Social policy NYU

Last Updated on January 17, 2023

As a student in this program, you will work closely with faculty from NYU Steinhardt and NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service to learn: 

  • How to use principles of economics and sociology to analyze K–12 and higher education policies
  • How to conduct descriptive and inferential statistical analyses using large longitudinal education databases
  • How to interpret and identify causal effects of programs and policies and apply conclusions to make policy recommendations
  • An understanding of the policies already implemented as well as the need for additional policies in your chosen area of focus; you will be able to participate in quantitative studies to further evaluate existing policies and to provide evidence on the possible effects of new policies
  • Principles of management, planning, and policy-making in the public and nonprofit sectors


You’ll begin your studies with a course in statistics and progress through more rigorous analytical courses, including regression and econometrics. You will also complete course work in economics, policy, and sociology of education. No prior knowledge of statistics or education policy is required.

You’ll have the opportunity to specialize in one of the following policy areas: higher education, race and class, international education, or K–12 education.

Your program of study will culminate with a group research project that provides you with professional-level research experience. 

Research Opportunities

Opportunities provided by the department’s placement within a large research university in New York City, one of the best urban laboratories in the nation, include our Education and Social Policy Fellows program, which offers five incoming students a $5,000 stipend to participate in faculty-led research teams.

Where can you work with a master’s in Education and Social Policy? 

  • School systems, reform organizations, foundations, and nonprofit organizations such as New Visions for Public Schools or Teach for America
  • Government education policy agencies like state or city departments of education
  • Research organizations such as MDRC, Urban Institute, or Mathematica
  • Advocacy or single-interest organizations such as the Annenberg Institute for School Reform, the New Teacher Project, or the Center for Education Reform


The course will focus on current issues in education and social policy, beginning with an analysis  of the case for public intervention in the market for education.  We will then turn to considering key policy debates and options for addressing important problems – including both policies aimed at the education sector (i.e., public schools) and those affecting other sectors (i.e., housing policy). Particular attention will be paid to reviewing and weighing the evidence base for policy making and considering alternative solutions.

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