Courses of interest

Strengthening knowledge of education policies, institutions, practices, and research methods.


Affiliate faculty and faculty leadership of EPI teach a range of courses in departments and schools across campus. Many of these courses are related to building knowledge of the context of education systems in the U.S., as well as skills to evaluate policies and practices that contribute to academic and long run outcomes for students. Below, we have listed a sampling of courses that were offered at the Ford School of Public Policy in the past couple of years. These courses are often taken by masters and PhD students of public policy, as well as students from the School of Education, Economics and Sociology departments, as well as School of Public Health, and a number of other programs across campus.

To learn more about the course requirements for EPI’s Predoctoral Fellowship program, see the details provided below for Causal Inference in Education Policy Research courses. Additionally, refer to the course requirements detailed under the Predoctoral Fellowship program on the page linked here.


Education Policy courses

  • PUBPOL 475: Topics: Education Policy and Economic Mobility: Challenges and Promise
    Brian Jacob
    Fall 2023

    In this course, we will examine the K-12 and higher education sectors, with a focus on key policy issues in each area. The goals of the course are to (1) to familiarize students with the arguments and evidence relating to important education policies and/or interventions and (2) provide students with an analytic framework to assess education policy more generally. Specific policy areas in K-12 include charter schools, school accountability, teacher pay and professional development, school finance reform and the role of technology in schools. Specific policy areas in higher education include financial aid, affirmative action, regulation of the for-profit sector, community college transfer policies, and student support initiatives. Throughout the course, we will focus on the differential impact of policies by student demographic characteristics (e.g., race, gender, socioeconomic status, etc.) as well as community context.  While the course will focus primarily on education in the U.S. context, there will be some discussion of how similar challenges are (or are not) addressed in other countries.

    PUBPOL 750: Topics: Diversity Initiatives in Higher Education
    Stephanie Sanders
    Wednesday / Winter 2020
    4:00-6:50 pm EDT
    Download sample course syllabus
    The Diversity Initiatives in Higher Education course will provide graduate students with insight into policy issues related to diversity and inclusion efforts at public institutions in the United States.

    PUBPOL 611: Higher Education and Public Policy
    Kevin Stange
    Monday, Wednesday / Fall 2019
    2:30-3:50 pm EDT
    This course examines the higher education sector from several different angles, but with an emphasis placed on the economic issues.


Causal Inference courses

This course sequence ​exposes students to the fundamentals of applying causal methods to education research. In the context of studying early childhood, K-12, and higher education systems and policies, we cover the use of (i) randomized controlled trials, (ii) regression discontinuity design, (iii) instrumental variables, (iv) fixed effects, (v) differences-in-differences, and (vi) matching techniquest.