Education and Social Policy (MA)

Department Website

Program Description

The MA Program in Education and Social Policy aims to prepare students to use theories and concepts from the fields of economics and sociology in conjunction with quantitative statistical skills to analyze and evaluate the effectiveness of education programs and policies. Students obtain specific knowledge of education issues, guided by advisement, including pre-K/childhood education, K–12 education, or higher/comparative education. 

The degree is distinguished from other master’s degrees in education policy by its strong emphasis on using quantitative methods to ascertain causal effects of programs and policies. Building on a first course in statistics, students progress through more rigorous analytical courses, including regression and econometrics, to a final directed team research project in which they produce a professional study of an educational intervention or policy. Students gain experience in working with large, longitudinal education databases; with using economic and sociological principles to analyze K–16 education; and with principles of policymaking in the public and nonprofit sectors, which draw on the expertise of faculty in NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. The program places strong emphasis on understanding the context, purpose, unintended effects, and, finally, the actual impact of alternative education policies and programs. Students, through close advisement, use elective choices to gain knowledge of policy issues.

Research Opportunities and Fellowships

Research Fellows:
All incoming students receive consideration for the Education and Social Policy Fellows program, which offers five promising students a $5,000 stipend to participate in faculty-led research teams at the Institute for Education and Social Policy.

Second Year Interdisciplinary Fellowship:
An alternate Capstone-Practicum experience is offered in conjunction with the Center for Public Research and Leadership (CPRL), which brings together upper-level graduate students in education, policy, business, and law from NYU, Columbia, Dartmouth, Harvard, Michigan, Stanford, and other universities. Education and social policy students may apply for this interdisciplinary fellowship in their second year. James Liebman, Columbia law professor and former senior official at the New York City Department of Education, leads the course and conducts its intensive academic seminar in the institutional and programmatic design. Experienced education researchers, former K–12 educators and leaders, or consultants help guide the projects.


Admission to graduate programs in the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development requires the following minimum components:

  • Résumé/CV
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Transcripts
  • Proficiency in English

See NYU Steinhardt's Graduate Admissions website for additional information on school-wide admission. Some programs may require additional components for admissions.

See How to Apply for admission requirements and instructions specific to this program.