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.

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Student Goals

Students in this concentration will:

  • Understand the major debates underlying the study of human learning and development
  • Become fluent in the history of education and education policy
  • Acquire experience in qualitative and quantitative research methods
  • Hone their writing skills
  • Produce a significant piece of original research


Click here for a list of requirements.

Honors and Capstones

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No capstone is required for graduation; however, students who qualify for Honors complete a capstone in the form of an Honors Thesis during the senior year. Concentrators seeking to graduate with Honors must have earned more A’s than B’s and must have completed one of the department’s two methods courses (EDUC1100 or EDUC1110) by the end of the junior year. They must also apply for admission to the Honors program and submit a thesis proposal during the sixth semester. Honors candidates must also take EDUC 1990 and EDUC 1991 (Independent Reading and Research), in which they write a thesis under the guidance of a Thesis Advisor, and make an oral presentation of their work. Please see the department's website for a complete description of admission procedures and department requirements. You may also contact the Honors Advisor, Prof. Tracy Steffes.


  • Human Development
  • Policy-and-History

Liberal Learning

This concentration allows you to address the following Liberal Learning goals:

  • Expand your reading skills
  • Understand differences among cultures
  • Embrace diversity
  • Engage with your community
  • Evaluate human behavior
  • Work on your speaking and writing

Download the full statement on Liberal Learning at Brown

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Affiliated Departments


Director of Undergraduate Studies

Graduating Class

Year Total Capstone Honors
201436 14 
201528 11 

Alumni Pathways

Former Education concentrators have attended graduate programs in international education policy, urban education policy, political science, public health, elementary education, school psychology, and other fields. They have earned Fulbright and other fellowships and gone into careers in k-12 and university education, in non-profit organizations, museums, finance, and in local media. 

See more details on the CareerLAB website.

Dept. Undergraduate Group

Student Leaders:

  • Ruby Miller-Gootnick
  • Marianna McMurdock
  • Gwendolyn Rodgers

If you are an advisor and would like to make changes to the information on this page, contact, or email Dean Besenia Rodriguez.