Degree Type
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Most nations provide some form of free public education and, as a result, need to determine goals for their education systems and decide how best to achieve them. In the United States, public schools have long been a preferred (albeit imperfect) lever for equal opportunity, at times contributing to economic competitiveness, innovation, and human capital development, but far too often perpetuating larger social and economic inequalities. The Education Department's mission is to understand and improve education through research and teaching, with a particular focus on K-12 public education in the United States.

Through multiple analytical lenses and disciplinary perspectives, the Education Studies concentration challenges students to understand human development, the purposes and processes of education, and the public and private institutions that shape educational opportunities and outcomes. The concentration offers students a deep and broad-based grounding in key concepts and theories related to individuals (as developing children, learners, and teachers), contexts (families and communities), organizations (schools, government, and policy arenas), and ecosystems (history, culture) and the ways these levels interact and intersect to influence children's development, their educational opportunities, and their outcomes. A hallmark of our concentration is developing students' understanding of how theory is connected to best practice. Our concentration provides opportunities to delve into some of social science's biggest questions and to connect those questions to real-world consequences and applications.

For more information, please contact John Papay, Director of Undergraduate Studies.

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


  • Human Development
  • Policy-and-History

Department Undergraduate Group (DUG)

Student Leaders: Anna Bogdanok, Nari Kato, Sydney Robbins, Xinyu (Catherine) Liao

Graduating Class

Class Year Total Students Capstones Completed Honors Graduates
2014 36  14 
2015 28  11 
2016 27   
2017 24 
2018 16   
2019 29   3

Alumni Pathways

Former Education Studies 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.

What are Education Studies concentrators doing...


Director of Undergraduate Studies: John Papay