Mission Statement

The Undergraduate Minor in Education (UME) at the University of California, Berkeley provides students with an opportunity to examine systematically an institution that occupies a unique position in society and profoundly influences the lives of virtually every member of society. This program, housed in the Graduate School of Education (GSE), enables undergraduate students to gain a critical understanding of the correlations between education and the development of societies and individuals. The primary focus of the UME is on potential as well as existing models of education in our diverse society.

The UME enrolls a diverse student body, offers an expanding variety of coursework and is suitable for students who are considering a career in education or teaching, as well as those seeking a more general background about educational topics for other fields of study. Students from all backgrounds engage in study and dialogue about current and traditional educational issues and alternative perspectives on teaching and learning.

UME courses include not only academic inquiry, but also field work which provides students with experience in their surrounding communities: in K-12 classrooms, co-teaching, tutoring, mentoring, assisting with an environmental education course, or participating in a vast array of educational activities.

Students who complete the Undergraduate Minor in Education will be able to address these and many other important questions about education:

  • In the midst of accelerating global, national, and local change, what do students, parents, employers, and public officials expect of formal education? How realistic are these expectations?

  • What are the roots of the criticism of public education and how does education influence those who participate in it-from students to the educators themselves?

  • How do the institutions of society influence education? What about community-based education, education in the workplace, in unions, in families and at other non-formal sites?

  • What are the essential processes of learning and teaching?

  • How does education interact with social class, ethnicity, and gender?

Effective education is essential for the success of efforts to create and carry out policies and programs in the broad public interest of our democratic society. The UME offers interdisciplinary intellectual inquiry that serves to broaden and complement students' work in their major fields of study. In the process, UME students will encounter the wide array of professional possibilities in the field of education, enabling those considering a career in this field to make an informed choice.