Education Studies

Executive director: Mira Debs, 493 College Rm. 408, 432-4631,;

Education Studies is a multidisciplinary academic program in Yale College that provides a structure for students interested in educational institutions, policy, teaching, and learning. The program promotes a multidisciplinary understanding of the role of education historically, socially, politically, and economically.

Any Yale College student interested in education studies may take the introductory survey course, EDST 110, Foundations in Education Studies. This lecture course explores the historical, social, philosophical, and theoretical underpinnings of the field and helps students understand the critical role of education in society. The course examines aspects of education research, policy, and practice. 

In the fall of the sophomore year, students who have successfully completed or are currently enrolled in EDST 110 may apply to become a Yale Education Studies Scholar. The program selects students with appropriate background and interest in education research, policy, and practice, and develops their experience and involvement in issues related to education. Each cohort of students participates in symposia and other events, explores educational topics through collaboration, and establishes an advising relationship with mentors. Education Studies Scholars also gain practical field experience through an appropriate academic-year educational opportunity or summer field experience.

Each Education Studies Scholar develops a course plan that advances the student's interests in an aspect of education studies. To fulfill the requirements of the program, students must complete EDST 110, at least two electives, a capstone senior seminar during the fall term of the senior year, a capstone thesis-equivalent research project during the spring term of the senior year, and the requirements of a Yale College major.


* EDST 107b / MB&B 107b / PHYS 107b, Being Human in STEMHelen Caines, Andrew Miranker, Sarah Demers, Katherine Schilling, and Agnes Mocsy

A collaboratively-designed, project-oriented course that seeks to examine, understand, and disseminate how diversity of gender, race, religion, sexuality, economic circumstances, etc. shape the STEM experience at Yale and nationally, and that seeks to formulate and implement solutions to issues that are identified. Study of relevant peer-reviewed literature and popular-press articles. Implementation of a questionnaire and interviews of STEM participants at Yale. Creation of role-play scenarios for provoking discussions and raising awareness. Design and implementation of group interventions.  SO
F 2:30pm-4:20pm

EDST 110a / SOCY 112a, Foundations in Education StudiesMira Debs

Introduction to key issues and debates in the U.S. public education system. Focus on the nexus of education practice, policy, and research. Social, scientific, economic, and political forces that shape approaches to schooling and education reform. Theoretical and practical perspectives from practitioners, policymakers, and scholars.  SO
TTh 10:30am-11:20am

* EDST 125a / CHLD 125a / PSYC 125a, Child DevelopmentNancy Close and Carla Horwitz

The reading of selected material with supervised participant-observer experience in infant programs, a day-care and kindergarten center, or a family day-care program. Regularly scheduled seminar discussions emphasize both theory and practice. An assumption of the course is that it is not possible to understand children—their behavior and development—without understanding their parents and the relationship between child and parents. The focus is on infancy as well as early childhood. Enrollment limited to juniors and seniors.  WR, SO
W 1:30pm-3:20pm

* EDST 127a or b / CHLD 127a or b / PSYC 127a or b, Theory and Practice of Early Childhood EducationCarla Horwitz

Development of curricula and responsive educational environments for young children—in light of current research and child development theory. The course focuses on critical analysis of programs for young children and the ways in which political context contributes to the practice of education. Regularly scheduled seminar discussions emphasize both theory and practice. Supervised participant-observer experience in an early childhood classroom. Components of the course include behavior and development, planning, assessment and standards, culture, teacher preparation, and working with families. Priority given to seniors, juniors and Ed Studies students.   WR, SORP

* EDST 128b / CHLD 128b / PSYC 128b, Language, Literacy, and PlayNancy Close and Carla Horwitz

The complicated role of play in the development of language and literacy skills among preschool-aged children. Topics include social-emotional, cross-cultural, cognitive, and communicative aspects of play.  WR, SORP
W 1:30pm-3:20pm

