- About GSE
- Admissions & Financial Aid
- Faculty & Research
- Our Students
- Alumni & Giving
Education Policy has long been a strength at GSE and has been ranked in the top 10 since the mid 1990s by US News & World Report.
The Education Policy program offers coursework and research training in the study of education, reform, and policy for individuals interested in careers in academic, governmental, and non-governmental research settings. Research training includes multiple methods of inquiry, covers all levels of education from pre-K through higher education, and addresses multiple levels of public interest, including local, state, national, and international. Students learn to examine education problems through multiple lenses, including economics, history, public policy, philosophy, and sociology. The Ed Policy degree programs equip graduates with the knowledge and methodological tools to use, understand, and conduct research on the pressing educational issues of the day.
Our award-winning faculty are nationally renowned for their expertise, research and impact on education issues and policies. The faculty’s cutting-edge research ranges from studies of the social and historical sources of educational problems, to large-scale analyses of the state of our educational system, to rigorous evaluations of specific education and social policy interventions. Studies conducted by faculty, with their students, are supported by major grants from the Department of Education, the National Science Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, and others, and appear regularly in prestigious journals such as the American Educational Research Journal, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Educational Researcher, Journal of Educational Psychology, Early Child Research Quarterly, School Psychology Review, and others.
Education Policy is a close-knit program within a large, world-class university. Due to the small size of the Education Policy program and of GSE, students enjoy small class sizes and work closely with faculty. Moreover, due to Penn’s commitment to interdisciplinary programs and integration among its different schools, GSE students are also able to take advantage of a wealth of resources and opportunities across campus. In recent years, Ed Policy students have completed joint and dual degree programs with Penn’s Law School, the Fels Institute of Government, and the Sociology Department.
One of the strengths of the Education Policy program is the ample opportunity it offers students to participate in faculty research. The Consortium for Policy Research in Education (CPRE), housed at Penn GSE, combines the talents of researchers and technical assistance providers from seven major universities in promoting improvements in teaching and learning. GSE’s Ed Policy program maintains a close relationship with CPRE, providing research and mentorship opportunities for its students.
The Pre-Doctoral Training Fellowship in Interdisciplinary Methods for Field-based Education Research at Penn GSE is designed to train pre-doctoral students in employing rigorous impact studies in field settings using the most sophisticated research design and analytical techniques. This Fellowship, funded by the Institute of Education Science (IES) at the Department of Education, supports the training of students from different disciplines who are committed to careers in applied, field-based education research.
Another strength of the Education Policy program is its proximity to Washington, D.C., and the close ties of faculty members to numerous governmental and non-governmental educational organizations. Faculty and students alike are frequently tapped to work with, or for, leading educational organizations, such as the Institute of Education Science, the National Study of No Child Left Behind, the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards, the American Institutes of Research, the National Governors Association, the Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness, and the Education Trust.
Education Policy, Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
More about this ProgramThe Ph.D. degree program in Education Policy requires a minimum of 16 courses of approved graduate work taken at the University of Pennsylvania beyond the baccalaureate degree, is full-time, and is designed to take four years to complete. Students pursue an individualized program of study that reflects their specific interests, are required to write a significant qualifying paper, and complete a dissertation on an issue in education.
At the heart of the Ph.D. program is the research apprenticeship, where students work on research projects alongside faculty members. Doctoral students are matched with Education Policy faculty members whose research interests align with their own. Through the research apprenticeship, students learn to design, conduct, and communicate the results of empirical research, including presenting papers at scholarly conferences and submitting articles to scholarly journals for publication.
Education Policy, Master of Science in Education (M.S.Ed.)
More about this ProgramThe one-year M.S.Ed. degree in Education Policy requires 10 courses of approved graduate work beyond the baccalaureate degree. Students in the program usually complete courses in a 4/4/2 pattern; i.e., four courses in each of the Fall and Spring semesters and two during the Summer term. The program culminates in the Education Policy Research Practicum.
Joint Degree Program, Penn GSE (M.S.Ed.) and Penn Law (J.D.)
More about this ProgramThe JD/MSEd is a joint program sponsored by Penn GSE and Penn Law. Students will earn both degrees in three years and are prepared to assumed positions of leadership in educational law and policymaking in both the public and private sectors.
Dual Degree Program, Penn GSE (M.S.Ed.) and Fels Institute of Government (M.P.A.)
