Bwog is back with the latest edition of the ongoing Major Spotlights feature! This time, we’re focusing on Barnard’s new Educational Studies major, which was unveiled in February. 

Currently, the Educational Studies major is only available to Barnard students (however, a Barnard Communications Spokesperson informed Bwog that the department is proceeding towards having the major reviewed for CC and GS students). 


The Education department website lists the requirements for the major in four categories: A, B, C, and D. In addition to these requirements, students must select one of three areas of concentration: Education, Culture, and Society, Comparative and International Education, and Educational Policy. 

The A requirement, labeled “foundational coursework,” consists of two courses: 

  • EDUC BC 1510* — Educational Foundations
  • URBS UN 3310* — Race, Space, and Urban Schools

The B requirement, the pedagogical elective, consists of one course out of the six following options:

  • EDUC BC 3050 — Science in the City I
  • EDUC BC 3052 — Math and the City
  • EDUC BC 3055 — Arts and Humanities in the City
  • EDUC BC 3058 — Science in the City II
  • EDUC BC 3030 — Critical Pedagogies
  • SOCI UN 3974 — Sociology of Schools

The C requirement is the most intensive category, requiring six courses in the area of the student’s concentration. At least two of these courses must be in the Education department. Options listed by the department include (but are not exclusive to) the following:

  • EDUC BC 3032 — Investigating the Purposes and Aims of Educational Policy
  • EDUC BC 3042 — Gender, Sexuality, and Schooling
  • EDUC BC 3045— Complicating Class, Education, and the Limits of Equity
  • EDUC BC 3040 — Migration, Globalization, and Education
  • EDUC BC 3250 — Education in a Polarized and Unequal Society
  • EDUC BC 3044 — Education and Social Change in Global Contexts
  • EDUC BC 3034 — Families, Communities, and Schools
  • EDUC BC 3030 — Critical Pedagogies
  • PHIL UN 2100 — Philosophy of Education
  • SOCI UN 3225 — Sociology of Schools
  • ECON BC 3012 — Economics of Education
  • PSYC BC 2134 — Educational Psychology
  • CSER UN 3928 — Colonization/Decolonization
  • HRTS UN 3001— Introduction to Human Rights

The D requirement is the two-course Senior Capstone which is designed to help students in the process of researching and writing theses:

  • EDUC BC 3088 — Research Methods
  • EDUC BC 3089 — Inquiry

Overview Of Classes: 

The Educational Studies major, as the department website will tell you, is very interdisciplinary. Because of this, two students in the major might have completely different trajectories and experiences within the same program aside from their foundational courses. Because of this, you can really curate your major to your specific interests and preferred disciplines — one person might do the majority of their work in anthropology while another might prefer sociology or philosophy. This also means that it’s hard to give an overview of what one might be getting into in terms of specific classes because there are so many different directions to go in the program. Very generally speaking, though, Education classes at Barnard tend to involve quite a bit of reading, small group discussions that lead to large group discussions, and a lot of collaboration. Group work is common but there is also plenty of individual work, usually writing papers. 

It’s also worth noting here that the Educational Studies major does not culminate in a teaching certification and is not specifically aimed towards students who plan to become teachers. It engages with policy, philosophy, research methods, and more  — it allows students to critically examine the role of education in society and how schools can reflect and or reproduce social inequalities. Students interested in pursuing a teaching certification during their time at Barnard should look into the Urban Teaching minor, which prepares students for New York State teacher certification in either Elementary Education (Grades K-6) or Secondary Education (Grades 7-12).

Some Humble Recommendations: 

Here are some classes I have taken and really enjoyed….

  • Gender, Sexuality, and Schooling with Rachel Throop
  • Complicating Class: Education and the Limits of Equity with Rachel Throop
  • Educational Foundations with Erika Kitzmiller

Where To Get More Information:

Last-Minute Tips:

  • If you think you might be interested in the Education department, I would highly recommend taking Educational Foundations. Plenty of non-education students take the course and it is a good overview of what it means to study Education at Barnard.
  • Talk to your professors! This is purely anecdotal, but I have found Education professors to be some of the most approachable and thoughtful instructors at Barnard. It really feels like they want to accommodate students and help them pursue their interests, so if you have questions or just want to have a conversation, office hours are the place to be!

Barnard Gates via Bwog Archives