Learning Goals in the Education Studies Major

The Education Studies program is rooted in and fosters the tenets of a liberal arts education by providing students with:

  • a rigorous understanding of the relationship between educational purposes, politics, processes, and consequences, 
  • a range of methodological tools for interpreting and conducting educational research, 
  • a recognition of the dynamic and reciprocal relationships between education (within and beyond schooling) and the social, cultural, political, and economic contexts in which it occurs, 
  • a recognition of the value of interdisciplinary analysis to the examination of pressing social issues,
  • an understanding of the intersections of academic scholarship and the concerns of communities, 
  • and an understanding of the applicability and relevance of scholarship in the liberal arts tradition to promoting a more just, equitable, and democratic society.

In whatever capacity students face educational questions after leaving Amherst—be it as a citizen, a student, a parent, a teacher, a researcher, or a policy-maker—a major in Education Studies will prepare them to think through crucial questions for democracy; education’s role in the production of citizens and nations; education’s role as a tool of cultural reproduction and transformation; the sources and mechanisms of social inequalities; how teaching and learning happen; and how and why schools and school systems look the ways they do. Students will also leave the program with ideas about how society might revive, reimagine, and restructure its educational—and with it social, political and economic—institutions.

A woman in a museum showing a piece of art on a table to two young women
Associate Professor of American Studies Kiara Vigil and her students study Native American literature in the Amherst College Archives