K. ANN RENNINGER, Professor
LISA SMULYAN, Professor and Co-chair
DIANE DOWNER ANDERSON, Associate Professor1
ELAINE ALLARD, Associate Professor1
EDWIN MAYORGA, Associate Professor and Co-chair
JOSEPH NELSON, Associate Professor
JENNIFER BRADLEY, Visiting Assistant Professor
RUTHANNE KRAUSS, Administrative Assistant
CATHERINE DUNN, School Liaison
1Absent on leave, 2021-2022.
The Educational Studies Department at Swarthmore engages students in the investigation of educational theory, policy, research, and practice from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. We prepare students to work in educational research or policy, to enter the teaching profession, and/or to pursue graduate study in educational studies or a related field. The department encourages undergraduates to think critically and creatively about the processes of teaching and learning and about the place of education in society. The department is also committed to preparing students to address education-related needs in an era of rapidly increasing racial, ethnic, and linguistic diversity and technological change and to develop students’ abilities to participate fully in civic, cultural, and economic arenas. Both introductory and upper level courses in the department draw on theory and research in anthropology, economics, history, political science, psychology, and sociology.
The Academic Program
Students interested in Educational Studies at Swarthmore may design an honors or course major in Educational Studies; a special major in Educational Studies and another discipline; or an honors or course minor in Educational Studies. Students also have the option to pursue teacher certification.
First course recommendation
EDUC 014F: First-year seminar: Pedagogy and Power: An Introduction to Education - Schools are complex institutions, central to any society. Schools are sites of teaching and learning, places where inequalities are maintained or challenged, and institutions within which children and their teachers live out the daily realities of national political agendas. This course explores major questions in educational policy, theory, and practice. Students read original source materials from multiple disciplines, write, discuss, and complete fieldwork in area schools as an introduction to the interdisciplinary and expansive field of educational studies. EDUC14 or the first-year seminar EDUC 014F, is required for students pursuing teacher certification.
An Educational Studies major includes at least 8 credits in Educational Studies. In their sophomore plan, we recommend that prospective majors clarify a focus within the department. Foci might include policy, social and cultural foundations of education, or the study of learning. All majors must include a methods course in their program as preparation for their senior thesis. Methods courses can include any of the following three courses:
- EDUC 65 Qualitative Methods for Educational Change
- SOCI 16B Research Methods in Social Science
- EDUC 21 Educational Psychology
The culminating exercise for the major is normally a 1-2 credit senior thesis, completed in the senior year.
Prerequisites for entry into the major include EDUC 014, Pedagogy and Power: Introduction to Education and one additional course in the department. EDUC 092: Practice Teaching and EDUC 093: Curriculum and Methods Seminar are not counted as part of the major.
All majors must take a methods course. The culminating exercise for a major is normally a 1-2 credit thesis.
Course Special Major
In special majors involving Educational Studies, the student combines work in Educational Studies with work in another academic department or interdisciplinary program. Pre-established programs have been created with the following disciplines: biology, chemistry, computer science, English literature, French, German, history, Latin American and Latino studies, linguistics, mathematics/statistics, music, peace and conflict studies, physics, political science, psychology, Russian, sociology/anthropology, and Spanish. Special majors with other disciplines can be pursued with the approval of both the Educational Studies Department and the second department or program. In the case of all special majors involving Educational Studies, both departments collaborate in advising the student.
The special major usually requires 10 to 12 credits, at least 5 of which must be in Educational Studies. All special majors are required to complete a thesis or a comprehensive examination integrating work in their two fields of study. Special majors are encouraged to take EDUC 065 Educational Research for Social Change in the spring of their sophomore or junior year. This course, which can be taken for 0.5 or 1 credit, prepares students to write a special major thesis in their senior year. Each partnering department or program provides specific course requirements for the completion of a special major and for the thesis/comprehensive exam, details of which may be found on the departmental website.
If special majors pursue teaching certification, EDUC 092: Curriculum and Methods Seminar and EDUC 093: Practice Teaching are not counted as part of the special major requirements. The prerequisite for acceptance to the special major program is successful completion of EDUC 014: Pedagogy and Power: Introduction to Education and one other course in the department.
The Educational Studies minor provides students with the opportunity to choose from a variety of Educational Studies courses and prompts students to reflect on the overarching theme of their experience in the department. The Educational Studies minor requires at least 5 credits in Educational Studies. Students identify a focus when they apply for the minor and then explain how their coursework supports this focus. Possible foci include but are not limited to Teaching and Practice, Educational Policy, Educational Psychology, School and Society, Special Education, Urban Education, Environmental Education, and Literacy. The prerequisite for acceptance to the Educational Studies minor program is EDUC 014 . Minors may also pursue teacher certification.
