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Teachers College's relationship with Columbia University


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Hi guys,

I was wondering if anyone here had some good information on this topic. I've read a lot of things online, and seem to always get mixed opinions. What exactly is TC's relationship with Columbia? Some say it's just an affiliate, and is actually really not all that closely linked with the school. Other's say that it is essentially the Graduate School of Education for Columbia University.

The former would say that a degree from TC =/= a degree from Columbia, and the latter would say that a degree from TC is a degree from Columbia University.

I have also read officially that a "diploma itself is from Columbia University as well." However, it seems like TC students don't have all of the resources a Columbia graduate student would have.


Anyone have any thoughts/facts? I'm a little more worried because I won't be going directly into teaching or anything like that - and so my field might not be as familiar with an education program like TC. If it's relevant at all, I'm going to TC for Applied Stats, and want to get into data analytics/science/quantitative research in different fields of Education (either non-profits, universities, etc.). I'm wondering if the TC degree will be equivalent to a Columbia degree; and while it comes off snobby (I certainly did NOT choose my school just based on names), I think it's an important question especially when you're paying $60k in loans and are passing on other big name schools. 

 

 


TLDR - Is a degree from TC ==== a degree from Columbia University?

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Straight from Wikipedia, and relevant to several things you wrote:

 

Relationship with Columbia University[edit]

Teachers College holds its own corporate status separate from Columbia University, including an independent board of trustees, budget, endowment, and multiple admissions standards; however, as noted in Columbia University's Faculty Handbook, the College is an official faculty of the University, serving as the University's Department of Education.[9] Teachers College faculty hold Columbia University appointments; its President is a dean of the University; and all students receive their degrees from Columbia University. As with the other Faculties of the University, Teachers College Ph.D. degrees are specifically conferred by Columbia University's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.[10][11]

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@galliardsghost thanks for the reference! any idea why it specifically says "Ph.D degrees are specifically conferred..." 

What about Masters degrees? And would anyone here know why they have an independent board/endowment/etc. Is this just a common thing?

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No, I'm pretty sure the masters are conferred by TC (specifically the "trustees of Columbia University").  

Many years ago, TC used to be a freestanding school.  That's why it is semi-autonomous.  

I think of it as being analogous to Barnard.  Barnard is a liberal arts college in its own right, but it is also the women's college of Columbia University.  No matter the field, if one knows Columbia, one also knows Barnard and TC.  They're under the Columbia University umbrella.   

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For what it's worth, I worked with someone who graduated with a PhD from Teachers College. She always used to say, "A degree from Columbia takes you places.." I've never heard anyone say, "Oh, it's just Teachers College." Whether it is formally or completely linked with Columbia University or not, Teachers College has had a 100+ year presence in the education world, and certainly has a reputation that far exceeds most other graduate schools of education--I think that's the thing to keep in mind more than the 'Columbia connection' or relationship.

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The affiliation between TC and Columbia is complicated and is at least in part an artifact of political and legal and historical quirks that no one cares about at this point.  It is an arrangement that highly unique in post-secondary education.

 

They are the ed school affiliated with Columbia.  They will always be the ed school affiliated with Columbia.  "Teachers College, Columbia University" is the accepted convention as to how to represent the name of the institution.

 

As to hiring committees: opinions about the quality of TC vary widely, but I would argue that has little to do with TC's relationship to Columbia.  There are other schools in the Columbia universe that have equally up-and-down reps (SIPA, Arts)...regardless of the legal structures of their relationships.

Edited by hesadork
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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...

perhaps I can provide some insight on whether the degree is viewed as the same. I highly disagree with hesadork. I have been on hiring committees and have seen a few people with degrees from TC. Having a degree from Teacher's College is not (emphasis added) the same as a degree from Columbia University. It is viewed as its own institution with some affiliation to Columbia University. But let's face it, it is  easier to get into TC than into other colleges of Columbia. 

 

Having a degree from Teacher's College IS (emphasis added) the same as a degree from Columbia University, even though it has a separate board of trustees, endowment, dean(president) than Columbia. TC is viewed as the graduate school of education at Columbia. Acceptance rates aren't a determiner of whether a school is part of a university. HGSE has higher acceptance rate compared to other schools at Harvard, that doesn't make it any less a part of Harvard University.

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It's not that I'm obsessed with prestige, I work in tech and specifically mentioning TC often confuses people. I'm not arguing that TC is an affiliate school of Columbia, it absolutely is without a doubt. I'm trying to address the original question: "Is a degree from TC ==== a degree from Columbia University?". The answer to which is Yes.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I appreciate all of the responses.

Again, I did not want to give an impression that I was trying to hide behind Columbia's prestige - or hoping to an Ivy League bumper sticker on my car. My point is simple, though:

We pay a lot of money for these degrees. I did not apply just to go to an Ivy League, but I did apply/pay for the education, as well as the opportunity. It's tough when you got into a handful of other schools - and when choosing between a handful of great programs, you begin to really consider prestige. In my decision-making process, I certainly considered the prestige of Columbia University. 

And again, many people say it's okay because TC is highly regarded in education. However, I am not going into teaching, I will be doing an Applied Statistics program, hoping to get into data science/big data in the education field - but for companies (e.g. Udemy, Khan Academy, or even companies like SumAll.org)

I don't want to be disingenuous on my resumes - but at the same time, part of the reason I put all the time and money into this degree is for more opportunities. I hope this doesn't come off as snobby/pretentious/ignorant.