EDST 135a / PHIL 130a, Philosophy of EducationJason Stanley

An introduction to the philosophy of education. In this course, we read classical texts about the nature and purpose of education, focusing ultimately on the question of the normative shape and form of education in liberal democracy. What is the difference between education and indoctrination? What is the proper relation, in a liberal democracy, between civic education and vocational education? What shape or form should education take, if it is to achieve its goals? How, for example, is the liberal ideal of equality best realized in the form and structure of an educational system? Authors include Plato, Rousseau, Du Bois, Washington, Stanton, Dewey, Cooper, Woodson, and Freire.  HU
MW 11:35am-12:50pm

EDST 139a / CGSC 139a / PSYC 139a, The Mental Lives of Babies and AnimalsKaren Wynn

Interdisciplinary exploration of the cognitive, social, and emotional capacities of creatures lacking language and culture. The extent to which our complex psychology is unique to mature humans; the relative richness of a mental life without language or culture. Some attention to particular human populations such as children with autism and adults with language disorders.  SO
MW 11:35am-12:50pm

EDST 140b / PSYC 140b, Developmental PsychologyFrank Keil

An introduction to research and theory on the development of perception, action, emotion, personality, language, and cognition from a cognitive science perspective. Focus on birth to adolescence in humans and other species. Prerequisite: PSYC 110.  SO
MW 1pm-2:15pm

EDST 144a / ER&M 211a / EVST 144a / SOCY 144a, Race, Ethnicity, and ImmigrationGrace Kao

Exploration of sociological studies and theoretical and empirical analyses of race, ethnicity, and immigration, with focus on race relations and racial and ethnic differences in outcomes in contemporary U.S. society (post-1960s). Study of the patterns of educational and labor market outcomes, incarceration, and family formation of whites, blacks (African Americans), Hispanics, and Asian Americans in the United States, as well as immigration patterns and how they affect race and ethnic relations.  SO
MW 2:30pm-3:20pm

EDST 160b / PSYC 150b, Social PsychologyMaria Gendron

Theories, methodology, and applications of social psychology. Core topics include the self, social cognition/social perception, attitudes and persuasion, group processes, conformity, human conflict and aggression, prejudice, prosocial behavior, and emotion. Prerequisite: PSYC 110.  SO
TTh 11:35am-12:50pm

* EDST 162a / SOCY 162a, Methods in Quantitative SociologyLloyd Grieger

Introduction to methods in quantitative sociological research. Topics include: data description; graphical approaches; elementary probability theory; bivariate and multivariate linear regression; regression diagnostics. Students use Stata for hands-on data analysis.  QR, SO
MW 4pm-5:15pm

EDST 177b / AFAM 198b / CGSC 277b / EP&E 494b / PHIL 177b, Propaganda, Ideology, and DemocracyJason Stanley

Historical, philosophical, psychological, and linguistic introduction to the issues and challenges that propaganda raises for liberal democracy. How propaganda can work to undermine democracy; ways in which schools and the press are implicated; the use of propaganda by social movements to address democracy's deficiencies; the legitimacy of propaganda in cases of political crisis.  HU
MW 9:25am-10:15am

EDST 180b / PSYC 180b, Abnormal PsychologyJutta Joormann

The major forms of psychopathology that appear in childhood and adult life. Topics include the symptomatology of mental disorders; their etiology from psychological, biological, and sociocultural perspectives; and issues pertaining to diagnosis and treatment.  SO
MW 11:35am-12:50pm

* EDST 191b / CHLD 126b, Clinical Child Development and Assessment of Young ChildrenNancy Close

Exposure to both conceptual material and clinical observations on the complexity of assessing young children and their families. Prerequisites: CHLD 125 or CHLD 128.  SO½ Course cr
T 9:25am-11:15am