The department supports the Honors Program for majors, special majors, and minors.
Students may complete an Honors major in Educational Studies. The Honors major requires at least 9 credits in the department, including 3 honors preparations and one methods class from the courses listed in the course major. One preparation must be a 2-credit honors thesis, normally completed over both semesters of the senior year. The other two preparations will normally consist of 2-credit seminars, although a course and attachment may be possible as an alternative.
Prerequisites for admissions to the Honors major include EDUC 014, Pedagogy and Power: Introduction to Education, one additional course in the department, and an average of B+ in their courses in the department. EDUC 092: Practice Teaching and EDUC 093: Curriculum and Methods Seminar are not counted as part of the major.
Honors Special Majors
Students may opt to pursue an Honors Special major in Educational Studies and another department or interdisciplinary program. Pre-established special majors have been created with the following disciplines: English, linguistics, political science, psychology, and sociology/anthropology. Honors special majors with other disciplines can be pursued with the approval of both Educational Studies and the partnering department or program. The Honors special major, like the Course special major, requires a total of 10 to 12 credits, at least 5 of which must be in Educational Studies. However, Honors special majors must also include 4 Honors preparations in their program. These must be distributed as follows:
- 3 (2-credit) Honors preparations, at least 1 or 2 of which must be in Educational Studies and 1 or 2 in the other discipline.
- Most honors preparations in Educational Studies consist of a 2-credit honors seminar.
- It is possible to complete a 1-credit Educational Studies course with a 1-credit attachment as an honors preparation. Availability of this option is limited and designed with a supervising faculty member from the Educational Studies Department.
- 1 Honors preparation through the completion of a double-credit thesis. This thesis normally serves to integrate the fields of the special major and is supervised by faculty members in both departments of the special major. Honors special majors are encouraged to take EDUC 065 Qualitative Research Methods: Educational Research for Social Change in the spring of their sophomore or junior year. This course, which can be taken for 0.5 or 1 credit, prepares students to write the special major thesis in their senior year.
Each partnering department or program also provides specific requirements for the completion of an Honors special major, which may be found on the departmental website. Students are expected to have a B+ average in their Educational Studies courses to complete an Honors special major. Additionally, students must complete external examinations upon completion of the program. The prerequisite for acceptance to the Honors Educational Studies Major Program is EDUC 014, 2 additional Educational Studies courses of the student’s choice, and an average grade of B+ in all Educational Studies courses at the time of application. Honors majors may also pursue teacher certification.
Students may opt to pursue an Honors minor in educational studies. The Honors minor requires five credits in educational studies, including EDUC 014 (1 credit), one Honors seminar (2 credits), and two additional credits of the student’s choice. Students are expected to have a B+ average in their educational studies courses and to complete the external Honors examination. The prerequisite for acceptance to the Honors educational studies minor program is EDUC 014. Honors minors may also pursue teacher certification.
Additional Honors Program Details
As part of the Honors Program, students complete an examination for each completed preparation. The thesis preparation for Honors major and special major students involves a 45-60-minute individual oral exam on their work with an outside examiner. Examination for Honors preparations other than the thesis includes a written and an oral component. An external examiner sets the written portion of the exam. Exam questions are based on the seminar syllabus. The exam may include a problem set, a case, and/or additional readings relevant to the work students have undertaken in that preparation. These materials may be sent to the student in advance of the written exam. All Educational Studies Honors exams are written in the Educational Materials Center. A maximum of 5 hours is allowed for completion of each exam.
All Honors students (majors, special majors, and minors) in Educational Studies write a short intellectual autobiography that is sent to the Honors examiner. Students may also choose to send to the examiner a paper from an Honors seminar. The autobiography and the paper are not formally evaluated by the examiner; they are intended to familiarize the examiner with the student’s experience and background in Educational Studies, since each student in each seminar brings different disciplinary content to his/her understanding of the material. The autobiography is written in the spring of the senior year under the supervision of the department chair in Educational Studies.
Research Opportunities and Experiences
Engaging in research is integral to students’ work in Educational Studies. Participation in research supports students to understand the importance of research to theory, policy-making, and practice.
In each course and seminar in the department, students are introduced to qualitative and/or quantitative methods of research, which they use to work directly with questions addressed in coursework. Students not only read original research, but they also collect and analyze data using appropriate methods in each course.
