elementary-education

The University of Wisconsin–Madison Elementary Education program prepares teachers who can foster high academic achievement in all students—particularly learners from diverse racial, cultural, linguistic, socioeconomic backgrounds and abilities. Teacher education students learn to recognize how their own background and experience shape their thinking and actions, to reflect on their practices, and to develop and adapt practices that serve the needs of their students.

Through their preparation, students gain awareness of how schools reflect both the strengths and inequities of our increasingly multicultural society and become more committed to advancing social justice and equity through their classroom practice and community interactions. They learn to welcome parents, caregivers, and community members into their classrooms as partners in the educational process. They integrate research-based practices in their teaching and, in doing so, acquire knowledge and skills that enable them to grow professionally throughout their teaching careers.

At UW–Madison, students preparing to teach in preschool, elementary, and middle schools engage in substantial supervised fieldwork (especially in diverse schools), community field experiences, self-examination of teaching practice, and development of multicultural classroom activities.

The Elementary Education program currently consists of four complementary program options:

  • The Early Childhood/English as a Second Language option prepares teachers to work at the preschool and primary levels (approximately birth through age 8). Students are also certified in English as a Second Language at the Early Childhood level. Admitted students begin the four-semester professional sequence in the fall after admission.
  • The Middle Childhood–Early Adolescence/English as a Second Language option prepares teachers to work in intermediate and middle school settings (approximately ages 6 through 12–13). Students are also certified in English as a Second Language at the Middle Childhood–Early Adolescence levels. Admitted students currently begin the four-semester professional sequence in the spring after admission, although this will change in the near future.
  • The Middle Childhood–Early Adolescence/Special Education option prepares teachers to work in intermediate and middle school settings (approximately ages 6 through 12–13). It emphasizes collaboration, with training in both Elementary and Special Education methodologies. This option focuses on inclusion and gaining a strong background in working with students across disability categories including learning disabilities, emotional/behavioral disabilities, and other high incidence disabilities. Students are certified in both Special Education and Elementary Education at the Middle Childhood–Early Adolescence levels. Admitted students begin the four-semester professional sequence in the fall following admission.
  • The Middle Childhood–Early Adolescence/Content Focused Minor option prepares teachers to work in intermediate and middle school settings (approximately ages 6 through 12–13). Students complete a content area minor that may lead to licensing in that subject. Admitted students currently begin the four-semester professional sequence in the spring after admission, although this will change in the near future.

Course requirements will vary by option, so students should consult often with an Education advisor. All options lead to a Bachelor of Science degree in Education. Formal definitions of Early Childhood and Middle Childhood–Early Adolescence levels will be determined by each school district based on the organizational structure of its schools and the philosophy and needs of the district.

Program Admission Overview

Students are admitted to the program once a year, effective in the fall. Selection is made the previous spring. Currently, two of the four Elementary Education options—Early Childhood/ESL and the Middle Childhood through Early Adolescence/Special Education Dual Major—begin the four-semester professional sequence in the subsequent fall semester. Students in the Middle Childhood through Early Adolescence/English as a Second Language option and Middle Childhood through Early Adolescence/Content Focus option currently begin the four-semester professional sequence in the spring semester; it is anticipated that this will change in the near future.

Entering the School of Education

New and Current UW–Madison Students

New freshmen and transfer students interested in elementary education are admitted directly to the School of Education with a “pre-professional” classification. This classification indicates that a student is interested in a program offered by the school, but has not applied and been admitted to the professional program. Students interested in elementary education receive the "pre-professional" classification of PRE.

On-campus students wishing to be admitted to the school while working on eligibility requirements and application can apply for admission to the school by completing a Pre-Professional Application. A minimum GPA of 2.5, based on UW–Madison coursework, is required to transfer into the school. This GPA may be modified by the Last 60 Credits rule (detailed below). It is not necessary to be a "pre-professional” student before applying to a professional program.

It is strongly recommended that students interested in a School of Education program meet with an academic advisor in Education Academic Services (EAS), 139 Education Building, 1000 Bascom Mall. Students may call 608-262-1651 to schedule an appointment with an advisor.

Prospective TRANSFER STUDENTS

Applicants not already enrolled on the UW–Madison campus must be admissible to the university to enroll in a School of Education program. Admission to UW–Madison requires a separate application and admission process. See UW–Madison Office of Admissions and Recruitment for application information. Prospective transfer students are strongly advised to meet with an Education Academic Services advisor in advance of their application; to schedule, call 608-262-1651.

STUDENTS WITH A PREVIOUS DEGREE

Prospective applicants who already hold an undergraduate degree are strongly encouraged to meet with an Education Academic Services advisor in advance of their application. Consultations with advisors are available in person or via telephone; to schedule, call 608-262-1651.

Applicants who already hold an undergraduate degree are admitted to the School of Education as either an Education Special student or a second degree student, depending on their interests and academic background. Admission as an Education Special student indicates that the student has an interest in pursuing certification in a subject area studied during the initial degree; another degree is not awarded for this "certification only" coursework. Second degree students are seeking a second, unrelated degree from the School of Education, which may, or may not, include teacher certification. Candidates for limited enrollment programs must meet all admission eligibility requirements for the program and must compete with the eligible applicants for program admission. More information is available here.

Application and Admission

Resources limit the number of students who can be served by UW–Madison teacher education programs; thus, admission to the Elementary Education program is limited and may be competitive. Obtaining or exceeding the minimum criteria for eligibility does not guarantee admission.

The Elementary Education program faculty selects candidates based on a variety of criteria. Each option has its own selection committee and only reviews applications to that option. In particular they seek individuals who can demonstrate academic competence, multicultural and interpersonal competence, and reflective competence.

PROGRAM ADMISSION ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

Requirements and selection criteria may be modified from one application/admission period to the next. Potential applicants should consult the School of Education's Apply to a Program page for application deadlines and detailed information regarding current eligibility requirements and selection criteria prior to submitting an application.

To be eligible for admission to the professional program, applicants must:

  • determine which of the four program options are of interest. Applicants may apply to a maximum of two options.
  • submit completed program application form(s), transcripts, and all other related application materials by the application deadline specified on the School of Education's Apply to a Program page.
  • successfully complete at least 40 transferable college-level credits by the end of the fall semester before application.
  • complete the Basic Skills Requirement. All prospective teacher education students must submit test scores to the School of Education to be eligible for professional program admission. Students may use their ACT, SAT, or GRE scores, or they may take the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators Test (formerly the Praxis I/PPST). These tests meet Wisconsin's basic skills test requirement for prospective teachers. For more information see the document Academic Tests for Prospective Teachers.
  • earn either
    • a minimum 2.5 grade point average (GPA) on a 4.0 scale on all transferable college-level coursework attempted1OR
    • minimum scores to meet the Basic Skills requirement, see above.

Applicants will be considered who have met either the minimum GPA or minimum basic skills test scores in all areas, but will not be eligible if both GPA and basic skills test scores are below the minimum. Students must take all three sections of the Basic Skills tests (reading, writing, mathematics) to be eligible for consideration.

  • complete RP & SE 300 Individuals with Disabilities by the end of the summer before beginning the program if applying to the MC–EA/Special Education Dual Major option.
1

A comprehensive cumulative GPA of all college-level, transferrable coursework attempted on both the UW–Madison campus coursework and coursework taken at any other colleges or universities may be calculated for the exclusive purpose of establishing an applicant’s eligibility for consideration. Both the comprehensive cumulative GPA and the comprehensive cumulative GPA based on a student’s last 60 credits may be calculated. See Last 60 Credits Rule (detailed below). If admitted, students must earn the minimum cumulative GPA for UW–Madison coursework established by their program and the School of Education each semester after admission.

