2023-2024 Education and Society MA Certificate Courses

All courses are subject to change. 

Spring 2024

CHDV 38950 The Development of Communicative Competence

Instructor: Marisa Casillas
Term: Spring
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:00-3:20

This course examines the emergence of communicative skills in humans. We will focus on how children glean information about language structure and language use from their home environments. We will also discuss the proposed cognitive and evolutionary roots of communicative behaviors, with a focus on current gaps in our knowledge and possible pathways forward. The course will consider these issues from multiple perspectives including linguistics, psychology, and linguistic anthropology. We will also briefly cover a range of linguistics, psychology, and linguistic anthropology. We will also briefly cover a range of methods associated with these different areas of study.

EDSO 33011. Beyond the Culture Wars: Social Movements and the Politics of Education

Instructor: Lisa Rosen
Term: Spring
Wednesdays, 11:30-2:20

Passionate conflicts over school curriculum and educational policy are a recurring phenomenon in the history of US schooling. Why are schools such frequent sites of struggle and what is at stake in these conflicts? In this discussion-based seminar, we will consider schools as battlegrounds in the US “culture wars”: contests over competing visions of national identity, morality, social order, the fundamental purposes of public education, and the role of the state vis-à-vis the family. Drawing on case studies from history, anthropology, sociology and critical race and gender studies, we will examine both past and contemporary debates over school curriculum and school policy. Topics may include clashes over: the teaching of evolution, sex and sexuality education, busing/desegregation, prayer in schools, multiculturalism, the content of the literary canon, the teaching of reading, mathematics and history, and the closure of “underperforming” urban schools. Our inquiry will examine how social and political movements have used schools to advance or resist particular agendas and social projects.

PSYC 31850. Infants understanding of social relationships and social groups

Instructor: Amanda Woodward
Term: Spring
Wednesdays, 9:30-12:20

In this advanced seminar we will dig deeply into the current literature on infant social cognition. Past generations of infancy research have shown the richness in infants’ understanding of the physical world and the actions of individual agents. In recent years, new findings have burgeoned that suggest remarkable richness in infants’ understanding of social processes that organize individuals into relationships and groups. These findings raise pressing questions – What is the infant’s conception of a social relationship? Do infants understand social obligations? if infants detect markers of social groups, how do they understand the structure and function of these groups? How are infants’ conceptions in these areas similar to and different from mature ideas? We will read recent findings in the scientific literature, with discussion and written assignments focused on critical and creative analysis of this work.

PPHA 35700 Economics of Education Policy

Instructor: Derek Rury
Term: Spring
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 3:30-4:50

Which education policies work and which do not? How are these policies evaluated? The main goal of this course is to familiarize students with the methods and research frontier in the economics of education, with an emphasis on policies designed to improve students’ outcomes. We will explore and discuss a wide range of educational policy issues, including the returns to schooling, student incentives, teacher labor markets, school choice, accountability, school funding, and higher education. Throughout the course, we will pay close attention to the methods employed to evaluate the effects of education policies.

PPHA 35720 Higher Education Policy

Instructor: Lesley Turner
Term: Spring
Mondays 9:00-11:50

This course will examine major policy issues in higher education in both the United States and abroad. Topics covered will include models of individuals’ educational investment decisions, rationale for government involvement in higher education markets, the effects of higher education on long-term social and economic outcomes, and the behavior of institutions that produce higher education. Students will use economic models and interpret experts’ empirical findings to analyze current issues in higher education policy such as free community college, financial aid and student loans, affirmative action, higher education accountability, and student debt relief.

SOCI 30112. Applications of Hierarchical Linear Methods

Instructor: Steve Raudenbush
Term: Spring
Mondays 9:30-12:20

A number of diverse methodological problems such as correlates of change, analysis of multi-level data, and certain aspects of meta-analysis share a common feature-a hierarchical structure. The hierarchical linear model offers a promising approach to analyzing data in these situations. This course will survey the methodological literature in this area, and demonstrate how the hierarchical linear model can be applied to a range of problems.

*Eligible to be counted towards the MAPSS Methods Requirement

SOCI 36008. Principles and Methods of Measurement

Instructor: Y. Sheng
Term: Spring
Tuesdays and Thursdays 11:00-12:20

Accurate measurement of key theoretical constructs with known and consistent psychometric properties is one of the essential steps in quantitative social and behavioral research. However, measurement of phenomena that are not directly observable (such as psychological attributes, perceptions of organizational climate, or quality of services) is difficult. Much of the research in psychometrics has been developed in an attempt to properly define and quantify such phenomena. This course is designed to introduce students to the relevant concepts, principles, and method underlying the construction and interpretation of tests or measures. It provides in-depth coverage of test reliability and validity, topics in test theory, and statistical procedures applicable to psychometric methods. Such understanding is essential for rigorous practice in measurement as well as for proper interpretation of research. The course is highly recommended for students who plan to pursue careers in academic research or applied practice involving the use or development of tests or measures in the social and behavioral sciences.

