SESP introduces undergraduate learning sciences major

Julia Jacobs, Summer Editor

The School of Education and Social Policy will debut a learning sciences major in Fall 2016, the first undergraduate program of its kind in the country, the school announced Tuesday.

The learning sciences program, which has been offered at SESP on the graduate level for 26 years, focuses on the scientific design of educational environments. The program is based in research on the “social, organizational and cultural” dimensions of learning, the school said in a news release.

“We need to prepare college graduates who can serve as leaders in helping design innovative environments that effectively nurture and support learning both in school and in many different informal contexts,” SESP Dean Penelope Peterson said in the release.

Within the major, students choose to specialize in one of three concentrations: learning in schools, out-of-school learning and design of learning environments. While possible employers for students in the major include traditional educational environments such as school districts and charter schools, students can also be trained to work in places such as museums, software and companies and educational research organizations.

SESP Prof. Reed Stevens led the development of the program, which includes a one-quarter internship for academic credit during a student’s junior year. Internships will be available to students year-round in Chicago and during the summer in San Francisco and Washington D.C.

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