Last 60 Credits Rule

Two grade point averages will be calculated to determine candidates' eligibility to programs. GPAs will be calculated using

  • all transferable college level coursework attempted, and
  • the last 60 credits attempted.

The higher GPA of these two will be used for purposes of determining eligibility. If fewer than 60 credits have been attempted, all credits will be used to calculate the GPA. Graded graduate coursework will also be used in all GPA calculations. ("Attempted" coursework indicates coursework for which a grade has been earned.) More information regarding this rule is available here.

PROGRAM ADMISSION SELECTION CRITERIA

The Elementary Education program admissions procedures are intended to result in an academically qualified student body that is diverse in terms of both academic strengths and life experiences and has a commitment to providing the best possible education to elementary and middle school students. Having students with diverse life experiences, backgrounds and attitudes is critical if faculty are to prepare students to teach in schools that themselves have diverse enrollments. Faculty will accept only those students judged to have the potential to be successful in the academically challenging Elementary Education Program. In making admissions decisions, no factor will outweigh judgment that a particular applicant's credentials, taken as a whole, represent unacceptably high academic risk.

The Admissions Committee will take the following into consideration when making admissions decisions:

Academic Competence

The Mission Statement of the Elementary Education Area points to the role that our graduates have in creating academically rigorous classrooms that lead to high academic achievement in all students. For elementary and middle schools to promote academic achievement, elementary and middle school teachers must have demonstrated high levels of success in core disciplines throughout their university studies. Therefore, program faculty expect that students admitted to the program will have demonstrated high levels of academic preparation.

Multicultural and Interpersonal Competencies

The Elementary Education program's mission is to prepare teachers who are able to promote academic achievement in all elementary-school and middle-school students. This includes those from diverse races, cultures, language backgrounds, family forms, and sexual orientations, as well as those from diverse economic, gender, and ability groups. The program faculty seek prospective teachers who will demonstrate both commitment to this mission and the prospect of contributing to it. The Admissions Committee will therefore examine the materials from each candidate for evidence of such commitment and prospect.

Reflective Competence

To have performed at high academic levels or to have had diverse life experiences is not adequate for admissions purposes unless these are accompanied by evidence that the applicant has been able to reflect on and learn from them. Demonstration of reflective competence is important as it likely contributes to one's interpersonal skills as well as to the qualities such as integrity, social awareness, and cultural sensitiveness that are qualities of a well-rounded human being who will be an excellent elementary or middle school teacher. The ability to reflect on one's life experiences is one factor that will allow the Admissions Committee to look for evidence that our students will be reflective practitioners who evaluate the effects of their assumptions, choices, and actions on others (students, parents, and other professionals in the learning community) and who will actively seek out opportunities to grow professionally.

CRIMINAL BACKGROUND INVESTIGATION

The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) is required by law to conduct a background check on each applicant for a Wisconsin educator license. This check is intended to determine if the applicant has engaged in any behavior that endangers the health, welfare, safety or education of PK–12 pupils. Local school districts also will conduct criminal background checks routinely on teacher education students prior to the start of in-classroom field work. Admitted applicants to any teacher education program who have a positive background check should confer with the Academic Dean’s Office (Room 139 Education, 1000 Bascom Mall) about the potential impact of this on field placements and licensure.

An individual who is deemed ineligible to participate in field or clinical experiences based on the results of their background check may not be able to complete the requirements for their degree or certification. Students with questions about these processes should contact the academic dean in Education Academic Services.

University General Education Requirements

All undergraduate students at the University of Wisconsin–Madison are required to fulfill a minimum set of common university general education requirements to ensure that every graduate acquires the essential core of an undergraduate education. This core establishes a foundation for living a productive life, being a citizen of the world, appreciating aesthetic values, and engaging in lifelong learning in a continually changing world. Various schools and colleges will have requirements in addition to the requirements listed below. Consult your advisor for assistance, as needed. For additional information, see the university Undergraduate General Education Requirements section of the Guide.

General Education
  • Breadth—Humanities/Literature/Arts: 6 credits
  • Breadth—Natural Science: 4 to 6 credits, consisting of one 4- or 5-credit course with a laboratory component; or two courses providing a total of 6 credits
  • Breadth—Social Studies: 3 credits
  • Communication Part A & Part B *
  • Ethnic Studies *
  • Quantitative Reasoning Part A & Part B *

* The mortarboard symbol appears before the title of any course that fulfills one of the Communication Part A or Part B, Ethnic Studies, or Quantitative Reasoning Part A or Part B requirements.

Program Structure

Students of Elementary Education:

  • Are exposed to a broad range of academic disciplines through liberal studies course work. The university-wide General Education requirements also encourage this breadth of study.
  • Examine schools' relationship to society, the development of children and adolescents, and the processes of learning in their education course work.
  • Study teaching methods and gain experience in schools through supervised field placements during their four-semester professional sequence.
  • Complete elective coursework to reach the minimum of 120 credits required for the degree.

Practicum experiences provide a school-based setting for students to develop their professional and classroom skills. These experiences generally begin a few weeks after the start of the semester and are approximately nine weeks in length. Students will usually spend three half-days at their assigned schools. Concurrent registration in the methods courses provides students with an opportunity to learn about, and then apply, teaching techniques in a classroom.

The full-semester student teaching assignment is the capstone experience of the professional sequence. Through it students expand upon the activities, responsibilities and expectations encountered during the practicum experiences. Student teachers will function as regular staff members in their assigned schools and also attend a seminar on campus one afternoon each week. Student teachers are required to follow the school day, school calendar, vacation days and policies of the school where they work.

School of Education Liberal Studies Requirements

All students are required to complete a minimum of 40 credits of Liberal Studies coursework. This requirement provides an opportunity to do some academic exploration beyond the scope of the major. Students take courses in areas of particular interest and also have an opportunity to sample the wide selection of courses offered across the university. Coursework is required in humanities, social studies, science, and cultural and historical studies. Some elective coursework is also needed to reach the required number of credits.

The School of Education’s Liberal Studies Requirements automatically satisfy most of the University General Education Requirements outlined above, including ethnic studies, humanities/literature, social studies, and science. Students pursuing most School of Education degree programs may also complete Communication Part B, Quantitative Reasoning Part A, and Quantitative Reasoning Part B through courses required by their degree program. If a student cannot complete a General Education Requirement within the curriculum of their chosen School of Education program, academic advisors can offer suggestions for courses that meet the requirement and augment the student’s primary area of study.

A basic outline of the liberal studies is included below. Students must consult the detailed version of the requirements for information about course selection and approved course options.

Humanities, 9 credits

All students must complete a minimum of 9 credits to include:

  • Literature
  • Fine Arts
  • Humanities Electives

Social Studies (Social Science)

All students must complete a minimum of 9 credits. Teacher certification programs, Athletic Training, and Kinesiology; Exercise and Movement Science have unique requirements in this category.

Science

All students must complete a minimum of 9 credits to include:

  • Biological Science
  • Physical Science
  • Laboratory Science
  • Science Electives

Cultural and Historical Studies

All students must complete three requirements (9 credits) met by separate courses. Any of these courses can also be used to meet the Humanities or Social Studies (Social Sciences) requirements if it has the relevant breadth designation.

  • Ethnic Studies
  • U.S./European History
  • Global Perspectives

Complete Liberal Studies Electives to total 40 Credits.

Program Options - Select One

Option 1—Early Childhood/English as a Second Language 

The Early Childhood/English as a Second Language option prepares teachers to work at the preschool and primary levels (approximately birth through age 8). Students are also certified in English as a Second Language at the Early Childhood level. Admitted students begin the four-semester professional sequence in the fall after admission.

Environmental Education Requirement

Select one Environmental Studies course or from the following list. If appropriate, this course may also be applied toward the liberal studies requirements.

