Requirements for the Education Studies Major


he Education Studies major requires the completion of eight courses: five courses as described below, plus three additional courses, to be chosen in consultation with the student’s advisor.  Students may apply up to two transfer or study away courses toward the major.


Any three of the eight courses taken for the major can be chosen to establish breadth of inquiry within the field of Education Studies. Students will select one course that applies to each of three core areas within the field of Education: 1.) cognition, teaching, and learning; 2) culture and education; 3.) schools, society and policy.  

A list of courses that the EDST Steering Committee has approved as meeting these requirements will be shared with students after declaring the major. This list is updated regularly as designations are made on an annual basis by course instructors. Students who wish to apply a non-approved course toward the breadth requirement may petition the Education Studies Steering Committee for approval. 


The concentration component of the Education Studies major is designed to encourage students to pursue an aspect of education in depth. In consultation with their advisor, Education Studies majors identify a particular education-relevant domain in which to develop expertise. Pending advisor approval, students designate any three of the eight courses taken for the major as applying toward the concentration requirement. With advisor approval, students may apply one non-education related course toward their concentration if the course is uniquely relevant to their concentration (e.g. a major studying math education may apply one math course toward the major). See this link for examples of the range of concentrations that previous Education Studies majors have pursued.


Education Studies is an interdisciplinary major through which students engage with education-relevant questions from a variety of disciplinary lenses.  As such, students are encouraged to take courses in several departments and may take no more than four courses that are cross listed with one department other than Education Studies (e.g., a major who has taken EDST/AMST 240 and AMST/HIST/EDST 328 may count no more than two additional courses listed or cross-listed in AMST towards the major, and no more than three additional courses listed or cross-listed in HIST towards the major).


To ensure that majors also have appropriate exposure to a breadth of skills and knowledge in Education Studies, the eight courses that students complete across the major must include: 

  • At least one course that exposes students to reading and interpreting qualitative scholarship. 
  • At least one course that exposes students to reading and interpreting quantitative scholarship.  
  • Examine education through a global, transnational, or comparative perspective. There are three possibilities to satisfy this requirement:
    • Complete an education studies course with a global/transnational/comparative focus.
    • Complete an education focused project within a course that has a global/transnational/comparative focus.
    • Complete a signature project or thesis that has a global/transnational/comparative focus

Signature Project:

Majors are required to complete a signature project on an Education Studies topic of importance to them. Projects typically (but not exclusively) are related to a student’s concentration within the major. The project should be at least 20 pages (or the equivalent in a different medium) and demonstrate meaningful engagement with the scholarship on their chosen topic. 


Students may satisfy the signature project requirement in one of the following ways:

  1. Write a thesis in Education Studies; Majors electing to write a thesis are required to take two or three additional course credits across the year devoted to the completion of the honors thesis.
  2. Write a thesis focused on education in another department (e.g. Sociology or History);
  3. Complete a significant research project about education in the context of a 300 or 400 level course such as EDST 470 Advanced Writing and Research in Education Studies;  
  4. Complete a substantial summer internship or research experience followed by completion of EDST 470, Advanced Writing and Research in Education Studies. In cases when the experience involves significant documentation of the majors’ research and reflection, the Education Studies Steering Committee may waive the requirement to enroll in EDST 470. 
  5. Complete the Mt. Holyoke Teacher Licensure teaching practicum. 


Students should begin to discuss their intentions for a signature project with their major advisors soon after declaring the major and share plans for completion of the requirement with the Education Studies Steering Committee in their junior year. 

Comprehensive Assessment:

Finally, majors are required to complete a comprehensive assessment in the major, which consists of the successful completion of a signature project and a presentation that showcases a signature project(s) related to their concentration at the Education Studies Senior Symposium. During their senior year, Education Studies majors fulfill the comprehensive assessment by presenting their signature project at the Education Studies senior symposium.


Course Requirements to fulfill the major: 

  1. One foundational course: EDST 352, The Purposes and Politics of Education
  2. One course that explores the intersection between Cognition, Teaching, and Learning. Possibilities include the following: 
    EDST 120/ENGL 120, Reading, Writing, and Teaching
    EDST 335/PHIL 335, Theory of Knowledge
    EDST 227/PSYC 227, Developmental Psychology
    EDST 206/PSYC 206, Psychology of Play
    CHEM 200, Being Human in STEM

See this link for other program-approved courses related to this breadth area.

  1. One course that explores the intersection of School, Society, and Policy. Possibilities include the following: EDST 337/SOCI 337, Dilemmas of Diversity: The Case of Higher Education 
    EDST 332/POSC 332, Political Economy of Development
    EDST 437/POSC 437, Disabling Institutions
    ECON 419, Education and Inequality in the United States
    AMST 201/EDST 201, Social Construction of American Society
    AMST 326/SOCI 326, Immigration and the New Second Generation
    See this link for other program-approved courses related to this breadth area.
  2. One course that focuses on the intersection of Education and Culture. Possibilities include the following:

EDST 120/ENGL 120, Reading, Writing, and Teaching

AMST 203/EDST 203/SOCI 203, Youth, Schooling, and Popular Culture

EDST 208/POSC 208, Power and Politics in Contemporary China

EDST 240/AMST 240, Rethinking Pocahontas
EDST 301/PHIL 301, Education for Liberal Democracy
EDST 346/FREN 346, Enfants Terribles


See this link for other program-approved courses related to this breadth area.

  1. One Research Methods Course (Quantitative or Qualitative) in any department. Ideally, this course should be chosen in anticipation of the research methods to be employed in the student’s signature project or thesis work. This course must be approved by the major advisor. An approved methods course without Education Studies content may fulfill the research methods requirement but it may not be applied toward other major required courses. 
  2. Three additional Education Studies courses chosen in consultation with the advisor. Frequently, students will select some or all of these courses with the aim of developing their concentration within Education Studies. 

Exceptions to the major requirements outlined above will be considered only by petition to the Education Studies Steering Committee program.  For more information about this process, please email

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