Students participate in a biology lab

The Education Studies Program provides the context for students to critically examine the history, purpose, politics, and consequences of education from a range of interdisciplinary perspectives, and in a manner that is consistent with the liberal arts tradition. The program aims to provide students with an understanding of the socio-historical structures and cultural processes that shape educational enterprises within and outside of schools. The curriculum highlights the dynamic relationship between education and social, economic, and political structures. A core feature of the Education Studies Program is that it asks students to reach across disciplinary divides—most notably between the humanities, social sciences, and STEM fields.

A robust array of existing courses and on-campus centers support and deepen students’ intellectual and experiential engagement with Education Studies. Bolstered by the Center for Teaching and Learning, the Center for Community Engagement, the Education Professions Fellowship, the Loeb Center’s Careers in Education Professions Program, and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Education Studies fosters a cross-disciplinary intellectual community around issues related to educational equity. 

Many students opt to pair the interdisciplinary major in Education Studies with a discipline-specific major like Math, Psychology, History, or Sociology. Students may apply courses taken for another major toward their Education Studies requirements, as well as courses taken in the Five Colleges or in departments at Amherst College outside of Education Studies.   

Robust advising offered by faculty and staff affiliated with the program will support students to select appropriate coursework and experiential learning opportunities. All students must take EDST 352: The Purposes and Politics of Education, a course that introduces foundational and enduring questions in Education Studies through the lens of race, class, and educational opportunity. Additionally, students take seven other courses, three of which provide depth in an area of concentration that is of most interest to them. In their sophomore or junior year, students should take a methodology course that will provide them the experience and background to construct a thesis or capstone project. 

There are many things an Education Studies Major can pursue following graduation from Amherst. A few students are certain of their interest in teaching early on and opt to pursue licensure while at Amherst. Students interested in obtaining licensure to teach in middle and high school as part of their Education Studies major should speak with Sarah Frenette, the Five College Teacher Licensure Coordinator, as soon as possible. Contact the Loeb Center to arrange an appointment.