Environmental Education courses

ATM OCN/​ENVIR ST/​GEOG  121 Atmospheric Environment and Society2
ATM OCN/​SOIL SCI  132 Earth's Water: Natural Science and Human Use3
BOTANY 100 Survey of Botany3
BOTANY/​BIOLOGY/​ZOOLOGY  152 Introductory Biology5
BOTANY/​ENVIR ST/​ZOOLOGY  260 Introductory Ecology3
ECON/​A A E/​ENVIR ST  343 Environmental Economics3-4
GEOG/​ENVIR ST  120 Introduction to the Earth System3
GEOG/​ATM OCN/​ENVIR ST  121 Atmospheric Environment and Society2
GEOG/​ENVIR ST  127 Physical Systems of the Environment5
GEOG/​ENVIR ST  139 Living in the Global Environment: An Introduction to People-Environment Geography3-4
GEOG/​ENVIR ST  309 People, Land and Food: Comparative Study of Agriculture Systems3
GEOG/​ENVIR ST  339 Environmental Conservation4
LAND ARC/​ENVIR ST  361 Wetlands Ecology3
MED HIST/​ENVIR ST/​HIST SCI  513 Environment and Health in Global Perspective3
PHYSICS 115 Energy3
POP HLTH/​ENVIR ST  502 Air Pollution and Human Health3
SOC/​C&E SOC  140 Introduction to Community and Environmental Sociology3
SOC/​C&E SOC/​F&W ECOL  248 Environment, Natural Resources, and Society3
SOIL SCI 301 General Soil Science4
SOIL SCI/​ENVIR ST  324 Soils and Environmental Quality3

Mathematics for Elementary Teachers

MATH 130 Mathematics for Teaching: Numbers and Operations3

Students with college-level calculus coursework or advanced placement credit should see the exemption rules for this course. More detailed information about this course is available on the math department website.

Professional Sequence

Admitted students complete a four-semester sequence of professional courses beginning in the fall semester after program admission. Each semester of the sequence must be followed sequentially and taken in consecutive semesters. Class schedules for the sequence are determined in advance.

Semester 1
CURRIC 660 Early Childhood Education3
CURRIC 550 Methods, Materials and Activities in Early Childhood Education3
CURRIC 663 Learning Environments for Initial Education Programs3
CURRIC 328 Artistic Lives of Children3
CURRIC 325 Educating Young English Learners3
CURRIC 363 Practicum in Early Childhood Education in Kindergarten3
Semester 2
CURRIC 314 Becoming Literate in and out of Schools3
CURRIC 370 Teaching Mathematics3
CURRIC/​RP & SE  506 Strategies for Inclusive Schooling3
CURRIC 326 Language Use and Acquisition in Early Childhood3
CURRIC 367 Elementary Teaching Practicum II3
Semester 3
CURRIC 371 Teaching Social Studies3
CURRIC 372 Teaching Science3
CURRIC 315 Reading and Writing Across the Curriculum in Early Childhood3
CURRIC 327 Methods of Teaching Young English Learners3
CURRIC 373 Elementary Teaching Practicum III3
Semester 4
CURRIC 468 Early Childhood/English as a Second Language Student Teaching10
CURRIC 463 Seminar in Pre-Kindergarten Through Middle School Teaching2

Related Courses

These related courses focus on children and families and are recommended (not required) for students interested in early childhood education.

Related Courses

CNSR SCI 475 Family Economics3
HDFS 362 Development of the Young Child3
HDFS 464 Play-Development and Role Across the Lifespan3
HDFS 469 Family and Community Influences on the Young Child3
HDFS 471 Parent - Child Relations3
HDFS 474 Racial Ethnic Families in the U.S.3
HDFS 478 Development of Black Children and Their Families: Research and Policy3
PHILOS 104 Special Topics in Philosophy for Freshmen3
PSYCH 311 Issues in Psychology1-4
SOC 120 Marriage and Family3-4
PSYCH 460 Child Development (formerly numbered 560)3-4
SOC WORK 206 Introduction to Social Policy4

Elective Coursework

Select additional coursework, if needed, to complete the minimum of 120 credits.

Option 2—Middle Childhood–Early Adolescence/English as a Second Language 

The Middle Childhood–Early Adolescence/English as a Second Language option prepares teachers to work in intermediate and middle school settings (approximately ages 6 through 12–13). Students are also certified in English as a Second Language at the Middle Childhood–Early Adolescence levels. Admitted students currently begin the four-semester professional sequence in the spring after admission, although this will change in the near future.

Environmental Education Requirement

Select one Environmental Studies course or from the following list. If appropriate, this course may also be applied toward the liberal studies requirements.

Environmental Education courses

ATM OCN/​ENVIR ST/​GEOG  121 Atmospheric Environment and Society2
ATM OCN/​SOIL SCI  132 Earth's Water: Natural Science and Human Use3
BOTANY 100 Survey of Botany3
BOTANY/​BIOLOGY/​ZOOLOGY  152 Introductory Biology5
BOTANY/​ENVIR ST/​ZOOLOGY  260 Introductory Ecology3
ECON/​A A E/​ENVIR ST  343 Environmental Economics3-4
GEOG/​ENVIR ST  120 Introduction to the Earth System3
GEOG/​ATM OCN/​ENVIR ST  121 Atmospheric Environment and Society2
GEOG/​ENVIR ST  127 Physical Systems of the Environment5
GEOG/​ENVIR ST  139 Living in the Global Environment: An Introduction to People-Environment Geography3-4
GEOG/​ENVIR ST  309 People, Land and Food: Comparative Study of Agriculture Systems3
GEOG/​ENVIR ST  339 Environmental Conservation4
LAND ARC/​ENVIR ST  361 Wetlands Ecology3
MED HIST/​ENVIR ST/​HIST SCI  513 Environment and Health in Global Perspective3
PHYSICS 115 Energy3
POP HLTH/​ENVIR ST  502 Air Pollution and Human Health3
SOC/​C&E SOC  140 Introduction to Community and Environmental Sociology3
SOC/​C&E SOC/​F&W ECOL  248 Environment, Natural Resources, and Society3
SOIL SCI 301 General Soil Science4
SOIL SCI/​ENVIR ST  324 Soils and Environmental Quality3

Mathematics for Elementary Teachers

MATH 130 Mathematics for Teaching: Numbers and Operations3
MATH 131 Mathematics for Teaching: Geometry and Measurement3
MATH 132 Problem Solving in Algebra, Probability and Statistics3

Students with college-level calculus coursework or advanced placement credit should see the exemption rules for this coursework. More detailed information about these courses is available on the math department website.

Educational Arts or Educational Technology

Select one of the following. Additional courses can be considered; consult with an advisor in Education Academic Services.

Educational Arts or Educational Technology courses

AFROAMER/​GEN&WS  267 Artistic/Cultural Images of Black Women3
ART 448 Special Topics (Topic requires permission)1-4
ART ED/​CURRIC  322 Information Design for Visual Learning3
COM ARTS 155 Introduction to Digital Media Production4
COM ARTS 200 Introduction to Digital Communication3
COM ARTS 325 Media and Human Behavior3
COM ARTS 346 Critical Internet Studies3
COM ARTS/​CHICLA  347 Race, Ethnicity, and Media3
COMP SCI 250 Digital Society: The Impact of Computers and Computer Technology3
CURRIC 209 Digital Media and Literacy3
CURRIC 277 Videogames & Learning3
L I S 201 The Information Society4
L I S 202 Informational Divides and Differences in a Multicultural Society3
MUSIC 151 Basic Concepts of Music Theory3
MUSIC/​CURRIC  354 Teaching Music3
THEATRE/​CURRIC/​SLAVIC  362 Drama for Teaching and Learning3

MC-EA Minor Requirement

Students will complete a minor in English as a Second Language through their professional sequence coursework.