Prerequisite: Course work or background experience in statistics through inferential statistics and linear regression

Autumn 2023

CHDV 31000. Cultural Psychology

Instructor: Rick Schweder
Term: Autumn
Tuesdays 9:30-10:50

There is a substantial portion of the psychological nature of human beings that is neither homogeneous nor fixed across time and space. At the heart of the discipline of cultural psychology is the tenet of psychological pluralism, which states that the study of “normal” psychology is the study of multiple psychologies and not just the study of a single or uniform fundamental psychology for all peoples of the world. Research findings in cultural psychology thus raise provocative questions about the integrity and value of alternative forms of subjectivity across cultural groups. In this course we analyze the concept of “culture” and examine ethnic and cross-cultural variations in mental functioning with special attention to the cultural psychology of emotions, self, moral judgment, categorization, and reasoning.

EDSO 40315. Inequality in Urban Spaces

Instructor: Micere Keels
Term: Autumn
Mondays 1:30-4:20

The problems confronting urban schools are bound to the social, economic, and political conditions of the urban environments in which schools reside. Thus, this course will explore social, economic, and political issues, with an emphasis on issues of race and class as they have affected the distribution of equal educational opportunities in urban schools. We will focus on the ways in which family, school, and neighborhood characteristics intersect to shape the divergent outcomes of low- and middle-income children residing with any given neighborhood. Students will tackle an important issue affecting the residents and schools in one Chicago neighborhood. This course is part of the College Course Cluster: Urban Design.

 

ECMA 36700. Economics of Education

Instructor: Derek Neal
Term: Autumn
2 sections. Tuesdays & Thursdays, 9:30-10:50 & 11:00-12:20


This course explores economic models of the demand for and supply of different forms of schooling. The course examines the markets for primary, secondary, and post-secondary schooling. The course examines numerous public policy questions, such as the role of government in funding or subsidizing education, the design of public accountability systems, the design of systems that deliver publicly funded (and possibly provided) education, and the relationship between education markets and housing markets. This course has a pre-req: ECON 21020/201030, Econometrics

EDSO 33006. Schooling and Social Inequality

Instructor: Lisa Rosen
Term: Autumn
Wednesdays, 3:00-5:50

How and why do educational outcomes and experiences vary across student populations? What role do schools play in a society’s system of stratification? How do schools both contribute to social mobility and to the reproduction of the prevailing social order? This course examines these questions through the lens of social and cultural theory, engaging current academic debates on the causes and consequences of social inequality in educational outcomes. We will engage these debates by studying foundational and emerging theories and examining empirical research on how social inequalities are reproduced or ameliorated through schools. Through close readings of historical, anthropological and sociological case studies of schooling in the U.S, students will develop an understanding of the structural forces and cultural processes that produce inequality in neighborhoods and schools, how they contribute to unequal opportunities, experiences, and achievement outcomes for students along lines of race/ethnicity, class, gender, and immigration status, and how students themselves navigate and interpret this unequal terrain. We will cover such topics as neighborhood and school segregation; peer culture; social networks; elite schooling; the interaction between home, society and educational institutions; and dynamics of assimilation for students from immigrant communities.

EDSO 60013. Workshop on Education

Format: Weekly Lecture
Term: Autumn
Thursdays, 12:30-1:50
MA Certificate students are required to enroll as auditors in this course for two quarters.

Human beings inhabit a very complex social world and our mind has structures that enable us to navigate this complexity. Where do these concerns come from? Are we blank slates that passively absorb cues from our environment? If not, what early competencies enable us to learn? How do these competencies interact with our culture? To answer these questions, this class will cover literature from infants, toddlers, children, and adults to give a rich picture of what changes and remains constant across development. We will cover topics such as children’s understanding of intentions, theory of mind, communication, ownership, morality, and inter-group attitudes.

 

MAPS 30128. Sociology of Education

Instructor: Marshall Jean
Term: Autumn
Tuesdays/Thursdays 3:30-4:50

This course examines the social organization of formal education – how schools are shaped by the social context in which they are situated, and how students’ experiences in turn shape our society. It focuses specifically on schools as the link between macrosociological phenomena (e.g. culture, political systems, segregation, inequality) and the microsociological interactions of individual students and educators. The focus will be on contemporary American education, although lessons from the past and abroad will inform our learning. Prior introductory coursework in sociology will be useful but is not required.

