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Economics of Education

Program Features

Students in the pre-doctoral interdisciplinary training program complete a doctoral degree in one of the participating programs at MSU, complete additional coursework, work on research projects with program core faculty and scholars in other organizations, meet with distinguished visitors, and complete a dissertation that includes attention to a problem of education. Students are typically supported by their home department for their first year of doctoral study, then receive funding from the economics of education program in subsequent years of doctoral work.

For each year they are supported by the economics of education program, students receive:

  • A combination of a 50%-time graduate assistantship appointment and a fellowship paying a combined total of $30,000 per year (12 months), plus tuition, health insurance, and fees as normally provided to half-time graduate assistants.
  • Annual support for travel to a program meeting in Washington, D.C. and to another professional meeting.
  • Up to $1,000 per year for research expenses, payable according to university policy.

To complete the pre-doctoral interdisciplinary training program and specialization, students must:

  1. Complete a set of course requirements aimed at providing advanced statistical training and understanding of the application of these methods to key educational topics.
  2. Complete other requirements for a doctoral degree in the student's major field.
  3. Work as a graduate research assistant on an ongoing research study led by a core faculty member.
  4. Complete a dissertation that includes a study of a practical problem in education.
  5. Participate in an ongoing research seminar where work of core faculty and students in the training program are discussed.
  6. Attend colloquia at which visiting scholars present work that applies advanced statistical techniques to problems of education and attend a separate session where program fellows meet with the visit scholars to discuss a range of issues.
  7. Include two members of the economics of education core faculty on the student's guidance committee. The guidance committee is responsible for seeing that students select their additional coursework so as to strengthen their capacity for conducting rigorous research on education topics. These courses will include courses outside students' major areas that will increase their understanding of research relevant to the areas of education they will study. For example, students in Education Policy will be encouraged to take additional coursework in economics; students in economics will be encouraged to take additional coursework in the College of Education or the School of Labor and Industrial Relations.
  8. Attend an annual meeting of The Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness, held in Washington, D.C. Students are reimbursed for travel expenses according to university and program policy.


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When Michigan’s long-anticipated Read by Grade Three law goes fully into effect next school year, researchers will be watching closely to evaluate how it goes, and recommend changes along the way. With a five-year, nearly $5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences, the Michigan Education Research Institute (MERI) will… Read More »

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