The Department of Education offers an undergraduate major and minor in Educational Studies for persons interested in the study of educational processes and institutions. The major entails 24 hours of study, while the minor requires 18 hours of advanced study. The Educational Studies major and minor do not lead to teacher certification. For information about those programs, see Teacher Education.
Students in the Educational Studies program apply the perspectives and methods of a number of disciplines to questions about educational institutions, educational processes, and the social and cultural factors that affect them. The program provides an entry point into the study of the multidimensional field of education, analysis, the individual and the collective. Psychology, for example, focuses on individual change and growth. Applied linguistics, sociology, anthropology, and political science focus on societal and institutional transformation and stasis. History and philosophy straddle both individual and collective, through examining individual lives and lines of thought and patterns of large change and consistency. By becoming familiar with both streams in educational research and writing, students in Educational Studies are expected to develop such basic inquiry skills as problem formulation, selection of perspectives to guide inquiry, basic analytic methods, design of empirical research, and the analysis and interpretation of results, as well as critical understanding of how educational institutions function, individuals grow and change, and social groups are shaped by educational processes. These tools should help students to develop the ability to integrate and apply systematic knowledge in order to guide personal action and professional development, and to understand and possibly transform social and institutional policy.
The Educational Studies program is appropriate for social science majors who want to enhance their understanding of the application of systematic knowledge to questions of social educational policy; for students who plan careers in fields where they might deal with issues related to individuals and educational institutions; and for students interested in a broad introduction to educational issues they have confronted as students as well as those they will confront as citizens and parents.
Many occupations – ranging from social worker to psychologist to physician – include a concern for education. Students interested in such education-related occupations should consider the possibility of an Educational Studies major or minor. Many of our graduates go on to complete graduate or professional programs in educational policy, educational research, psychology, social work, journalism, non-profit organizations, and law. This program does not lead to a teaching certificate, but can precede graduate study for a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) or Master of Arts in Education (MAED).
Some Educational Studies majors do hope eventually to enter the teaching profession. Washington University offers the above-mentioned graduate degrees for such students: the M.A.Ed. in elementary education and the MAT in middle school and secondary education toward teacher certification in Missouri (subject area certification in math, sciences, Art, foreign languages, social science, and English). Any students planning to pursue graduate studies toward teacher certification are welcome to apply to the university's MAEd. and MAT programs. Such students are encouraged to plan with their four-year and Educational Studies advisors to take some of the certification-related courses as undergraduates.
Since the elective portion of each major and minor is individually planned, the advising system is a critical part of the Educational Studies program. Your advisor will help you identify appropriate courses and will outline a tentative program of study at the time you enter the program.
Eighteen of the 24 units required for the major are divided into three areas: discipline-based study (3 courses), individual processes of education (1-2 courses), and social context of education (1-2 courses), for a total of 3 courses in the first area and 3 courses in the later of two areas. Through study in these three areas, the student will be exposed to the perspectives and the methods of several disciplines and will examine both the teaching-learning process and the social and cultural context for that process. All majors are required to take the Capstone Seminar in Educational Studies (Education 4999) in their final year. For those completing an Honors thesis (see below), the Education 4999 requirement is waived; however, honors students are required to attend a minimum of two sessions of Education 4999: the first to present their honors work and the second to meet with other majors and participate in the assessment session during the final class of the semester. Three honors credits will count towards the 24 total required. Either the Capstone Seminar or the honors credits bring the total up to 21 units; the remaining 3 credit hours are fully elective and should be chosen in consultation with the Educational Studies Major advisor.
