BSE History

UC Berkeley sits on the territory of xučyun (Huichin), the ancestral and unceded land of the Chochenyo speaking Ohlone people, the successors of the sovereign Verona Band of Alameda County. This land was and continues to be of great importance to the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe and other familial descendants of the Verona Band.

We recognize that every member of the Berkeley community has, and continues to benefit from, the use and occupation of this land, since the institution’s founding in 1868. Consistent with our values of community, inclusion and diversity, we have a responsibility to acknowledge and make visible the university’s relationship to Native peoples.

As members of the Berkeley community, it is vitally important that we not only recognize the history of the land on which we stand, but also, we recognize that the Muwekma Ohlone people are alive and flourishing members of the Berkeley and broader Bay Area communities today.

The BSE's Beginning


UC Regents announce, “the intention…to establish a course of instruction in the science and art of teaching.”


Elmer Ellsworth Brown is hired as the first Professor of the Science and Art of Teaching.

The Department of Pedagogy is established. The bachelor's of arts degree in education is offered through the College of Letters and Science.


First California high school teaching certificate that is based on standards developed by Prof. Brown issued by UC Berkeley.


The Department of Pedagogy grants its first PhD to Millicent Washburn Shinn. Hers is the first doctoral degree earned by a woman in the University of California.

The Early 1900's

1900: The Department of Education established as a unit of the Graduate Division.

1903: UC students begin practice teaching in Berkeley public schools.

1905: Masashi Yoshimi becomes the first Asian American to earn an advanced degree from UC Berkeley’s Department of Education, writing a master’s thesis on secondary school organization in Korea.

1913: On recommendation of the Academic Senate, the Regents establish the School of Education. Alexis Lange becomes the first dean.

The mid-1900's

1922: The School of Education begins offering the EdD degree.

1924: The School moves into the newly-completed Haviland Hall. Many credential programs offered, including administrative credentials.

1936: First MA/Advanced Credential programs developed.

1941: Courses in special education first offered; elementary and secondary credentials separated.

1947: First funding of educational research through grant from University funds. In the following year, research is clearly articulated as a major goal.

1952: Field Service Center established for “promoting professional services to the public schools.”

1959: Elementary School Science Project is formed to research problems and design improvements in science education.

1962: School of Education moves to new home in Tolman Hall. Theodore Reller begins his nine-year term as dean. 

1965: School Psychology credential program instituted.

1967: Joint Doctoral program in Special Education started, first joint program between California State University and University of California university systems.

The late-1900's

1970: Academic divisions officially formed. Merle L. Borrowman begins six-year deanship the following year.

1973: Bay Area Writing Project founded at UC Berkeley, later giving rise to California Writing Project and National Writing Project.

1980: The Developmental Teacher Education Program (DTE) opens its doors.

1983: Bernard R. Gifford begins five-year term as dean. Funding for research projects grows dramatically under his leadership.

Faculty hires include James Greeno; Alan Schoenfeld; Andrea diSessa; Peter Pirolli; Jean Lave; Carol Stack; K. Patricia Cross; Norton Grubb; Judith Warren Little; and Prentice Starkey.

1984: Flanders Fellowships initiated.

1990: William D. Rohwer, Jr. begins term as dean after being appointed acting dean in January 1989. Restructuring effort starts in 1994.

1996: Eugene E. Garcia appointed dean. School consolidates divisions and moves toward more inclusive structure, hosts national conference on collaboration and excellence in 1996.

1999: The Masters and Credential in Science and Mathematics Education (MACSME) and Multicultural Urban Secondary English (MUSE) programs begin, both are two-year graduate programs leading to a combined MA in education and a California Single-Subject Credential for teaching either science or mathematics and English at the secondary level.

A New Century

2000: The Principal Leadership Institute (PLI) established to prepare leaders for San Francisco Bay Area urban schools. Students completing the program receive an MA in Education and a recommendation toward a Tier I Administrative Services Credential.

2001: P. David Pearson begins a nine-year tenure as dean.

2003: Leadership for Educational Equity (LEEP), formerly known as the Joint Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership, begins offering three-year course of study for working professionals leading to an EdD in Educational Leadership.

2004: California Prep Academy (CAL Prep), a public charter school established through a partnership with UC Berkeley and Aspire, opens. A book titled Achieving College Dreams: How a University-Charter District Partnership Created an Early College High School, edited by Rhona S. Weinstein and Frank C. Worrell (Oxford University Press, 2016) describes the process, research, practice and lessons learned.

2006: Academic Talent Development Program (ATDP) celebrates its 25th anniversary.

2008: Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE) celebrates a quarter century as an influential independent education research center.

2009: Four women of color — Lisa García Bedolla, Na'ilah Suad Nasir, Janelle T. Scott, and Tina Trujillo — begin tenure as GSE faculty.

The Developmental Teacher Education Program (DTE) suspends admissions due to budget cuts, with plans to reorganize and reopen in Fall 2011.

2010: Principal Leadership Institute (PLI) celebrates 10-year anniversary with gala benefit at Blackhawk Museum.

Judith Warren Little begins 5-year term as dean. She is the first female to serve as a permanent Dean of the GSE. 

2011: The Developmental Teacher Education Program (DTE) opens admissions for fall 2011.

2015: Construction begins on the GSE's new building, located on Berkeley Way. The new building will be shared with the Department of Psychology and the School of Public Health.

2016: Prudence L. Carter begins 5-year term as dean after nationwide search, with term beginning June 30, 2016. 

2018: Graduate School of Education moves into new building, Berkeley Way West, sharing the space with the Department of Psychology, and the School of Public Health.

2021: GSE admits first cohort of its reimagined EdD program, Leaders for Equity and Democracy (LEAD).

Christopher Edley, Jr., former dean of Berkeley Law, named the GSE's interim dean. While it is the first time in the GSE’s history that the dean doesn't have deep roots in a traditional academic field of education research or professional practice, Edley has long been dedicated to substantive educational reform and equity.

2022: University of California Office of the President approves name change to Berkeley School of Education (BSE), which better reflects the expanding offerings. Watch our video.

2023: Michelle D. Young, a scholar of educational leadership and policy, appointed dean.

BSE offers a new undergraduate degree in education, officially a bachelor's of science degree in Educational Sciences. First cohort will begin in fall 2024.