Education Studies

Education Studies takes a multidisciplinary, liberal arts approach to the field of education while focusing on the study of human learning and development, the history of education, teaching, school reform, and education policy. Concentrators choose an area of emphasis, either Policy-and-History or Human Development. Policy-and-History provides the historical underpinnings and intellectual skills for students to think critically about education issues in a number of settings. In the Human Development area, students learn about psychological, social, and cultural processes in a variety of contexts, including schools, families, peer groups, and neighborhoods, particularly in urban settings. Additionally, the Department offers teacher certification programs in elementary and secondary education. Finally, concentrators might also consider pursuing the Engaged Scholars Program, which allows students to connect theory and practice and gain hands-on experience working with community partners. Luther Spoehr is the Director of Undergraduate Studies, and advisor to all seniors and to juniors on the Policy-and-History track. Yoko Yamamoto advises juniors on the Human Development track and all sophomores.

Concentration Requirements 

The concentration in Education Studies requires a total of 10 courses.  At least eight must be taken in the Education Department at Brown University.  One course must either be a qualitative methods course (EDUC 1100) or a quantitative methods course (EDUC 1110 or an approved equivalent in another department).  Five courses must be taken in one of the two Areas of Emphasis, either Human Development or Policy-and-History.   Electives may be additional Brown University Education courses, courses chosen from a list of pre-approved Brown University outside the Education Department, or courses at Brown or other universities that receive specific approval in advance from the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Students in the Human Development Area of Emphasis should note that because they must take a foundational course in History and another in Policy, they will need only two additional Electives to meet the ten-course requirement.  Students in the Policy-and-History Area of Emphasis must take one foundational course in Human Development plus one additional Education course outside Policy-and-History, plus two Electives.  Electives may include any Education courses taken outside the Area of Emphasis or approved courses taken in other departments

Concentrators are required to take at least one foundational course in each of four Core Categories:  Human Development, History, Policy, and Research Methods.  Foundational courses taken in the Area of Emphasis count toward the total of 5 required for that Area of Emphasis.

Foundational courses available in each of the required Core Categories:

Foundational Courses

Human Development
Introduction to Human Development and Education
The Psychology of Teaching and Learning
The History of American Education
History of American School Reform
Politics and Public Education
Economics of Education I
Research Methods
Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods
Introductory Statistics for Education Research and Policy Analysis

 Courses in Human Development Area of Emphasis 

5 Courses in Human Development (from the list below)5
Empowering Youth: Insights from Research on Urban Adolescents
Introduction to Human Development and Education
Adolescence in Social Context
Social Psychology of Race, Class, and Gender
The Psychology of Teaching and Learning
Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Child Development
The Asian American Experience in Higher Education
History and Theories of Child Development
Contemporary Social Problems: Views from Human Development and Education
Moral Development and Education
Social Context of Learning and Development
Education and Human Development in East Asia
Human Development in the Context of Immigration
1 Foundational course in History1
1 Foundational course in Policy1
1 Methods course1
2 Electives2
Total Credits10

Courses in Policy-and-History Area of Emphasis 

5 Courses in Policy -and- History (from the list below)5
The Campus on Fire: American Colleges and Universities in the 1960's
Controversies in American Education Policy: A Multidisciplinary Approach
Brown v. Board of Education
History of Intercollegiate Athletics
The History of American Education
Comparative Education
Decolonizing African Education: Student Activism and Social Change, 1960-present
Contemporary Indigenous Education in North America
Sociology of Education
History of African-American Education
Politics and Public Education
Economics of Education I
Education, the Economy and School Reform
Evaluating the Impact of Social Programs
History of American School Reform
Strategic Management for School System Excellence
Policy Implementation in Education
Urban Schools in Historical Perspective
American Higher Education in Historical Context
Academic Freedom on Trial: A Century of Campus Controversies
1 Foundational course in Human Development1
1 additional Education course outside Policy-and-History1
1 Methods course1
2 Electives2
Total Credits10

Additional Education courses available as Electives for either Area of Emphasis

Fieldwork and Seminar in Secondary Education
Learning About Learning: Classrooms in Context
The Craft of Teaching
Adolescent Literature
Philosophy of Education: Educational Thought and Practice
Literacy, Community, and the Arts: Theory into Practice


Concentrators seeking to graduate with honors must apply for honors candidacy by the end of their sixth semester. Successful candidates must meet all requirements for the concentration; maintain a minimum grade average that includes more A’s than B’s in Education courses; and successfully complete EDUC 1990 and EDUC 1991, in which they write a senior thesis under the guidance of a thesis advisor. Honors are awarded on the basis of thesis quality. Students whose theses meet or exceed the standards established in the Department Rubric earn honors upon graduation.


Capstones are voluntary, student-initiated projects or experiences outside the classroom that build on and contribute to students' Education Studies concentration.  They can take various forms, including a research project, website design, curriculum design, policy analysis, or scholarly paper. Capstones can be designed and executed in the senior year, or can be based on a previous experience that the student wants to explore further in some way, such as an internship or teaching experience. While capstones do not confer departmental honors, students who complete capstones will be recognized at the department graduation ceremony and will have the opportunity to present their work at a conference in the spring of their senior year. Through capstones, students have the opportunity to work closely with a faculty member in an area of their interest and are able to reflect on and extend their learning in the concentration.

Undergraduate Teacher Education Program (regardless of student start date)

Note: The Undergraduate Teacher Education Program is not a concentration.  It consists of a series of courses which will prepare students for secondary teacher certification.

The Department of Education, in cooperation with other departments, offers a program of study in teacher education leading to certification in secondary school teaching: the Undergraduate Teacher Education Program (UTEP).  This program is offered in English, History/Social Studies, Science (Biology, Chemistry, or Engineering/Physics), and leads to state certification for public school teaching in these fields.

The Undergraduate Teacher Education Program consists of three components: courses in educational theory, courses in the teaching field, and student teaching.  These are designed to complement and enhance the liberal education derived from concentration courses and electives. 

Students who are interested in completing the Undergraduate Teacher education Program must confer with the Education Department as early as possible in order to plan a coherent program.  The program includes a methods course, offered during the summer in conjunction with teaching at Brown Summer High School, between Semesters VI and VII. 

Courses in the teaching field

Because the program emphasizes the importance of knowledge in the teaching field, students are  required to complete an academic concentration in the subject which they are preparing to teach or a closely related field.  This does not mean that a student must elect a standard concentration in the field.  However, such a student must, as part of or in addition to his/her chosen concentration, elect a substantive number of courses in his/her teaching field.  Students considering the program should consult with advisors both in the academic department and in the Education Department to design an appropriate program of study that meets Rhode Island state certification requirements and those of many other states. 

All of the required courses in education must be taken at Brown.  None can be transferred for credit from other institutions.  Requirements of the program include:

Fieldwork and Seminar in Secondary Education
The Psychology of Teaching and Learning
Student Teaching: English
Student Teaching: History and Social Studies
Student Teaching: Science
Analysis of Teaching: English
Analysis of Teaching: History and Social Studies
Analysis of Teaching: Science
Methods of Teaching: English
Methods of Teaching: History and Social Studies
Methods of Teaching: Science
Literacy Across the Curriculum
An Education elective