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Educational Studies Major

Create a positive influence through education and its empowering effect on communities.

Are you passionate about working with children and teenagers but currently have no plans to pursue a career as a teacher? Although the educational studies major at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota does not lead to teacher licensure, it prepares you for diverse and fulfilling roles in the field of education, working with children, families, and adults. 

This major offers three concentrations: adult education contexts, child and family contexts, and youth development and leadership. It also provides a potential pathway if you later decide to pursue a teaching licensure program.

In adult education contexts, you’ll be prepared to pursue a career as an adult education instructor by discovering various teaching and learning methods while focusing on the unique motives and needs of adult learners. Explore topics such as research methods, assessment, and developmental and abnormal psychology.

In our child and family contexts, you’ll focus on the larger contexts of schools, families, and society. You’ll study a variety of strategies for designing and assessing meaningful learning experiences provided by programs centered on the needs of caregivers and children. You’ll be prepared to pursue a career as a YMCA assistant manager, youth leadership family systems and support specialist, or make a difference in the alternative education system.

The youth development and leadership concentration prepares you for exciting roles such as a religious educator, youth athletics coach, or youth recreation specialist. Here, you’ll build a strong foundation of strategies to engage youth as they improve their daily lives.

Discover how to become an advocate for education and make a difference in the lives of those around you. Join us on our Winona Campus to begin your journey to help others reach their full potential in ways you’ve never imagined. 

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Program Highlights

  • Explore educational theory, learning processes, and applications of education, all from a multidisciplinary perspective that draws upon the expertise of Saint Mary’s education, psychology, and social sciences departments.
  • Enrich your academic experience with a major in Spanish or psychology that can help you connect with individuals and the broader community in your future role in the realm of education.
  • Expand your horizons and immerse yourself in other cultures and languages by studying abroad in places such as Italy, France, Spain, Mexico, Cuba, and Puerto Rico.
  • Immerse yourself in a required field experience of a minimum of 135 hours to gain real-world knowledge and skills.
  • Partake in a required internship of 270 hours at an approved community-based program or organization, such as:
    • Home & Community Options
    • Woodbury Lutheran Preschool and Kindergarten
    • Winona Area YMCA
    • Winona Alternative Learning Center

What You'll Learn

  • Learn evidence-based practices to support youth and adult learning
  • Understanding of human diversity and development
  • Apply communication skills to effectively work with parents, colleagues, administrators, and community members
  • Demonstrate a strong commitment and understanding of teaching with Lasallian virtues
  • Gain a strong foundation in disciplinary knowledge and content
  • Exhibit ethical leadership focusing on character and virtue education


Your journey towards a brighter future starts here. Whether you’re a high school graduate starting your college search — or a transfer student eager to find the perfect fit — Saint Mary’s is committed to helping you find your place in the world.

Course Catalog

Careers that look to the future.

Build a career serving others and being an advocate for education in your community. Learn more about employment outcomes here.

Adult education instructor

$58,590 per year*

Youth athletics coach

$43,620 per year*

Youth recreation specialist

$48,270 per year*

News from the School of Education


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Adult Basic and Secondary Education and ESL Teachers at (visited Nov. 17, 2023).

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment and Wages, Coaches and Scouts at (visited Nov. 17, 2023).

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment and Wages, Recreation Workers at (visited Nov. 17, 2023).



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