Getting Started

Foundational Courses for Education Majors

The Education Department is unique at Gettysburg. While the department’s programs are focused on the typical qualities of a liberal education—such as in-depth examination of social issues and intellectual questions complemented by a wide breadth of options for pursuing those issues and exposure to unusual and often conflicting ways of thinking about them—our programs are also aimed at helping students prepare for professional work in the field of education, if such work is of interest to them. In other words, you get the best of both worlds in the Education Department: a deep, immersive experience in the liberal arts coupled with the opportunity to prepare for true professional work. We encourage students to begin their exploration of education in at least one introductory/foundational course, and to choose a “track” by the end of the sophomore year. Foundational coursework sets the stage for selecting an appropriate track and/or for deciding if the study of education is right for you. The two foundational courses offered in the department are:

  • Education 199: Foundations of Education, a course focused on helping students understand why public education is important in a democracy, how and why different philosophies of education come into conflict, and the special challenges of teaching in a society that values free expression, individuality, and citizenship skills but has not historically provided the resources needed to fully meet the needs of public schools; and
  • Education 201: Educational Psychology, a course focused on the science of learning (and its implications for teachers), as well as the unique responsibilities of teachers in a diverse, multicultural society. Education 201 also provides an introduction to the “best practices” employed by effective teachers and offers students a first opportunity to explore teaching in a field-based setting.

These courses may be taken in any order, and both must be taken by students pursuing certification; students seeking a minor in Educational Studies need only take one. These courses should be taken before the end of the sophomore year, but need not be taken in the first semester (or even in the first year) at the College.