History of the College of Education

From teacher’s college to state university, SDSU started here in the College of Education! Scroll down, go back in time, and learn about the history of the College and where our university began!

Note: this page is still being developed.


Historical photo of of a group of teachers with the words "SDSU was founded in 1897 as the San Diego Normal School, a training facility for teachers SDSU started with teachers: Founded March 13, 1897, San Diego State University is the oldest higher education institution in San Diego, and it began as a training facility for teachers.

SDSU began as a normal school, and the curriculum was limited at first to English, history and mathematics. Course offerings broadened rapidly under the leadership of Samuel T. Black, who left his position as state superintendent of public instruction to become the new school's first president. Black served from 1898 to 1910.



From 1910 to 1935, President Edward L. Hardy headed a vigorous administration that oversaw major changes to the fledgling institution.


San Diego State Teachers College: By 1921, the Normal School became San Diego State Teachers College, a 4-year public institution controlled by the state Board of Education. Its new status allowed it to grant certificates and undergraduate degrees. In that same year, the 2-year San Diego Junior College, forerunner of today's local community colleges, became a branch of San Diego State Teachers College. (That union lasted until 1946.)



Montezuma Mesa & Master's Degrees: Due to increased student enrollment, the college was relocated in 1931 to its current location at the east end of Mission Valley on Montezuma Mesa. As the community grew and as the college's capabilities grew, it became increasingly desirable to develop graduate programs.

Teaching - The profession that creates all other professions: Since then, SDSU has broadened its graduate offerings in the field of education to master's degrees in school administration, counseling, community college leadership, community service professions, and of course, teacher education. The teaching of educators has been an important part of SDSU's history from the very beginning. As we in the College of Education are well aware, teaching is the profession that creates all other professions.


The State Legislature authorized expanding degree programs beyond teacher education, and San Diego State Teachers College became San Diego State College.


In 1945, the California legislature authorized graduate instruction in teacher training and in 1949, State began to offer Master of Arts degrees in education and educational administration.



San Diego State College became part of the newly created California State College system, now known as The California State University system. (In the early 1970s, with legislative approval, San Diego State College became San Diego State University.)

The 2000s


Liberal Studies is one of the largest undergraduate majors at SDSU. In 2017, the Department of Liberal Studies moved from the Division of Undergraduate Studies (now the Division of Academic Engagement & Student Achievement) into the College of Education / School of Teacher Education.


The College of Education continues to maintain a standard of excellence it has demonstrated for its over 100 years of service. The college truly makes a difference in the lives of the people it serves.

Our commitment is to prepare teachers, school administrators, counselors, community college faculty and leaders, performance improvement/ technology professionals, and community service professionals to provide the highest quality learning environments to ensure student and client success and achievement through our teaching, research, and service.

Photo Album

View an album of historical College of Education photos from the University Archives Photograph Collection

Past Faculty


Past Students


Educating Future Teachers


Educating Youth


Original Campus


New Campus



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