Undergraduate Student Resources

The College of Education offers a variety of undergraduate programs designed to help you succeed in your chosen journey to becoming an excellent educator. As these programs have different prerequisites and requirements, it’s very important to familiarize yourself with the requirements of your particular program. Visit our undergraduate programs page to learn more, or email us at educadvisor@umass.edu with any questions.

 

Plan a Successful Undergraduate Journey in Education!

Choose the Best Pathway to Achieve Your Goals

The College of Education offers a variety of undergraduate programs designed to help you succeed in your chosen journey to becoming an excellent educator. As these programs have different prerequisites and requirements, it’s very important to familiarize yourself with the requirements of your particular program. Visit our undergraduate programs page to learn more, or email us at educadvisor@umass.edu with any questions.

All undergraduate education students enter the College of Education either declared as a Community Education and Social Change major or in the exploratory track in Education. Once in either of those paths, you will work towards acceptance into one of the licensure programs (Early Childhood, Special Education, UTS Secondary Teacher Education, or 4+1 Elementary Accelerated Masters) or work to switch your major all together. Once in your Education path, your major will officially read as a BA in Education with a concentration in... (Early Childhood, Special Ed., Community Ed. & Social Change etc.) Each of these paths are a little different and it is highly encouraged to speak to an advisor for more information.

We have outlined the application processes of the different programs below. However, this page is only meant as an overview and guide. Please speak to your advisor and program coordinator to make sure that you fully understand the requirements and application process of your program.

  • BA in Community Education and Social Change: Most Education students start their undergraduate career in this major. As our only non-licensure major, students can remain to obtain their BA or work towards a licensure track. Many students double major with this Education major.

  • BA in Early Childhood Education: You may apply for this program at the end of your fall semester in your sophomore year. Interviews and selections will be made during the spring semester of that year and if you are accepted, you’ll begin the program in the fall semester of your junior year. Students are not required to double major, but many do or pick up a minor.

  • BA in Special Education: You’ll apply for this program at the end of your fall semester in your sophomore year. Interviews and selections will be made during the spring semester of that year and if you are accepted, you’ll begin the program in the fall semester of your junior year. Students are required to double major and are encouraged to do so in a content area (English, Math, History, Science).

  • University to Schools (Secondary Education): You’ll major in the subject you would like to be licensed in as early as possible in your undergraduate career. While completing requirements for that major, you’ll begin taking the prerequisite education classes for the UTS program. The deadline to apply for the UTS program is January 15. It’s highly recommended that you apply in your sophomore year, but you may also apply in your junior year. You should meet with your faculty and advisors to ensure you can complete the requirements in your subject matter major as well as your education major. Applications are reviewed and decisions will be made on a monthly basis during the academic year until January 15 each year. Applicants will be notified of the decision within the following month.

  • Elementary Education 4+1 (Accelerated Masters): You may major in anything while taking prerequisites for acceptance into the 4+1 program, and you are highly encouraged to minor in education. You may apply in the late fall of your sophomore or late fall of your junior year. If you’re accepted, that will guarantee you a spot in the Elementary Education Masters program. You’ll take three grad classes in your senior undergraduate year and finish the Masters program the following year (your fifth year).  

First Year - Getting Oriented

In your first year, take the time to orient yourself, connect with the Education community, and plan your path. 

  • Use the New Student Checklist! This checklist is an invaluable resource for keeping track of your tasks as a new undergraduate student.

  • New student orientations are held in the summer prior to your first fall semester. These dates are generally announced in April and posted on our website under News and Events. If you're unsure of when your orientation is, contact us at educadvisor@umass.edu.

  • Meet with an advisor to discuss your goals and how the two of you will work together. Be sure you both have shared expectations related to communications, responsibilities, and other practical matters. Your primary advisor will be listed on your student home page in SPIRE.

  • Register for classes. Be sure to review the prerequisites of our undergraduate programs to ensure that you’re taking the courses required by your chosen program.  Classes become available for registration midway through the preceding semester (typically November for Spring, and March for Fall).

  • Get on the college email lists to receive updates about events and news relevant to you. Students should be automatically added to college-wide mailing lists when they are admitted, but get in touch with Mike Hanna if you have not been receiving updates.

  • Become familiar with SPIRE. This is the homebase for managing your student information. This is where you’ll register for courses, view grades, manage finances, and review assistantship appointments. Review the SPIRE support articles for help using the system.

Sophomore Year - Apply to Programs

In your second year, you will prepare to apply to your chosen program by taking prerequisites and talking to your advisor. Note that students in the Community Education and Social Change program entered the major in their first year and do not need to apply to continue. 

  • Register for classes. Be sure to review the prerequisites of our undergraduate programs to ensure that you’re taking the courses required by your chosen program.  Classes become available for registration midway through the preceding semester (typically November for Spring, and March for Fall).