More about this ProgramThe MSEd/MPA is a joint program sponsored by Penn GSE and Penn's Fels Institute of Government. Students will be prepared for careers in nonprofit leadership and public administration.
In Education Week, Matthew Steinberg discussed a new study he co-authored questioning the effectiveness of many evaluations.
Laura Desimone, Professor of Education Policy, is Co-Director of Penn GSE’s new $10 million 5-year Institute of Education Sciences-funded center to study college and career ready standards. The national Center on Standards, Alignment, Instruction, and Learning (C-SAIL) will study state and district efforts to implement the standards, assess the effects of these activities on instruction and student outcomes, and support teachers in interpreting the standards and changing their practice in response to them.
A new report coauthored by Education Policy Professor Matthew Steinberg found that the School District of Philadelphia does more, per pupil, with its current resources than its closest counterparts in terms of student poverty and achievement. This evidence suggests that the SDP, rather than a story of failure, is a story of possibility.
Laura Desimone is PI of Shared Solutions, the first ever formal partnership between the School District of Philadelphia and Penn GSE. The partnership is studying the District’s school improvement efforts, and building capacity to use data and research in making school improvement decisions.
Professor Maynard has been elected President for the Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness, and also named to the prestigious Policy Roundtable of the Behavioral and Social Sciences of the National Academy of Sciences.
Professor Laura Desimone, in collaboration with Dean Andy Porter and doctoral and education policy masters students, had an article published comparing the roles of formal and informal mentors in supporting and improving new middle school math teachers.
A recent study of third grade children in Philadelphia discovers that children with multiple risks have a negative impact on their broader educational environment.
“To improve the quality of teaching,” Ingersoll says, you need to “improve the quality of the teaching job.” And, “If you really improve that job… you would attract good people and you would keep them.”
Professor Matthew Steinberg has been selected to join the 2015 cohort of the Emerging Education Policy Scholars program, which is backed by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute and the American Enterprise Institute, and aims to connect early career scholars with policymakers.
Faculty and students from the Penn GSE Education Policy Division presented research, chaired panels, and participated in poster sessions at the 37th Annual Fall Research Conference of the Association for Public Policy Analysis & Management (APPAM) November 12 - 14, 2015 in Miami, Florida. Participating faculty include Professors Rebecca Maynard and Matthew Steinberg; participating students include Cameron Anglum (Ed Policy), Wendy Castillo (Ed Policy), and Kata Orosz (Higher Ed).
Jonathan Supovitz — Penn GSE professor of education policy and co-director of the Consortium for Policy Research in Education — appeared on WHYY’s Radio Times to discuss the new standards, the testing that is coming with them, and what the political battles means for education.
“One of the really powerful things about standards are the way they catalyze all kinds of educational issues,” Supovitz said. “It’s a catalyst for changing the teacher preparation system, for changing K-12 alignment, for changing teacher evaluation.”
Professors John Fantuzzo and Dennis P. Culhane released a new edited volume, Actionable Intelligence: Using Integrated Data Systems to Achieve a More Effective, Efficient, and Ethical Government in November 2015. The Actionable Intelligence for Social Policy (AISP) model was developed to address the major limitations to traditional approaches to American public administration identified in the literature. It encourages social innovation and social policy experimentation so that government can work better, smarter, and faster.
In addition to Fantuzzo and Culhane, several current and former doctoral students from the Education Policy program contributed as co-authors, including Casey Henderson and Whitney LeBoeuf.
Public Policy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Psychology, Fuller Graduate School of Psychology
Sociology, University of Pennsylvania
Economics, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Public Policy, University of Chicago
Education, Harvard University
Philosophy, Tel Aviv University
Social Psychology, Boston College
Higher Education, Pennsylvania State University
Educational Administration, Stanford University
Education, University of Michigan
Educational Psychology, University of Wisconsin
Education, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Education, Stanford University
Psychology, University of Michigan
"When I began my studies at GSE, I knew my passion for education reform was strong enough to pursue as a career path. While I have always been eager to contribute to the ongoing dialogue of education policy, my coursework and great relationships formed with faculty members have shaped my perspective in ways I never anticipated and am tremendously fortunate to have experienced. My fellow classmates hail from diverse educational and professional backgrounds and, as such, contribute to perpetually stimulating conversation and class discussion. As I complete the Master’s program, I now feel prepared to embark on a path to make a substantial impact in the world of urban education reform.”
Our graduates go on to take leading roles in universities, federal and state education departments, and education policy research institutes.
View the Full List of Alumni Careers