Graduate Level Course List

The following is a list of graduate courses on topics related to education offered by faculty across the university, organized into three areas of study, each of which encompasses multiple disciplines: (1) Individual Development and Learning; (2) Schooling and Society; and (3) Educational Policy and Evaluation. All of the courses on this list may be used to fulfill the requirements of the Education and Society MA Certificate Program. For specifics on quarterly course offerings, consult the University’s Class Search page. 

** The courses listed below are a complete record of all of the courses that have been offered in recent years that are eligible to be counted towards the Education and Society certificate.

To view a spreadsheet of courses offered in the upcoming academic year (2019-2020), click here. To view descriptions of the 2019-20 courses, click here.

Comparative Human Development

CHDV 30101. Applied Statistics in Human Development Research

Instructor: Guanglei Hong

This course provides an introduction to quantitative methods of inquiry and a foundation for more advanced courses in applied statistics for students in social sciences who are interested in studying human development in social contexts. The course covers univariate and bivariate descriptive statistics, an introduction to statistical inference, t test, two-way contingency table, analysis of variance, simple linear regression, and multiple regression. All statistical concepts and methods will be illustrated with applications to a series of scientific inquiries organized around describing and understanding adolescent transitions into adulthood across demographic subpopulations in contemporary American society. We will use the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 (NLSY97) throughout the course to reveal disparities between subpopulations in opportunities and life course outcomes. At the end of the course, students should be able to define and use descriptive and inferential statistics to analyze data and to interpret analytical results. No prior knowledge in statistics is assumed. High school algebra and probability are the only mathematical pre-requisites. Every student is required to participate in a lab section. Students will review the course content and learn to use the Stata software in the lab under the TA’s guidance. Term: Autumn

*Eligible to be counted towards the MAPSS Methods Requirement

CHDV 30102. Introduction to Causal Inference

Instructor: Guanglei Hong

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.”

CHDV 32411. Mediation, Moderation, and Spillover Effects (=PSYC 23411, STAT 33211)

Instructor: Guanglei Hong

This course is designed for graduate students and advanced undergraduate students from social sciences, statistics, health studies, public policy, and social services administration who will be or are currently involved in quantitative research. The course is focused on methodological issues with regard to mediation of intervention effects, moderated intervention effects, cumulative effects of treatment sequences, and spillover effects in a variety of settings. Research questions about why an intervention works, for whom, under what conditions, in what sequence, and whether one individual’s treatment could affect other individuals’ outcomes are often key to the advancement of scientific knowledge yet pose major analytic challenges. Readings will reflect the current development and controversies around these issues. All students will contribute to the knowledge building through participating in a big study group and, when applicable, will be encouraged to bring ongoing empirical work for class discussion.

*Eligible to be counted towards the MAPSS Methods Requirement

CHDV 40207. Development in Adolescents

Instructor: Margaret Beale Spencer

Adolescence is a period of rapid growth and development irrespective of circumstances, contextual conditions and supports; thus, it represents both significant challenges and unique opportunities. The conceptual orientation taken acknowledges the noted difficulties but also speculates about the predictors of resiliency and the sources of positive youth development achieved. The course delineates the developmental period’s complexity made worse by the many contextual and cultural forces due to socially structured conditions; that fact interact with youths’ unavoidable and unique meaning-making processes. As a function of some youths’ privileging circumstances versus the low resource and chronic conditions of others, both coping and identity formation processes are emphasized as highly consequential. Thus, stage specific developmental processes are explored for understanding gap fin dings for a society’s diverse youth given citizenship requirements expected of all. In sum, the course presents the experiences of diverse youth from a variety of theoretical perspectives. The strategy improves our understanding about the “what” of human development as well as dynamic insights about the “how” and “why.” Ultimately, the conceptual orientation described is critical for 1) designing better social policy, 2) improving the training and support of socializing agents (e.g., teachers), and 3) enhancing human developmental outcomes (e.g., resilient patterns).

CHDV 40315. Inequality in Urban Spaces

Instructor: Micere Keels

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.


CHDV 44220. Schools as a Social Context

Instructor: A. Mueller

Education plays a fundamental role in society, both because it determines individuals’ life chances and because it has the power to reproduce or ameliorate inequality in society. In this course, we will discuss theoretical and empirical research that examines how schools both perpetuate socioeconomic inequality and provide opportunities for social mobility. We will pay particular attention to the role of schools in the intergenerational transmission of social status, especially based on race, class, gender, and immigrant status and with an emphasis on the U.S. We will also discuss the social side of schools, delving into (1) the role of adolescent culture(s) in youths’ educational experiences and human development and (2) social psychological aspects of schooling. Schools are the primary extra-familial socializing institution that youth experience; thus, understanding how schools work is central to understanding the very structure of societies as well as how youth transition into adulthood.


MAPS 38700/ECON 26700. Economics of Education

Instructor: Derek Neal

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.

