This information is part of the Colgate University catalog, 2023-24.


Professor Palmer
Associate Professors Bonet, Ríos-Rojas, Stern, Taylor, Woolley (Chair)
Assistant Professors Sanya
Visiting Assistant Professors Bell
Senior Lecturer and Director of Teacher Preparation Program Gardner
Gretchen Hoadley Burke '81 Endowed Chair in Regional Studies Farley (fall)

The Department of Educational Studies offers two distinct undergraduate programs: (1) a major or minor in educational studies and (2) a preparation program for students intending to teach at either the elementary or secondary level. The department also offers a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program for students preparing to teach at both the elementary and secondary level.

Given these programs, the department offers a comprehensive study of formal and informal educational institutions and practices, and the ways they are affected by social forces. Interdisciplinary by design, classes draw on diverse methods of inquiry to critically analyze the historical and contemporary ways that people educate and are educated in the United States and societies across the globe. Theory, research, and practice work together to help students become more reflective and engaged as cultural workers, citizens, and critical thinkers. Students learn to ask questions about the relationships between knowledge, power, and identity in educational contexts, and to reimagine education and its contribution to a democratic society.

Study Groups

The South Korea Study Group is a joint program between Educational Studies and Asian Studies. The program offers a dynamic experience for any Colgate University student due in part to its efforts to become a leader in the newly forming globalized world in which we live. South Korea is highly regarded for its rapid modernization, yet the people still hold to its traditional ways in mind and spirit. While the focus is on students' development of educational studies theory and practice from a global perspective, they also gain a fascinating sociocultural experience.

Students enroll in four courses. The Director provides two courses for the students, one of which provides an opportunity to design a research project with a fieldwork component. Students then take two courses from the host university, Yonsei University. Yonsei offers a variety of courses in English. One course must be on the topic of Korea or East Asia. Prerequisites normally include  and at least one course in Asian Studies.

The Philadelphia Study Group offers students who are interested in a wide range of questions in and around education, urban studies, public policy, and social justice a full semester of coursework and experience in one of the most historically iconic and dynamic cities in the world. Lauded as "the birthplace of American democracy," Philadelphia offers students a place to explore some of the most pressing questions around contemporary education policy and its relationship to material questions about the changing spatial and demographic topographies of American cities. In close conversations with students, teachers, families, and community members, this program provides an experimental platform to gain a more critical understanding about the issues surrounding contemporary education and urban policy and the community-based struggles that have emerged in response.


The Award for Excellence in Childhood Education — awarded by the department for excellence in elementary student teaching.

The Award for Excellence in Adolescence Education — awarded by the department for excellence in secondary student teaching.

The Charles H. Thurber Award — named after the first professor of pedagogy at Colgate (1893) and awarded by the department to an outstanding senior major.

Honors and High Honors

Students may opt to write a Senior Thesis in Educational Studies in the Senior Thesis Seminar . Students are required to defend their thesis. The defense will normally take place during the last week of classes in the spring semester. This involves a formal presentation of the thesis. The entire Department of Educational Studies faculty will attend the defense and provide input to the Thesis Seminar professor and the faculty adviser.  

The designation of 'honors," "high honors," or neither will be determined by the Thesis Seminar professor, the faculty adviser, and any assigned reader. Students with an overall GPA of 3.30 and a departmental GPA of 3.50 will be considered for graduation with honors in Educational Studies.

An award of "high honors" is only awarded to work that shows exceptional scholarly insight and innovation. An honors project must bring something new into the world—it must teach us something or consider a particular question in a new light. In order to do this well, students will need to clearly articulate what the field of Educational Studies is and how their project is situated within our modes of inquiry/knowledge production.

The Teacher Preparation Program

Director Gardner

The preparation of teachers is an all-university responsibility, generally directed by the Department of Educational Studies. The program encompasses liberal studies in education as well as studies and experiences designed to develop teaching effectiveness and professional leadership. The emphasis is on developing the student's ability to relate knowledge and theory to skillful teaching in the interest of promoting greater social justice and environmental sustainability. Colgate's undergraduate adolescence and childhood certification programs and the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) childhood and adolescence programs are currently accredited through the Teacher Education Accreditation Council. Colgate University is a member in good standing of the Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP) with an anticipated Quality Assurance Review in Spring 2022.

There are five ways to become a certified public school teacher through the Teacher Preparation Program at Colgate. The first is the undergraduate teacher education program, which can be completed in the four-year undergraduate period and certifies successful candidates in childhood education (grades 1–6). The second is the undergraduate teacher education program, which can be completed in the four-year undergraduate period and certifies successful candidates in secondary education (grades 7–12 in Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science, English, Mathematics, Physics, or Social Studies). The third is the undergraduate option where teacher candidates return for a ninth semester to complete the professional semester including student teaching for either the elementary or secondary level. The fourth and fifth pathways are through Colgate's MAT program in both childhood education and adolescent education.

Successful completion of all requirements in all certification programs leads to recommendation for New York State initial teacher certification.

Students interested in pursuing teacher certification in New York State are strongly encouraged to have taken , one of the  classes and one of  courses prior to the end of their sophomore year.

Students who wish to enter the program should submit an application to the Director of Teacher Preparation as soon as possible. Application materials include a personal teaching statement, transcripts, an academic writing piece, and a letter of recommendation. Acceptance into a teacher certification program does not guarantee acceptance into the student-teaching semester.

Students are tentatively approved for student teaching in the spring of their junior year for undergraduates. Final approval depends on successful completion of all prerequisite courses in their program by the end of the spring term. A decision is made by the department to approve a candidate for student teaching based on previous academic performance at Colgate as well as the apparent suitability of the candidate for the teaching profession. The student must also submit to the program a letter of recommendation written by an individual who, ideally, has observed the student in some teaching/learning capacity in a school setting. For content and pedagogical core courses required by the New York undergraduate students must receive a grade of C or above and graduate students must receive a grade of B- or above in order to meet expectations. Students must achieve at least a 3.0 cumulative grade point average, or its equivalent, in the program leading to the baccalaureate or graduate degree in order to be eligible for program completion and certification.

Candidates for teacher certification in New York must pass competency examinations prepared by the State Education Department (for comparative data from Colgate and other teacher education programs within New York State see Teacher certification students are required to spend a minimum of 100 hours in a variety of field experiences related to coursework prior to student teaching. Please note that completing certification requirements is not the same as majoring in educational studies.

Students who wish to gain New York State teacher certification have the option of completing their professional semester in the fall term following graduation as part of the ninth semester program. To be eligible for this special program, students must have received their Colgate degree in the academic year prior to the professional semester and completed all other certification prerequisites prior to enrolling in the ninth semester. In the ninth semester, students are allowed to enroll only in the professional semester courses, which consist of two or three seminars (depending upon adolescence or childhood certification) and student teaching. Students admitted into the ninth semester program will be charged a small administrative fee (currently waived), must meet the usual requirements for enrollment at Colgate (such as proof of health insurance), and are responsible for locating their own off-campus housing. Students interested in the ninth semester program should meet with an educational studies faculty member to determine if they are eligible and apply to the program in the spring of their senior year.


Majors and Minors