Change the world by shaping the future policymakers, doctors, parents and artists of the world. Your dedication and patience will help a struggling student finally learn her times tables. Or your nurturing tone will inspire students to come forward, talk about their struggles and seek guidance. As an aspiring teacher, changing the life of one student makes the job worth the hard work. You’ll need a top-notch education program to prepare you to teach the minds of tomorrow. From modern research methods to hands-on teaching experiences, these 10 best colleges for education majors have what it takes to produce teachers who’ll enlighten up the minds of future leaders and inspire change.
Check out the 10 best colleges for education majors in the country.
10. Tufts University
Not sure if you want to be a teacher yet? At Tufts, education students must choose another major outside of education. Students can choose between fields in the humanities, like sociology and anthropology, or more technical fields like math and English to specialize in their area of interest. And with the Educational Studies concentration, students learn how different dimensions of society, including race and gender, shape education. Plus, Tufts doesn’t offer those boring core classes you’ll take anywhere else. The Global Education class teaches the aspects of sustaining a school in Rwanda. And on a completely different note, the Food and Schools class relates student’s school experiences to the food they eat. What better way to explore education in its entirety?
9. North Carolina State University at Raleigh
Aspiring teachers at NC State change students’ lives across the world before graduation. Students can apply for field experience in places like Russia, Brazil and China to put those teaching methods to practice. At NC State’s Friday Institution for Educational Research, undergrads collaborate with professors, researchers and policymakers to improve global education before taking their knowledge abroad. Within the major, students can choose from more than the basic concentrations like early childhood and elementary education. The College of Education also offers programs like Science Education, Graphic Communications, and Technology, Engineering and Design Communications. And the best part is that you don’t have to choose only one. “At [NC State] you can graduate with more than one bachelor’s degree and licensure even though you only complete one program,” NC State sophomore Carly Hines said. “It’s great because we have more freedom and are not bound to follow the typical elementary or secondary education paths.”
8. Clemson University
Striving to be “best in class” is more than the slogan for Clemson’s College of Education. Clemson responds to the needs of all students, dedicating itself to underserved schools and communities. The education program offers courses like Social Justice in the 21st Century, which identifies inequalities in the social structure of education. This allows future teachers to become agents of change in what they love to do most. Clemson even houses seven different research centers and labs, including the Arts and Creativity Lab and the National Dropout Prevention Center. So aspiring teachers here can really learn their stuff and test out teaching methods before commanding their first classroom. And any great teacher knows their role goes beyond teaching students new concepts. The School of Education takes pride in the Call Me MISTER Program (Mentors Instructing Students Towards Effective Role Models), which increases access to education in the South and commits to shaping the educational future of every individual.
7. Boston College
Eagles majoring in education or applied psychology live up to BC’s mission of being men and women for others. “Practical experiences complement our highly ranked programs’ rigorous, relevant coursework—an approach that focuses on educating the whole person and developing reflective leaders who enhance the human condition,” Associate Dean of the Lynch School of Education Ana Martinez-Aleman said. Students must devote a set number of hours teaching at a local placement along with their regular classes. Opportunities for hands-on experience stretch beyond the academic year. Over the summer and during time abroad, the Lynch School of Education puts students’ skills into practice in a real classroom setting. “I taught three study skills classes to incoming freshman at my high school the summer after my freshman year,” BC sophomore Emily McConnell said. Through teaching, research and service, the Lynch School of Education goes beyond conventional methods, like practicums, research opportunities and internships, to empower their students to promote education and strengthen communities.
6. Penn State University
How does one choose from 20 specialty degree programs within the seven education majors at PSU? You can decide between Workforce Education, Education and Public Policy, Rehab and Human Service, and more. And at PSU, studying education doesn’t necessarily mean you want to teach. Their diverse options prepare students for areas including government and non-profit organizations, as well as mental health centers. The College of Education requires all its students to participate in field experience to enhance their teaching skills. These placements can include working with different ages, diversities and students with special needs, both in the local area of Philadelphia or abroad. But Penn State has so much more to offer its aspiring teachers. The Schreyers Honors Thesis gives students the opportunity to tackle a question and provide a solution that furthers their knowledge in education studies. Students can tackle questions like how computers affect student engagement or respond to classroom issues like support services for at-risk students. Before you hit the classroom, you’ll tackle problems head first to change your students’ lives for the better.