  • Apply for your chosen undergraduate education program! As detailed above, the programs have different deadlines and requirements. It’s very important to speak to your advisor and program coordinator to make sure you know what is required for the application process of your specific program. It’s always recommended to apply as early as possible.

Junior Year - Enter Your Program

In your third year, if you are accepted into one of the licensure programs, you will begin your formal studies in that program. 

  • Enter your undergraduate education program.
  • If you haven’t already applied for the University to Schools or Elementary Education 4+1 programs, you’ll need to apply during this semester.
  • If you are in a licensure program, make sure that you are also completing the requirements of licensure. This is very important to ensure that you will be eligible to receive your teaching license after you complete your education program. If you have licensing questions, contact our Educator Preparation office at edprep@umass.edu.

 

Senior Year - Finish

What you do in your senior year depends on your major. If you are in a licensure program, you will be completing the requirements of licensure. This is important to ensure that you will be eligible to receive your teaching license after you complete your education program. If you have licensing questions, contact our Educator Preparation office at edprep@umass.edu.

  • If you’re in the Community and Social Change program (and have completed all required courses and forms and paid all required fees), you’ll be preparing to graduate!

  • If you’re in the Early Childhood Education or Special Education programs (and have completed all licensure requirements and paid all required fees), you’ll preparing to graduate, completing the final steps of licensure, and applying for your license!
  • If you’re in the University to Schools program, you’ll complete a practicum in a real-world school or other relevant organization during this semester.

  • If you’re in the Elementary Education 4+1 program, you’ll be taking three graduate-level courses this year, along with your other undergraduate courses.

Preparing to Graduate

  • Check in with your program's coordinator for information about program recognition ceremonies. 
  • The College of Education hosts a Graduation Celebration in May. Check the events page for details. 
  • UMass hosts a university-wide Commencement in May. 
  • Consider in advance if family and friends may want to stay overnight to attend any ceremonies or commencement. Local lodging options tend to fill up in the months before commencement. 

Fifth Year: Elementary Education 4+1 Program

If you are in the Elementary Education 4+1 program, you will complete one more year of graduate level courses and a practicum.

Review the requirements of licensure. This is very important to ensure that you will be eligible to receive your teaching license after you complete your education program. If you have licensing questions, contact our Educator Preparation office at edprep@umass.edu.

Additional Resources

As you make progress on your education pathway, the following links will help you along the way.

Take classes

  • Consult the academic calendar for class schedules, holidays, important deadlines, and exam periods.
  • Check the list of required classes and prerequisites for your program when planning your semester.
  • Plan ahead with the tentative College of Education course projections.
  • Find and register for classes in SPIRE. Classes become available for registration midway through the previous semester (typically November for Spring, and March for Fall)
  • University Registrar has helpful information about registering, withdrawing, graduating, getting transcripts and more.
  • Register here for Five College Courses
  • Online platforms for classes:
    • Moodle is used for in-person undergraduate and graduate classes
    • Blackboard Learn is used for the fully-online classes offered through Continuing and Professional Education for certificates and Science Education Online

Get involved in the community

Students in the College of Education are members of the following clubs and organizations 

  • Undergraduate Education Club aims to provide a platform for aspiring educators to connect with one another, engage in volunteering activities, and learn from educators in the field. 
  • Outdoor Activities Club sponsors activities for students, faculty, staff and their friends and family. Past events have included ice skating, Zumba, and kickball. 
  • Student writing groups will also pop up throughout the academic year and over the summer. Keep and eye out for writing group announcements. 

Resources for planning events

  • Directory of offices and facilities in the college
  • To request a space in Furcolo Hall for a department-related meeting or event, contact your department administrator. All other space requests can be sent to Nicole Cloutier ncloutier@educ.umass.edu

Get help with your studies

UMass Writing Center tutors work with undergrad, graduate, postdoc, staff, and faculty writers on any academic genre at any point in the writing process. They also have a great collection of writing and research resources.

UMass Amherst Libraries, find resources, borrow from other libraries, manage citations, browse research databases.

Education LibGuide provides a focused guide to library resources that relate to Education, maintained by Education Subject Specialist Librarian, Steve McGinty.

Special Collections and University Archives UMass archives with focus on social justice and change. 

Academic Search Premier is a database for scholarly resources.

ERIC is a database for scholarly resources related to education.

Google Scholar can be useful for tracking down documents not included in the library search engine.

Take care of yourself

Trip Advisor: Things to Do near University of Massachusetts Amherst

Center for Counseling and Psychological Health offers individual and group counseling services.

Disability Services provides direct services for all types of disability, information and referral on issues of accessibility, and training and staff development. 

Religious and Spiritual Life on campus offers a range of educational programs, individual and institutional advocacy, interfaith dialogue, and other bridge-building activities. 

Use the Reflection Space in the Furcolo Hall Garden level for some quiet time.