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Academic Program

Students interested in education at Swarthmore may 1) complete a course major or minor in educational studies; 2) design an honors or course special major in educational studies and another discipline;  and/or 3) pursue elementary or secondary teacher certification.  Research and fieldwork are distinctive components of all of these options.  

Research Opportunities and Experiences

Engaging in research is integral to educational studies. Participation in research allows students to understand its role in theory, policy-making and practice. In each course and seminar, students are introduced to qualitative and quantitative methods of research, which they use to explore questions addressed by the class.

In many courses and seminars, students not only read original research, but they also collect and analyze data using  appropriate methods.

Some students conduct independent research or serve as research assistants on faculty members' projects. Many such collaborations have led to student-faculty co-authored conference presentations, articles and chapters.  Most special majors complete a one or two credit thesis which involves original research.

All of the College librarians are eager to assist students with research questions. Pamela Harris, Head of Reference, serves as the library liaison for Educational Studies. 

Fieldwork and Community Based Learning Opportunities

Bridging research and practice is a goal for courses and seminars in the department. The majority of classes include a distinctive fieldwork component. Course descriptions indicate which offerings include field placements.  Field activities and required hours differ, depending on the goals and objectives of each course.

Depending on transportation options and course expectations, students may 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 schools and populations.

Education students speak with instructor Edwin Mayorga at the 2015 Introductions Party

Photo by Kae Kalwaic

Seniors present to faculty and students at Spring 2016 senior poster session

Isabel Sacks '15 introduces Ileana Jimenez

Seniors present to faculty and students at Spring 2016 senior poster session

Seniors present to faculty and students at Spring 2016 senior poster session

Associate Professor Diane Anderson and students in class, Literacies and Social Identities

Nora Kerrich '16 speaks at Social Justice Unionism Panel

Education students speak with instructor Edwin Mayorga at the 2015 Introductions Party

Photo / Kae Kalwaic
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Why Honors? - Scott Storm '08

"Why Honors? For me, I really liked the idea of learning in seminars - the interaction and working together, like regular courses but even more communal. This was juxtaposed with doing research on my own interests and going as in depth as I wanted."
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