5. Florida State University
FSU’s garnet and gold tradition of success transcends the football fields into the classroom. The Mode L. Stone building houses Florida’s most advanced technology in education and sports psychology, including a Tech Sandbox and a Sports Psychology Lab. Research extends from areas like higher education and counseling to psychology practice and bullying prevention. For incoming freshmen who haven’t decided on a major, FIGS (Freshman Interest Groups) allow them to connect with other students in the education program. And if the thought of teaching a reading or writing to screaming kids sounds like a nightmare, you can choose to focus on a specific STEM subject with FSU-Teach. This program lets undergrads earn a degree in both secondary education and a science, like biology or environmental science. The combination of the two disciplines will transform you into a top-notch scientist since that can break down concepts like glycolysis and photosynthesis into a lecture high-school students actually understand.
4. Brown University
Students have complete control to design their education at Brown. “Although I am involved with the Education Department, I decided to not concentrate or major in it. Instead, I will be doing a fifth-year Master’s Program for Elementary School Education,” Brown senior Williams Martinez said. “I take many language courses, I take many music courses, I take some courses in Education and I teach at nearby schools.” Within the education major, students choose from two tracks: human development or policy and history. Plus, Brown gives every student the opportunity to participate in a professor’s research and to teach in an actual classroom setting year round, including summer internships. You’ll also find anywhere you go. Take a walk to the Education Department or have coffee with other students, even if you don’t know them. “My favorite was when I got to speak with teachers who have been teachers for years. They know so much about being in the classroom,” Martinez said.
3. College of New Jersey
Grab a lab coat before heading to class. The College of New Jersey has a strong reputation for undergraduate research. The MUSE Program (Mentored Undergraduate Summer Experience) allows students to work with a faculty member for eight weeks while also getting paid to participate in undergraduate research. TCNJ also requires students to pursue a major besides education. Future teachers can prepare for the classroom by pursuing an interdisciplinary specialization in Urban Education, which views education through the lens of the dynamic environment of urban schools. “Every student has a dual major, [they] get a lot of really deep knowledge in one area and they also have requirements to make sure they are prepared to teach all of the other subject areas,” TCNJ Dean of the School of Education Dr. Suzanne McCotter said. “We have school districts clamoring for our graduates. They see our graduates as really well prepared, and I think that’s the thing I’m proudest of.”
2. Purdue University
Education goes beyond teaching skills at Purdue. You can find the education major across six academic colleges, allowing students to learn teaching methods within the school of education, while learning about their specific subject area of concentration. Students also learn how society shapes education in classes about activism against oppressive education and teaching for social justice. “I loved my Cross Cultural Education class because it opened my eyes to the fact that education is not the same for everybody… [It] taught me to blend certain aspects that I wouldn’t have thought could make a difference,” Purdue sophomore Maria Andrade said. Practical experience in the field starts as early as freshman year. “My specialization is special education and pre-school… This summer I had the opportunity to do an internship in a school for children with down-syndrome at Guatemala,” Andrade said. “It is empowering to know that you can give children with special needs access to the normal education process.”
1. Vanderbilt University
Education students take major pride in Peabody. “Our faculty is highly regarded nationally and internationally, and they represent expertise across the entire spectrum of the social sciences, including some areas you wouldn’t expect,” Vanderbilt Dean of Education and Human Development Camilla Benbow said. Peabody offers classes in educational neuroscience, developmental disabilities and evidence-based, data-driven public policy. Vanderbilt also offers a special program where students can pursue a major in human development within the Peabody School of Education, while also earning a degree through the school of nursing. This program incorporates classes from the liberal arts, as well as from education and nursing, such as Human Experiences of Health and Illness Across the Lifespan. With over $41 million dedicated to research, undergraduates work alongside their professors to develop improvements for special education or practice their skills at schools and communities.
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