Professional Sequence

Each semester of the sequence must be followed sequentially and taken in consecutive semesters. Class schedules for the sequence are determined in advance.

Semester 1
CURRIC 311 Language Acquisition and Use In and Out of Schools, Middle Childhood through Early Adolescence3
CURRIC 312 ESL/Bilingual Issues3
CURRIC 317 Dimensions of Literacy3
CURRIC 339 Cultural Foundations of Learning and Development3
CURRIC 340 Elementary Education Practicum One3
Semester 2
CURRIC/​RP & SE  506 Strategies for Inclusive Schooling3
CURRIC 318 Teaching Reading and Writing3
CURRIC 338 The Language of Schooling3
CURRIC 371 Teaching Social Studies3
CURRIC 367 Elementary Teaching Practicum II3
Semester 3
ED POL 300 School and Society3
CURRIC 316 ESL/Bilingual Methods3
CURRIC 370 Teaching Mathematics3
CURRIC 372 Teaching Science3
CURRIC 373 Elementary Teaching Practicum III3
Semester 4
CURRIC 463 Seminar in Pre-Kindergarten Through Middle School Teaching2
CURRIC 464 Student Teaching in the Elementary School10
or CURRIC 454 Student Teaching in the Middle School

Elective Coursework

Select additional coursework, if needed, to complete the minimum of 120 credits.

Option 3—Middle Childhood-Early Adolescence/Special Education and Elementary Education Dual Major

The Middle Childhood–Early Adolescence/Special Education option prepares teachers to work in intermediate and middle school settings (approximately ages 6 through 12–13). Students are certified in both Special Education and Elementary Education at the Middle Childhood–Early Adolescence levels. Admitted students begin the four-semester professional sequence in the fall following admission.

RP & SE 300 Individuals with Disabilities—Admission Prerequisite

This course must be completed prior to beginning the professional sequence.

RP & SE 300 Individuals with Disabilities3

Environmental Education Requirement

Select one Environmental Studies course or from the following list. If appropriate, this course may also be applied toward the liberal studies requirements.

Environmental Education courses

ATM OCN/​ENVIR ST/​GEOG  121 Atmospheric Environment and Society2
ATM OCN/​SOIL SCI  132 Earth's Water: Natural Science and Human Use3
BOTANY 100 Survey of Botany3
BOTANY/​BIOLOGY/​ZOOLOGY  152 Introductory Biology5
BOTANY/​ENVIR ST/​ZOOLOGY  260 Introductory Ecology3
ECON/​A A E/​ENVIR ST  343 Environmental Economics3-4
GEOG/​ENVIR ST  120 Introduction to the Earth System3
GEOG/​ATM OCN/​ENVIR ST  121 Atmospheric Environment and Society2
GEOG/​ENVIR ST  127 Physical Systems of the Environment5
GEOG/​ENVIR ST  139 Living in the Global Environment: An Introduction to People-Environment Geography3-4
GEOG/​ENVIR ST  309 People, Land and Food: Comparative Study of Agriculture Systems3
GEOG/​ENVIR ST  339 Environmental Conservation4
LAND ARC/​ENVIR ST  361 Wetlands Ecology3
MED HIST/​ENVIR ST/​HIST SCI  513 Environment and Health in Global Perspective3
PHYSICS 115 Energy3
POP HLTH/​ENVIR ST  502 Air Pollution and Human Health3
SOC/​C&E SOC  140 Introduction to Community and Environmental Sociology3
SOC/​C&E SOC/​F&W ECOL  248 Environment, Natural Resources, and Society3
SOIL SCI 301 General Soil Science4
SOIL SCI/​ENVIR ST  324 Soils and Environmental Quality3

Mathematics for Elementary Teachers

MATH 130 Mathematics for Teaching: Numbers and Operations3
MATH 131 Mathematics for Teaching: Geometry and Measurement3
MATH 132 Problem Solving in Algebra, Probability and Statistics3

Students with college-level calculus coursework or advanced placement credit should see the exemption rules for this coursework. More detailed information about these courses is available on the math department website.

Education Coursework

Child and Adolescent Development3-6
Select one:
Human Development From Childhood Through Adolescence
Human Development in Infancy and Childhood
and Human Development in Adolescence 1
Learning
ED PSYCH 301 How People Learn3
Foundations of the Profession3
Select one:
School and Society
History of American Education
1

 With permission, PSYCH 460 Child Development (formerly 560) may be substituted for ED PSYCH 320 Human Development in Infancy and Childhood. Students are strongly encouraged to complete this requirement before program admission.

Professional Sequence

Admitted students complete a four-semester sequence of professional courses beginning in the fall semester after program admission. Each semester of the sequence must be followed sequentially and taken in consecutive semesters. Class schedules for the sequence are determined in advance.

Semester 1
CURRIC 364 Introduction to Education3
CURRIC 368 The Teaching of Reading3
CURRIC 369 The Teaching of Language Arts3
CURRIC 367 Elementary Teaching Practicum II3
RP & SE 466 Diversity in Special Education3
Semester 2
RP & SE 473 Management: Students with Learning and Behavioral Disabilities3
RP & SE 465 Language and Reading Instruction for Students with Disabilities4
RP & SE 475 Special Education Practicum: Middle Childhood - Early Adolescence3-6
RP & SE/​CURRIC  506 Strategies for Inclusive Schooling3
RP & SE 401 Augmentative and Alternative Communication and Assistive Technology for Students with Disabilities1
Semester 3
RP & SE 464 Diagnosis, Assessment, and Instructional Planning in Special Education4
CURRIC 372 Teaching Science3
CURRIC/​RP & SE  365 Teaching Mathematics in Inclusive Settings4
CURRIC 371 Teaching Social Studies3
CURRIC 373 Elementary Teaching Practicum III3
Semester 4
RP & SE 477 Special Education Student Teaching: Middle Childhood - Early Adolescence7
RP & SE 457 Elementary Student Teaching Seminar - Elementary/Special Education Dual Major1
CURRIC 464 Student Teaching in the Elementary School7
CURRIC 463 Seminar in Pre-Kindergarten Through Middle School Teaching1
RP & SE 402 Methods in Teaching Functional Skills1

Elective Coursework

Select additional coursework, if needed, to complete the minimum of 120 credits.

Option 4—Middle Childhood–Early Adolescence/Content Focused Minor

The Middle Childhood–Early Adolescence/Content Focused Minor option prepares teachers to work in intermediate and middle school settings (approximately ages 6 through 12–13). Students complete a content area minor that may lead to licensing in that subject. Admitted students currently begin the four-semester professional sequence in the spring after admission, although this will change in the near future.

Environmental Education Requirement

Select one Environmental Studies course or from the following list. If appropriate, this course may also be applied toward the liberal studies requirements.

Environmental Education courses

ATM OCN/​ENVIR ST/​GEOG  121 Atmospheric Environment and Society2
ATM OCN/​SOIL SCI  132 Earth's Water: Natural Science and Human Use3
BOTANY 100 Survey of Botany3
BOTANY/​BIOLOGY/​ZOOLOGY  152 Introductory Biology5
BOTANY/​ENVIR ST/​ZOOLOGY  260 Introductory Ecology3
ECON/​A A E/​ENVIR ST  343 Environmental Economics3-4
GEOG/​ENVIR ST  120 Introduction to the Earth System3
GEOG/​ATM OCN/​ENVIR ST  121 Atmospheric Environment and Society2
GEOG/​ENVIR ST  127 Physical Systems of the Environment5
GEOG/​ENVIR ST  139 Living in the Global Environment: An Introduction to People-Environment Geography3-4
GEOG/​ENVIR ST  309 People, Land and Food: Comparative Study of Agriculture Systems3
GEOG/​ENVIR ST  339 Environmental Conservation4
LAND ARC/​ENVIR ST  361 Wetlands Ecology3
MED HIST/​ENVIR ST/​HIST SCI  513 Environment and Health in Global Perspective3
PHYSICS 115 Energy3
POP HLTH/​ENVIR ST  502 Air Pollution and Human Health3
SOC/​C&E SOC  140 Introduction to Community and Environmental Sociology3
SOC/​C&E SOC/​F&W ECOL  248 Environment, Natural Resources, and Society3
SOIL SCI 301 General Soil Science4
SOIL SCI/​ENVIR ST  324 Soils and Environmental Quality3

Fine Arts

Select 6 credits of fine arts coursework. These credits may also be applied toward the liberal studies requirement. See a list of fine arts courses under liberal studies.

