International Education Policy | Harvard Graduate School of Education

In the International Education Policy (IEP) Program, you will explore some of the most challenging issues facing teachers and learners worldwide — how to educate students in refugee camps; how to improve girls education in Afghanistan; how to deliver effective HIV/AIDS education in Malawi; how to help young people develop the skills they need in the 21st century — and be constantly challenged and asked, “What would you do?”

Working closely with classmates from around the world, you will learn to develop education policy recommendations, design innovative programs, and support their implementation and evaluation in ways that effectively improve access to quality and relevant education, promote peace and understanding, and empower every learner to realize his or her full human potential.

Effective education leaders can increasingly contribute to creating opportunities to improve the living conditions of people, to expand human freedoms and capabilities, to foster unprecedented understanding and collaboration, and to advance peace and sustainability.

Professor Fernando Reimers, faculty director

IEP is a year-long, full-time graduate program that prepares the next generation of leaders in international education reform. The many strengths of IEP include:

  • Student-Led Learning Experiences – IEP students create opportunities to deepen their knowledge of topics that interest them, through study groups, leadership of student organizations, leadership of topical conferences, or participation in numerous co-curricular programs.
  • Cohort and Community – The members of your cohort enrich the learning experience with their diverse professional backgrounds in international development, school reform, research, and policymaking. Roughly half of IEP students are international, and most have lived and worked in several countries and have travelled extensively.
  • World-Class Faculty – IEP includes some of the top scholars and practitioners in their fields: education nonprofit management, early childhood development, literacy in developing countries, and more. These same world-class scholars will be your teachers, mentors, advisers, and connections to professional opportunities.

Curriculum Information

The IEP curriculum is rigorous and flexible, designed to develop your capacity to think analytically, critically, and systematically about ways to improve education. You will take courses across three core areas — international education, microeconomics, and research and evaluation — learn how to compare and analyze policy alternatives, use data to evaluate the efficacy of existing programs, and develop your own strategies for social change.

View Requirements

You will complete eight courses (32 credits) in total. At least five courses, including modules must be at HGSE, in addition to four electives either at HGSE, Harvard, or MIT through cross-registration. 

  • Microeconmics (1 course/4 credits)

You may petition to waive the microeconomics requirement with prior equivalent experience. 

  • International Education (2 courses) one of which must be an “Issues and Concepts” below.
  • Comparative International Education: Issues and Concepts
  • Research and Evaluation (1 course)

View all courses and information on cross-registration.


Program Faculty

Members of the IEP faculty are more than scholars of international education reform; they are experienced practitioners actively working with governments and NGOs worldwide. Our faculty members are renowned scholars in their fields, including microeconomic analysis, international program monitoring and evaluation, nonprofit management, early childhood development, education outreach in conflict zones, and social entrepreneurship.

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