Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education


Courses in the Social and Philosophical Foundations sequence provide overview of theory and research on key sociological, philosophical, historical, and political foundations of education. Consideration is given to how foundational issues are evident and addressed in classroom situations and practices. While some of the courses deal with contemporary socio-economic and political issues that continue to influence and shape education decision-making, others undertake theoretical analyses of major educational ideas and practices in the United States. Attention is also given to how the growth and use of technology have influenced the educational environment. Foundations courses are designed to test students’ ability to think critically and reflectively about fundamental educational questions. Field experience is included for students who are not currently teaching.

Program Alignment with Professional Teaching Standards for Certification

All the educational programs at Queens College are aligned with the core values of the Education Unit promoting equity, excellence, and ethics in urban schools and communities. Specifically, the Education Unit is committed to preparing teachers and educational professionals who:

  • Build inclusive communities that nurture and challenge all learners. (Equity)
  • Demonstrate professionalism, scholarship, efficacy, and evidence-based and reflective practice. (Excellence)
  • Value diversity, democracy, and social justice. (Ethics)


These programs are also aligned with the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

Fieldwork Requirements

Students are required to conduct 20 hours (undergraduate), and 25 hours (advanced certificate) of field work. During the field experience, students are to apply knowledge of interview and classroom observation skills. They are to observe students from diverse cultural backgrounds in schools as part of the course requirement. During the experience, students must keep a log of their observations and reflections. They would acquaint themselves with the different facets of the educational institution including but not limited to philosophy, organization, goals and objectives, diversity and social problems affecting students, teachers and schools. At the end of the field experience, students are required to submit reflection reports detailing important observations and reflecting on how the experience would impact on their careers.

Undergraduate Course Requirement

SEYS 201 W – Historical, Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education. This course examines the historical, philosophical, sociological and political foundations of American education. Particular attention is paid to factors that influence and shape education decision-making in the United States. Required of all undergraduate students in the Secondary Education sequence. 

Post-Baccalaureate Advanced Certificate Course Requirement

Students in this sequence are required to take SEYS 536 – Educational Foundations. Educational Foundations is an in-depth study of the various facets of society as they relate and impact on educational systems in the United States. Includes field experience component for students not currently teaching. Students enrolled in advanced initial certificate program cannot substitute this course with an undergraduate course.

Masters of Science in Education Course Requirement

Masters of Science in Secondary Education students are required to take at least one of the following foundational courses towards their degree. However, students must have initial certification before taking any of these courses.


SEYS 201 W – Historical, Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education.
SEYS 536 – Educational Foundations.
SEYS 701 –  History of Ideas in Education.
SEYS 702 – The History of Education in the United States.
SEYS 703 – Philosophies of Education.
SEYS 704 – The Philosophy of Teaching.
SEYS 705 – School and Community.
SEYS 706 – Introduction to Comparative Education.
SEYS 707 – Major Issues in Education.
SEYS 708 – Seminar in Theoretical Study of Education.
SEYS 720 –The Education of Immigrants’ Children in the United States.

Office Information

Chair: Eleanor Armour-Thomas
Dept. Office: Powdermaker 150
Phone: 718-997-5150
Fax: 718-997-5152

Core Program Faculty

Magnus O. Bassey
Powdermaker Hall 150-N
Telephone: (718) 997-5335

Lillian Moncada-Davidson
Powdermaker Hall 133
Telephone: (718) 997-5161

Leslee Grey
Powdermaker Hall 150-J
Telephone: (718) 997-4843