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Undergraduate Elementary Teacher Education

Overview & Requirements
Careers & Field Experience

The elementary teacher education program at the University of Michigan has a strong emphasis on developing teachers’ instructional practices for the purpose of disrupting inequities in schools. Students earn a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree in Education and are recommended to the State of Michigan for elementary teacher certification. Prospective teachers (teaching interns) learn teaching practices that adopt a "subject-matter serious" perspective and are rooted in social justice. Students typically begin the four-term program during their junior year.

First-year students interested in elementary teacher education should consider applying for the Teacher Education Preferred Admissions (TEPA) Program.

The undergraduate elementary teacher education program prepares you to teach in:

  • Grades PK–3 all subjects (PK–3 all subjects, self-contained classroom)
  • Grades 3–6 all subjects (3–6 all subjects, self-contained classroom)
Foundational Pillars of the Elementary Education Program

Post-baccalaureate Certification Only
Students who have already completed a bachelor’s degree (and do not seek a second bachelor’s degree) may apply as a non-degree applicant to the Marsal Family School of Education to complete the teacher certification requirements. This Post-Baccalaureate/Non-Candidate for Degree Status program is for the undergraduate level only.

Want to learn more about the program?
See our upcoming information sessions

Additional certificate and endorsement opportunities


Students are generally admitted to the Elementary Teacher Education program in their junior year, having completed at least 54 credits. To graduate, students must meet the following requirements while completing a minimum of 120 credits.


Minimum credits required

Credits to complete before entering the professional sequence: minimum 54

Pre-professional credits

  • First-Year Writing (3 credits)
  • Natural Science (6 credits)
    • One course (3 credits) in Physics
      • PHYSICS 106 – Everyday Physics is highly recommended
    • One course (3 credits) in a science discipline from this list*:
      • Astronomy
      • Biology
      • Earth Sciences
  • Race & Ethnicity (3 credits)
  • Social Science (6 credits)**
    • Two courses (6 credits) in different social studies disciplines from this list*:
      • Civics/Political Science
      • Economics
      • History
      • Geography: cultural, human or world regional with a social science focus (ex. GEOG 145 Introduction to International Studies; not physical or natural science)
    • Advanced or in-depth courses that focus on specific issues and provide substantive learning opportunities are highly preferred to introductory, survey courses.
  • Highly Recommended, but not required, coursework that will strengthen your application
    • EDUC 118, EDUC 119, or EDUC 218
    • IGR (Intergroup Relations) - choose one:
      • ALA 122 Intergroup Dialogues
      • ALA 170 Social Identity, Social Inequality & Social Media: An Introduction to Intergroup Relations
      • ALA 220 Foundations of Intergroup Relations
    • Ethnic Studies—courses that centers the experience, histories, and/or knowledge of a historically marginalized racial or ethnic group
      • AMAS/AMCULT 384 Islamophobia
      • AMCULT/LATINOAM 213 Intro to Latina/o Studies 
      • AMCULT 263/HISTORY 262 The American South: A History of Race and Culture since Reconstruction
      • NATIVEAM/AMCULT 217 Introduction to Native American Studies
    • EARTH/ASTRO 255 – Earth and Space Sciences for Elementary School Educators

* AP/IB credit not allowed
** No double counting with Race & Ethnicity

General Elective Credits

In addition to the required pre-professional credits, students must take additional general elective credits to meet the minimum 54 credits to enter the elementary education program.

Credits to complete during the professional sequence

Core credits


Students complete the following courses:

Teaching experience credits


Students complete the following courses:

MDE ESL endorsement credits (optional)


Interns may elect the MDE English as a Second Language (ESL) endorsement by completing a sequence of courses and fieldwork, focused on English Language Development (ELD), during their elementary or secondary certification programs at the undergraduate or master’s levels. Fully approved by the State of Michigan, the ELD Coursework is a 20-credit, six course and practice-based course sequence, which meets Michigan state standards and prepares interns to take the MTTC ESL exam.

