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Children’s Studies Minor

In the Children’s Studies Minor, students will learn about children and childhood while drawing on the expertise of faculty from across Washington University. Minors will develop a sophisticated interdisciplinary understanding of childhood and the issues surrounding the treatment and status of children throughout history.

A minor in Children’s Studies will expose students to an interconnected set of ideas about children as objects and subjects in a variety of essential disciplines. This minor would be especially attractive to students majoring in Education, Psychology, English, History, and American Culture Studies, or to students whose career plans include child-oriented specialties such as family law or pediatric medicine.

The minor combines social science courses that measure and analyze how children mature and how institutions have affected children with courses in the humanities that examine how children are portrayed and constructed in art, literature, and film. It requires sixteen credit hours of academic coursework.

Children’s Studies Advisors & Faculty Advisory Committee


Amy Pawl
Teaching Professor of English
Children's Studies Minor Co-Director

Desirée White
Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences
Children’s Studies Minor Co-Director


Faculty Advisory Committee

Gerald Early
Merle Kling Professor of Modern Letters

Patricia Kohl
Associate Professor of Social Work

Joan Luby
Samuel and Mae S. Ludwig Professor of Child Psychiatry

Lori Markson
Associate Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences

Study Abroad with the Children’s Studies Minor

Since the study of children and childhood is a subject with global significance, Children’s Studies Minors are encouraged to study abroad and to consider the possibility of integrating study-abroad coursework into their minor.  The Children’s Studies Minor has sponsored students in the Child Development and Diversity track of the DIS program in Copenhagen, Denmark, among others. The minor has also awarded elective credit for courses taken abroad under the secondary sponsorship of another WU academic program. Our minors have recently studied not only in Copenhagen but also in London, England; Queensland, Australia; and Durban, South Africa.

However, it is important that degrees awarded by Washington University maintain the integrity and quality of its academic programs.  Therefore, the following guidelines apply to Children’s Studies minors who wish to study abroad:

  • No more than the equivalent of three Washington University credit hours from another institution can be applied to the minor in Children’s Studies.  Credit will be awarded only for those courses which have been approved by the Children’s Studies Minor.
  • In order to facilitate the granting of credit, any potential Children’s Studies coursework should be cleared with the minor’s Study Abroad Advisor prior to going abroad, and a detailed description (or syllabus if available) for the specific course(s) the student is taking for Children’s Studies credit should be emailed to the Study Abroad Advisor at the beginning of the study-abroad term. 
  • Most courses taken at another institution will be counted as electives for the purpose of Children’s Studies Minor requirements.  A core course for the Children’s Studies Minor could be taken elsewhere if and only if both the Washington University home department for that course and the Children’s Studies Minor recognize the course as fully equivalent.  (To the best of our knowledge, this would only apply to Developmental Psychology courses at a few institutions.)  The minor’s foundation course, Interdisciplinary Introduction to Children’s Studies, must be taken at Washington University.
  • Please contact co-director Amy Pawl to sign off on study plans, consult about changes in course availability once abroad, or inquire about obtaining credit from programs not already approved for the Children's Studies Minor.


Please contact co-director Amy Pawl with questions about the Children’s Studies minor.