Students with an interest in education or in a teaching career may consider a variety of majors that will provide the academic background needed to enter the field of public school teaching, or to prepare for further study at the graduate level. If you are unsure as to the level of teaching you wish to pursue, most majors at UCSC lend themselves to developing basic skills to enter the K - 12 teaching profession.

For those interested in teaching in elementary education (K through 8), you may select any major. Typical majors include, but are not limited to, anthropology, psychology, sociology, history, Latin American and Latino studies, economics, and humanities majors. Students interested in elementary teaching choose electives to increase their knowledge of the areas included in the California Content Standards (e.g. mathematics, language arts, social studies, humanities/fine arts, physical education, and science).

For those interested in teaching in secondary education (middle school through high school) selecting a major that supports your primary area of interest is best. For example, for those interested in teaching English, a major in literature is appropriate. For those interested in teaching the social sciences, a major in history, politics or economics is appropriate. For those interested in the sciences, majors such as biology, chemistry, physics, environmental studies or School of Engineering majors are advised. UCSC is also home to the Cal Teach Program, a specialized program for students interested in becoming mathematics or science teachers. This exciting program offers coursework and teaching internships (sometimes paid) for students majoring in mathematics, the science fields, or engineering.  

Programs with a specific focus on education include a major in Education, Democracy & Justice; a major in Mathematics Education, and a major in Science Education, which provides students with broad training in the physical and biological sciences in order to prepare them for careers teaching science in California high schools.

The Education Department offers two minor tracks:

  1. Education Minor (a six-course sequence) that can be taken with any major.
  2. Education STEM Minor (an eight-course sequence). The STEM minor specifically serves students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics majors who are considering careers in secondary mathematics or science teaching.  Enrollment in Cal Teach is a requirement for this minor.


Consult the information available about majors you are considering to determine if you need to take placement exams in math, language, or other subjects.

For the Mathematics Education and Science Education majors, mathematics placement is required: Determine your math placement by completing an assessment in ALEKS. If you completed a college-level math course, or scored 3 or better on an AP calculus exam, or 5 or better on an IBH mathematics exam, you may be able to use that for placement instead of the ALEKS assessment. 

First year courses:
  • For education and STEM education minors: EDUC 60: Introduction to Education
  • For STEM Education minor only: EDUC 50 and EDUC 60 (EDUC 60 may be taken prior to EDUC 50)
  • See the Getting Started in the Major Guides for majors of interest to determine first year courses.


Education, Democracy & Justice Major, Education Minor, and Education STEM Minor
Program Adviser,, (831) 459-2997
Education Department, room 2163, second floor, McHenry Library Building

Cal Teach Program
Program Adviser,, 831-459-2226
Jack Baskin Engineering Building, room 157B

Mathematics Education
Mathematics Department,

Science Education Major
Science Education is offered by the Physics Department:, 831-459-1347

Last updated 7/2020