Educational Studies Major

Program Requirements

  • Total units required: 24

The Educational Studies program examines and applies the historical, social, cultural, psychological, and public policy aspects of educational institutions and educational processes as well as 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. By becoming familiar with educational research and writing, students in Educational Studies are expected to develop basic inquiry skills as well as a critical understanding of how educational institutions function, how individuals grow and change, and how social groups are shaped by educational processes. These tools should help students 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 students who want to enhance their understanding of educational policy and of the educational issues that they may encounter in their careers or face as students, citizens, and adults. Many educational studies majors pursue graduate or professional study; however, this major also prepares students to work in educational, nonprofit, and government agencies. Students are strongly encouraged to complete a second major; however, a second major is not required.

Required Courses

Note: The frequencies of the course offerings are designated by the following symbols:

(+) Offered every semester in recent years
(*) Offered at least once a year or once every other year in recent years
(-) Offered less frequently in recent years

Discipline-Based Study

Students are required to take three Discipline-Based Study courses (9 units):

Educ 304Educational Psychology (+)3
Educ 453BSociology of Education (+)3
Educ 459FPhilosophies of Education (*)3
Educ 462Politics of Education (*)3
Educ 4621The Political Economy of Urban Education (*)3
Educ 481WHistory of Education in the United States (*)3

Students must take three courses (total of 9 units) from the Individual Processes of Education and Social Context of Education categories below. Students can choose to take one Individual Processes of Education course and two Social Context of Education courses or two Individual Processes of Education courses and one Social Context of Education course. 

Individual Processes of Education

Students are required to take one or two Individual Processes of Education courses (3-6 units):

Educ 4023Second Language Acquisition & Technology (-)3
Educ 4052Educational Psychology: A Focus on Teaching and Learning (+)3
Educ 4055Central Topics in Psychological Research on Teaching and Learning (*)3
Educ 408Education and Psychology of Exceptional Children (+)3
Educ 433WComplex Learning in Education (*)3
Educ 461BConstruction and Experience of Black Adolescence (-)3
Educ 4692Reading Across Languages and Cultures: Theory, Reserach, and Practice (-)3

Social Context of Education

Students are required to take one or two Social Context of Education courses (3-6 units):

Educ 301CThe American School (+)3
Educ 303Gender and Education (*)3
Educ 313BEducation, Childhood, Adolescence, and Society (+)3
Educ 314Sociolinguistics, Literacies, Schools, and Communities (*)3
Educ 4033Video Microanalysis: Methods and Tools (-)3
Educ 4111Linguistics and Language Learning (*)3
Educ 4280History of Urban Schooling in the United States (-)3
Educ 4288History of Higher Education in American Culture (*)3
Educ 4289Neighborhoods, Schools, and Social Inequality (*)3
Educ 4511Race, Ethnicity, and Culture: Critical Qualitative Understandings of Urban Education (*)3
Educ 4608The Education of Black Children and Youth in the United States (*)3
Educ 489Education and Public Policy in the United States (-)3

Elective Courses

In addition to the six courses (18 credits) completed from the areas of Discipline-Based Study, Individual Processes of Education, and Social Context of Education, students must complete one elective course (3 credits) which may be satisfied by the following:

  • Any course listed in the tables above
  • Educ 299 Internship in Education 
  • Students can consult with the Director of Educational Studies regarding additional courses offered by or crosslisted in the Department of Education and courses offered outside of the Department of Education that address educational topics and issues.

Educ 4999 Capstone Seminar in Educational Studies

All majors not writing an educational senior honors thesis are required to enroll in this senior seminar (3 credits). Students read and write papers based on readings and the courses taken to complete the major requirements in the program. They also complete a research project.

Additional Requirements

  • All courses for the Educational Studies major must be taken for a letter grade (with the exception of Educ 299 Internship in Education, which must be taken P/F). Per Arts & Sciences requirements, students must earn at least a C- in order for course work to count toward the major.
  • All students must complete a 100-, 200-, or 300-level Education course before enrolling in a 400-level course. Exceptions may be granted through permission of the 400-level course instructor.
  • By the end of the fall of senior year, all majors need to have taken at least six of the seven required courses before taking Capstone in the spring of senior year; if unable to fulfill this requirement, majors must meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies for Educational Studies.
  • If planning to graduate early (i.e., at the end of the fall of senior year), majors are required to meet with their advisor in fall of their junior year prior to course registration for the spring semester.

Additional Information

Honors Program

Honors in the Department of Education involves both the demonstration of acquired knowledge and a report on an original research project. Students in either major in the department — Educational Studies or Teacher Education — may pursue honors. The appropriateness of honors work in education for a given student is determined by reference to both GPA and faculty recommendation. Students may be eligible for either the College of Arts & Sciences' Latin Honors Program or departmental honors from the Department of Education. Students interested in Latin Honors work should speak with either the Director of Educational Studies or Director of Teacher Education about eligibility and requirements as early as sophomore year or, ideally, during the junior year.

Transfer Credit

  • All courses for the major in Educational Studies or the majors in Teacher Education should be taken after the student has declared the major as a student at Washington University. Exceptions, up to 6 transfer credits, may be granted on an individual basis.

Study Abroad

Educational Studies Majors and Minors

  • Courses taken abroad for the Educational Studies major or minor must be equivalent to 300-level or 400-level courses at Washington University. 
  • Students may transfer up to 6 credits earned abroad with the approval of the Department of Education Study Abroad Advisor.
  • Courses taken abroad do not necessarily serve as substitutes for specific Educational Studies courses. Rather, courses are reviewed holistically to determine if they address the Individual Processes of Education and/or Social Context of Education (two areas of study for the Educational Studies major and minor). Any study abroad course determined to address the Individual Processes of Education and/or Social Context of Education can also count for an elective. 
  • Study Abroad courses cannot count for a discipline-based requirement.

Teacher Education Majors

  • Teacher Education students have found studying abroad to be very helpful to their educational experiences and may do so during their sophomore or junior year. To ensure that students are in residence at Washington University during their professional year (senior fall and spring for secondary candidates and junior spring and senior fall for elementary candidates) when they must take coursework required by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, it is very important to plan the study abroad semester in consultation with the Director of Teacher Education. As a result, many Teacher Education students consider taking courses for their other major or minor during study abroad so that certification coursework is completed while on campus.
  • Teacher Education students who are interested in studying abroad may transfer up to 6 credits of education foundations coursework from one of the preapproved sites listed below.

Preapproved Study Abroad Sites

There are six preapproved sites for semester-long study abroad in Educational Studies and Teacher Education:

  1. Danish Institute for Study Abroad (DIS) Copenhagen — Child Development and Diversity Program in Copenhagen, Denmark
  2. IES Abroad Amsterdam Semester Program in Amsterdam, Netherlands
  3. Trinity College Dublin with IES Abroad in Dublin, Ireland
  4. University of Auckland with IES Abroad in Auckland, New Zealand
  5. WU in Chile at Pontifcia Universidad Catolica de Chile (PUC) (Note: This program has a Spanish language prerequisite.)
  6. University of Sydney in Sydney, Australia

There are also two pre-approved sites for summer study abroad in Educational Studies and Teacher Education:

  1. Summer in Scandinavia Danish Institute for Study Abroad (DIS) Program in Copenhagen, Denmark, or Stockholm, Sweden
  2. The School for International Training (SIT) Study Abroad Africa: Education and Social Change in Durban, South Africa

Title II

Section 207 of Title II of the Higher Education Act mandates that Washington University's Teacher Education programs (or the Department of Education) make public specific Teacher Education performance data on the Department of Education website.

Contact Info

Contact:Alyssa McDonald