EDST 201b / ECON 210b, Economics of EducationJoseph Altonji

Application of basic economic concepts and empirical methods to the analysis of education. Topics include the economic return to secondary and postsecondary education, the quality of elementary and secondary education, the market for teachers, inequality in education attainment, and school choice. Prerequisites: ECON 108, 110, or 115. A prior course in statistics or econometrics is helpful but not required.  SO
MW 11:35am-12:50pm

* EDST 210a, Theory and Practice in American EducationRichard Hersh

An examination of the roles played by primary, secondary, and higher education in American society. The idealized purposes, nature, and value of education compared to actual practice. The goals of education at all levels; the degree to which such goals are being achieved. Vocational vs. liberal education; the obligations and limits of formal education in helping students overcome social and economic inequities. Preference to Education Studies Scholars and to students who have completed EDST 110.  WR, SO
T 3:30pm-5:20pm

* EDST 215a / PLSC 373a, Equity and Innovation in International EducationCassandra Walker Harvey

This course provides an introduction to the field of international education and a close look at how innovation can address some of the world’s most pressing education barriers. Through discussions, case studies, and guest speakers, students are exposed to how different education systems around the globe function; the roles and responsibilities different stakeholders play across these systems; and how innovation within existing systems and from outside groups can help overcome barriers to education. Topics include: research, policy, and practice of international education, including global standards of education, provision of education, and barriers to education; the field of social entrepreneurship and innovation, and how disruptive innovation can help or hinder education systems; what it means to provide a quality education system, who should provide it, and how we can achieve quality education for all children globally; and how to analyse, and develop innovative and system change solutions to education equity issues. Prerequisite: EDST 110 recommended.  SO
Th 9:25am-11:15am

* EDST 225b, Child Care, Society, and Public PolicyJessica Sager and Janna Wagner

Exploration of societal decisions about where children under the age of five spend their days. Topics include where young children belong; how to regulate, pay for, and support child care arrangements; consideration of gender, race, and family finances; and the profound impact of these decisions on the well-being of children, families, and the economy. Assignments draw heavily on student insights and reflections. Preference in enrollment will go to students who have taken EDST 110, with Education Studies Scholars receiving priority.  SO
Th 1:30pm-3:20pm

* EDST 230b, American Education and the LawWilliam Garfinkel

Interactions between American primary-school education and the American legal system, with a focus on historical and contemporary case law. The relationship between schooling and the state; constitutional, statutory, and regulatory law governing the rights and responsibilities of educators, students, and parents; equal educational opportunity. Recommended preparation: EDST 110. Preference to Education Studies Scholars.  SO
Th 3:30pm-5:20pm

* EDST 233b / FILM 233b, Children and Schools in Global CinemaDudley Andrew

Children have long been, and remain, the target of many films. They precipitated some of the earliest studies of the new medium and its regulation as well. But this seminar turns the tables on the premise that children have also been dangerous for the cinema. As subjects and actors in films, they have proven recalcitrant, unpredictable, combustible; in short, they have behaved as children often do. Insofar as cinema is an institution, children must be disciplined to ensure its smooth operation. And yet much of what is valuable in cinema involves the very unpredictability that is natural in children. This seminar operates as a dialogue between education and cinema across the living bodies of children. We give the cinema and children the first and last words in this dialogue, 'education' being asked to learn, not teach. We defamiliarize education by bringing into our classroom children and films foreign to the United States, including films from France, Africa, Iran, and East Asia Foundations in Education Studies recommended.  HU
Th 9:25am-11:15am, T 6:30pm-9pm

* EDST 235b, Education and the Culture WarsTalya Zemach-Bersin

Examination of the historical development and politics of the “culture wars” with a focus on how battles over the “soul of America” have focused on the American education system. Conflict over "American values” issues like abortion, gay marriage, and religion are compounded by legal battles over federal funding and school choice. Study of interdisciplinary readings from law, politics, history, and cultural studies. Preference for enrollment will be given to Education Studies Scholars.
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

