Steinhardt Launches New Major in Education Studies

NYU Steinhardt announced the creation of a bachelor’s degree in education studies, and will enroll its first transfer students in the fall of 2015, and full class of undergraduates in the fall of 2016.

The Bachelor of Arts program in education studies provides students with a rigorous liberal arts curriculum that looks at education from sociological, cultural, philosophical, historical, and political perspectives. The program will have a specific focus on education in urban and international contexts, with all students studying abroad for a semester.

“The field of education studies is devoted to exploring the humanistic and social science dimensions of education,” said Jonathan Zimmerman, chair of the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences in the Professions at NYU Steinhardt and a professor in the new degree program. “Like other interdisciplinary programs – urban studies, environmental studies, women’s studies, Africana studies – it focuses on a single subject from a wide variety of angles.”

The new major will prepare graduates for careers or graduate studies in areas including education leadership, law, government, policymaking, and education research. Unlike Steinhardt’s existing degree programs in teacher education, the B.A. in education studies does not directly lead to teacher certification and is not intended to prepare teachers for the classroom. However, graduates may pursue alternative routes to teaching, such as Teach for America.

“Education has become a hot topic among American undergraduates, whether they want to teach or are simply interested in educational topics and debates,” said Carol Anne Spreen, director of undergraduate programs the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences in the Professions at NYU Steinhardt and faculty adviser of the new major. “While NYU Steinhardt already has strong teacher education programs, we saw the need for a program critically examining education with a strong liberal arts basis.”

The school estimates that 20 students will enroll in the inaugural class, which could grow to 50-60 students in five years.

“We currently offer a minor in global and urban education studies, which has grown steadily and enrolls students from many different majors, and hope that the major in education studies sees similar popularity and growth,” Spreen said.