Apr 15, 2024  
2023-2024 Catalog 
2023-2024 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Educational Studies

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Core Faculty: Rebeca Fernandez, Rick Gay (Chair), Christopher Marsicano, and Brittany Murray

Affiliated Faculty: Shireen Campbell (ENG), Molly Flaherty (PSY), Kyra Kietrys (SPA), Amanda Martinez (COM), Stacey Reimer (SOC), and Lauren Stutts (PBH).

Educational Studies refers to the systematic study of schooling and education in societies. Its character and methods are derived from a number of academic disciplines, combinations of disciplines, and area studies, including: history, philosophy, sociology, anthropology, religion, political science, economics, cultural studies, gender studies, LGBTQ studies, comparative and international education, educational policy studies, as well as transdisciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches. The department specializes in the study of formal and non-formal educational settings and challenges students to think deeply about complex social issues and strategies for lives of leadership and service.

Goals of the Major and Minor in Educational Studies

• Understand and apply disciplinary knowledge from the humanities and social sciences to interpret the meanings of education and schooling in diverse cultural contexts;

• Understand and apply multiple and conflicting perspectives on education and schooling;

• Understand how historical events, social forces, and moral principles related to democratic institutions can inform and direct schooling practice, leadership, and governance;

• Understand the full significance of diversity in a democratic society and how that bears on curriculum and instruction, school and community leadership, and state and national governance;

• Analyze critically both historical and current educational policies and practices at national, state, and local levels, and their impacts on teaching, learning, and the assessment of P-16 students.

• Prepare students who plan to enter graduate school in various education-related fields, such as school psychology, speech pathology, educational policy, education law, etc.

• Fulfill the needs of students who are interested in the academic study of educational history, sociology, psychology, theory, and policy.

Major Requirements (A.B. Degree)

Major requirements: The major requires 10 courses:

  1. A course in each epistemological pillar (Historical & Philosophical; Learning and Development; Social & Cultural; Politics & Policy).
  2. A methods course in the department.
  3. Three courses in a specialization of choice.
  4. An Experiential Learning course EDU 400 or EDU 401 
  5. EDU 495

Senior Capstone

All education majors will complete an independent research project or a directed field placement to fulfill the senior capstone requirement. Program faculty will assist students in designing and implementing their capstone. All students will write a paper and present their projects at the Verna Miller Case Symposium.


(4 elective courses approved by advisor or department chair)

Examples of past specializations:  Community Studies, Social Studies, Bilingualism and Literacy, Educational Technology, Child and Family Studies, Social Justice, Ethnic Studies, Policy Studies, History, Mathematics, and Biology.


Students who qualify during their junior year with a minimum GPA and an approved research proposal will be eligible to complete a year-long thesis (CIS 495/496). The thesis will replace the capstone experience for students seeking honors. To qualify for honors at graduation, a student must have a 3.5 in the major, a 3.2 overall, and at least an A- or above on the final thesis paper

Minor in Educational Studies

The minor requires students to complete six courses, as follows. 

  • One course from the Historical & Philosophical Foundations category.
  • One course from the Social & Cultural Studies category.
  • One course from the Education Policy Studies category.
  • Two courses from any of the above-listed categories and/or Related Courses category.
  • EDU 400 Directed Field Placement (A) or (B)

Only one course from a student’s major may be applied toward the Minor in Educational Studies. A grade of “C” or higher is required in all courses applied toward the minor.

Teacher Education at Davidson College

The Department of Educational Studies has discontinued the teacher education program at Davidson College.  Students who desire to teach should consult with Educational Studies faculty about the various routes available to them, including alternate route certification programs, graduate school programs, and independent school teaching opportunities.

Goals for the Major and Minor in Educational Studies for students who desire to teach:

• Prepare students to enter teaching through MAT programs in which they earn a teaching license and a graduate degree.

• Prepare students to enter teaching through alternative entry programs such as Teach for America, Teach Charlotte, etc.

• Prepare students who plan to teach in private schools or to teach in other programs where licensure is not required, such as language programs abroad.




  1. Historical and Philosophical Foundations 
    EDU 121: Foundations of American Education  
    EDU 141: Introduction to Philosophy of Education  
    EDU 270: Democracy and Education  
    EDU 290: Oral History: Problems, Perspectives, & Possibilities 
    EDU 320: Growing up Jim Crow  
    EDU 370: War, Peace, & Education  
  2. Learning and Development 
    EDU 241: Child Development  
    EDU 242: Educational Psychology  
    EDU 243: Adolescent Development  
    EDU 255: Introduction to Educational Linguistics  
    EDU 262: Schooling Pandemics: Education, Crisis, and COVID-19  
    EDU 292: Theory of Sports Coaching  
    EDU 360: Second Language Acquisition  
    EDU 361: Bilingualism and Literacy  
    EDU 234: Child Psychopathology  
    SPA 311: Teaching Spanish in the Elementary School  
    PSY 234: Child Psychopathology  
    PSY 241: Child Development  
    PSY 242: Educational Psychology  
    PSY 243: Adolescent Development 
    PSY 350 - Advanced Seminar: Lang and Learning Dev   
  3. Social and Cultural Studies 
    EDU 131: Schools, Cinema, and American Culture
    EDU 210: Dialogues on Race and Racism
    EDU 221: Schools and Society  
    EDU 250: Multicultural Education  
    EDU 305 - Critical Issues in Higher Education  
    EDU 260: Oppression and Education  
    EDU 310: The Afterlife of School Segregation  
    EDU 330: Sociology of Education  
    EDU 340: Education in African American Society  
    EDU 350: Latinx Education in the United States  
    EDU 371: Critical Race Theory 
    EDU 385: EDU 385 - Race, Families, and Inequality  
  4. Politics and Policy Studies 
    EDU 208: Comparative and International Education  
    EDU 280: Introduction to Educational Policy  
    EDU 291: Data in Education  
    EDU 300: The Politics of Education Policy  
    EDU 310: The Afterlife of School Segregation  
    EDU 380: Evaluating Educational Innovations for Youth  
    EDU 365: Language Policy and Planning  
  5. Research Methods 
    EDU 200: Research Methods in Education   (Pending EPC approval)
    EDU 260: Oppression and Education  
    EDU 290: Oral History: Problems, Perspectives, & Possibilities  

Courses that fall under one of the pillars and serve as a methods course listed above can count for only one of the requirements within the major-either a method or a pillar. 

Outside of the department’s course offerings, students can take one of the following approved methods courses:

ANT 371: Ethnographic Writing and Research  
ANT 372: Visualizing Anthropology  
ENG 220: Literary Analysis  
FMS 220: Introduction to Film and Media Studies  
POL 182: Introduction to Political Science Research Methods  
SOC 201: Social Statistics  
SOC 390: Qualitative Research Methods  
SOC 391: Survey Methodology  

With departmental approval, a student may utilize a methods course from another department if this supports the student’s plan of study.

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