Project Details


The Northwestern University Multidisciplinary Program in Education Sciences (MPES) trains students to conduct and disseminate rigorous and relevant research on educational policy and student learning. Building on the success of our current program, we propose adding to our rigorous methodological training new opportunities for students to connect their research more closely with policy and practice. Our program will bring together doctoral students from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, including economics, education, human development, learning sciences, psychology, sociology and statistics. The program will augment their strong foundations in the disciplines with the theoretical and methodological skills that are needed to read across the diverse literatures that are required to conduct effective educational research. We will also develop their ability to present their research to a variety of audiences, including practitioners and the broader public. The MPES program will consist of five components. The first is normal progression through the student’s home Ph.D. program. The second is completion of the MPES-integrated curriculum, which will require students to take additional coursework in education policy, rigorous and causally relevant research methods, cognition and student learning, and courses in design and policy-making and and implementation processes. The third component is direct engagement with practitioners and policymakers through a structured project or internship. Fourth is participation in seminars, workshops and conferences that highlight new findings in education research, expose students to cutting-edge research methods, and/or develop their skills at presenting their independent research. The final component is the completion of an inter-disciplinary, educationally relevant research project that ultimately leads to a dissertation. The program will be led by Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, an economist, in the department of Human Development and Social Policy. She will be joined by core faculty specializing in learning, methods, and educational policy. We bring to this proposal new energy to expand our previous successes in developing an inter-disciplinary community of well-trained and productive scholars. While we will propose several noteworthy changes and additions to our current program, we will retain our core goals and values of supporting inter-disciplinary collaboration, providing rigorous methodological training, and ensuring that our students are both informing and being informed by issues that are important to education leaders and practitioners. In order to connect the students more closely to policy and practice, we are adding three new components: a course on design principles, a course on policy-making and implementation processes, and hands-on experience with our partnering practitioners. These three additions will help ensure that graduates of our program conduct education research that policymakers and practitioners will use in their everyday work.
Effective start/end date9/1/148/31/21


  • Institute of Education Sciences (R305B140042-16 Mod 3)


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