EDST 237a / LING 217a / PSYC 317a, Language and MindMaria Piñango

The structure of linguistic knowledge and how it is used during communication. The principles that guide the acquisition of this system by children learning their first language and adults learning a second language. The processing of language in real-time. Language breakdown as a result of brain damage.     SO
TTh 2:30pm-3:45pm

* EDST 238a / PLSC 238a, Policy, Politics and Learning on the Education BeatJane Karr

Exploration of the national conversation around education issues, and how to write smartly about them. Classes delve into top stories of the last few years—diversity and desegregation, school choice and culture wars—and their impact on policy. Students learn to develop strong, marketable ideas while crafting features aimed at publication. Journalists on the K-12 beat are frequent guests.  SO
W 1:30pm-3:20pm

* EDST 240b / SOCY 396b, Cities, Suburbs, and School ChoiceMira Debs

The changing dynamic between cities and suburbs and the role of individuals and institutions in promoting desegregation or perpetuating segregation since the mid-twentieth century. The government's role in the expansion of suburbs; desegregating schools; the rise of school choice through magnets and charters; the effects of inner-ring suburban desegregation and of urban gentrification on the landscape of education reform. Recommended preparation: EDST 110. Preference to Education Studies Scholars.  SORP
Th 1:30pm-3:20pm

* EDST 250b, Contemporary Challenges to Liberal EducationRichard Hersh

The evolving nature and purpose of liberal learning. Ways in which contemporary liberal education is threatened by challenges such as the rising costs of attending liberal arts colleges and disagreements about the purpose and value of higher education. Students evaluate their Yale experience against national liberal education norms and develop models for strengthening liberal education in America. May not be taken after CSBK 300.  WR, SO
T 3:30pm-5:20pm

EDST 271b / AFAM 469b / ECON 171b, Urban Inequalities and Educational InequalityGerald Jaynes

Analysis of contemporary policy problems related to academic under performance in lower income urban schools and the concomitant achievement gaps among various racial and ethnic groups in United States K-12 education. Historical review of opportunity inequalities and policy solutions proposed to ameliorate differences in achievement and job readiness. Students benefit from practical experience and interdisciplinary methods, including a lab component with time spent in a New Haven high school.  Prerequisites: Any course offered by Education Studies, or one course in history or any social science, either: Anthropology, Economics, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology.  EDST 110 is preferred, although not required.  SO
TTh 10:30am-11:20am

* EDST 290a, Leadership, Change, and Improvement in EducationRichard Lemons

Analysis of the most significant challenges faced by the United States educational system, drawing upon research from a range of academic disciplines to understand how schools and districts operate and why certain educational challenges persist, sometimes over multiple generations of students. Students will study successful educational improvement efforts to better understand the political and organizational strategies necessary to improve student experiences and outcomes at scale, as well as the leadership practices necessary to successfully implement and sustain such strategies. Preference given to Education Studies Scholars or others who have taken EDST 110.  SO
Th 7pm-8:50pm

* EDST 350b / CHLD 350b / PSYC 350b, Autism and Related DisordersFred Volkmar and James McPartland

Weekly seminar focusing on autism and related disorders of socialization. A series of lectures on topics in etiology, diagnosis and assessment, treatment and advocacy, and social neuroscience methods; topics cover infancy through adulthood. Supervised experience in the form of placement in a school, residence, or treatment setting for individuals with autism spectrum disorders. Details about admission to the course are explained at the first course meeting. Prerequisite: an introductory psychology course.  SO
T 3:30pm-5pm

* EDST 355a / PSYC 355a, Clinical Psychology in the CommunityKristi Lockhart

Mental disorders as they are treated within a community setting. Students participate in a fieldwork placement, working either one-on-one or in groups with the psychiatrically disabled. Seminar meetings focus on such topics as the nature of severe mental disorders, the effects of deinstitutionalization, counseling skills, and social policy issues related to mental health. Prerequisite: PSYC 180 or permission of instructor.
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