Learn more about obtaining an MDE ESL endorsement

Course Sequence

Semester 1
Fall (Year 1)
Course Description Credits
EDUC 307 Practicum 2
EDUC 392 Educational Foundations in a Multicultural Society 3
EDUC 401 Literacy 1: Development of Foundational Skills 3
EDUC 415 Children as Sensemakers in PK-6 Mathematics and Science 4
EDUC 430 "Teaching To Transgress:" Using Dialogic Thinking and History/Social Science Perspectives to Understand Contemporary and Historical Issues 3
EDUC 443 Teaching Students with Exceptionalities in the General Education Elementary Classroom (Module 1) 1
EDUC 444 Teaching with Digital Technologies (Module 1) 2
Total semester credits 18
Students engage in 6–8 hours of fieldwork per week. Additional courses may be taken to satisfy general or endorsement area requirements.
Semester 2
Winter (Year 1)
Course Description Credits
EDUC 307 Practicum 2
EDUC 403 Literacy 2: Development of Comprehension and Motivation PK-6 3
EDUC 414 Creating School and Classroom Culture 3
EDUC 416 Teaching with Curriculum Materials in PK-6 Mathematics and Science 4
EDUC 443 Teaching Students with Exceptionalities in the General Education Elementary Classroom (Module 2) 2
EDUC 444 Teaching with Digital Technologies (Module 2) 1
Total semester credits 15
Students engage in 6–8 hours of fieldwork per week. Additional courses may be taken to satisfy general or endorsement area requirements.
Semester 3
Fall (Year 2)
Course Description Credits
EDUC 307 Practicum 2
EDUC 391 Educational Psychology and Human Development 2
EDUC 405 Literacy 3: Development of Language and Composition PK-6 3
EDUC 411 Teaching PK-6 Mathematics 4
EDUC 417 Imagination and the Whole Child 1
EDUC 421 Teaching PK-6 Science 3
EDUC 431 Teaching Social Studies in PK-6 3
Total semester credits 18
Students engage in 10–12 hours of fieldwork per week. Additional courses may be taken to satisfy general or endorsement area requirements.
Semester 4
Winter (Year 2)
Course Description Credits
EDUC 301 Directed Teaching in the Elementary Grades 10
EDUC 303 Problems and Principles of Elementary Education 2
EDUC 407 Literacy 4: Teaching Language, Literacy and Academic Content to Diverse Learners (required for ELUG and counts towards ESL Endorsement) 3
Total semester credits 15
EDUC 593 Educational Lingustics (ESL endorsement only) 3
Total semester credits with ESL 18
Students engage in fieldwork full time, 5 days per week.
Semester 5
Spring (Year 2) ESL Endorsement - Optional
Course Description Credits
EDUC 592 Methods for Teaching Language and Literacy to K-12 Culturally and Lingustically Diverse Learners 4
EDUC 594 Education in a Multilingual Society 4
EDUC 595 Leadership and Advocacy Practices for Teachers of Culturally and Lingustically Diverse Learners 3
Total semester credits 11
Semester 6
Summer (Year 2) ESL Endorsement - Optional
Course Description Credits
EDUC 590 English as a Second Language Teaching Practicum and Seminar 3
Total semester credits 3

Upcoming Information Sessions

There are no information sessions currently scheduled; please contact us at [email protected] to speak with a recruiter.

Application Deadlines

Fall (Aug)
February 1

Application Process

Step 2: Submit a request for coursework evaluation

Complete a request for coursework evaluation form.

This process is used to determine the content coursework you have previously completed towards certification requirements. Please submit all transcripts reflecting college-level coursework directly to the Marsal Family School of Education. Unofficial transcripts are accepted for this initial evaluation, but official transcripts will be required upon admission. Evaluations are free of charge and may take three to four weeks to complete.