Mathematics for Elementary Teachers

MATH 130 Mathematics for Teaching: Numbers and Operations3
MATH 131 Mathematics for Teaching: Geometry and Measurement3
MATH 132 Problem Solving in Algebra, Probability and Statistics3

Students with college-level calculus coursework or advanced placement credit should see the exemption rules for this coursework. More detailed information about these courses is available on the math department website.

Education Coursework

Child and Adolescent Development3-6
Select one option:
Human Development From Childhood Through Adolescence
Human Development in Infancy and Childhood
and Human Development in Adolescence 1
Foundations of the Profession6
Select 6 credits of coursework numbered below 600 from the Educational Policy Studies department.
Recommended courses include:
School and Society
History of American Education
Topics on Social Issues and Education
1

 With permission, PSYCH 460 Child Development (formerly 560) may be substituted for ED PSYCH 320 Human Development in Infancy and Childhood. Students are strongly encouraged to complete this requirement before program admission.

Minor Requirement: Elementary Education

Elementary Education majors choosing the Content Focus option are required to complete a minor area of study that will lead to Wisconsin licensing in English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science or Social Studies. Students can select from the minors listed below or complete the equivalent Letters & Science major in the subject area. For more details about the requirements of each minor, choose from the links below.

Professional Sequence

Admitted students complete a four-semester sequence of professional courses. Each semester of the sequence must be followed sequentially and taken in consecutive semesters. Class schedules for the sequence are determined in advance.

Semester 1
CURRIC 364 Introduction to Education3
CURRIC 309 Reading and Writing Across the Content Areas3
Semester 2
CURRIC 368 The Teaching of Reading3
CURRIC 369 The Teaching of Language Arts3
CURRIC 370 Teaching Mathematics3
CURRIC 367 Elementary Teaching Practicum II3
Semester 3
CURRIC 371 Teaching Social Studies3
CURRIC 372 Teaching Science3
CURRIC/​RP & SE  506 Strategies for Inclusive Schooling3
CURRIC 311 Language Acquisition and Use In and Out of Schools, Middle Childhood through Early Adolescence3
CURRIC 373 Elementary Teaching Practicum III3
Semester 4
CURRIC 463 Seminar in Pre-Kindergarten Through Middle School Teaching2
CURRIC 464 Student Teaching in the Elementary School10
or CURRIC 454 Student Teaching in the Middle School

Elective Coursework

Select additional coursework, if needed, to complete the minimum of 120 credits.

GPA and Other Graduation Requirements—Required for All Program Options

Graduation Requirements

Students must complete all requirements and also obtain the endorsement of the program faculty to receive certification through UW–Madison. The State of Wisconsin requires that anyone wishing to teach in a public K–12 setting hold a valid teaching license issued through the Department of Public Instruction. In addition to completing a certification program, students must submit a separate application for this license. Requirements below are based on UW–Madison coursework.

  • 2.5 cumulative grade point average. This may be modified by the Last 60 Credits Rule.
  • 2.75 cumulative grade point average across all professional education courses (excluding practicum and student teaching).
  • 2.75 cumulative grade point average in the major.
  • 2.75 cumulative grade point average in the minor, if required.
  • Minimum 120 credits (degree candidates only).
  • Major residency: Degree candidates must complete at least 15 credits of upper-level major coursework (numbered 300–699) in residence on the UW–Madison campus.
  • Senior residency: Degree candidates must complete their last 30 credits in residence on the UW–Madison campus. Student teaching and practicum are considered part of the 30 credits.

Degree Audit Reporting System (DARS)

At UW–Madison, a DARS report is used to document a student's progress toward the completion of their degree. This degree audit identifies the requirements that have already been completed, and also those that remain unsatisfied. A DARS report can offer suggestions about appropriate courses that may be taken to meet specific requirements and can assist in the academic planning process. 

Students can access DARS reports through their Student Center in My UW–Madison. Go to the Academics tab and find DARS on the dropdown menu.

DARS also has a "what-if" function. This feature makes it possible to request a DARS report as if pursuing another program or major on campus. It is an excellent tool if considering a new or additional area of study. School of Education students in a pre-professional classification such as Pre-Elementary (PRE) should request a "what if" DARS report of their professional program of interest.

DARS is not intended to replace student contact with academic advisers. It creates more time in an advising appointment to discuss course options, research opportunities, graduate school, or issues of personal interest or concern to students.

DARS is the document of record, i.e., certifying document of degree completion, for program areas in the School of Education.

Additional Certification Requirements and Applying for a License

In addition to completing UW–Madison's program requirements, students must also complete Wisconsin statutory requirements and certification requirements established by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. Many of these requirements are embedded within the program's requirements and require no additional attention. The endorsement of the program coordinator/faculty is also required to receive certification through UW–Madison.

The State of Wisconsin requires that anyone wishing to teach in a public K–12 setting hold a valid teaching license issued through the Department of Public Instruction. In addition to completing a certification program, students must submit a separate application for this license.

Detailed information about certification requirements and applying for a license is available under Certification/Licensure.

University Degree Requirements

Total Degree To receive a bachelor's degree from UW–Madison, students must earn a minimum of 120 degree credits. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 degree credits. Students should consult with their college or department advisor for information on specific credit requirements.
Residency Degree candidates are required to earn a minimum of 30 credits in residence at UW–Madison. "In residence" means on the UW–Madison campus with an undergraduate degree classification. “In residence” credit also includes UW–Madison courses offered in distance or online formats and credits earned in UW–Madison Study Abroad/Study Away programs.
Quality of Work Undergraduate students must maintain the minimum grade point average specified by the school, college, or academic program to remain in good academic standing. Students whose academic performance drops below these minimum thresholds will be placed on academic probation.

Learning Outcomes

  1. The teacher candidate will create and implement developmentally appropriate and challenging learning experiences that reflect high expectations for every learner, supporting learners to (1) develop deep understanding of content areas and their connections, and (2) apply understanding in meaningful ways.
  2. The teacher candidate will select and/or create and sequence individually supportive and challenging learning experiences that reflect knowledge of individual learners, curriculum, pedagogies, and relevance to all learners and their families.
  3. The teacher candidate will use a variety of teaching strategies, and evidence-based technologies and information resources to engage learners in meaningful learning activities that lead to content knowledge, critical thinking, creativity, innovation, self-evaluation, and self-directed learning. Use evidence to continually evaluate the effectiveness of these practices, and adjust these as needed to improve learner outcomes.
  4. The teacher candidate will collaborate with others to create supportive, inclusive, linguistically responsive, and safe learning environments that help all learners meet high standards and reach their full potential.
  5. The teacher candidate will choose, modify, and/or create multiple forms of unbiased formative and summative assessments to measure each learner’s progress toward instructional goals. Use assessment data gathered to respond to each learner’s strengths and needs in relation to short and long-term goals. Reflect on and justify planning decisions and ground one’s justifications in knowledge of learners, development, curriculum, pedagogies, and resources.
  6. The teacher candidate will use studies completed in science and mathematics, social sciences, the humanities, histories, languages, and the arts to inform and deepen their teaching of content areas and meeting learners’ needs.

