Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions about the Education Department Courses, Minors, and Certification

"What are the differences between the two minors?"

Answer:  The study of education is interdisciplinary by nature and each minor highlights this feature in distinct ways.


  • Teaching and Learning Studies is designed for students who want to study the process of learning as well as the craft and art of teaching. Teaching and Learning Studies minors take classes that encourage them to explore the theory behind curriculum while also engaging in the practice and methods of teaching. With a minor in Teaching and Learning Studies, students may become classroom teachers or work with young people in out-of-school settings, begin a career in curriculum development or publishing or pursue graduate studies in education. Students may complete the minor with or without teacher certification (see section below on Teacher Certification).

  • Education Studies is designed for students who are interested in studying education as part of a broader field of study that addresses the social, political, historical and cultural contexts that shape it. Students may choose to focus their studies topically (e.g., immigration, urban education) but we encourage interdisciplinary representation in the minor. With a minor in Education Studies, students may pursue paths in educational policy, school teaching or administration, the community/non-profit sector, or research.

"Why does Wellesley have Education minors but no major?"

Answer:  We offer an Education minor because we believe it to be an excellent part of a holistic liberal arts education. We believe that it’s important for our teacher candidates to have a foundation in the liberal arts because it instills both breadth and depth in knowledge as well as a sense of intellectual curiosity that is fundamental to teaching. For all students interested in education, we believe that a minor in Education integrates effectively with any major field of study and also allows you show to the outside world that you have learned how to explore an interdisciplinary and applied field of study. We also do not offer a major because in Massachusetts and some other states, a major in Education does not qualify for teacher certification, although minoring does.


"Can I do the teaching program and minor in Teaching and Learning Studies or Education Studies without declaring a minor?"

Answer: Yes. We understand that you may wish to declare another minor or a second major, and that is entirely consistent with doing the teaching program. The teaching internship and a possible teaching license or certification will themselves serve as strong credentials. If you complete coursework to qualify for the Education Studies or Teaching and Learning Studies minor and decide not to declare the minor, you may call it a "concentration" and list some of the courses you took on your resume. 

"Is fieldwork required?"

Answer: We believe that understanding research and practice is integral to the study of education. We have designed some classes to incorporate fieldwork in different ways--through weekly visits to a classroom we arrange, more intensive experiences in schools and community settings or course projects that encourage you to integrate field and case study. While these course-based opportunities exist, fieldwork for the Education Studies minor is not required although many of our minors elect to include it. Some fieldwork is required for the Teaching and Learning minor which includes teaching methods courses. Extensive fieldwork is built into the process for gaining teacher certification.

"Who should I talk to if I’m interested in learning more about minoring in Education?"

Answer: Often, it is easiest to start the conversation about minoring in Education with a faculty member in the Education Department who may be teaching a course you are enrolled in. We all welcome conversations with potential minors. Once you decide which minor path you would like to pursue, you can contact Barbara Beatty ( and Soo Hong ( for the Education Studies minor. Advisors for the Learning and Teaching Studies minor are Ken Hawes (, Noah Rubin ( and Diane Tutin (

Questions About Teacher Certification 

"How is teacher certification at Wellesley different from teacher certification programs elsewhere?"

Answer:  To teach in most non-charter public schools, you will need teacher certification. You may consider graduate programs in Teacher Education that provide you with the path to certification. These programs come with full-cost graduate school tuition and are completed after you graduate from Wellesley. Our teacher certification program, with good planning, can be completed during your four years at Wellesley. As a result, you will be ready to take a classroom teaching position without incurring the cost of graduate school. We often find that our students relish the opportunity to pursue a graduate degree years later, often in an area of specialization that they develop during their years as a teacher. In essence, our program allows you to “save” your tuition cost for later when you have a clearer understanding of what you’d like to pursue in graduate study and to enter teaching immediately, with the kind of in-depth preparation we believe new teachers need.

"How can I fit teacher certification into four years?"

Answer: Early planning helps, but we have experience helping students find creative ways. Please talk with us! Students have done the teaching program and also studied abroad, and done a double major or thesis, etc.

"Is certification from Wellesley transferable to other states?"

Answer:  Yes, certification from Wellesley is transferable to all other states under most circumstances, and with some additional requirements.  We can help you with this. Other states accept your Wellesley transcript because they are part of an inter-state certification agreement.

"Who should I talk to if I’m interested in learning more about teacher certification at Wellesley? 

Answer: Come talk with Ken Hawes ( about middle school and high school certification and Noah Rubin ( about elementary certification.