Degrees and Programs

Educational Studies Guidelines for Students Matriculated After Jan. 1, 2008

Our 21st-century work and social environments require new knowledge and skills. There is an increasing need for individuals who can help others both learn new things and apply what they know in various settings. Students who choose to design a degree program in educational studies have careers in areas as diverse as teaching, researching and policymaking.

Note: Educational studies degree programs are usually not the best option for students who wish to earn New York state teaching certification (see the section on teacher certification at the end of this document).

Students pursue a wide range of concentrations that may distinguish them as practitioners, researchers/evaluators, social activists, specialists or generalists. Yet, common to all educational-studies degree programs is study of the following topics:

  • foundations of education
  • learning theories
  • instructional strategies
  • curricular design
  • diversity issues
  • uses of technology
  • social context of learning
  • methods of inquiry
  • human development
  • content appropriate to the concentration

Students may address these topics in various ways appropriate to their concentrations. These topics could be included in one or more studies or advanced-standing components, and may not necessarily appear as these explicit titles. In the rationale, students describe how their degree program addresses these topics.

For those interested in becoming practitioners, other components in the concentration should demonstrate:

  • an emphasis on understanding learners and learning
  • effective teaching and learning strategies.

Concentrations may include community and family education, instructional technology, teaching and training, early childhood learning or adult learning.

Students interested in study and research on education, society, and culture may design concentrations based in the social and behavioral sciences or the humanities. These disciplines might include anthropology, economics, history, philosophy, political science, psychology and sociology. The degree program for those choosing this concentration should include more than one component in methods of inquiry.

Degree programs may be organized according to thematic or problem-oriented frameworks, with concentrations such as social change, public policy, learning communities and lifelong learning. These degree programs should demonstrate a focus on a distinguishable theme or learning context.

Teacher Certification

Empire State College does not have a registered teacher certification program at the undergraduate level but does offer a Master of Arts in Teaching degree that encompasses New York state teaching certification at the middle school and secondary levels.

Students interested in obtaining teacher certification as undergraduates should consult the New York State Education Department for specific requirements and share these requirements with their primary mentor. Students planning to pursue certification after completing their Empire State College undergraduate degree should consult with the college through which they plan to pursue certification. Often, undergraduate students seeking teacher certification are better served with liberal arts or disciplinary concentrations.

For more information on pathways to teacher certification, consult the educational studies website and talk with an educational studies or Master of Arts in Teaching mentor.


Revised November 2007
Revised August 2000