So you want to be an Education major?

July 11, 2022

Guess what? Did you know that UC Berkeley’s School of Education will be unveiling a new undergraduate major in Education? That’s right! Starting in Fall 2023, students will be able to declare Education as a major! This is a huge milestone for students who are interested in all things related to public education. Let me give you a quick low-down on the history of being an “Education student” at Cal!

Beginnings: School of Education, Education Minor, and CalTeach

Studying Education at Berkeley begins with our undergraduate Minor in Education. Students would major in something else while pursuing the Minor. The Minor was created by our Graduate School of Education (now known as the School of Education) and has quickly become one of the largest Minor programs on campus. 

Our School of Education primarily focuses on Graduate programs in the field of Education. They offer teacher-preparation programs, Masters of Arts in Education (M.A.), and Doctorate of Philosophy in Education (Ph.D.) programs. The M.A. and Ph.D. programs center around different subfields that graduate students can focus on. Some of these subfields include:

  • Critical Studies of Race, Class, and Gender
  • Learning Sciences and Human Development
  • Policy, Politics, and Leadership
  • Social Research Methodologies
  • School Psychology

The School of Education created the Undergraduate minor in Education as a way to engage undergraduate students in studying Education and help create the next generation of educators in the country. The minor requires five upper-division courses which includes three units of fieldwork. The fieldwork allows students to get hands-on experience in the field of education.

UC Berkeley also offers our amazing CalTeach program for students interested in Math and Science education. If you want to major in a STEM-oriented field, you will be able to participate in the program. This pathway allows students to earn a teaching credential in math or science upon graduation! Absolutely amazing for anyone interested in teaching.

The New Major Framework

Our new Education major gives students the opportunity to explore the field of education, teaching, and learning through an interdisciplinary curriculum. Students who are interested in this major will have to take one prerequisite course to be able to declare (Education 40AC – From Marco to Micro: Experiencing Education (in)equality in and beyond Schools). 

Here is the course description for the prerequisite course: “The goal of equality has long dominated social and political discourse in the United States. This goal has struggled alongside our nation’s professed commitment to diversity – diversity of race, ethnicity, class, language, culture, ability, and religion (among many others). Public schools are arguably the primary arena within which efforts to nurture equality and diversity have been focused and challenged. The schools, and the myriad educational contexts beyond them, play a central role in the organization of inequality. At the same time, they also offer the potential for increased opportunity and equity” (Berkeley Class Guide).

After students declare their major, they will have to take four required upper-division courses. These courses allow students to get an overview of the field of education and hands-on experience working with educational professionals. The four required courses are:

  • Education 140AC – The Art of Making Meaning: Educational Perspectives on Literacy and Learning in a Global World
  • Education 144 – Practicum in Education
  • Education 153 – Research in Education: Studying Educational Inequality and Possibility
  • Education 163 – Contemporary Issues in U.S. Education

Students will also have to take four electives that equal 12 units, in addition to the four upper-division core courses. These electives are not just Education courses; they are from various departments all throughout UC Berkeley. The School of Education and College of Letters and Science will publish a list each semester of eligible electives for the major. 

What’s even cooler is that students will have the opportunity to take graduate courses in Education to satisfy their major elective requirements!

So, Why Become an Education major?

The Education major allows students to get an up-close and personal view of the field of Education. You can get hands-on experience working with professionals in the field. Education courses at UC Berkeley equip students with knowledge and skills that can be applied to any field choice (even if it is outside of the public education field). This major also allows students to easily double (or even triple) major with other majors they are interested in or pursue minors as well.

The goal of the Undergraduate Major in Education is to help students develop critical thinking skills while analyzing a key institution in our nation. This interdisciplinary major allows students to take a hold of their education (haha, silly pun) and truly create their own unique experiences. Students can tailor the elective courses to fit their interests and passions. Thus, this major allows students to garner the knowledge and gain valuable experience to become the Changemakers they seek to be in our world.

To learn more about the upcoming Education major, you can read more about it on the Berkeley Academic Guide or contact our Education major/minor advising department!

To learn more about the CalTeach program, you can visit their website!

Hope to see you in Education 40AC this spring!