 

PPHA 40700. Early Childhood: Human Capital Development and Public Policy

Instructor: Ariel Kalil
Term: Autumn
Mondays and Wednesdays 10:30-11:50

The goal of this course is to introduce students to the literature on early child development and explore how an understanding of core developmental concepts can inform social policies. Our substantive foci will be on early childhood poverty, the role of parenting and the home environment in shaping children’s development, and the evidence base for intervention in early childhood for economically disadvantaged children. The course will cover evidence from neuroscience, psychology, economics, sociology, and public policy as it bears on these questions. In particular, we will explore how the principles of early childhood development can guide the design of policies and practices that enhance the healthy development of young children, particularly for those living in adverse circumstances, and thereby build a strong foundation for promoting equality of opportunity, reducing social class disparities in life outcomes, building human capital, fostering economic prosperity, and generating positive social change. In doing so, we will discuss the evidence on whether the contexts of children’s development are amenable to public policy intervention and the costs and benefits of different policy approaches.

 

PSYC 32950. Emergence and Development of Mathematics and Language

Instructor: Susan Goldin-Meadow and Susan Levine
Term: Autumn
Mondays 1:30-4:20

We will discuss the emergence and development of mathematics and language in humans. Among the topics we will discuss are the universality and variation of the development of these systems as well as their resilience in the face of biological and input variations.

 

PSYC 32220. Understanding Inequality as a Psychologist

Instructor: Lin Bian
Term: Autumn
Thursdays, 9:30-12:20

Inequality within and across social groups has risen sharply in the past few decades. What are the early traces and psychological mechanisms of this pervasive phenomenon? In this seminar, we will discuss these questions from multiple angles, integrating developmental, social and cognitive psychology. Specifically, this course will cover topics in early social cognition, including social categorization, essentialism, structural reasoning, normative reasoning, stereotypes and prejudice, etc. Students will evaluate past studies throughout the course and propose original research at the end.

 

SOCI 30004. Statistical Methods of Research

Instructor: Steve Raudenbush
Term: Autumn
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9:30-10:50

This course has two purposes. First, using nationally representative US surveys, we’ll examine the early emergence of educational inequality and its evolution during adolescence and adulthood. We’ll ask about the importance of social origins (parent social status, race/ethnicity, gender, and language) in predicting labor market outcomes. We’ll study the role that education and plays in shaping economic opportunity, beginning in early childhood. We’ll ask at what points interventions might effectively advance learning and reduce inequality.

Second, we’ll gain mastery over some important statistical methods required for answering these and related questions. Indeed, this course provides an introduction to quantitative methods and a foundation for other methods courses in the social sciences. We consider standard topics: graphical and tabular displays of univariate and bivariate distributions, an introduction to statistical inference, and commonly arising applications such as the t‐test, the two‐way contingency table, analysis of variance, and regression. However, all statistical ideas and methods are embedded in case studies including a national survey of adult labor force outcomes, a national survey of elementary school children, and a national survey that follows adolescents through secondary school into early adulthood. Thus, the course will consider all statistical choices and inferences in the context of the broader logic of inquiry with the aim of strengthening our understanding of that logic as well as of the statistical methods.

SOCI 30192. The Effects of Schooling

Instructor: Ross Stoltzenberg
Term: Autumn
Tuesdays/Thursdays 2:00-3:20

From at least the Renaissance until some time around the middle of the twentieth century, social class was the pre-eminent, generalized determinant of life chances in European and, eventually, American societies. Social class had great effect on one’s social standing; economic well-being; political power; access to knowledge; and even longevity, health, and height. In that time, there was hardly an aspect of life that was not profoundly influenced by social class. In the ensuing period, the effects of social class have receded greatly, and perhaps have even vanished. In their place formal schooling has become the great generalized influence over who gets access to the desiderata of social life, including food, shelter, political power, and medical care. So it is that schooling is sociologically interesting for reasons that go well beyond education. The purpose of this course is to review what is known about the long-term effects of schooling.

