Education Studies

Director: Elizabeth Carroll, 111 SSS, 432-4631,;

Education Studies is a special 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, philosophical, and theoretical underpinnings of the field and helps students understand the critical role of education in society. The course examines aspects of education practice, research, and policy. 

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 practice, research, and/or policy, 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 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 065a / CLCV 065a, Education and Learning in Antiquity Sarah Insley Say

Exploration of educational systems in antiquity, from ideals of education in the Athenian polis to the fusion of classical and Christian models of education in the later Roman Empire. Topics include pedagogical methods and texts, evolution of “school” as an institution, ancient theories of education, and the impact of ancient educational systems on society at large. Course readings combine recent scholarship on ancient education and primary sources in translation. Enrollment limited to freshmen. Preregistration required; see under Freshman Seminar Program.  WR, HU

EDST 110a, Foundations in Education Studies Elizabeth Carroll

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

* EDST 125a / CHLD 125a / PSYC 125a, Child Development Nancy 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

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

Development of curricula for preschool children—infants through six-year-olds—in light of current research and child development theory.  WR, SORP

* EDST 128b / CHLD 128b / PSYC 128b, Language, Literacy, and Play Nancy 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

EDST 150a / PSYC 151a, Theory and Practice of Emotional Intelligence Marc Brackett

The role of emotions and emotional intelligence in everyday life and in education. Why emotions matter; how emotional intelligence is defined, measured, and taught; social and emotional learning. Research, theory, educational practices, and government policies that promote students' social, emotional, and academic competence from preschool through high school.  SO

EDST 180b / PSYC 180b, Abnormal Psychology Jutta 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

EDST 201b / ECON 210b, Economics of Education Joseph 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

* EDST 210a, Theory and Practice in American Education Richard Hersh

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.  SO

* EDST 225b, Child Care, Society, and Public Policy Jessica 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

* EDST 230b, American Education and the Law William 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

EDST 245b / PLSC 240b, Public Schools and Public Policy Mira Debs

Consideration of some ways in which educational researchers and policy makers have identified, examined, and sought to address the goals and challenges of preK-12 public education in the United States. Education Studies 110 is strongly recommended.  SORP

EDST 271b / AFAM 469b / ECON 171b, Urban Inequalities and Educational Inequality Gerald 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

* EDST 280a, Arts Education as a Foundation for Social Change Bandy Lee

The value, nature, purpose, and effects of arts education as compared to intellectual education alone. The emotional and moral cultivation that is possible in arts-based learning. Ways in which arts-based education can become the basis for a morally and emotionally healthy society; how the arts can be a model for creative application. Preference to Education Studies Scholars.  SO

* EDST 290a, Leadership, Change, and Improvement in Education Richard 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

* EDST 390a, Advanced Topics in Education Studies Mira Debs

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 400. EDST 110 and two Education Studies electives. Enrollment limited to senior Education Studies Scholars.

* EDST 400b, Senior Colloquium and Project Richard Hersh

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.