Show The Graduate Center Menu

Curriculum and Degree Information

Urban Education students talking

Find information about required and elective coursework to be completed during students' time at The Graduate Center. 

Course of Study

All students in the Ph.D. Program in Urban Education will be required to complete four core courses:

  • Historical Contexts of Urban Education
  • Pedagogy and the Urban Classroom
  • Introduction into Research Methods
  • Educational Policy

In addition to the core courses, there is a required one-credit core colloquium seminar, that will be taken in the first semester.

The core courses are unified by two themes that run through them all: the interdependence of curricular and policy issues, and the connections between research methodologies and fundamental questions of knowledge, its nature and reliability. All courses address issues of cultural, historical, and political dimensions of inquiry.

By taking the core courses as cohort groups, students with diverse backgrounds and intended areas of interest will begin the process of collaborative inquiry that is central to the structure of this program. At every stage of their doctoral studies, students will learn to articulate their research questions, procedures, and outcomes with those of other students approaching related problems from different perspectives.

Students are also required to take 9 credits of courses related to methodology, one in quantitative research, one in qualitative research methods, and an advanced research methods course.

Electives fulfill 27 credits of coursework that advance students’ trajectories in their chosen research topic.

Core Course Descriptions

Core 1: Intro. to Research Methods in in Urban Education
Core 2: Pedagogy and the Urban Classroom
Core 3: The Historical Contexts of Urban Education
Core 4: Educational Policy
Core Colloquium

Research Methods Courses

Research methods courses fulfill the required 9 credits. The program requires a 3-credit quantitative and 3-credit qualitative course, and students select a third (3-credit) methods course including (but not limited to) the following: research design, statistical reasoning and analyses, ethnographic methods and data analysis; visual and narrative research methods, document analysis, policy, historical, and philosophical analyses, among others. 


Students will complete approximately 27 credits of elective courses, chosen from: recommended courses offered at The Graduate Center across its many doctoral programs; the program seminars and special topics courses in Urban Education; independent studies courses under the supervision of a member of the doctoral faculty (subject to approval of the Executive Officer); and, if appropriate, by courses that students can take at other universities belonging to the Inter-university Consortium. The electives feature analytical, empirical, theoretical and practice-based engagement in a student’s chosen field of study.  

Electives are selected––in consultation with students' academic advisor and dissertation committee members. The electives that complete a students’ course of study and preparation for dissertation work are carefully and collaboratively curated by students and their advisors, who ensure that students achieve a high level of interdisciplinary sophistication related to their chosen research topic.

Program seminars focus on the ever-evolving issues/debates within the field, their historic antecedents and imagined possibilities. Program seminars help students develop theories of culture, language, race, gender, political economy, science, mathematics, curricular and policy analysis while linking higher education to cultural institutions, technology, and teacher education within the urban context.

Examples of Program Seminars


Exams and Dissertation

The student is advanced to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree after completing:

  • all program requirements

  • passing all parts of the First and Second Examination

Dissertation Oral Examination: The Ph.D. is awarded after the dissertation

See details: Exams and Dissertation Requirements.