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Doctoral Specialization in the Economics of Education Michigan State University


Any student in a doctoral program may apply for a specialization in Economics of Education and if approved, can receive that specialization by completing certain requirements. The foci of the doctoral specialization, both substantive and methodological, is built around work in the economics of education. Education issues include teacher quality, school finance, school choice, and the effects of many other factors on student achievement, as well as methodological questions about the estimation of effects in correlational, quasi-experimental, and experimental studies.


The Economics of Education Doctoral Specialization program draws on faculty in six doctoral programs -- Economics, Education Policy, K-12 Administration, Labor & Industrial Relations, Measurement & Quantitative Methods, and Curriculum, Teaching, & Teacher Education -- to provide in rigorous methodological training. Students in the program are admitted to one of these six doctoral programs, then complete the specialization as they complete requirements for their doctoral degree. In addition to the advanced statistical coursework in their doctoral program, they complete new courses that focus on the application of these methods to practical problems of education, using the lens of economics of education to frame the issues.

Economics of Education Program Coordinator:
Scott Imberman, Professor
Department of Economics and Educational Administration, Education Policy

To learn more about the doctoral programs participating in the Economics of Education specialization program, please visit their home pages:

The Economics Department at Michigan State University has an excellent reputation and a long tradition as a training ground for professional economists. In a recent study of graduate education in economics conducted by the National Research Council, the effectiveness of MSU's Economics Doctoral program was ranked 25th in the nation. The faculty, with more than 40 full-time members, includes numerous nationally and internationally known scholars covering a broad range of interests.

Educational Policy
Doctoral study in educational policy at MSU, which is consistently ranked among the best educational policy programs in the nation, occurs in a rich environment of distinguished scholarship and innovative reform activity. The Ph.D program in Educational Policy prepares students to assume a variety of professional roles in educational policy analysis and policy development in local, state, national, and international organizations, as well as faculty positions in higher education.

The program is closely associated with the Michigan State University Center for Educational Policy. Students are encouraged and supported to share in all facets of the Center's ambitious agenda. Proximity to Lansing also facilitates access to key members of the educational policy community, in the Legislature and the Executive Branch, and provides policy students with additional opportunities for internships and field experience in policy-related work, both in and outside state government.

K-12 Educational Administration
The doctoral program in K-12 Educational Administration enrolls professional educators and others interested in the intersections of leadership, school organizations, research and policy. Its mission is to improve leadership practice and to expand knowledge for educational leadership development and the improvement of school organizations and systems. The program emphasizes disciplined inquiry, conceptual analysis, connections between theory and practice and the development of research and scholarship. Throughout the program, students advance their capacity to frame questions and to conduct and communicate research that contributes to professional practice and scholarship. Each year's cohort enrolls a mix of U.S. and international educators who go on to assume positions as school and district leaders, professors, researchers, policy analysts and consultants in the U.S. and beyond.

Labor and Industrial Relations
The purpose of Labor and Industrial Relations doctoral program is to prepare students for academic careers in employment relations or human resources in tenure-track positions at research-oriented universities. In comparison with disciplinary programs (such as I/O Psychology, Economics, or Sociology) the focus of an LIR Ph.D. is on breadth across multiple disciplines rather than on specialization on a single disciplinary perspective. In comparison with management Ph.D. programs, students in this program study employment phenomena from the perspective of multiple actors including employees, managers, employers, unions, the government, and society at large. Ph.D. degree recipients from this program have taken jobs at such major universities as Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio State, Simon Fraser, Texas at Austin, Virginia Polytechnic and Washington.

Measurement and Quantitative Methods
The doctoral program in Measurement and Quantitative Methods (MQM) enrolls students who want to study and develop statistical methods for application to problems in educational research. Students prepare themselves for a variety of positions -- as faculty members in education, psychology, or applied statistics; in the testing industry, and in state-level and national departments of education where program evaluation and the development, administration and analysis of tests and surveys are key activities. Graduates of the MQM doctoral program hold jobs in prestigious universities around the U.S. and worldwide. They are employed in major educational testing firms such as ACT and the Educational Testing Service (ETS), and in departments of education and educational research organizations around the world.

Curriculum, Instruction, and Teacher Education
The doctoral program in Curriculum, Instruction, and Teacher Education is internationally recognized for the excellence of its faculty, students, and graduates. US News and World Report consistently rates this program as the #1 program in both Elementary Education and Secondary Education. Its faculty include subject matter experts in science education, mathematics education, social studies education, and literacy, as well as scholars in history of education, philosophy of education, sociology of education, and educational psychology. The faculty work on a range of research, development, and service projects, with close ties to K-12 schools and many international projects. Graduates from the program hold positions at universities including the University of Michigan, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Illinois, Northwestern University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Some are also employed by research organizations including Policy Studies Associates and the American Institutes for Research.


Stroupe co-edits book on preparing science teachers

Mon, 10 Aug 2020

Michigan State University scholar David Stroupe is co-editor of a new book aiming to better prepare educators for ambitious and equitable science teaching. “Preparing Science Teachers Through Practice-Based Teacher Education” (Harvard Education Press) is the result of years of work surrounding and including teaching the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and ambitious science teaching. “Some… Read More »

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