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America's Poverty Course

Enrollment is Closed

About This Course

You can now register for the current offering of this course.

It’s a special moment in U.S. history in which income inequality has reached unprecedented levels, poverty remains extreme, and racial and gender inequalities are intransigent.

Why is there so much inequality and poverty? How might they be reduced? Find out from the country’s top scholars in “America’s course” on poverty and inequality.

So what makes this course different?

  • Comprehensive: Features the 40 key research results that underlie our country’s policy and its new science of poverty and inequality.
  • Up-to-date: Highlights the most recent findings and results on poverty and inequality.
  • Scholar-direct delivery: The country’s leading scholars present their own research.
  • Quick: Each video is short (approximately 5 minutes) and jargon-free.
  • Modular: The course is divided into 8 standalone modules.
  • Easy to follow: Each module is introduced and explained by David B. Grusky, the director of the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality, and Lindsay Owens, Stanford University Ph.D. and Economic Policy Advisor in the office of Senator Elizabeth Warren.
  • Excellent readings: Each video is paired with readings that elaborate the videos.
  • Accessible: It's free, open to the public, and without any prerequisites.


No prerequisites are required to take the course.

Course Instructors

David Grusky

David Grusky

David B. Grusky is the Barbara Kimball Browning Professor in the Humanities & Sciences and Professor of Sociology at Stanford University, Director of the Center on Poverty and Inequality (CPI), Director of the California Welfare Laboratory, and coeditor of Pathways Magazine and the Social Inequality Series. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, co-recipient of the 2004 Max Weber Award, founder of the Cornell University Center for the Study of Inequality, and a former Presidential Young Investigator. His recent books are The Great Recession (with Bruce Western and Chris Wimer, 2011), The New Gilded Age (with Tamar Kricheli-Katz, 2011), The Inequality Puzzle (with Roland Berger, Tobias Raffel, Geoffrey Samuels, and Christopher Wimer, 2010), and The Inequality Reader (with Szonja Szelényi, 2011).

Lindsay Owens

Lindsay Owens

Lindsay Owens is an Economic Policy Advisor in the office of Senator Elizabeth Warren, the 2014-2015 American Sociological Association Congressional Fellow, and teacher of a course on domestic poverty and inequality at Georgetown University. She received her Ph.D. in sociology in 2014 from Stanford University, where she was a National Poverty Fellow at the Center on Poverty and Inequality and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow. She is a frequent author of opinion pieces and editorials, coeditor of a chartbook of 100 facts and figures on inequality (Inequality in the US: Understanding Inequality with Data), and a contributing author to the 2011 book, The Great Recession. Her research has appeared in some of the leading social science journals, including Social Forces, Public Opinion Quarterly, and The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science.

Course Staff

Course Staff Image #1

Catherine Sirois

Catherine Sirois is a doctoral student in Sociology at Stanford University, where she studies poverty and incarceration. She managed the Boston Reentry Study at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS), directed by Bruce Western, Anthony Braga, and Rhiana Kohl, a longitudinal survey of 122 men and women recently released from Massachusetts state prison. Before joining HKS, Catherine worked on an evaluation of a prison reentry program in New York City and spent a year contributing to social justice initiatives in Uganda and Senegal.

Course Staff Image #2

Stephanie Garlow

Stephanie Garlow is the Communications Manager at the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality. She leads the Center's publication and dissemination efforts.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it possible to earn a Statement of Accomplishment?

Yes. Participants who earn a final grade of at least 70% will be eligible for a Statement of Accomplishment.

Is it too late to enroll?

No. The first assignment due date has already passed, but all of the videos and assignments will continue to be available. Students can enroll at any time.

Course Credits

America's Poverty Course was developed by the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality; videos were produced by Ashley Tindell of Film Archer. We gratefully acknowledge the help of our funders: the American Sociological Association, the Stanford University Institute for Research in the Social Sciences, the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation), and the Elfenworks Foundation. We would also like to thank Marion Coddou for her work in helping to develop the course.

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    2 - 4 hours / week
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