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Two new academic majors to be offered to undergraduate students

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AUGUST 30, 2023

Campus has offered up two new programs for undergraduate students to major in: East Asian humanities and educational sciences.

According to an Aug. 23 campus press release, the East Asian humanities major will be offered through the department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, or EALC. It will allow students to explore multiple countries within East Asia through various perspectives including literature, religion and film.

Unlike other majors offered within EALC, the major will not include any language prerequisites with the goal of increasing access to all students interested in exploring the subject area, the press release noted.

The major will also allow students to explore multiple East Asian cultures rather than concentrating on just one.
“The department is very excited to offer this learning opportunity,” said EALC Professor Alan Tansman in an email. “We have an almost evangelical sense of mission about sharing with students the cultures of times and places we have spent our lives dedicated to. Especially on a Pacific-rim campus like ours, a course of study like this would one day be an essential component of a core education”
Tansman noted that one of the main goals of the major is to provide students exposure to the “vast riches” of non-European cultures.
Erin Murphy-Graham, adjunct professor at the Berkeley School of Education who was involved in the process of creating the educational sciences major, noted that it has been a longtime coming.
“We had a very popular minor in education for over 25 years and students time and time again said ‘Why don’t you have a major,’ ‘We want a major,’ so historically it came from student demand,” Murphy-Graham said. “In some ways it’s overdue — we should have started this major 10 years ago.”

She noted that the process to create the major was an intersection of work done by both faculty and students.

The intent of the major is to offer students preparation for areas of education spanning early childhood education to research, Murphy-Graham said. Students will be able to declare the major in 2024. Students will initially take requisite program courses through the College of Letters & Sciences, and then apply to the Berkeley School of Education to complete the major.

According to Murphy-Graham, there is a significant social need for an educational sciences major, especially given high rates of teacher shortages within states like California.

Murphy-Graham noted the major is meant to prepare students to receive masters and credentials before entering the workplace, and will also prepare students to participate in educational policy, research and work in educational community services.

“We are not only about creating a pipeline for people in the teaching profession, but also other areas of interest and research in education,” Murphy-Graham said.

Contact Caroline Marsden at 


AUGUST 30, 2023