What Is Educational Studies?

February 22, 2023

A smiling teacher in a busy classroom helps a student with an assignment on a laptop.

What Is Educational Studies?

A smiling teacher in a busy classroom helps a student with an assignment on a laptop.

What Is Educational Studies?

Demand is growing for a new kind of educator. As the World Bank has noted, education reduces poverty, promotes equality, and drives innovation. It also represents a good investment in human capital. Education garners a robust 10% return on investment, according to the World Bank. 

But the traditional image of “education” as a teacher at the front of a classroom speaking to students is changing rapidly. Teachers, classrooms, schools, and above all students and their needs are all evolving, impacted by a tidal wave of social forces that include economics, business innovation, an emphasis on equity, and technology. 

It’s a new and evolving educational landscape that calls for a more interdisciplinary approach to education. A career in teaching is still a great option for individuals interested in bringing this interdisciplinary, practical approach to their passion for education; however, careers in education aren’t limited to the classroom. Educational activities take place in numerous settings outside traditional schools and depend on a variety of support functions, from research to recruiting to designing instructional materials.  

Individuals who pursue the field of educational studies are preparing for this new landscape. They may end up working in the corporate world, in career and technical education, or in the design of educational materials. 

But people who aren’t familiar with educational studies may have some basic questions. What is educational studies, and what careers would align with earning a bachelor’s degree in educational studies? People who are interested in education-based jobs outside of a traditional school setting can benefit from learning more about what educational studies entails and careers associated with the field. 

Educational Studies Definition

Educational studies is an interdisciplinary field designed to develop and impart knowledge about the fundamentals of education and pedagogy (teaching theories and practice) with an eye toward their application to the new realities in education. These programs prepare individuals for educational roles in business, nonprofit, recreational, governmental, and community settings. 

Pedagogical skills are imperative in any educational setting, so pedagogy and instructional design are at the core of the educational studies curriculum. When instructors understand the theories and practices of education, they can better support learners’ motivation and self-efficacy. 

Programs in educational studies are also concerned with how content knowledge is combined with instructional design knowledge to enable instructors and trainers to craft appropriate instructional activities and address learners’ complex needs.

Educational Studies Program Curriculum and Goals

General education courses, interdisciplinary courses, teaching strategies, and instructional design are all part of what an educational studies program encompasses. 

Educational Studies Curriculum

Students in educational studies programs take courses in topics such as:

Goals of Educational Studies

Examples of the goals of educational studies programs include preparing students to:

Benefits of Earning an Educational Studies Degree

The benefits of earning a degree in educational studies include gaining a broad understanding of the foundations of teaching and the contexts of educational settings. In addition, students in educational studies degree programs can develop versatile research, problem-solving, and communications skills. They also enjoy the flexibility of choosing a concentration that aligns with their interests. The examples outlined below demonstrate the breadth of possible concentrations.

Career and Technical Education

A concentration in career and technical education can enable students to gain skills and expertise in specific techniques for career and technical education and theories of adult learning. This concentration also builds knowledge about instructional resources for career and technical education, as well as skills in measuring student achievement in career and technical education.

Collaborative Education

A concentration in collaborative education builds students’ skills and expertise in areas such as models of educational collaboration and teaching practices for students with disabilities. Students also can gain skills in developing curricula for inclusive settings, assessing exceptional learners, and understanding theories of cognitive development.

Early Childhood Education

Concentrating on early childhood education enables students to acquire expertise and skills in social development and theoretical issues in early childhood education. The early childhood concentration coursework also covers literacy in young children and developing curricula for young children.

Instructional Design

An instructional design concentration enables students to gain proficiency in using the tools for designing and developing instruction. Students also build skills and expertise in developing and assessing distance and blended instruction, and they learn about using cognitive load theory to design instructional materials.

Career Paths for Educational Studies Majors 

The components of educational studies programs prepare students for exciting careers in any of a variety of contexts. For example, students can apply their passion for education to nontraditional or nonclassroom roles such as:

Corporate Trainer

Corporate trainers provide education and training to an organization’s employees. They have responsibilities such as creating curricula, developing and reviewing the effectiveness of training, teaching training classes, and selecting training software.

Academic Adviser

Academic advisers help guide students toward achieving their academic and professional goals. They perform duties such as meeting with students to review their interests and options for education, monitoring students’ educational progress, and assisting students with completing applications for jobs or higher education.

Educational Consultant

Educational consultants work with schools or individual students to enhance students’ educational experiences. They work with schools to identify tools or staffing changes that could improve the education students receive. They work with individual students to help prepare them for tests, to address their special needs, or to help them plan for college. 

Instructional Designer

Instructional designers create educational materials used to teach and engage students. Instructional designers work for business, government, military, and educational organizations, crafting courses, presentation materials, and multimedia tools that strengthen the learning experience. 

Explore Nontraditional Careers in Education 

Earning a degree in educational studies can be the first step toward any of a number of fulfilling careers, as it prepares students to apply their knowledge to the learning experience in many settings. 

Individuals who are interested in educational studies can explore Athens State University’s online Bachelor of Science in Educational Studies degree program to learn how it can help them further their professional ambitions. With nine concentrations ranging from career and technical education to physical education, the program offers students the opportunity to choose a concentration that matches their interests. Start your journey in the exciting new world of education today.

Recommended Readings

How to Become a Corporate Trainer

What Does a Training Instructor Do?

Instructional Design and Technology: An Overview


Indeed, “How to Become a Corporate Trainer”

Indeed, “How to Become an Academic Advisor”

Indeed, “Education Studies: 10 Jobs You Can Pursue With This Degree”

Indeed, “How to Become an Educational Consultant (Plus Salary Info)”

Indeed, “How to Become an Instructional Designer in 5 Steps”

Learning Policy Institute, “Educator Learning to Enact the Science of Learning and Development”

The World Bank, Education

The World Bank, “New Comparable Dataset Finds That Investments in Education, Tertiary in Particular, Lead to Higher Earnings”

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