporary educational debates.

How do societies handle conflicting visions of what schools should be doing? What changes in political and governance processes might facilitate better decision-making and policy implementation? The Politics and Education concentration serves students who wish to study the ways in which governance institutions, political ideologies, and competing interests influence the content, form, and functioning of schooling. Students study in-depth the ways power and politics affect and are affected by such issues as reform and innovation, privatization and school choice, race and ethnicity, poverty and inequality, and more.

The Sociology and Education concentration examines basic issues in education from a sociological perspective. Training and hands-on experience in evaluation methods and both quantitative and qualitative research methods are central to the program. The curriculum emphasizes issues in urban education, including the social organization of urban schools and school systems, and the success or failure in serving educationally disadvantaged populations.

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