 

SSAD 68700. Adolescent Development in Context

Instructor: Ming-Te Wang
Term: Autumn
Tuesdays: 9:30-12:20

This course focuses on developmental pathways from middle childhood through adolescence within the context of school, family, community, and culture. Because human development is an applied field, we will be paying special attention to how sociocultural and historical influences affect academic, socioemotional, and identity development in the context of real-world challenges and opportunities faced by adolescents. In addition to learning about developmental and sociocultural theories, students will apply research to policy and practice by creating resources geared toward youth, parents, or those who work with youth. By the end of this course sequence, students should be able to:
1. Describe and apply key theories of middle childhood and adolescent development;
2. Identify developmental opportunities and challenges during middle childhood and adolescence;
3. Discuss the role of identity development in constructing or authoring one’s life story;
4. Reframe adolescent risk-taking as a form of creativity and individual expression;
5. Understand how relationships can influence positive youth development; and
6. Translate theory and research into developmentally appropriate and culturally sensitive resources for youth, families, and those who work with youth.

 

Winter 2024

CHDV 30102. Introduction to Causal Inference

Instructor: Guanglei Hong
Term: Winter
Wednesdays 1:30-4:20

This course is designed for graduate students and advanced undergraduate students from the social sciences, education, public health science, public policy, social service administration, and statistics who are involved in quantitative research and are interested in studying causality. The goal of this course is to equip students with basic knowledge of and analytic skills in causal inference. Topics for the course will include the potential outcomes framework for causal inference; experimental and observational studies; identification assumptions for causal parameters; potential pitfalls of using ANCOVA to estimate a causal effect; propensity score based methods including matching, stratification, inverse-probability-of-treatment-weighting (IPTW), marginal mean weighting through stratification (MMWS), and doubly robust estimation; the instrumental variable (IV) method; regression discontinuity design (RDD) including sharp RDD and fuzzy RDD; difference in difference (DID) and generalized DID methods for cross-section and panel data, and fixed effects model. Intermediate Statistics or equivalent is a prerequisite. This course is a pre-requisite for “Advanced Topics in Causal Inference” and “Mediation, moderation, and spillover effects.”

EDSO 33002. Schooling and Identity

Instructor: Lisa Rosen
Term: Winter
Wednesdays 11:30 – 2:20

This course examines the dynamic relations between schooling and identity. We will explore how schools both enable and constrain the identities available to students and the consequences of this for academic achievement. We will examine these relations from multiple disciplinary perspectives, applying psychological, anthropological, sociological, and critical theories to understanding how students not only construct identities for themselves within schools, but also negotiate the identities imposed on them by others. Topics will include the role of peer culture, adult expectations, school practices and enduring social structures in shaping processes of identity formation in students and how these processes influence school engagement and achievement. We will consider how these processes unfold at all levels of schooling, from preschool through college, and for students who navigate a range of social identities, from marginalized to privileged.

EDSO 60013. Workshop on Education

Format: Weekly Lecture
Term: Winter
Thursdays, 12:30-1:50
MA Certificate students are required to enroll as auditors in this course for two quarters.

Human beings inhabit a very complex social world and our mind has structures that enable us to navigate this complexity. Where do these concerns come from? Are we blank slates that passively absorb cues from our environment? If not, what early competencies enable us to learn? How do these competencies interact with our culture? To answer these questions, this class will cover literature from infants, toddlers, children, and adults to give a rich picture of what changes and remains constant across development. We will cover topics such as children’s understanding of intentions, theory of mind, communication, ownership, morality, and inter-group attitudes.

 

MAPH 32819. Philosophy of Education

Instructor: Bart Schultz
Term: Winter
Tuesdays and Thursdays 12:30-1:50

What are the aims of education? Are they what they should be, for purposes of cultivating flourishing citizens of a liberal democracy? What are the biggest challenges—philosophical, political, cultural, and ethical—confronting educators today, in the U.S. and across the globe? How can philosophy help address these? In dealing with such questions, this course will provide an introductory overview of both the philosophy of education and various educational programs in philosophy, critically surveying a few of the leading ways in which philosophers past and present have framed the aims of education and the educational significance of philosophy. From Plato to the present, philosophers have contributed to articulating the aims of education and developing curricula to be used in various educational contexts, for diverse groups and educational levels. This course will draw on both classic and contemporary works, but considerable attention will be devoted to the work and legacy of philosopher/educator John Dewey, a founding figure at the University of Chicago and a crucial resource for educators concerned with cultivating critical thinking, creativity, character, and ethical reflection. The course will also feature field trips, distinguished guest speakers, and opportunities for experiential learning.

 

MAPS 30289. Intermediate Regression and Data Science

Instructor: Marshall Jean
Term: Winter
Tuesdays and Thursdays 3:30-4:50

This course is designed to provide intermediate-level training in research methods that would pick up immediately after traditionally introductory-level classes that end with multiple regression. This course is designed to be a standalone package of training that will provide tools of immediate use in students’ own research or to make them more capable RAs in larger projects. I expect the course will provide the most utility to advanced BA and MA students that will not have time to complete many advanced, specialized courses. However, it would also serve as a useful bridge to more advanced statistical coursework. Students will also learn how to present findings in competent and accessible ways suitable for poster or conference presentations.

