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Above, education major Martha Pratt ’15 completes fieldwork in a local elementary school prior to her graduation last May.

New 4+1 Program: An Accelerated Path for Education Majors

02/03/16

Beginning this fall, students who enroll at MCLA as education majors may embark on a unique 4+1 program through which they can earn not only their bachelor’s degree and teaching license, but also their master’s degree – all in just five years.

“MCLA’s 4+1 program is a great opportunity for bright and driven prospective teachers to pre-plan and accelerate their college careers, while focusing on the goal of becoming highly qualified and marketable educators,” said Gina Puc, director of Admissions. “With a seamless transition to graduate work, students will make the most of their time and money as they stay a step ahead of their peers.”

Typically, it takes two years to complete a Master’s degree in Education (M.Ed.), depending on how many courses a student takes in a given semester.

“Often, students are working full time, so they’re not able to take as many classes as they might want to take,” said Howard “Jake” Eberwein III, Ed.D., MCLA’s dean of graduate and continuing education. “The 4+1 program provides a real clear and accelerated route to do that, in a way that really equips these prospective educators to get what they need.”

Support is a key component of the 4+1 program, which is designed for student success. The participants will move through their education together, as a cohort, during their five-year experience.

Right from the start, 4+1 students also will enjoy a high level of advising, as each is assigned an advisor who will continue in that role throughout their MCLA careers. The advisor will spend extra time with each student to help them manage their coursework and college in general, as well as their career goals.

And, beginning as freshmen, “This particular group of 4+1 students actually will have a very intentional set of field experiences that provide a range of opportunities to build their commitment and understanding of the kinds of places and roles they may want to pursue beyond graduation,” Eberwein said.

Students will move from one degree to the next. After they complete the senior year of their undergraduate degree – which includes student teaching and seminar fieldwork during the final semester – they will graduate with their class in May, then immediately begin their graduate coursework over the summer session.

That summer, program participants will take two courses, then continue their graduate program in traditional fall and spring semesters before completing their research over the course of the following summer.

Students will be accepted into the 4+1 program with an understanding that there will be reviews as they progress through their undergraduate experience, to ensure that they meet curriculum requirements and maintain GPA standards.

“As long as they do that, their acceptance remains in place, and they will move directly from their undergraduate program and into their graduate program,” Eberwein said. “As an institution, we’re committing to this group of students.”