BE3 Teacher MA + Credential Program Resources and FAQs

Distinctives: What makes BE3 unique?

Q: Among the many options for entering teaching, what makes Berkeley’s teacher education program distinctive?

A:  BE3 is at a moment of monumental change in Berkeley’s GSE where we are bringing to life the commitments and principles in our BE3 Identity Statement. We invite you to courageously participate in our efforts toward collective social justice, continually transforming who we are in BE3 and who we are in solidarity with students, families, and communities. We are a community where we interrogate our positionality and act from a deliberate awareness of how we have internalized and are embedded in systems of oppression. How will you channel your righteous indignation about the injustices against peoples across the world and against the earth itself with the fortitude of dialogue, humility, and hope to transform schools in the Bay Area?

Q: What is involved in the Masters of Arts component of BE3?

A: Currently, all students enrolled in BE3 pursue both a teaching credential (Multiple Subject, English, Math, or Science) and a Masters of Arts in Education from UC Berkeley Graduate School of Education. In the program's 15 months (Summer, Fall, and Spring), BE3 students complete all requirements for receiving a California teaching credential, including coursework and student-teaching. Along the way, BE3 students also learn valuable practices and stances for teacher inquiry and research. They use these as they complete a MA project in which they are doing research on their own teaching and classrooms. Along with earning an MA, BE3 students learn to pursue evidence-based inquiry on their teaching that is vital to their continued professional growth and leadership.

Q: How does BE3 make the most of Berkeley’s location in the Bay Area?

A: The Bay Area is a population center and hub of diversity, innovation, and social change. Like many urban centers, it is also a region whose schools often reflect the inequities and systemic injustices of what some have called “the Opportunity Gap” (Carter & Welner, 2013) in education. Respecting the educational debt owed to indigenous, minoritized, migrant, and marginalized communities, BE3’s Identity Statement calls for us to cultivate teachers who “strive to fulfill ongoing struggles for education that are genuinely for the public good” and that confront the “oppression, colonization, and dehumanization” that schools have been part of, even as we imagine education as “avenues for liberation, transformation, and justice.” And for the economic, political, and cultural futures of our Bay Area communities, we strive to “create spaces that build on students’ intuitions, creativity, and capacity for joint meaning making to develop their agency as historians, mathematicians, scientists, readers, and writers. We integrate the arts, humanities, and social theory as we teach young people who imaginatively navigate and meld diverse social and digital spaces as democratic agents in an increasingly pluralistic society.”

Experience: What is the BE3 teacher preparation experience like?

Q: What is a routine day like for a student in the BE3 program?

BE3 students experience a gradual immersion into teaching. On most school days, BE3 teacher candidates start their day at the local school site of their Cooperating Teacher, the mentor who supports their student-teaching field placement. Depending on the stage of the field placement, candidates might be observing, co-teaching, or lead-teaching classes of students in the grade level or subject area for which they pursue a credential. As student teachers, BE3 candidates make gradual and guided transitions from working with individuals and small groups to whole-class instruction. Supported by a Field Supervisor, these teacher candidates integrate theory and refine teaching praxis from their BE3 coursework and practicum support, their Cooperating Teacher and host school's curriculum and instructional resources, and their own emerging professional practice and reflection.

Then, on most afternoons, BE3 teacher candidates come to the Graduate School of Education at 2121 Berkeley Way with other BE3 MA+credential students, learning under professors and faculty who merge research-based theory and applied practice to prepare teachers who embody equity and excellence. BE3 courses prepare teaching candidates with the proficiencies and dispositions to be critical social justice educators for their students and subject areas, meeting California's rigorous credentialing requirements while addressing central questions of justice, access, and learning at the heart of identity.

Q: What is the BE3 credential year schedule?

A: BE3 cohorts begin in the summer around mid-June for BE3 Summer Sessions courses that launch the uniquely-designed BE3 experience of teacher preparation. These summer experiences extend to mid-August, when teachers begin their student teaching placements and their Fall coursework. In Fall and Spring, BE3 courses follow UC Berkeley's academic calendar.

  BE3 Credential Year:

        SUMMER (1st): BE3 Summer Coursework

        FALL: Student Teaching and Fall Coursework, MA work

        SPRING: Student Teaching, Fall Coursework, Certification/Credential Completion, MA work

        SUMMER (2nd): MA Completion

In their student-teaching fieldwork, students follow the public school calendar for the year, which is considerably longer than the University's academic year. This allows them direct experience with every aspect of each teaching season, from the emotions of the opening of school through the steadiness of winter to the final challenges of June. This ongoing classroom experience is designed to allow students to connect theory and research at the University to the reality of schools at each point in the program.

Q: Do I need a car to participate in the program?

A: While it is not necessary to have a car, your options for student teaching placements will be greatly enhanced if you do. BE3 also works with schools accessible by public transportation and works with teacher candidates to determine field placements that fit their needs.

Q: Is it possible to be paid for student teaching? Is there an internship option in BE3?

A: BE3 is an advanced degree program as well as a credential program and does not include an internship option. There is currently no provision for extending time in the program with a reduced course load to allow employment in a public school while completing the program.

