Amplifying Voices in Education: Higher Education Podcasts


Students across the country and around the globe are preparing for a fall semester unlike any other. For college students, this means adding additional stress to the already very stressful pursuit of a degree. For this reason, we’re taking some time to amplify important voices in education — particularly voices in higher education. Whether they’re informative podcasts geared toward high school students about to start their first semester of college or educational podcasts created to supplement the college experience, these nine titles are the best education podcasts for college students.

Breakthroughs (Northwestern Medicine) 

Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine is a research-intensive medical school that fosters powerful collaborations on a thriving academic medical campus. We are driven by our mission to transform the practice of medicine and profoundly impact human health beyond the individual patient. We believe better answers only come from discovery.

It’s hard to imagine what medical school will look like for students about to return to classes in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine’s podcast Breakthroughs addresses this hurdle — along with countless others — through short but highly informative discussions with professionals in the field. While new episodes have focused mainly on the pandemic, older podcast episodes have profiled anyone from experts to innovators in an effort to transform the practice of medicine one patient at a time. Episodes are short in length but plentiful in numbers, making them ideal for podcasting on commutes between classes.

Listen to Breakthroughs here and amplify your favorite parts across social media using the sharing feature on the Backtracks Player. 

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With a Side of Knowledge (University of Notre Dame)

A college campus is a destination for all kinds of interesting people, representing all kinds of research specialties and fields of expertise. With a Side of Knowledge, which is produced at the University of Notre Dame, invites some of these folks out to brunch—yes, we said brunch—for an informal, 30-minute conversation about their work. Some guests are members of the Notre Dame faculty, but many are visitors from elsewhere who have come to our campus to do anything from give a lecture or performance to participate in a fellowship program.

The University of Notre Dame has a lot of interesting people that come through their campus during any given school year. No matter if it’s school leaders or visiting thought leaders or simply a stand-out student, Notre Dame’s podcast With a Side of Knowledge brings on the latest and greatest guests they can find on campus and asks them to participate in a 30-minute conversation about their work in their field. It’s a great way for the university to show off the best parts of their school and an even better way to educate incoming students and current students alike on the work of the most fascinating people to come to Notre Dame.

Listen to With a Side of Knowledge here and amplify your favorite parts across social media using the sharing feature on the Backtracks Player. 

You Got This (Oregon State)

Nobody has the perfect college experience. This podcast is here to help you in the classroom and beyond. From advice on finance, majors and fitness to simple words of wisdom.

A relatively new podcast that Oregon State University began last fall, You Got This is an education podcast that hopes to educate listeners on how to better their unique college experience. By bringing on experts in fields like finance, fitness, or any one of the school’s majors, Oregon State’s podcast educates students new and old on simple truths that can help better their educational experience. From impostor syndrome to common budget mistakes to ever-important party hacks, You Got This is a short but sweet series that should hopefully return with new episodes once the fall semester starts up in August.

Listen to You Got This here and amplify your favorite parts across social media using the sharing feature on the Backtracks Player. 

Wellness Wednesday (Boston University)

Wellness Wednesday is a weekly podcast series from the BU Today newsroom at Boston University. Each new episode will share tips and expert advice on issues from nutrition to mental health to sleep to fitness to relationships to meditation and more.

From Boston University comes the podcast Wellness Wednesday, a weekly series from the university’s student newsroom that hopes to provide tips, tricks, and expert opinions to the students of BU and beyond. Each new episode tackles issues like nutritional concerns, mental health struggles, sleeping problems, fitness advice, relationship concerns, meditation methods, and more. It might have been created by Boston University students, but there’s nothing that suggests it’s not highly informative for college students throughout the United States. Plus, episodes are short, which means that they can be binged by students relatively quickly for a blast of great advice across multiple fields.

Listen to Wellness Wednesday here and amplify your favorite parts across social media using the sharing feature on the Backtracks Player. 

