Undergraduate Studies

Undergraduate studies at the School of Education are designed to help prepare students to become professional educators in any one of several related fields. Competency is developed in four kinds of courses: (1) general studies in the liberal arts and sciences; (2) specialized knowledge based on concentration in a discipline or field; (3) professional studies in instructional design, human development, communications, and evaluation; and (4) practical skills acquired through guided and supervised field experiences.

Liberal Studies

All undergraduate studies within the School of Education are concerned with applying knowledge from the arts, humanities, and sciences to educational practice. In order to qualify for the Bachelor of Science in Education, an undergraduate must successfully complete a program of liberal or general studies that has been approved by the student’s faculty advisor and that includes the following distribution requirements in addition to a disciplinary concentration or interdisciplinary sequence:

  • At least two writing seminars;
  • At least three semester courses in the humanities, with no more than two courses in any one discipline;
  • At least two semester courses in the natural sciences and a laboratory science;
  • At least one mathematics course (additional mathematics courses required in the elementary, special education, and mathematics education licensure programs);
  • At least three semester courses in the social sciences, with no more than two courses in any one discipline.

Note: For specific programs, see the Programs section.

Specialized Knowledge

All undergraduates are encouraged to pursue a particular intellectual interest in depth by electing either a disciplinary concentration in one of the academic departments of the University or an interdisciplinary sequence as outlined by the faculty of the program in which they are enrolled. A disciplinary concentration is mandatory for students preparing for middle or high school initial licensure as a teacher and for certain other teaching licenses. All undergraduate students are strongly encouraged to learn about a culture other than their own and to develop skills in the use of the technology consistent with their career goals.

Professional Studies

Undergraduates choose their major field of professional concentration from among the following programs. With the exception of Deaf Studies, all offer licensure at the undergraduate level.

  • Bilingual Education (Licensure as Teacher of English as a Second Language) (Licensure: Grades Pre-K–6 or 5–12)
  • Deaf Studies (no Licensure)
  • Early Childhood Education (Licensure: Grades Pre-K–2)
  • Elementary Education (Licensure: Grades 1–6)
  • English Education (Licensure: Grades 5–8, 8–12, or 5–12)
  • Latin & Classical Studies Education (Licensure: Grades 5–12)
  • Mathematics Education (Licensure: Grades 5–8, 8–12, or 5–12)
  • Modern Foreign Language Education (Licensure: Grades 5–12)
  • Science Education (Licensure: Grades 5–8 or 8–12)
  • Social Studies Education (Licensure: Grades 5–8, 8–12, or 5–12)
  • Special Education offered for licensure at the elementary and secondary levels

Juniors may enroll in 500-level courses, and seniors in 500-, 600-, and certain 700-level courses with the permission of their advisors and instructors. Graduate programs offering some courses open to undergraduates include bilingual education, counseling, education of the Deaf, educational media and technology, international educational development, reading education, and teaching English as a second language. As part of their professional studies, all undergraduate students are required to complete SED ED 100/101 Introduction to Education with a B− or higher. These combine the study of major ideas in the formation of professional education with practical field experience in a school and an introduction to the uses of educational media and technology in classrooms with the exception of Deaf Studies. Students may retake SED ED 100/101 if they do not earn a B− or higher. All students are also required to complete either SED SE 250 or SED SE 251 with a B– or higher, which introduces them to the population of students who are identified as having exceptional education needs as well as the policies and practices that support them in public schools. All students are also required to complete successfully SED ED 410 Social Context of Education and SED ED 412 Civic Context of Education.

As a component of professional study, undergraduates enter into coursework that focuses on human development, learning and curriculum theories, methods of teaching, classroom management, studies of educational policy and practice, and studies pertinent to providing educational services. Some courses have guided field experience components in them, and some include laboratories where teaching, learning, and diagnostic and evaluative materials are prepared and tested. A fourth stage of professional studies for those seeking initial teacher licensure consists of successful completion of the practicum, which includes assignment as a student teacher in a preschool, elementary, middle, or high school. The practicum entails intense, professionally supervised, and increasingly independent work in an appropriate educational setting, as often as five days a week, for up to a full semester. Programs of the School offer a variety of field experiences with course credit values that range from 4 to 12 hours.

Residency Requirement

Students must complete a minimum of 48 Boston University credits immediately preceding graduation. Exceptions may be granted on a petition basis. Please also refer to the University-wide policy.

Field Experience

The stages of professional studies for undergraduates give special emphasis to guided, practical field experiences. This emphasis, therefore, extends from SED ED 100 and culminates in required completion of at least one practicum at the senior level for students seeking initial teacher licensure. Field placements range from opportunities to observe, assist, and aid teachers and tutor learners to more advanced, independent practice in classroom teaching or the delivery of educational services in a community agency or industrial setting.

Boston University Dual Degree Program

In 1976, the Trustees of Boston University approved the establishment of collaborative opportunities for dual degree programs among the schools and colleges of Boston University. For example, an undergraduate student may complete both a Bachelor of Science degree offered by the School of Education and a Bachelor of Arts degree in a field such as psychology, history, or French. Currently, a qualified undergraduate student may apply for a dual degree program during the first semester of the sophomore year at Boston University, but not later than the first semester of the junior year. Boston University Dual Degree program degrees require at least 36 courses (144 credits), three semesters of residency, good overall standing, a statement of intent, a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0, and the completion of SED ED 100/101 with a B− or higher. Interested students should contact Jacqueline Boyle, the School of Education Boston University Dual Degree program coordinator, at 617-353-3177 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 617-353-3177 FREE  end_of_the_skype_highlighting (Room 243 in the School of Education).

Students can earn a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Arts degree simultaneously through the SED/CAS Double Degree Program. This program allows highly motivated students to earn two degrees in the majors of their choice from both the School of Education and the College of Arts & Sciences. Incoming first-year students can apply directly to this program on their application to Boston University. Applicants must meet all of the admissions requirements for the School of Education and the College of Arts & Sciences.


The School of Education sponsors three minors for students enrolled in any school or college within Boston University. Minors are offered in Education, Special Education, Deaf Studies, and Physical Education, Health Education & Coaching. SED minors do not meet requirements for teacher licensure. No grades below a C− will be accepted toward an SED minor. A student wishing to pursue an SED minor may use no more than two courses from a major to fulfill the requirements for a minor.

Students intending to declare a minor must complete a Minor Declaration form in the Records/Advising offices of their home school.

Directed Study

Directed study enables the undergraduate to pursue research under the guidance of a faculty specialist. Typically, directed study proposals are designed in consultation with a faculty advisor, approved by the department chair, and submitted to the SED Records office no later than one week before early registration. Undergraduate students are not permitted to enroll for more than 8 semester credits of directed study as part of their minimum degree requirements. Additional information and applications for directed study are available in the SED Records office.