Elementary Education Advising

Students not yet admitted to Elementary Education meet with their assigned advisor in Education Academic Services (EAS) and/or the Office of Undergraduate Recruitment and Retention (OURR), see below. Students are assigned an additional departmental advisor when admitted to the professional component of their degree program.

General School of Education Advising

All undergraduate students in the School of Education are served by three offices devoted to academic and/or career advising. Each student in the School of Education is assigned at least one advisor and is encouraged to meet with the advisor on a regular basis. Students will also be assigned a faculty or staff advisor when admitted to the professional component of their degree program. Departmental advisors provide more in-depth knowledge of the major and of courses offered by the department.

Undergraduate Advising and Academic Dean's Office—Education Academic Services (EAS)

139 Education Building, 1000 Bascom Mall; 608-262-1651
www.education.wisc.edu/soe/academics/undergraduate-students/academic-advising

Education Academic Services (EAS) is the undergraduate dean's office for students in the School of Education. Staff members interpret school regulations, policies, and program requirements; take exceptions around requirements and deadlines; advise current and prospective students; monitor students having academic difficulties; coordinate field placements; facilitate the program admissions process; and maintain the official files of students in the school.

Students should meet with an advisor during their first semester on campus (if not before) and are encouraged to meet with an advisor at least once a semester. This is particularly important during the freshman and sophomore years. Appointments may be arranged by calling or visiting the office.

EAS advisors answer questions and provide guidance to current and prospective students. They consult with and refer students to faculty members and departmental advisors. Once a student is admitted to a professional program within the School of Education, he or she will also be assigned a faculty or staff advisor. Advising then becomes a partnership, with EAS and OURR advisors continuing to help students with course selection, degree progress monitoring, academic difficulties, and interpretation of policies and procedures.

Program advisors help students select and plan a program of study in the major, negotiate issues within the department, and, in the case of certification programs, follow the students' progress through their professional courses. These divisions are flexible, and students are encouraged to consult with all advisors who can help with a situation or answer a question.

OURR: Office of Undergraduate Recruitment and Retention (Student Diversity Programs)

105 Education Building, 1000 Bascom Mall, 608-262-8427 or 608-262-1651
www.education.wisc.edu/sdp

The UW–Madison School of Education is committed to promoting equity and increasing diversity in its programs. OURR staff work collaboratively with Education Academic Services and campus and community partners to support underrepresented students interested in majors in the School of Education.

OURR staff perform outreach, recruitment, and advising on behalf of the School. OURR staff also support current students with their personal and professional growth, their transition from high school to college, financial aid, and career exploration.  

OURR works to build a network of students and graduates who may strengthen, transform, and lead their communities through education, service, and other contributions. Students are invited to visit OURR staff at 105 Education Building—stop in, or call one of the numbers listed above to set up an appointment.

School of Education Career Center

L107 Education Building, 1000 Bascom Mall, 608-262-1755
http://careercenter.education.wisc.edu/

Need assistance with any of the following? 

  • Exploring career options linked to School of Education majors
  • Seeking a major that incorporates individual passions, interests, and values that will help one reach specific career goals
  • Researching graduate schools and preparing application materials
  • Beginning a job search and learning where to start and what to do
  • Seeking assistance with developing a résumé, a cover letter, or interviewing skills
  • Networking and connecting with potential employers

The Career Center provides resources and individual consultations to assist students in reaching their career goals.  A plethora of resources can be found on the Career Center website:

  • Explore career possibilities for specific majors in Investigate Career Options. This section of the website provides tools for clarifying a student’s personal criteria for success, linking specific career options to majors, and identifying steps for career/major selection.  It includes strategies for making the most of a student’s academic and student experience.
  • Confirm major and career decisions.  Gain hands-on experience in the career field of study.  Assess the perceptions of selected career and major options for accuracy.  Develop professional and soft skills.  The Test Drive and Confirm Career Choice section provides strategies for acquiring real-world experience.
  • Preparation is critical for entering one’s next career phase.  Learn about graduate school requirements and the application process.  Develop promotional materials for employers and/or graduate schools and obtain feedback and suggestions for enhancing them.  Acquire materials that support one’s applications.  The Prepare and Connect section provides offers additional details.
  • Implement helps students plan for the future.  Attend recruiting events.  Apply for graduate school or for job opportunities.  Practice interviewing skills.  Interview.  Negotiate job and graduate school offers.

Personalized career assistance is available through individual appointments with consultants in the Career Center.  To schedule an appointment visit, http://bit.ly/CCAppt.

Informational workshops and career-related events are conducted each semester.  The schedule of these events can be found on the center’s website.

The Career Center coordinates teacher recruitment fairs each fall and spring semester and collaborates with career centers across campus to provide campus-wide career fairs at the beginning of each semester. 

Information about faculty, staff, and other contributors to the Department of Curriculum and Instruction can be found on the department's website.

Additional Certification Requirements 

Students must complete all requirements and also obtain the endorsement of the program faculty to receive certification through UW–Madison. These requirements include those required by UW–Madison, the Department of Public Instruction, and those mandated by state statutes. While most of these requirements are embedded in course content, some (e.g., the Basic Skills Requirement, the Wisconsin Foundations of Reading Test) are not related to course enrollment. 

Students pursuing certification must complete the following requirements. See the school's website for additional information/requirements.

Certification requirements should be monitored carefully. The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) periodically implements regulations that affect all certification programs; teacher certification candidates are responsible for having up-to-date information about certification requirements.

Disclosure Statement and Criminal Background Investigation

Disclosure Statement

Applicants to School of Education programs that involve a practicum, internship, or other field placement must complete a disclosure statement indicating (1) whether they have been admitted to, then withdrawn from, asked to withdraw from, or been dropped from a student teaching, clinical experience, or other intern/practicum program, and (2) if they have ever been placed on probation or disciplined by any college or university for academic dishonesty.

Criminal Background Investigation (CBI)

The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) is required by law to conduct a background check on each applicant for a Wisconsin educator license. This check is intended to determine if the applicant has engaged in any behavior that endangers the health, welfare, safety, or education of PK–12 pupils. Local school districts also will conduct criminal background checks routinely on teacher education students prior to the start of in-classroom field work.

Students should be aware that criminal background checks may be initiated by other agencies or organizations when they are seeking employment or a professional license. School administrators have the authority to determine the appropriateness of a student placement and may choose not to permit a placement based on a student’s background check results.

An individual who is deemed ineligible to participate in field or clinical experiences based on the results of their background check may not be able to complete the requirements for their degree or certification. Students with questions about these processes should contact the academic dean in Education Academic Services.

Environmental Education

This licensing requirement is mandatory for all Elementary Education, Secondary Science, Secondary Social Studies, and Agri-Science Education certification students. Students with previous degrees in their subjects must also monitor and complete this requirement for certification and licensure.

Select one Environmental Studies course or from the following list. If appropriate, this course may also be applied toward the liberal studies requirements.