Discipline-based Study (3 courses required) Relevant courses:
- Education 304 Educational Psychology
- Education 4344B Seminar in Black Social Science
- Education 453B Sociology of Education (SD)
- Education 459F Philosophies of Education
- Education 462 The Politics of Education
- Education 4621 Political Economy of Urban Education
- Education 481 History of Education in the United States
Individual Processes of Education (1-2 courses required). Relevant courses:
- Education 315 Cognitive Bases of Peak Performance I
- Education 4023 Second Language Acquisition & Technology
- Education 4052 Educational Psychology: Teaching and Learning in School Settings
- Education 408 Education & Psychology of Exceptional Children
- Education 461B The Construction & Experience of Black Adolescence
- Education 4692 Second Language Reading & Writing: Theory, Research and Practice
Social Context of Education including educational policy (1-2 courses required). Relevant courses:
- Education 301C The American School (SD)
- Education 303R Gender and Education (SD)
- Education 313B Education Childhood and Society
- Education 314 Literacies, Schools and Communities
- Education 4111 Linguistics and Language Learning
- Education 4280 History of Urban Schooling in the US
- Education 4288 Higher Education in American Culture
- Education 4289 Neighborhood Schools and Social Inequalities (SD)
- Education 4315 Culture, Language, and the Education of Black Students (CD)
- Education 4511 Race, Ethnicity and Culture: Qualitative Studies in Education
- Education 4608 The Education of Black Children and Youth in the US (SD, WI)
- Education 489 Education and Public Policy in the US
- Education 4891 The Science and Politics of Testing in the US
Capstone Seminar in Educational Studies (Education 4999)
All majors not writing an Educational senior honors thesis are required to enroll in the senior seminar, a reading colloquium (3 credits). Students read with faculty and write papers based on readings and the courses taken to complete the major requirements in the program. All graduating Educational Studies majors, including those completing honors work in Educational Studies and not enrolled in the seminar, are required to attend the final session of the seminar.
Meeting the General Education Requirements/Education Studies Major
Area Requirements and Clusters:
Students may wish to satisfy the area requirement through a cluster in their Educational Studies major requirements. One of two possible general education area requirements may be met with Education courses: social sciences or textual and historical studies. Students must discuss their options with their Educational Studies advisor, as there are numerous ways of satisfying both the major and one of the two general education area requirements. A student might, for example, satisfy the social sciences area requirement with the cluster entitled "Education and the Survival of Democracy," by taking Educ 457, Educ 462, and Educ 4699, or by taking any three courses in the cluster entitled "Social Contexts of Child Development." A student might satisfy the textual and historical studies area requirement with the cluster entitled "Culture, Education, and Democracy," by taking Educ 301C and Educ 459F, or by taking any three courses in the cluster entitled "Historical Foundations of Education in the United States." Students may not satisfy more than one general education area requirement within the Educational Studies major.
Writing Intensive Course:
The Department currently offers one writing intensive course. As all Educational Studies majors are double-majors, students have the option of taking their writing intensive course in their other major department or program. We advise majors to take the writing intensive course in the junior year or in the first semester of the senior year. You must discuss your options with your Educational Studies advisor. The course permanently designated as writing intensive in Education is: Education 4608 The Education of Black Children and Youth in the United States.
The Department offers one home-based course to satisfy this requirement: Education 503 Foundations of Educational Research. To enroll in this course you must have permission of the instructor. An alternative is to take a course in the Applied Statistics program (L55). It could satisfy one elective course, as part of the major program.
Cultural and Social Diversity Courses:
Please see (SD) for social diversity and (CD) for cultural diversity to locate course that satisfy these requirements in the College of Arts and Sciences.
Cluster Advice for Non-Majors:
Please see appendix describing clusters offered in the Education Department.
Honors in Education involves both demonstration of acquired knowledge and a report on an original research project. Eligibility for Honors work is determined by reference to GPA and faculty recommendation. Students interested in Honors work should speak with the Department Honors Coordinator about eligibility and requirements. This can be done as early as sophomore or, ideally, during the junior year. Guidelines are available in Seigle Hall 107.
The minor in Educational Studies requires 18 units at the 300 level or above. Six of the units must be from Discipline-Based Study list; three of the units from the Individual Processes list; three of the units from the Social Context list; and six elective units from any of the three lists, to be selected in consultation with the minor advisor.
Education Studies majors and minors are encouraged to spend a semester or summer in Washington, DC in conjunction with Washington University’s Semester in D.C. Program. More information on the program can be found at dc.wustl.edu.
Students enrolled in the Washington, DC Program will earn major or minor credit for Education 4015: Seminar on American Democracy and the Policy Making Process. The course would fulfill a Social Context of Education elective requirement. Internships and course work must also be education or education policy related in order for major or minor credit to be given.
Examples of internships that would be appropriate for Education Studies students include but are not limited to:
- United States Department of Education
- The Pell Institute for Opportunity in Higher Education
- Public Education Network
- Urban Education Leaders Internship Program (UELIP) of the District of Columbia Public Schools
- Teach for America National Headquarters
- American Council on Education
- American Association for the Advancement of Science
- White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
- National Science Foundation
- National Academy of Education (and the other national academies)
- National Research Council
- National Institute of Child Health & Human Development
- Arts Education PartnershipRAND
For more information on internships or requirements, please contact your advisor or Washington University’s Semester in D.C. Program.