Certificate in the Study of Education


The Certificate in the Study of Education is awarded to students who complete seven courses from an approved curriculum.  Successful candidates must earn either a grade of B or better in each course or maintain a B+ or better average for the seven courses used for the certificate.  The courses must include at least one course in each of the following categories: 1) Cognitive and psychological influences on learning and schooling; 2) Social and structural analyses of education; 3) Statistics; 4) Broader contexts; 5) In-school experience. The two additional courses should be chosen from those listed in categories 1 and/or 2.  The courses may be completed in any order consistent with their prerequisites.

The supervising faculty strongly encourage completion of the certificate requirements using the approved course list.  In exceptional circumstances it may be possible to substitute a limited number of other courses for those on the approved list.  Approval for substitution requires that a petition for each such course be submitted with the other application materials.  The petition must give a full description of the education-related content of the course (e.g., from the detailed syllabus) and describe how it fulfills the requirements of the certificate equivalently to approved courses.  No more than a total of two individual or group tutorials may be used to fulfill the certificate requirements.  Student fora are generally not eligible for approval.  Courses from other institutions may be used but must first be accepted for transfer credit by the relevant Wesleyan academic department or program.  A cover form that should accompany course substitution petitions may be downloaded here.

It is also permitted in some cases to use a non-credit bearing experience for the Category 5 requirement.  The experience must be fully documented and essentially equivalent to one of the approved Category 5 courses.  Students who use a non-credit bearing experience must successfully complete an additional course from one of the other categories of the approved curriculum in order to have a total seven Wesleyan credits toward the certificate.

Courses that have specific prerequisites that must first be completed are indicated with an asterisk.

Category 1: Cognitive and psychological foundations of education (1+ credits)

PSYC 206*       Research Methods in Cognitive Development and Education

PSYC 221         Human Memory

PSYC 230*       Developmental Psychology

PSYC 233         Adolescent Psychology

PSYC 245         Psychological Measurement

PSYC 320         Cognition, Learning, and Instruction in the Classroom

PSYC 337         Mathematical Cognition and Children's Learning

PSYC 355         Psychology of Reading

PSYC 388         Advanced Research in Measurement


Category 2: Social and structural analyses of education (1+ credits)

SOC 273*        Sociology of Education

SOC 263          Education and Inequality

ECON 122        Schooling and Scarcity

ECON 213*      Economics of Wealth and Poverty

CSPL 341       Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Education (Harber Fellow Seminar)


Category 3: Statistics (1 credit)

The field of education research is replete with quantitative data that can inform theory and practice. Furthermore, there is a push to make educational decisions “data-driven.” In order to participate in these central conversations, students need to have a grasp of basic statistical principles.

QAC 201           Applied Data Analysis

PSYC 200         Statistics: An Activity-Based Approach

MATH 132         Elementary Statistics

ECON 300*        Quantitative Methods in Economics

ECON 385*        Econometrics


Category 4: Broader contexts (1 credit)

In order to put the contemporary US educational system into context, students should take a course that addresses how systems of knowledge are understood, constructed, transmitted, and changed. A broad theoretical course of this sort can sharpen students’ ideas about what is taught, why it is taught, and how it is taught in the current US context.

AMST 241         Childhood in America

DANC 341         Dance Teaching Workshop: Theory into Practice

HIST 140          The Long Civil Rights Movement in 20th-Century America

HIST 176          Science in the Making: Thinking Historically About Science

HIST 215          European Intellectual History to the Renaissance

HIST 216          European Intellectual History since the Renaissance

HIST 240          The 20th Century United States

HIST 322          Reason against itself

SISP 202          Philosophy of Science


Category 5: In-school experience (1 credit)

Students must complete one course credit that is primarily focused on providing in-school or similar practical experience. These might include:

  • An individual tutorial course that includes, for example, tutoring school children for 10h per week for a semester or 5h per week for two semesters, and writing a paper about the experiences under the guidance of a faculty member, a tutorial on education with a service learning component in a school, or an internship in a school, e.g., with Achievement First.  Students should register for CSPL 401/402 to receive course credit.
  • ASTR 430* (Seminar on Astronomical Pedagogy)
  • CHEM 241/242 (Informal Science Education for Elementary School Students)
  • DANC 447 (Dance Teaching Practicum)
  • ENGL 371 (Henry James and the Giant Peach: Teaching the Fundamentals of Literary Analysis)
  • MUSC 463 (Teaching Music Lessons to Children in Local Schools)
  • Completing one semester as a Writing Tutor and the Ford Fellow Seminar (ENGL 491/492)
  • Completing one semester as a Teaching Apprentice for an introductory course (e.g., first year foreign language or gateway science or social science course).
  • Student Teaching at the Bank St. School of Education (Urban Education Semester)