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Learning, Equity, and Problem Solving for the Public Good

A new kind of bachelor's degree in education

Bachelor of Arts in Education

Are you ready to become a leader in a world where technical solutions to society’s most complex problems are not enough? Learning, Equity, and Problem Solving for the Public Good (LEAPS) is a bachelor’s degree in education that prepares graduates for a wide range of professions and career paths including education, policy, community development, STEM, health sciences, and business.

LEAPS is a first-of-its kind undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan Marsal Family School of Education. LEAPS students learn how to support people to work together effectively to create change. By developing strong collaboration, communication, and leadership skills, LEAPS students become “learning leaders” who know how to partner with peers, communities, and organizations. Through coursework and experiential learning opportunities, students understand  social structures and histories related to race, ethnicity, gender, language, ability, and nationality. As trailblazers in this groundbreaking educational approach, LEAPS students are uniquely positioned to make a lasting impact in their chosen professions.

LEAPS blends the world-changing capabilities of a leading public research university with community-based learning on the beautiful Marygrove campus in Detroit. During the first year, students live and learn together in Detroit as a cohort before defining individualized concentrations toward future careers.

Rendering of common space in LEAPS dorm space. Bright room with several groups of students socializing.

An Immersive Living/Learning Experience

  • Live on the Marygrove Campus in Detroit in students' first year
  • Newly renovated residence halls
  • No cost transportation between Detroit and Ann Arbor
Two students stand beside a poster board in a bright room with large windows. One student, wearing glasses, a grey jumper, and black slacks, stands with his hands behind his back and smiles at three onlookers who listen to the other student, who wears a black blazer with a white blouse and speaks while gesturing with her hands.

Learning Goals & Program Mastery

  • Master the four LEAPS learning areas: Ways of Knowing, Personal Good, Group Good, and Public Good
  • Develop a personal portfolio with demonstrated accomplishments
  • Demonstrate skills and knowledge through senior capstone
Detroit Skyline at sunset. On the left side of the skyline, the Renaissance center's towers glow pink. Center right, the Ally Detroit Center and Fischer Building rise above the Detroit River. In the foreground, smaller office buildings and parking garages glow pink from the sunset.

Engaged Learning Opportunities

  • Intern with Detroit organizations and companies
  • Perform community-based work
  • Join research projects
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Key Areas of Coursework

LEAPS students take courses in areas like

  • how people, communities, and organizations learn;
  • how cities shape identities, and how peoples shape cities;
  • race and social justice issues shaping human development and learning;
  • the cultural, industrial, and political history of Detroit.
Rendering of a classroom with grey carpet, white walls with one blue accent wall, and tiled ceilings with fluorescent lighting. Students are seated in blue, plastic spinning chairs at long, skinny, white tables, facing the instructor. The instructor points to a large, digital screen behind him.


A homeroom-like forum provides learners with a space for meaning making:

  • Receive mentorship by UM professors
  • Collaborate across LEAPS cohorts
  • Give and receive peer-to-peer feedback
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Concentrations to Careers

LEAPS students choose a specialization or pre-professional interest in their junior year, defining their own concentration or specializing in pre-set areas:

  • Public-service entrepreneurship
  • Education
  • Public health
  • Public service/government
  • Law

A Learning Community

LEAPS students gain an understanding for how people and communities learn. You’ll apply this knowledge in hands-on settings to promote collaboration, develop innovative solutions, and make real-world contributions to the ongoing work of partners across Detroit.

As a LEAPS student, you’ll build a deep understanding of human relationships, justice and equity, and complex problem solving. The skills and mindsets that you develop are needed in every corner of industry and society.

Ultimately, LEAPS equips graduates with the power to engage with their community and its toughest challenges.

Learn for the real world

LEAPS brings the outside world into the classroom through partnerships with communities, organizations, and companies from across Detroit. Project-based and applied learning methods are designed to prepare students for their endeavors after graduation.

Participate in a living / learning community

Experience all a large research university has to offer in a small classroom setting. LEAPS students receive individual mentoring from U-M faculty from day one. Students are supported in their development as scholars and become action-oriented doers who know how to use the resources of the university to be valuable partners and contributors in any situation.

Gain in-demand skills and experiences

The business world is clear: successful people possess key skills in areas of communication, collaboration, dealing with complexity, and persistence. The ability to generalize and transfer skills and knowledge is key to success. LEAPS focuses on transferable skills across all areas of the program.


Meet our community

LEAPS was created through the collaborative efforts and ideas of students, staff, and faculty from the Marsal Family School of Education and across the University of Michigan. We are grateful for their contributions.