Education Studies

Executive director: Mira Debs, 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 110a / SOCY 112, 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 11:35am-12:50pm

* 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 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 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 9:25am-11:15am

EDST 130a / AFAM 125a / AMST 125a / HIST 136a, The Long Civil Rights MovementCrystal Feimster

Political, social, and artistic aspects of the U.S. civil rights movement from the 1920s through the 1980s explored in the context of other organized efforts for social change. Focus on relations between the African American freedom movement and debates about gender, labor, sexuality, and foreign policy. Changing representations of social movements in twentieth-century American culture; the politics of historical analysis.  HU
MW 10:30am-11:20am

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 / 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
TTh 4:30pm-5:20pm

EDST 150a / PSYC 151a, Theory and Practice of Emotional IntelligenceMarc 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
MW 9am-10:15am

EDST 160b / PSYC 150b, Social PsychologyJohn Bargh

Study of social cognition, attitudes and persuasion, group processes, intergroup processes, prosocial behavior, aggression, and conformity. Theories, methodology, and applications of social psychology. 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 11:35am-12:25pm

* 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 202a / CLCV 202a, Education and Learning in AntiquitySarah 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.  WR, HU
T 3:30pm-5:20pm

* EDST 207b / AFAM 214b / PLSC 207b, Race, Representation, and Education PolicyRenita Miller

Exploration of the meaning and practice of political representation and how it connects Americans to government, citizenship, identity, community, and more specifically education. Close analysis of Hanna Pitkin’s work to evaluate the contested meaning of representation; overview of the shape and meaning of representation; and review of political science literature on race and representation with focus on education related policy matters. S&DS 110 suggested.   SO
Th 9:25am-11:15am

* EDST 210a, Theory and Practice in American EducationRichard 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
T 4pm-5:50pm

* EDST 225b, Child Care, Society, and Public PolicyJanna Wagner and Jessica Sager

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 2:30pm-4:20pm

* 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 7pm-8:50pm

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 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
T 9:25am-11:15am

* 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 4pm-5:50pm

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.
W 2:30pm-4:30pm

* EDST 377b / PSYC 477b, 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
M 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 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.
M 9:25am-11:15am