Mercer, Oglethorpe Partner on 4+1 Bridge Program in Education

College of Education in Atlanta

ATLANTA – Oglethorpe University and Mercer University are partnering to offer a 4+1 Bridge Program in Education, which began at the start of the current semester in January. The new program provides Oglethorpe undergraduates the opportunity to earn a bachelor’s degree from Oglethorpe and a Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) degree from Mercer, as well as initial teaching credentials in Georgia over the course of approximately five years of full-time study.

Oglethorpe, founded in Atlanta in 1835, is a liberal arts and sciences university that offers more than 60 areas of study, as well as an Individually Planned Major (IPM) program, that lead to a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Bachelor of Science (B.S.), Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A.) or Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies (B.A.L.S.) degree.

“Teaching is projected to see more growth than any other profession in Georgia,” said Dr. John Nardo, associate provost and professor of mathematics at Oglethorpe. “Many of our students wish to pursue a career in education after completing their degrees at Oglethorpe. A partnership with Mercer gives our students direct access to a top-notch education program and streamlines the process to earn a graduate degree and enter the workforce.”

Mercer’s Tift College of Education is the largest private preparer of educators in Georgia and offers undergraduate and graduate courses in Atlanta, Macon, Douglas County, Henry County and online.

“When Dr. Nardo first approached us about this possibility, we knew it would be a wonderful opportunity for both institutions,” said Dr. Allison Gilmore, associate dean and professor of education at Mercer. “It was great to meet the first group of prospective Oglethorpe students and welcome our first Oglethorpe teacher candidate into the program for spring semester classes.”

Mercer’s M.A.T. program offers three specializations designed to provide a comprehensive study of the specialized skills and knowledge needed to teach and support students in early childhood, middle grades and secondary education. Additionally, Mercer offers a fourth specialization in secondary education – STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

The program offers a wide scope of course content that focuses on theoretical and pedagogical issues while incorporating research, assessment and technology integration. Diverse field experiences help to prepare teachers to support the diverse needs of students.

This new partnership will allow Oglethorpe students who meet certain eligibility requirements to participate in an accelerated program of study beginning as juniors that will allow them to take both Oglethorpe and Mercer courses as seniors and earn the M.A.T. degree and Georgia teaching certification following a fifth year of coursework solely at Mercer.

About Oglethorpe University

Founded in 1835, Oglethorpe University is Atlanta’s only co-educational small private college, home to 1250 eclectic and engaged students from 33 states and 31 countries. Renowned for its groundbreaking Core program, Oglethorpe’s academically rigorous programs emphasize intellectual curiosity, individual attention, close collaboration among faculty and students, and active learning in relevant field experiences. Oglethorpe joins theory and practice in its A_LAB (Atlanta Laboratory for Learning), an incubator for experiential learning via internships, study abroad, civic engagement, and undergraduate research. Under the leadership of President Lawrence Schall since 2005, Oglethorpe has entered an unprecedented era of innovation and growth, evidenced by increased enrollment and philanthropic giving, and new strategic entrepreneurial partnerships. Since 2013, Oglethorpe has seen the addition of an award-winning campus center; a residential complex with six state-of-the-art classrooms; and the expansion of arts and athletics facilities. Oglethorpe’s partnership venture with LeadAbroad has expanded its global footprint with the development of five global campuses in Barcelona, Paris, Cape Town, Greece, and Rome. In 2019, Oglethorpe will open the I.W. “Ike” Cousins Center for Science and Innovation and the Q. William Hammack, Jr. School of Business. Oglethorpe is home to the Conant Performing Arts Center, Oglethorpe University Museum of Art, and the Piedmont School of Atlanta. The Oglethorpe Stormy Petrels compete in the NCAA Division III Southern Athletic Association.

About the College of Education

Mercer University’s Tift College of Education – with campuses in Macon, Atlanta and the University’s two regional academic centers – prepares more professional educators than any other private institution in Georgia. Named for the former women’s college that merged with Mercer in 1986, the College of Education offers baccalaureate and graduate degrees, and is guided by the conceptual framework of the “Transforming Educator,” which supports those who aspire to grow professionally throughout their careers, while also seeking to transform the lives of students. For more information, visit