ATM OCN/​ENVIR ST/​GEOG  121 Atmospheric Environment and Society2
ATM OCN/​SOIL SCI  132 Earth's Water: Natural Science and Human Use3
BOTANY 100 Survey of Botany3
BOTANY/​BIOLOGY/​ZOOLOGY  152 Introductory Biology5
BOTANY/​ENVIR ST/​ZOOLOGY  260 Introductory Ecology3
ECON/​A A E/​ENVIR ST  343 Environmental Economics3-4
GEOG/​ENVIR ST  120 Introduction to the Earth System3
GEOG/​ATM OCN/​ENVIR ST  121 Atmospheric Environment and Society2
GEOG/​ENVIR ST  127 Physical Systems of the Environment5
GEOG/​ENVIR ST  139 Living in the Global Environment: An Introduction to People-Environment Geography3-4
GEOG/​ENVIR ST  309 People, Land and Food: Comparative Study of Agriculture Systems3
GEOG/​ENVIR ST  339 Environmental Conservation4
LAND ARC/​ENVIR ST  361 Wetlands Ecology3
MED HIST/​ENVIR ST/​HIST SCI  513 Environment and Health in Global Perspective3
PHYSICS 115 Energy3
POP HLTH/​ENVIR ST  502 Air Pollution and Human Health3
SOC/​C&E SOC  140 Introduction to Community and Environmental Sociology3
SOC/​C&E SOC/​F&W ECOL  248 Environment, Natural Resources, and Society3
SOIL SCI 301 General Soil Science4
SOIL SCI/​ENVIR ST  324 Soils and Environmental Quality3

Student Testing and Assessment

Students in teacher education programs are required to complete a number of tests and a significant performance assessment prior to certification and eventual licensure. Detailed information related to these requirements, along with fee and registration information can be found on the School of Education website under Academic Tests for Prospective Teachers. A brief description of these tests and assessments is provided below.

Basic Skills Requirement

All prospective teacher education students must submit test scores to the School of Education to be eligible for professional program admission. Students may use their ACT, SAT, or GRE scores, or they may take the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators Test (formerly the Praxis I/PPST). These tests meet Wisconsin's basic skills test requirement for prospective teachers. All sections of the chosen basic skills test must be taken by program applicants to be eligible for program admission.   

Content Test

Students completing professional education programs must take and pass an approved examination in their content area prior to their final student teaching semester. Most students complete the appropriate Praxis II: Subject Assessments/Specialty Area Tests through the Educational Testing Service (ETS). World Language Education students must meet an ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview requirement and must take and pass the ACTFL Writing Proficiency Test (WPT). No candidates may be waived from taking the required test(s) for their license area.

Wisconsin Foundations of Reading Test

As of January 31, 2014, individuals seeking an initial Wisconsin license to teach in kindergarten through grade 5 or in special education, an initial Wisconsin license as a reading teacher, or an initial Wisconsin license as a reading specialist, must take and pass the Wisconsin Foundations Reading Foundations Test. Undergraduate programs impacted by this requirement are Elementary Education and Special Education.

This test is for Wisconsin licensing purposes only. Students who choose not to pursue Wisconsin educator licensing need not take and pass this test. This test is in addition to all other required tests and assessments for certification and licensure. For instance, students must still take and pass the Praxis II content exam to be eligible to student teach.  

Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA)

The edTPA is a subject area-specific, performance-based assessment for pre-service teacher candidates, which is centered on student learning. Evidence of candidate teaching proficiency in the areas of planning, engagement and instruction, and assessment is drawn from a subject-specific learning segment, 3–5 lessons from a unit of instruction. Assessment artifacts include video clips of instruction, lesson plans, student work samples, analysis of student learning, and reflective commentaries. These artifacts will be taken together and scored by trained evaluators using the standardized set of edTPA rubrics. After August 31, 2015, initial license candidates (i.e., students completing certification programs) must complete the edTPA as part of their student teaching and after August 31, 2016, initial license candidates will be required to pass the edTPA before they can be recommended for licensure.

Field Experiences

School-based field experiences are a critical part of students' professional preparation for teaching. In fact, the student teaching experience is frequently cited in teacher education literature as the single component of a teacher education program with the highest impact on future teaching behaviors of teacher candidates. Under Wisconsin State regulations, students seeking teaching certification from UW–Madison are required to complete at least one pre-student teaching practicum and at least one full semester of student teaching. Most programs at UW–Madison require students to complete additional field experiences.  

Pre–Student Teaching Practicum

The pre–student teaching practicum gives students firsthand knowledge of the classroom environment and the teacher's role. For many students, the practicum is the initial encounter with the real world of teaching. Practicum students do not assume the degree of classroom responsibility they do during student teaching. Under the supervision of an experienced teacher, practicum students observe classroom activities, assist the teacher with day-to-day classroom management tasks, interact one-to-one with students, and instruct small groups. The cooperating teacher and university supervisor use the practicum to assess the student's readiness for the student teaching experience. For this reason, active student engagement in the practicum experience is necessary and expected.

Student Teaching Experience

Student teaching, the culminating field experience, is a full-time, school district semester assignment that places a university student under the guidance of an experienced, qualified cooperating teacher. After an orientation period, the student teacher gradually assumes more responsibility for planning, instruction, and overall classroom management. Student teachers follow the daily schedule of the cooperating teacher and the building policies of the school, and function as regular staff members in arrival and departure times and attendance at school events. Daily attendance at school, barring emergencies, is required.

The student teaching experience follows the calendar of the local school district. A fall semester assignment will typically begin the latter part of August and end the latter part of January. A spring semester assignment will begin the latter part of January and end mid-June. Holiday breaks follow the school district calendar. Carrying other formal course work during the student teaching semester is strongly discouraged.

Find detailed policies and regulations regarding student teaching in the Teacher Education Field Experience Policies (November, 2014). Students and staff are responsible for knowing and complying with the Field Experience policies. Many professional programs have their own separate handbooks and specific policies; students are also responsible for those policies and procedures.

General Eligibility Requirements for Student Teaching

Minimum eligibility requirements apply to all students. Several subject areas require a specific grade point average unique to a particular program, or additional course work as a prerequisite to student teaching. Students are urged to check with their Education Academic Services and faculty advisors to be certain that all eligibility requirements have been met. Students should check these items well in advance to preclude last-minute schedule conflicts in preparation for the student teaching semester. Minimum requirements are:

  • Admission to a School of Education certification program.
  • Completion of all course prerequisites, such as the teaching methods course(s) and pre–student teaching practica. Students should check for other possible course requirements in their specific area of study.
  • Passing a content examination in the certification area(s).
  • For world languages, an immersion experience and the appropriate score on the oral and written proficiency examinations.
Student Teaching Application Procedures

Information related to student teaching and the application process is available on the School of Education website. Please be aware that some program areas require students to file an application far in advance of the student teaching semester.

Alternative Placement Options for Student Teaching

Alternative placement options include placements with the Institute for Urban Education, and teacher internships under the auspices of the Wisconsin Improvement Program:

  • The UW System Institute for Urban Education helps pre-service teachers pursue their desire to become urban educators and to provide professional development opportunities for currently practicing teachers. Not all teacher education programs participate in the institute. Students should consult with their program coordinator for more information.
  • The teacher internship is a licensed, full-semester assignment that replaces the student teaching experience. Interns are under contract with a school district and paid a modest salary. Internships are rarely available; students are notified by the program coordinator when they are offered by a district and are available to our students.
Special Placements

The School of Education is committed to placing its students in classrooms with teachers we know, in schools led by principals we know. Thus, student teaching placements are made within the University of Wisconsin–Madison service area. In general the service area is 50 miles from Madison, but individual programs may (and do) reduce the size of their service area. Occasionally, students with extenuating circumstances are allowed special placements beyond this area. “Extenuating circumstances” have included spousal/partner relocation, family emergency, or a highly specialized placement. All special placements must be approved by the student’s program coordinator and Associate Dean Jeffrey Hamm. Students permitted special placements are usually liable for the cost of supervision (at least $500). Special placements are not permitted due to financial need or to enhance employment opportunities.

Withdrawing From/Failing Field Experience Assignments

Withdrawing from a field experience has serious implications for the student’s progress in the program. Students who withdraw or receive an unsatisfactory grade (including a “D”) from a field experience may not repeat such experiences without approval from the program coordinator and Associate Dean Jeffrey Hamm. Students withdrawing from or receiving an unsatisfactory grade in field experiences in one major or program may not enroll in another major or program without written permission from the program coordinator and after consultation with Associate Dean Hamm.