I am also planning on taking a handful of courses from the Columbia University Data Science program, and so I suppose that carries some weight. But it seems like all in all - we can argue about the affiliation of TC and Columbia; and TC degrees being "conferred" by Columbia - but in the end, the most honest way to put the degree is: Teachers College, Columbia University?

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I am also planning on taking a handful of courses from the Columbia University Data Science program, and so I suppose that carries some weight. But it seems like all in all - we can argue about the affiliation of TC and Columbia; and TC degrees being "conferred" by Columbia - but in the end, the most honest way to put the degree is: Teachers College, Columbia University?

 

We're in similar positions.  I won't become a teacher either.  A number of people in my program plan to work in tech/private industry.  

 

Almost all people who go into the classroom/administration (in NYC private schools, at least) tend to have: Teachers College, Columbia University.  However, as someone who won't be in the school system, I plan on having: Columbia University (Teachers College).  I've seen innumerable Barnard alumnae do this.  It's honest, but places the emphasis on the name that is known universally.  Outside of ed., a number of people don't know what TC is (even in the Tri-state area).  Even the department chair of Math, Science and Tech (a scientist, who is still an active biologist/researcher) refers to it as: Columbia University- Teachers College.  As a scientist, who does not intend to be a teacher or an administrator, the Teachers College, Columbia University label is not normative (and it definitely is not a must).  

 

Short answer: For people outside of ed, Teachers College should be included, but it's 100% okay not to list it first the way teachers do.   

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  • 6 months later...
On 2015-06-24 at 11:27 AM, Edugy said:

Every M.A., M.S., and PhD degree are conferred by Columbia. I literally have no idea where MAC2809 is getting their information from.

Hello! So, nowhere on the diploma does it say Teacher's College or TC? I've just been admitted and I'm just wondering what my diploma will look like for my MS degree. Thanks for your input!

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--> Your Diploma will say from Columbia University not TC. Your degree is from Columbia. 

--> I disagree with MAC2809, there are no right or wrong way to say where you received your degree. It is not incorrect to say you graduated from Columbia university (a TC student is also a Columbia student). You are not obligated to say TC. I personally like to state "Teachers College Columbia University" on my resume because I'm very proud to have attended TC (it's a great school). You are not being disingenuous for stating "M.S. Applied Statistic Columbia University December 2017" on your resume. 

--I've interacted with other graduated students from Columbia University (SIPA, School of Journalism, Law School, Engineering, Business school) on many occasions and have yet to be treated less than because I attend TC. In their eyes, I'm a columbia student, not TC. I'm not sure where this notion of inferior originated from. 

--The issue with TC as an affiliation really boils down to the financial aspect. There are less financial resources for TC students compared to Columbia students.  For example, students from other Columbia's school automatically receive 40 pages of free printing while students at TC receive 20 pages (of course there's a loophope but I won't mention it here). Another example, Doctoral programs from Columbia are fully funded while at TC, we would label that as a "miracle". In terms of Education, you will be taught by the best professors and be surrounded by highly motivated, intellectual individuals (this is something that is similar across Columbia University (affiliate or not)).

--In the applied stats program, you are allowed to take Stats classes outside of the department (as long as your advisor approve...which is always a yes). I know students who have taken the required stats classes at the school of public health or the department of stats. I know other students from other columbia's school, that have taken stats classes at TC. 

--The Applied stat program is geared toward those who are interested in education as well as social science (i.e. Psychology, etc) in the sense you will be using educational or psychological datasets for your analysis. In general, statistic is very adaptable; I don't think it matters which dataset you have more experience analyzing, as long as you know how to analyze (which requires an understanding of statistical theories/proof etc).  

--The program offers two types of classes (one geared toward non-majors and the other for majors (heavily statistical/requires calculus))

My resource: Graduating from applied stat at TC this spring. 

 

 

Edited by naomi6
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  • 6 months later...

Naomi is completely right.

 

If you graduate from TC, your degree will say Columbia--not TC. As such, you are allowed to use whatever combination you would like. (Some people use "Teachers College, Columbia University" because that is how TC refers it itself, but you're not wrong to list your education as Columbia.) As people have mentioned, TC used to be on its own. Now, it has a very complicated relationship as an affiliate of Columbia. You'll still see TC listed as Columbia's school of education both in pamphlets and on Columbia's own website. PLUS, you graduate with all of the other Columbia graduates. 

 

I would add that sometimes Columbia limits events to just Columbia College (undergrads) and their school of arts and science. Be prepared to get excluded from some things.

 

 

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  • 1 year later...
  • 1 year later...

My Master of Arts looks identical to my husband's. I went to Teachers College, he went to the Engineering school. However... he gets Alumni emails from Columbia University. I do not. He can access the Columbia library database. I cannot. In the system, TC grads are not considered Columbia grads and you will feel like a second class citizen of the university among other alumni for your entire life. If I could go back, I would have chosen another MA degree within the rest of the university. TC is a good school, but for the alumni privilege it's completely worthless. Hope you chose wisely.

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Can someone, please, without any neurotypical bashing give me an idea of the application process post-submission ? I have skimmed through the site endlessly trying to find out what this 'Video Essay' will entail but the lack or transparency is almost scary ! I get that admissions committees would want the questions to obviously remain confidential, but is it true that applicants only have 10 seconds to think of an answer ? 

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