 **Prerequisities: ECON 20900, Introduction to Econometrics, or equivalent, and ECON 20100, Intermediate Microeconomics, or equivalent

Education and Society

EDSO 33002. Schooling and Identity

Instructor: L. Rosen

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 33006. Schooling and Social Inequality

Instructor: L. Rosen

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 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.


MAPH 32819/PHIL 22819. Philosophy of Education
Instructor: Bart Schulz

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.


PSYC 33000. Cultural Psychology

Instructor: R. Shweder

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. Prerequisite(s): Third- or fourth-year standing. Instructor consent required.

PSYC 33200. Seminar in Language Development

Instructor: S. Goldin-Meadow

Advanced undergraduates and MAPSS students should register for PSYC 33200. Psychology graduate students should register for PSYC 43200. 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).

PSYC 33750. Seminar: Skill Acquisition and Sensorimotor Learning

Instructor: H. Nusbaum

Skill acquisition has been studied scientifically for well over a hundred years although the vast majority of memory research focuses on learning facts and declarative memory.  This seminar will examine how we learn skills both the kind we use routinely without much thought such as walking and language use and the kind that represent expertise resulting from practice and experience. We will read and discuss the research literature on the cognitive and neural mechanisms underlying sensorimotor learning.  We will consider specific topics such as the interaction of sensory systems and motor systems in learning and the role of sleep in consolidation of learning.  Course requirements will include class presentations of research papers, weekly writing assignments, and a final paper.

PSYC 40500. Advanced Seminar in Developmental Psychology

Instructor: S. Levine

This is an introductory course for graduate students in developmental psychology. Topics in biological, perceptual, cognitive, social, and language development will be covered. This course will satisfy one of Psychology graduate students’ core course requirements.

PSYC 43660. Research Topics in Gesture and Learning

Instructor: Susan Goldin-Meadow

Course Description not yet available

Public Policy (Harris School)

PPHA 35240. Education in Developing Contexts

Instructor: Anjali Adukia

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.

PPHA 36800. Higher Education and Public Policy
Instructor: Jennifer Delaney

We are at a vital moment in American history in which the importance of access to and success in higher education has entered the political discourse on a national scale. Several states have proposed or passed “free college” plans. Total outstanding student loan debt has grown to over $1.3 trillion, surpassing in volume all other forms of debt except home loans. In addition, the most significant piece of higher education legislation at the federal level (the Higher Education Act of 1965) is overdue for reauthorization. As the area of public policy for higher education has seen growing public discussion and concern, it has been accompanied by important policy innovations in recent years. This course will explore many of the public policies through which federal, state, and local governments in the US address higher education. We will also consider how public policy for higher education differs cross-nationally. Each week will include a discussion of recent trends, policy-relevant academic scholarship, theoretical models, and policy innovations for higher education. In addition, students will have the opportunity to engage with the course material through in-class discussions and exercises.

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

Instructor: Ariel Kalil

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. This goal will be addressed through an integrated, multidisciplinary approach. The course will emphasize research on the science of early child development from the prenatal period through school entry.

In this course, students will critically examine historical trends, current challenges, and new directions in developmental science and early childhood policy. Through directed readings, written work, and class participation, students will have opportunities to grapple with the complexities of connecting scientific research to the formulation of evidence-based policies that advance the healthy development of children, families, and communities and bring high returns to all of society, in the United States and around the world.


SOCI 30004. Statistical Methods of Research

Instructor: Steve Raudenbush

This course provides a comprehensive introduction to widely used quantitative methods in sociology and related social sciences.  Topics covered include analysis of variance and multiple regression, considered as they are used by practicing social scientists.

*Eligible to be counted towards the MAPSS Methods Requirement

SOCI 30112. Applications of Hierarchical Linear Methods

Instructor: Steve Raudenbush

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 30192. The Effects of Schooling
Instructor: R. Stolzenberg

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.

SOCI 36008. Principles and Methods of Measurement

Instructor: Y. Sheng

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

SOCI 36009. Introductory Statistical Methods and Applications

Instructor: Y. Sheng

This course introduces and applies fundamental statistical concepts, principles, and procedures to the analysis of data in the social and behavioral sciences. Students will learn computation, interpretation, and application of commonly used descriptive, correlational, and inferential statistical procedures as they relate to social and behavioral research. These include z-test, t-test, bivariate correlation and simple linear regression with an introduction to analysis of variance and multiple regression. The course will integrate the use of Stata as a software tool for these techniques. This course is equivalent to SOSC 20004/30004 (Statistical Methods of Research I), CHDV 20101/30101 (Applied Statistics in Human Development Research), PSYC 20100 (Psychological Statistics), and other introductory level applied statistics courses.