Step 3: Prepare application materials
  • Two Letters of Recommendation
    • Academic Letter (typically from a professor or instructor): this letter should speak to your intellectual curiosity, preparedness for university study, receptivity to feedback, and/or perseverance. If you are applying to the secondary program, a letter from a professor or instructor from the content area in which you are seeking certification is preferred.
    • Teaching Potential Letter: this letter should comment specifically on your potential to become a successful teacher. This may include personal characteristics; work ability; and capacity to work with people, especially youth. 
    • Your recommenders can submit their letters directly to [email protected]. Be sure that your recommenders include your name and, if possible, UMID or uniqname.
    • Due to COVID-19, we are aware that complications may arise when seeking
      your letters of recommendation. Please view the letter of recommendation
      requirements *as guidelines* for the type of information we are seeking as
      you determine your two recommenders. We will offer additional flexibility
      as we understand the complications during this time of gathering letters of
      recommendation that speak to these requirements.
  • Essay prompt #1
    • Please review the Educator Preparation Program Mission and Vision Statements Below:
      • Mission: Our mission in the Educator Preparation Program (EPP) at the U-M Marsal Family School of Education is to prepare educators to support the well-being and learning of young people and to advance justice through their practice, advocacy, and activism. All pathways within the EPP leverage both research and the expertise of experienced educators to prepare novices for the complex work of supporting young people's learning and thriving, as well as that of  their families and communities. We drive to uphold diversity and inclusion, and to advance justice and equity, in the field of educator preparation. 
      • Vision: The Educator Preparation Program  at the U-M Marsal Family School of Education pursues a vision of educating towards justice. 
    • Please address the following in your Essay:
      • How does your experience prepare you to engage in a program with these commitments?
      • What goals do you have for your own career in light of these commitments?
    • 4000 characters - approx. 500 words - maximum
  • Essay prompt #2 
    • Please answer in approximately 250 words (2000 characters) maximum. 
    • Describe your experiences (work and/or volunteer) engaging with youth. 

Quick Facts

Financial aid


Part-time status

No applications accepted

Field placements


In-school placements every semester, plus additional courses that occur in schools



of known graduates found full-time employment or pursued an advanced degree


of known graduates indicated are highly satisfied or satisfied with their current position


of known graduates found a job within 4 months
Hiring organizations and job titles


Organization Job Title Location
Abbot Elementary School 1st Grade Teacher Ann Arbor, MI
Carpenter Elementary School 4th Grade Teacher Ann Arbor, MI
Dearborn School of Music Piano, Guitar, and Bass Guitar Instructor Dearborn, MI
Kent Lake Elementary School 5th Grade Teacher South Lyon, MI
Wines Elementary School Academic Resource Teacher (K-2) Ann Arbor, MI


Organization Job Title Location
Baker-Butler Elementary School 1st Grade Classroom Teacher Charlottesville, VA
Hoover Math and Science Academy Kindergarten Teacher Schaumburg, IL
Monterey Community School 2nd Grade Teacher Denver, CO
Sixth Avenue Elementary School 3rd Grade Teacher Aurora, CO

Field Experience

Classroom Experience 

Having a real-world experience within the settings of your chosen profession is an essential part of your educational preparation. In the first three terms, you will spend 6–9 hours per week in classrooms as a teaching intern. You will observe the classroom in action and collect data on student learning and teaching practice. You will contribute to the classroom instruction by tutoring, co-teaching, and planning with mentor teachers and your university partners.

The culminating field experience is the student teaching term, when you will follow the calendar and schedule of your placement classroom for a period of 14–15 weeks. During this experience, you will spend 5 days per week for the full school day immersed in the classroom. You will slowly and deliberately take on all aspects of instructional responsibility, building toward lead teaching, when you will be responsible for most or all aspects of the school experience for your K–8 students. Lead teaching generally happens between the 8th and 10th week of the student teaching experience and lasts 2–3 weeks.

School Partnerships

Substantial field experience in a diverse array of classrooms, urban to rural, is a key component of the program. You will have one field placement in a school in Ann Arbor and at least one placement in a neighboring district. You should expect to be assigned to grade levels spanning K–6.