* EDST 377a / PSYC 477a, Psychopathology and the FamilyKristi Lockhart

The influence of the family on development and maintenance of both normal and abnormal behavior. Special emphasis on the role of early childhood experiences. Psychological, biological, and sociocultural factors within the family that contribute to variations in behavior. Relations between family and disorders such as schizophrenia, depression, anorexia nervosa, and criminality. Family therapy approaches and techniques.  SO
Th 1:30pm-3:20pm

* EDST 400a, Advanced Topics in Education StudiesTalya Zemach-Bersin

Preparation for a thesis-equivalent capstone project. Building community among each year’s cohort through reading seminal texts in Education Studies, while laying the foundation for spring capstone projects through discussion of education studies methodologies and practical research design. First course in the yearlong sequence, followed by EDST 410. EDST 110 and two Education Studies electives. Enrollment limited to senior Education Studies Scholars.
M 9:25am-11:15am

* EDST 405b / AMST 455b / ANTH 470b / ER&M 410b / WGSS 400b, Youth Cultures in the AmericasAna Ramos-Zayas

Drawing from classic and contemporary social theory and ethnography, students contextualize the concept of youth in the histories, societies, and political economies of Latin America and the United States, while considering the epistemological, methodological, and institutional complexity of marking this age-based population. Analysis of the relationship between young people and the mainstream narratives that produce them as subjects, through the ethnography of neighborhoods, families, peer groups, labor markets, media and educational systems.  SO
M 1:30pm-3:20pm

* EDST 410b, Senior Colloquium and ProjectMira Debs

Culmination of the Education Studies Undergraduate Scholars program. Students conduct a rigorous project on a topic of their choice in education research, policy, and/or practice.  Enrollment limited to senior Education Studies Scholars.
T 9:25am-11:15am

* EDST 417a / AMST 401a / ER&M 429a / WGSS 417a, Constructing Coeducation in the American AcademyLaura Wexler

In advance of the 2019-2020 university-wide celebration of coeducation at Yale College, and 150 years at the Yale Graduate School of Art, this course examines the history and philosophy of coeducation in American colleges and universities, with a special focus on Yale. We explore the many ways in which the meaning of the arrival of female undergraduates at Yale should be understood vis-a-vis other intersecting identity categories such as race, class, region, sexuality, occupation, and nation. We study the history of higher education in the United States; examine arguments for and against post-secondary education for women and co-education versus single-sex colleges; compare and contrast racialized initiatives including Freedman’s Bureau schools for former slaves, Native American boarding schools, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and Hispanic Serving Institutions. We track changing patterns of inclusion and exclusion; inquire into the implications of landmark legislation such as Brown vs. Board of Education, and Title IX; and jointly develop a specific case history of Yale.  Aided by especially prepared archives in the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library and Sterling Memorial Library, students produce original research on important moments and figures.  WR, HU
M 3:30pm-5:20pm

* EDST 471a, Independent StudyMira Debs

Readings in educational topics, history, policy, or methodology; weekly tutorial and a substantial term essay.  RP

* EDST 478b / MUSI 452b, Music, Service, and SocietySebastian Ruth

The role of musicians in public life, both on and off the concert stage. New ways in which institutions of music can participate in the formation of civil society and vibrant communities. The potential influence of music on the lives of people experiencing political or social oppression.  HURP
M 4pm-5:50pm

* EDST 490b, Senior Essay Independent StudyMira Debs

Independent research under faculty direction, involving research, policy or practice resulting in a final capstone paper. This course is open to Education Studies Scholars who are completing their capstone, in lieu of taking EDST 400 or EDST 410. To register for this course, students must submit a written plan of study approved by a faculty mentor to the Director of Undergraduate Study no later than the end of registration period in the term in which the course is to be taken. The course meets biweekly (every two weeks), beginning in the first week of the term. Prerequisite: EDST 110.