Permission to repeat field experiences is not automatically granted. A confirmed field placement is considered an informal contractual agreement between the university and the school in which the student is located. Under this agreement, university faculty, cooperating teachers, and students assume certain responsibilities and obligations to one another. A student's withdrawal from an assignment is considered to be an exception to the agreement and should occur only under the most unusual circumstances. Because of the consequences that withdrawal from a confirmed assignment may have on a student's future progress in the teaching certification program, a student who contemplates such action is strongly urged to consult with the program coordinator and Associate Dean Hamm to fully understand the implications of such action and the options available.

Minority Group Relations and Conflict Resolution

Minority Group Relations

Wisconsin State teacher education regulations require students to complete a section titled Minority Group Relations. The rules identify Minority Group Relations as

  • The history, culture, and tribal sovereignty of American Indian tribes and bands located in Wisconsin.
  • The history, culture and contributions of women and various racial, cultural, language and economic groups in the United States.
  • The philosophical and psychological bases of attitude development and change.
  • The psychological and social implications of discrimination, especially racism and sexism in the American society.
  • Evaluating and assessing the forces of discrimination, especially racism and sexism on faculty, students, curriculum, instruction, and assessment in the school program.
  • Minority group relations through direct involvement with various racial, cultural, language and economic groups in the United States.

UW–Madison teacher education programs address these areas through course work and experiences in each professional education program. Students who successfully complete their professional program will have satisfied each of the areas of Minority Group Relations. For more detailed information about how required courses address Minority Group Relations for each program area, see the School of Education's PI 34 site. Choose Certification Programs, select the program of interest, and click on Rules & Statutes.

Conflict Resolution Requirement

Wisconsin State teacher education regulations require all individuals pursuing teacher certification to have formal training in conflict resolution. This includes

  • Resolving conflicts between pupils and between pupils and school staff.
  • Assisting pupils in learning methods of resolving conflicts between pupils and between pupils and school staff, including training in the use of peer mediation to resolve conflicts between pupils.
  • Dealing with crises, including violent, disruptive, potentially violent or potentially disruptive situations that may arise in school or activities supervised by school staff as a result of conflicts between pupils or between pupils and other persons.

All teacher certification programs include conflict resolution training in their required course work. For more detailed  information about how conflict resolution is addressed in each program area, see the School of Education's PI 34 site. Choose Certification Programs, select the program of interest, and click on Rules & Statutes.

Phonics

As of July 1, 1998, the State of Wisconsin requires that all persons seeking initial and renewal licenses to teach reading or language arts in grades Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 6 (PK–6) must have successfully completed instruction in teaching reading and language arts using appropriate instructional methods, including phonics. "Phonics" means a method of teaching beginners to read and pronounce words by learning the phonetic value of letters, letter groups and syllables.

The Phonics requirement applies to students completing Elementary Education and Special Education certification programs. UW–Madison students fulfill this requirement through the successful completion of courses that are already required, so no additional course work is needed to meet this statutory requirement.

Cooperatives

This licensing requirement is mandatory for secondary Social Studies (and Agri-Science) Education certification. Students with previous degrees in their subjects must also monitor and complete this requirement for certification and licensure.

Students typically complete the cooperatives requirement after being admitted to the Secondary Social Studies program and should consult with the program coordinator, Professor Alan Lockwood, regarding its completion.

Portfolios

Students in certification programs are required to demonstrate their knowledge and professional development through the creation and maintenance of a portfolio. A portfolio has several purposes:

  • To serve as a tool for teacher learning, growth, and development. Portfolios are intended to support students’ efforts to become thoughtful and effective teachers.
  • To provide documentation and/or evidence that students have satisfactorily met all teacher education standards required for initial teacher certification in Wisconsin. The portfolio helps to demonstrate students' achievement of these knowledge and performance standards.
  • To provide a repository for student artifacts.
  • To enhance students' technical literacy through the portfolio creation.
  • To support the job preparation and interview process.

Portfolios consist of a variety of artifacts which students have chosen from their educational experiences to best represent their growth and development as teachers. Artifacts can include lesson plans, classroom observations, analyses of student learning, student work samples, photographs, video clips of instruction and reflective commentaries.

The student portfolio provides a foundation for the Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA), a standardized evaluation required by Wisconsin for teacher licensure. The edTPA process also requires students to submit artifacts. These artifacts are scored by trained evaluators using a standardized set of edTPA rubrics.

For more information about the use of the portfolio in a specific teacher education program, please contact the program coordinator.

Teacher Standards

UW–Madison teacher education students must meet all state licensing requirements for initial teaching certification in Wisconsin. These requirements, sometimes referred to as administrative rules "PI 34," mandate that individuals demonstrate proficiency on state-approved teaching standards. Each teacher education institution in Wisconsin has adopted a set of teacher education standards that meet state guidelines. These standards must be met by all students completing a licensing program. The current standards of the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Education can be found on the school's website.

Applying for a Teaching License

The State of Wisconsin requires that anyone wishing to teach in a public K–12 setting hold a valid teaching license issued through the Department of Public Instruction. In addition to completing a certification program, students must submit a separate application for this license. Students intending to complete a teacher certification program should monitor program requirements carefully. The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) periodically implements regulations that affect all certification programs; teacher certification candidates are responsible for having up-to-date information about certification requirements.

Licensing Levels

The following licensing options are offered at UW–Madison.

  • The Elementary Education program currently offers two licensing levels: Early Childhood and also Middle Childhood through Early Adolescence
  • The Special Education program certifies students at both the Middle Childhood through Early Adolescence level and also at the Early Adolescence through Adolescence level. The Special Education/Elementary Education dual major option certifies students only at the Middle Childhood through Early Adolescence level.
  • Secondary Education programs certify students to teach their subject area at the Early Adolescence through Adolescence level.
  • Students completing Language Education programs will be licensed at the Early Childhood through Adolescence level.
  • Students in special fields such as Art, Communication Sciences and Disorders, Music, and Physical Education will be licensed at the Early Childhood through Adolescence level.

Wisconsin State Licensing

The State of Wisconsin issues an initial teaching license to certified teachers. The current fee is $125. An online license application is available through the Department of Public Instruction. A Criminal Background Investigation (CBI) will also be conducted by DPI. Information about fingerprint submission, when necessary, is available through the Department of Public Instruction.

Before applying for a license, DPI requires the electronic submission of “Endorsed Candidate for Licensure" (ECL) data by the certifying officer of the institution where the teacher preparation was completed. For UW–Madison teacher certification students, the endorsement will come from the School of Education, 139 Education Building, 1000 Bascom Mall. Once this information has been submitted to DPI, students are notified by email that they may begin the application online.

Before endorsing a student, UW–Madison requires that (1) all certification requirements are met; (2) student teaching (following the school district calendar) is completed; (3) final grades are posted and reviewed; (4) the degree is "posted" by the registrar's office (four to five weeks after graduation); and (5) a recommendation for certification is received from the program faculty. The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction may require an additional 6 to 12 weeks for license processing. See Educator Licensing for additional information about the licensing process.

Licensing Outside of Wisconsin

To apply for a license in a state other than Wisconsin, first check out the application requirements of that state. The University of Kentucky has a website that provides links to teacher licensing agencies in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

Many states have a verification form that needs to be signed by a UW–Madison certification officer. This form verifies that a state-approved licensing program has been completed. These forms should be sent to Education Academic Services at 139 Education Building, 1000 Bascom Mall, or by email (mlpatton@wisc.edu) to be completed. If the form requests information about practicum and student teaching assignments (names of schools, grade levels, dates, etc.), this information must be completed before sending the form to EAS. 

Information about scholarships, academic and career advising, study abroad opportunities, student diversity services, and other resources for students in the School of Education can be found on the school's Resources page.