Examining Ethics (Prindle Institute for Ethics)

An ethics podcast hosted by The Prindle Institute for Ethics

Who better to dive deep into the world of ethics than the Prindle Institute for Ethics? Titled Examining Ethics, Prindle’s center for the field of moral principles has created a monthly podcast that aims to provide listeners with the tools and ideas utilized by some of the biggest names in the industry. Presented by DePauw University, Examining Ethics is one of the the best education podcasts around for those looking to pursue a career in ethics. As a complex field full of big issues, Examining Ethics does its best to break down the major issues and the tough questions into understandable terms for all listeners, not just those pursuing an education.

Listen to Examining Ethics here and amplify your favorite parts across social media using the sharing feature on the Backtracks Player. 

Democracy Works (Penn State University)

Examining what it means to live in a democracy

The McCourtney Institute for Democracy at Pennsylvania State University has one goal in mind with their long-running podcast Democracy Works: to take a closer look at what it means to live in a democracy by examining its many facets. A much longer podcast (both in episode length and in number of episodes) than many of the others featured here, Democracy Works has brought students and faculty at the school together to become one of the best educational podcasts around. Plus, as we approach an upcoming election, new episodes only continue to get more interesting as they explore relevant topics relating to the election process.

Listen to Democracy Works here and amplify your favorite parts across social media using the sharing feature on the Backtracks Player. 

WellnessCast (Stanford Law)

The WellnessCast™ is a podcast about wellness and mental health in the legal profession. It is part of the Law School Wellness Project at Stanford Law School and is co-hosted by Professor Joe Bankman and Stanford law students.

There’s nothing more important for a college student to keep in mind than their mental health. The often rigorous process of getting a degree can take a significant toll on the student’s mind, and no one knows this better than the professors at Stanford Law. This knowledge and this dedication to keeping mental health in check while pursuing a law degree is what drove the professors and students to create WellnessCast. This teacher podcast is one of the best podcasts for students who work hard at their degree but need help applying that same hard work to their mental health.

Listen to WellnessCast here and amplify your favorite parts across social media using the sharing feature on the Backtracks Player. 

Day After Graduation (Longwood University)

We tell stories featuring alumni and friends of the university that are out in the real world, working hard, finding great success and also learning from mistakes. If you’re a student or alum listening to the podcast for the first time, we hope that the stories and advice you hear on the podcast bring to life different aspects of the work world.

While the rest of these education podcasts tackle life on campus in the midst of the pursuit of a degree, special attention needs to be paid to what goes on after the degree program is completed. That’s where Longwood University’s Day After Graduation comes into play: A podcast designed to supplement recent college graduates as they head out into the working world in search of a job in their field, Day After Graduation provides the need-to-know info that not many colleges offer to their students. This isn’t info that you can just Google — you need to hear it from the college alums who know best.

Listen to Day After Graduation here and amplify your favorite parts across social media using the sharing feature on the Backtracks Player. 

Honest Work (Gordon College)

Real people. Real work. Real stories. Each week, we’ll talk with professionals on various points of their career journey as they endure seasons of fulfillment, frustration, complacency and victory.

Something needs to be done about the fact that countless college kids end up landing in fields that differ from the degree they earned. One school working to amend this issue is Gordon College, whose podcast Honest Work dives deep into the frustrations, the successes, the failures, and the victories of the professional world. With so many college students being thrust into the real world with very little guidance on how to succeed in their respective disciplines, episodes of Honest Work give the much-needed professional development to recent grads and current students alike. Think of them like TED Talks specifically geared toward guaranteeing success for college-aged kids.

Listen to Honest Work here and amplify your favorite parts across social media using the sharing feature on the Backtracks Player. 

Further Listening

Whether you’re interested in exploring other educational podcasts or looking to listen to a completely different kind of podcast entirely, Backtracks has got you covered. Whether you’re searching for a pop culture roundtable or personal stories about mental health or anything in between, there’s an endless stream of great podcasts on our site in addition to many great curated podcast collections like this one over our blog. For further listening, check out our post on science podcasts for kids. For something a little different, explore our series on Amplifying Black Voices in Podcasts, which includes WomenSociety & CultureComedyHealth & Wellness, and Black Perspectives, or the first couple of entries in our Amplifying Queer Voices in Podcasts series, which focus on Black queer voicestrans voices, and queer comedians.


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