Before Applying: How can I prepare for BE3?

Q: Before applying, how can I prepare myself to become a strong candidate for BE3?

A: To learn more about the BE3 program, we invite you to attend an Information Session in-person or online. We regularly hold Information Sessions so prospective applicants can learn about the program and interact with BE3 leadership and students.
 
You can also prepare for a future application for BE3 by:

-taking the prerequisite exams for BE3: the CBEST and the appropriate CSET tests for your subject area (Elementary, Math, Science, or English). Note: The GRE is not required for BE3 applicants. Passing CBEST and the majority of CSET subtest scores must be submitted by the time admissions decisions are made in late February.

-gaining experience in classrooms as a volunteer, assistant, aide, tutor, or other professional role.

Q: What is the timeline for the application process?

A:Applications for each BE3 cohort are due mid-December for the following Summer-Fall-Spring. Applications for the BE3 MA/credential program for 2020-2021 school year are due December 2019 and you can learn about requirements and applications here.  For more information about the application process, see the FAQ below. (Applications for 2019-2020 are now closed. We hope you will consider joining a future cohort of BE3.) 

Q: Do I need public school experience? What about private school or summer camp experience? What about tutoring and babysitting?

A: Experience working with children or youth is expected of all applicants. Paid or volunteer work in a public school is highly recommended so that we know candidates have an understanding of what work as a public school teacher entails. Experiences with children in other settings or other types of teaching experiences will enhance your application in conjunction with experiences in schools. The quality and extent of those experiences is a factor BE3 considers in admissions. Some students have substituted private school, summer camp, or other work with groups of children for experience working in a public school. While we value this work, Berkeley is a public university and our commitments are to prepare teachers for public school classroom.
Individual tutoring and/or baby-sitting are generally insufficient to give a genuine impression of the career of a classroom teacher.

Applications, Interviews, and Admissions: What is the process for applying and entering BE3?

Q: What kinds of recommendation letters are most helpful?

A: Letters of recommendation are very important. You must have one academic letter, another describing your work with children, and a third which should be used to strengthen the overall picture of you as a potential teacher and graduate student.

Q: How do I answer the question that asks me to list faculty whose research is a part of particular interest to me?

A: This question is for doctoral students. You can leave it blank.

 Q: When are interviews scheduled and what is the interview format? How will I be notified if I am selected for an interview? What if I cannot come to Berkeley for an interview?

A: Interviews are usually conducted between late January and mid-February. We interview a group of applicants at each session. The first half hour is a group orientation, followed by grouped small group discussions, and then applicants rotate through a series of one-to-one twenty-minute interviews. During your interview you will also complete a short written response to a reading and discussion prompt.
If you are selected for an interview, the program administrative assistant will email you and/or telephone the phone number listed on your application to schedule an appointment. Please make sure that the admissions office is kept up to date on your contact information, particularly your email address.
Although it is strongly recommended that you come to Berkeley for your interview, if you are absolutely unable to do so, we can offer the chance to be join a Zoom-based online video interview.

Q: When will I be notified about being accepted or denied?

A: All interviewed applicants will be notified by BE3's Directors whether their application has been forwarded to the Graduate Division for consideration. In most cases, notification will be sent by the mid March. If the applicant has received notification stating that they have been recommended, an official admission offer will later be sent from the Graduate Division.

Q: Can I defer my admission?

A: No, you will need to apply in the admission cycle of the year you plan to attend DTE. If you cannot attend that year, you must reapply for future years and be considered as a member of that applicant pool.

Q: Can I make an appointment to talk with BE3 faculty before filing my application?

A: We are happy to talk to you by telephone (510) 642-4201 or through e-mail to answer questions you may have before submitting your application. If you are selected for an interview, you will have the opportunity to talk individually with the program coordinator, program faculty, a field supervisor, and a local school administrator.

Funding: What are the program's costs, and what fellowships and financial aid are available?

Q: How much does BE3 cost to attend?

A: You can find out about BE3's current estimated cost here.

Program costs are subject to changes based on yearly graduate tuition and other fees.

Q: Is financial aid available?

A: Yes! BE3 students receive several forms of financial aid and most of our students receive partial funding. When you apply to BE3, you are automatically considered for several fellowships for teacher preparation candidates. Students who complete the FAFSA also receive loan and grant offers. All requests for financial aid should be directed to the financial aid office located at 201 Sproul Hall, #1960
The first step in obtaining financial aid from UC Berkeley is to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The application is available online at: FAFSA.ed.gov

If you would like to request Summer 2019 Financial Aid, the 2018-2019 FAFSA must be submitted. In addition for academic year financial aid, the 2018-2019 FAFSA must be submitted.

For more information on financial aid available to graduate students, please see the Graduate Division's guide to Financial Aid (link is external) and the Financial Aid Office's Graduate Award Guide (link is external).

Q: What can I expect to earn as a teacher? Is it a sustainable career in the Bay Area?

A. BE3 graduates are in great demand in the job market. Typically, graduates have their choice of multiple job offers. By graduating with a masters degree and between 54 and 62 units, they are able to begin teaching at a higher salary. Contact school districts directly to get the most current salary information.