Choosing a university degree can always be a bit of an overwhelming experience, and mine was no exception. I had no clue what I wanted to study, or where I wanted to go. However, once I’d discovered the Education Studies programme, everything seemed to snap into place and I’ve fallen in love with both my degree and the university. So, with that in mind, I’m going to chat a little bit about what the Education Studies programme is, why I chose it, and some of my favourite parts about the course as a whole.
No, it’s not a teaching degree…
First, it is important to know that Education Studies is not a teaching degree! It’s probably a question you will hear for your entire time at Durham – I certainly have. Education Studies is a holistic, theoretical degree that unpacks all the different elements of education. I’ve done modules about assessment, education policy, educational psychology, sociology, history and philosophy, wider contexts of learning, social constructs of youth, education and more. Basically, Education Studies is about understanding and questioning all the components of education, but not in order to be a teacher. You can always train to be a teacher afterwards, but this degree is just like any other social sciences degree structure wise.
…but many career paths will open up for you!
I decided to pursue Education Studies because I was honestly very unsure about what I wanted to study at university. I had always had a passion for education generally, but with interests in English, sociology, history and communication, it felt like it was too difficult to choose just one subject. I also did not realise you could study Education generally without the focus being on becoming a teacher, so when I discovered the Education Studies degree as a whole, something that not only included an aspect of most of the subjects I was interested in, but would allow me to pursue my interest in wider education, while offering a wide range of career choices, I knew I had found the perfect degree for me.
Such a diverse programme!
Now that I’d discovered a degree that could tick all my interest boxes while giving me a range of choice, it came down to selecting a university. Part of the reason I chose Durham is because the university accepted the high school exams I wrote in South Africa (we don’t write A Levels, but a different National Senior Exam), but the other reason is because of the programme itself. The Durham Education Studies programme was by far the most diverse one I had seen, with so many different module choices in different subject areas. With the academic expertise, and the department’s ranking, the decision was easy – Durham would be an incredible, academically challenging and inspiring place to complete an Education Studies degree.
From Disney to video games and brilliant support
So as you might guess, there are a lot of elements of my degree that I enjoy, so it would be quite hard to pick a favourite. Besides the obvious incredible range of interesting modules to choose from (I literally did a module that talked about Disney in my second year, and this year have a module that will be looking at the educational value of video games, and another about the different arts subjects), the department itself is incredibly supportive. The smaller course size means you get a chance to know your lecturers, seminar leaders and fellow students well, and all the academic staff not only make themselves available to help if needed, but take such care to ensure students get all the support they need to complete their modules, assessments and degrees without feeling too overwhelmed. It’s genuinely been such an incredible degree and department to be part of for the last three years and I brag about it all the time.
Joining a society
Outside of the course itself, there is also an Education Society you can join. It’s a great opportunity to connect outside classes with students doing the same course or modules as you, and there are events and activities you can be part of to help develop your educational interests, and add some points to your CV. The society runs a mentorship scheme, where 2nd and 3rd year students mentor and help 1st year students, giving tips and advice about the programme; there are a number of workshops and academic talks over the year to increase your educational understanding in different areas, and sometimes even one or two social events.
If that wasn’t enough, there are also a few opportunities to learn outside of the classroom. Whilst it’s not like earth sciences where you go on adventurous field trips, and it depends on what modules you take, there are opportunities to work in wider fields or participate in academic projects. During my second year, I got to do fieldwork in a local school, observing their extracurricular music classes, and this year I’ve visited the Oriental Museum and Botanic gardens as part of lectures for another module.
Any more questions > see ‘Ask Us’ forms on the website (link below)
So as you can see, there is really so much to offer in an Education Studies degree. I’m not going to pretend there aren’t challenges, and it can be hard work, but the modules are interesting, and the academic staff are so supportive and passionate about their respective fields, that the challenges are worth it. My degree has genuinely been one of the most incredible parts of my Durham experience, and through it I’ve had the opportunity to work on some really interesting projects and assignments, and develop passions and career interests I’d never thought to explore before. I hope this blog post has helped to give you a little insight into Education Studies at Durham, but as always, please reach out through an Ask Us form here https://www.durham.ac.uk/study/ask-us/ or to myself or another ambassador on Unibuddy if you have any other questions.
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