Students are strongly encouraged to take EDUC 065: Qualitative Research Methods: Educational Research for Social Change in the spring of their sophomore or junior year. This course, which can be taken for 0.5 or 1 credit, prepares students to write a thesis in their senior year. It can be used as the required methods course for special majors with Sociology and Anthropology, and as the required methods course for Educational Studies majors.
As a culminating activity in the department, all majors and most special majors write a thesis. Students select the focus of their thesis work; theses typically build on students’ course work and methods training in Educational Studies and the other department comprising their special major.
Some students conduct independent research or serve as research assistants on faculty members’ projects. Students may begin working as research assistants as early as the summer following their first year. Many such collaborations have led to student-faculty co-authored conference presentations, articles, and chapters.
Fieldwork and Service-Learning Opportunities
Bridging research and practice is a goal for courses and seminars in the department. Many courses and seminars have a distinctive fieldwork component. Course descriptions indicate if a course involves a field placement.
Depending on transportation options, students can request fieldwork placements in urban, suburban, or rural communities and choose from public, charter, or private school settings. Students are encouraged to use the field placements as an opportunity to explore a range of school and population types. A list of school sites may be found on the department’s website.
Students requesting credit in Educational Studies for course or fieldwork done abroad (or at another institution in the U.S.) must take EDUC 014: Pedagogy and Power: Introduction to Education. This course may be taken before or after the study abroad credit is completed, but the credit will only be accepted after EDUC 014 has been completed.
The Cloud Forest School Program, Costa Rica
The Cloud Forest School Program, Costa Rica is a Swarthmore study abroad program with a developed education component. Through this program, students complete a school-based internship (3 Educational Studies credits) and receive an intercultural credit for Spanish language learning. For more information see http://www.swarthmore.edu/educational-studies/cloud-forest-program-requirements.
Transfer credit is accepted once a student has completed EDUC 014. To request transfer credit, the student must present a syllabus and all course work for the department to review. Some additional work may be required.
Pathways to Teaching
Swarthmore students come to an interest in teaching at many points during their own educational careers - some before they enter college, others during their four undergraduate years, and some as they investigate possible careers after Swarthmore. Students are encouraged to explore the many opportunities available to them in the field of education. Pathways to Teaching, on the department’s website, offers students more information on the options available to them:
- Mentoring and tutoring opportunities offered through Swarthmore.
- Summer opportunities to work in classrooms or enrichment programs or complete an education-related internship.
- Teacher certification at Swarthmore.
- Graduate study in education, including teaching programs and other programs in educational studies.
- Post-graduation teaching/education job opportunities and resources (for all students - with or without certification)
Swarthmore offers a state-accredited teacher preparation program for both special majors and minors (Honors or Course). Certification for elementary, middle, and/or high school teaching is transferable to all 50 states; after PA certification, some states may require additional exams or content. A guide to certification reciprocity is available through Certification Map at http://certificationmap.com/states/reciprocity-disclaimer/.
Swarthmore’s programs for secondary certification are designed with guidance from faculty members in the discipline in which the student is being certified as well as members of the Educational Studies Department. Students preparing for elementary certification design their course of study with advising from the Swarthmore Educational Studies Department and Eastern University.
Formal admission to the teacher certification program occurs at the start of EDUC 092: Curriculum and Methods and EDUC 093: Practice Teaching after students have successfully completed their core Educational Studies and discipline major requirements. Students must have completed 12 Swarthmore College credits (48 credit hours) to enroll in the program.
State Requirements for Certification
In order to be certified, students must attain either an overall grade point average of 3.0 or an overall grade point average of 2.8 GPA and a qualifying score on the appropriate PRAXIS exams. More information about the exams required for certification can be found on the Educational Studies Department website under “Teacher Certification > Student Teaching > Exam Information.”
Students seeking certification must meet 1) all Swarthmore’s general requirements for graduation with a Bachelor’s degree, 2) Educational Studies requirements for certification, and 3) state teaching certification distribution requirements in mathematics, English literature, and English composition. The following outline presents the ways in which students might meet these state distribution requirements:
Mathematics: 6 credit hours. This may be fulfilled by any sufficient combination of the following options:
||Credit Hour Value
|Swarthmore 1-credit Math/Statistics or Natural Science course
|Score of 4 or 5 on AP Calculus AB
|Score of 4 or 5 on AP Calculus AB/BC
|Score of 4 or 5 on AP Statistics
|Score of 6 or 7 on the Higher Level IB Exam
Scores of 560 or higher on the SAT level I or II math level IC or IIC
|CLEP math test (http://clep.collegeboard.org/exam)
|Combination should total
English Literature: 3 credit hours. This may be fulfilled by any of the following options:
||Credit Hour Value
|Swarthmore 1-credit English Department course
|Score of 4 or 5 on AP English Literature
|Score of 6 or 7 on the Higher Level IB Exam
|CLEP literature test (http://clep.collegeboard.org/exam)
|Combination should total
English Composition: 3 credit hours, met by the College’s general distribution requirement of Writing courses.
