UCR’s Graduate School of Education to Launch Undergraduate Major in Fall 2018

Enrollment is now open for the fall 2018 start of the GSOE’s first undergraduate major: education, society, and human development

A photo of Sproul Hall

Based in Sproul Hall, UCR’s Graduate School of Education will offer its first undergraduate major — education, society, and human development — beginning in fall 2018.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) — Undergraduate students at the University of California, Riverside looking to jumpstart their careers in education now have a direct pathway into the field. UCR’s Graduate School of Education (GSOE) has begun accepting applications for fall 2018 enrollment in its first undergraduate major: education, society, and human development.

“Students will explore their interests in education and youth development through the lenses of psychology, sociology, history, economics, and other interdisciplinary fields,” said Thomas Smith, dean of the GSOE. “By working directly with faculty whose research is targeted at improving outcomes for youth, our undergraduates will be prepared for careers in youth and community development — including teaching.”

Louie Rodriguez, associate dean of undergraduate education and associate professor in the GSOE, added that students who complete the major will still need to earn teaching credentials if they want to teach in traditional classrooms. In the meantime, however, they will be able to trace the evolution of the field, look closely at contemporary policies that affect education, and study cutting-edge research trends.

“Beyond teaching, students will leave our program prepared to enter other kinds of leadership roles within school systems, create curriculum, conduct policy research for city or county governments, or pursue master’s or doctorate degrees,” he said.

Information about the undergraduate major is available here. All students interested in the program must first attend an information session before meeting with an academic advisor. The GSOE expects to attract about 70 undergraduates — including transfer students and existing UCR students interested in double majoring or changing their majors — in the first academic year the major will be offered.

“We already are seeing significant interest from UCR students who are enrolled in other programs,” Rodriguez said.

A major aspect of the program’s appeal is its emphasis on community integration; students must conduct a minimum of 40 hours of fieldwork to earn their degrees. Along with assisting faculty with complex research projects, students will enjoy opportunities to get outside the classroom and provide direct educational service (think one-on-one tutoring), instruction in adult learning environments, and mentorship at after-school programs.

Rodriguez said most of the GSOE’s 32 professors will teach at least one or two courses of the undergraduate curriculum, which requires completion of 48 units identified for the major (of those units, 36 must be completed in upper division courses). Students will follow one of two specializations — learning and behavioral studies or community leadership, policy, and social justice — or adopt customized plans.

“Some of the GSOE professors have never taught undergraduate students, so this will be a chance for our faculty to serve more of the undergraduate population,” Rodriguez said, adding that students will benefit from studying under nationally recognized experts in research areas such as autism and learning disability research, critical race theory, ethnic studies, educational policy, higher education, and youth civic engagement. “The goal is to inspire the next generation of scholars to better serve the field of education and their own neighborhoods.”

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