*Eligible to be counted towards the MAPSS Methods Requirement

SOCI 40225. Sociology of Education
Instructor: Anna Mueller

Education plays a fundamental role in society, both because it determines individuals’ life chances and because it has the power to reproduce or ameliorate inequality in society. In this course, we will discuss theoretical and empirical research that examines how schools both perpetuate socioeconomic inequality and provide opportunities for social mobility. We will pay particular attention to the role of schools in the intergenerational transmission of social status, especially based on race, class, gender, and immigrant status and with an emphasis on the U.S. We will also discuss the social side of schools, delving into (1) the role of adolescent culture(s) in youths’ educational experiences and human development and (2) social psychological aspects of schooling. Schools are the primary extra-familial socializing institution that youth experience; thus, understanding how schools work is central to understanding the very structure of societies as well as the transition from childhood to adulthood.

School of Social Service Administration

SSAD 43412. Qualitative Inquiry and Research

Instructor: S. Robinson

This course provides students with an introduction to qualitative methods in social science research and an overview to the components that constitute rigorous design and implementation. The aim of this course is to help students better understand how social science researchers gather reliable information, how they evaluate advantages and limitations of different approaches, and how to develop the capacity to use one of these methods in a project of their own design. The course begins with an historical and philosophical overview of qualitative inquiry, and proceeds with an examination of the most commonly used approaches. While covering these approaches, issues related to research design, data collection, analytic technique, researcher values and subjectivity are taught in an applied manner through a project-based assignment. Although the course is not designed to train for proficiency in any one approach, it will familiarize students with the specific processes involved in designing and conducting qualitative research. Of primary importance is to assist students in constructing valid and accurate descriptions of human behavior in our culturally and ethnically diverse society.

SSAD 44800. Urban Adolescents in their Families, Communities, and Schools

Instructor: Melissa Roderick

Early and mid-adolescence is a critical stage in the life course. Urban adolescents face special risks and often have fewer supports and opportunities to guide them through this critical period. As the United States population becomes increasingly diverse, particularly in urban areas, families, communities, and schools may need to create new social institutions and relationships to meet the needs of this new population. This course focuses on three central questions. First, how are the education and developmental trajectories of adolescents shaped by their experiences in their families, schools, and communities as well as the interrelationships among these domains? Second, what are the special needs or issues that arise for adolescents who are from immigrant families, who are cultural, racial, or ethnic minorities, or who are from educationally and economically disadvantaged households? And third, how do we translate an understanding of the needs of adolescents and the conditions in families, communities, and schools that foster positive development into the design of policies and practice?

SSAD 47922. Innovations in Data Use and the Development of Practice Communities to Drive Continuous Improvement

Instructor: Melissa Roderick

Over the past decade, data and better data systems and use have become a central reform strategy in education, social services and health. In a short period of time, many barriers to data access have been removed. The internet, software, and other technological advances have made getting, assembling, analyzing and disseminating data cheap and easy. In education, data use has transformed educators’ work environment and districts’ approaches to reform. In a relatively short period of time, access to data has shifted from the problem of not having enough data to the problem of having too much. On the one hand there are many compelling examples of where professionals have used data to transform practice, On the other hand, there are many more examples where professionals struggle to make sense of the deluge of information and “data” that they face daily: incomprehensible Performance Management decks, data dashboards, packaged test and survey reports all in three colors with beautiful graphs but little guidance, and school report cards filled with trends on 20 different indicators that don’t seem to provide any insight beyond whether a school is red, yellow or green.

In this course, we will focus on three questions:
1. What makes data actionable? How do we create systems of data use that support ongoing improvement?
2. How do we build professionals’ capacity to use data effectively to drive change and embed data use within innovative practices in change management and leadership?
3. How do we develop approaches to data use that are flexible and do not rely on a one size fits a? What problems can we and can’t we solve with data use and how do we develop frameworks that create flexible approaches?

This course will draw on examples in education, medicine, social services and business about developing effective approaches to building the capacity of professionals to use data effectively to drive change. Just as importantly, the course will engage students in approaches to leadership, change management and the creation of practice communities using networks that both promote data use and create new approaches to reform. The course will draw most heavily from examples in education and the success in Chicago on using data to drive substantial improvements in increasing high school graduation rates and college enrollment particularly a model developed at SSA around high school reform, the Network for College Success. The class as a group will choose one project to work on that will bring together the pieces of the course.

*Eligible to be counted towards the MAPSS Methods Requirement

SSAD 48500. Data for Policy Analysis and Management

Instructor: Melissa Roderick

This course gives students hands-on experience in basic quantitative methods that are often used in needs assessment, policy analysis and planning, resource allocation, performance monitoring, and program evaluation. The class emphasizes four essential ingredients of using data effectively: (1) organizing data to answer specific questions; (2) conducting and interpreting appropriate analyses; (3) presenting results clearly and effectively to policymakers and others; (4) becoming critical consumers of data-based analyses and using data to inform practice. Students will learn techniques for descriptive, bivariate, and multivariate statistical analysis, and for tabling and graphing results, in the statistical program SPSS.

Prerequisites: SSAD 30200 or faculty approval following research exam.

*Eligible to be counted towards the MAPSS Methods Requirement

SSAD 63412. Cultural Studies in Education

Instructor: S. Robinson

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.

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