Elementary Certification (Grades PreK-4)
Certification in elementary education is granted to Swarthmore students through Eastern University. Students complete the majority of their coursework at Swarthmore, including student teaching, but must also complete 2 Eastern University summer courses (offered at Swarthmore) in order to receive elementary certification. Eastern University will award the Pennsylvania PreK-4 certification; students who want to complete the 4-8 elementary/middle school certification may add this certification through testing. The department recommends that students complete both PreK-4 and 4-8 certifications.
Students must fulfill all of the state general distribution requirements listed above. Additionally, required Swarthmore coursework includes:
- EDUC 014: Pedagogy and Power: Introduction to Education
- EDUC/PSYC 021: Educational Psychology
- EDUC/PSYC 026: Special Education
- EDUC 042: Teaching Diverse Young Learners
- EDUC 053: Educating Emergent Bilinguals
Recommended EDUC 023: Adolescence
The Eastern University summer school program consists of two elementary methods courses in Language Arts and Reading. The hybrid online and face-to-face course work begins in mid-May and ends in early June for a total cost of approximately $4,466 (cost as of spring 2019; students on financial aid can apply for support). Students can receive 1 Swarthmore College credit for these courses.
Students must consult with the chair of Swarthmore’s Educational Studies Department regarding their program of study to ensure that it includes a representative distribution of English, social studies, math, and science coursework required for 4-8 certification.
Elementary Certification candidates complete one semester of student teaching through Swarthmore, which consists of EDUC 092: Curriculum and Methods (2 credits) and EDUC 093: Practice Teaching (2 credits).
Secondary Certification (Grades 7-12)
The department offers secondary (7-12) teacher certification in biology, chemistry, citizenship, English, mathematics, physics, and social studies. The department also offers K-12 certification in French, German, Russian, or Spanish. Students must complete a major or special major in their area of certification. Majors/special majors in history, economics, or political science receive secondary certification in either citizenship or social studies, and majors/special majors in psychology or sociology/anthropology receive secondary certification in social studies.
In order to be certified, students should fulfill all of the state general distribution requirements. Additionally, students must complete a major or a special major in their area of certification and take a total of five and a half core courses in Educational Studies:
- EDUC 014: Pedagogy and Power: Introduction to Education
- EDUC/PSYC 021. Educational Psychology
- EDUC/PSYC 023. Adolescence
- EDUC 023A. Adolescents and Special Education (0.5 credit)
- EDUC/PSYC 026. Special Education
- EDUC 053: Educating Emergent Bilinguals
Students must complete subject-specific requirements that may or may not differ from the special major or major requirements already established. For the special major discipline’s course obligations with teacher certification, students should refer to the subject-specific requirement charts on the Educational Studies Department website (http://www.swarthmore.edu/educational-studies/secondary-certification).
Students must complete one semester of student teaching, which consists of EDUC 092: Curriculum and Methods (2 credits) and EDUC 093: Practice Teaching (2 credits).
World Language Teaching Certification (Grades K through 12)
Students who wish to teach a world language (Spanish, French, German, or Russian) will receive K-12 teaching certification in their specific language area upon completion of the program. This will allow them to teach elementary, middle, and high school. All students seeking world language certification should follow the pathway for secondary teacher certification to attain the K-12 certification. Refer to the Secondary Certification section for details.
EDUC 092: Curriculum and Methods (2 credits) and EDUC 093: Practice Teaching (2 credits) are completed during the first semester of the senior year or in a ninth semester after graduation. Placement for practice teaching is available in a range of public and private schools.
Students who have completed all of the requirements for certification (in their discipline and in Educational Studies) except for student teaching may return following graduation to complete the teacher certification program during a ninth semester. During this semester, students can only take EDUC 092: Curriculum and Methods (2 credits) and EDUC 093: Practice Teaching (2 credits). Students in the ninth semester program have full access to computing and other campus facilities but are not eligible for campus housing. Students obtaining education certification in the Ninth Semester program will be charged the unit charge for 1 course. Some tuition reimbursement will be available for ninth semester students.
Educational Studies Courses
Honors seminars are open to all students. Priority is given to Honors majors and minors.