 

MAPS 31522. Education, Culture, and Power

Instructor: Maximilian Cuddy
Term: Winter
Tuesdays 2:00-4:50

This course critically examines how power and culture operate within educational systems. This course will presume that education is not simply a neutral good that we must acquire to gain social mobility. Instead, educational systems are sites where power is enacted and where culture is learned (or suppressed). Thus, this course will ask important questions like: What type of education gets you power? What is the normative culture of education (schooling)? Do you need to perform a certain type of culture to accrue educational power? Who has power over educational systems? How is education wielded as a tool of power? Can educational systems be sites of challenging power? To answer these questions, we will read a range of educational scholars, sociologists, historians, anthropologists, and social theorists. We will pay particular attention to the many lines of difference that stratify educational systems, such as: race, indigeneity, gender, sexuality, class, nationality, and disability.

MAPS 32700. It Goes Without Saying: Conversations in Context

Instructor: Natalie Dowling
Term: Winter
Tuesdays and Thursdays 2:00-3:20

In everyday conversation, the language we use is part of a larger interactive context. The words we use are neither spoken nor heard in a vacuum. As speakers our bodies, faces, voices, and histories send messages above and beyond the words we choose. In this course we broaden the scope of how we talk about talk, where language is just one of many ways we communicate. We explore how identity, society, and the physical world allow us to make meaning from language using perspectives from linguistics, psychology, and sociology. Over the quarter students will build a multi-modal analysis of a single interaction by examining and reexamining data through lenses such as social distance, barriers to communication, stance-taking, and gesture.

PPHA 35240. Education, Inequality, and Economic Development

Instructor: Anjali Adukia
Term: Winter
Mondays 1:30-4:20

This course covers policy issues related to education in developing contexts.  We will analyze education policies and reforms from an economic perspective, review relevant research on each topic, and examine implications of the findings to policy and practice.  Topics include understanding factors that influence educational decisions, provision of basic needs in schools, teacher pay and incentives, school choice, early childhood education, and education in emergency settings.

PSYC 33830. Attention and Working Memory in the Mind and Brain

Instructor: E. Awh, E. Vogel
Term: Winter
Tuesdays and Thursdays 11:00-12:20

This course will provide a broad overview of current work in psychology and neuroscience related to attention and working memory. We will discuss evidence for sharp capacity limits in an individual’s ability to actively monitor and maintain information in an “online” mental state. Readings will be primarily based on original source articles from peer-reviewed journals, with a focus on behavioral and neural approaches for measuring and understanding these basic cognitive processes. 

PSYC 43200. Seminar in Language Development

Instructor: Susan Goldin-Meadow
Term: Winter
Thursdays 3:30-5:20

This course addresses the major issues involved in first-language acquisition. We deal with the child’s production and perception of speech sounds (phonology), the acquisition of the lexicon (semantics), the comprehension and production of structured word combinations (syntax), and the ability to use language to communicate (pragmatics).

Instructor permission required.

PSYC 42550. Topics in Cognitive Development

Instructor: Alexander Shaw and Susan Levine
Term: Winter
Tuesdays 9:30-12:20

In the first years of life, children’s cognition undergoes dramatic qualitative and quantitative change. For nearly a century, experimental psychologists have sought to understand the nature and causes of these developmental changes. This course surveys classic and current approaches to the study of cognitive development in infants and children.

 

SSAD 63412. Cultural Studies in Education

Instructor: Carlos Angeles
Term: Winter
Mondays 2:00-4:50

The course begins with an introduction to the history, development, and basic tenets of cultural studies. Throughout our work together, we will examine how social class, race/ethnicity, and gender are represented in literacy, language, and cultural theories and research that examine reproduction and resistance. Using cultural studies as the point of departure, this course explores the intersection of culture, power, and language (both oral and written) within schools and school systems. In accordance with the tenets of cultural studies, the course is guided by the presumption that culture (as it is realized through the functioning of schools and their agents and the experiences, knowledge, expressions, dispositions, and meaning-making of people of color, women, and low-income or working-class individuals) is critical for understanding and intervening in the reproduction of social and economic inequality. In order to understand the reproduction of inequality we will examine theories and empirical investigations that explore how structures of domination and subordination are reproduced and social difference and inequality are reinscribed through the cultural practices that are reflected in schools. We will also analyze the extent to which the cultural practices and experiences of marginalized individuals simultaneously contribute to the process of reproduction and also affirm the emancipatory possibilities of resistance.