The study of education is interdisciplinary and can spark profound insights about one’s own educational experience and the role of education in society. It can also lead to a variety of careers: not only teaching in a range of settings (public or private schools, schools in foreign countries, programs like Teach for America, museums and other institutions), but also careers in fields such as education policy, social justice, education law, higher education, and counseling.
The Education department offers 1) preparation for Pennsylvania state certification (transferable to more than forty other states) in a range of subjects, mostly for grades 7-12 but in some cases for grades K-12 (see below); or 2) a minor in education. The department does not offer a major—students pursue certification or a minor in addition to a major in a different department—nor does it offer certification in elementary education.
For all students, including those who might be interested in taking a course or two, the department brings a rigorous, liberal arts approach to the study of education, including a focus on the social, political, cultural, historical, and philosophical contexts in which teaching and learning take place. Education students apply academic learning to educational problems and practices, in schools as well as society. Those who pursue teaching certification will learn to develop curriculum plans, teaching strategies, and assessments that engage all of their students and make a lasting impact on their lives. They will be expected to shape classrooms characterized by a culture of learning, respect for differences, and the pursuit of individual and collective growth—and to demonstrate a commitment to ethical standards and professionalism, including their own continuing growth.
Ursinus College is approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) to offer initial Teacher Certification in the following subject areas and grade levels:
- Chemistry (7-12)
- Physics (7-12)
- Biology (7-12)
- General Science (7-12) (offered only in conjunction with Biology, Chemistry or Physics certification)
- Mathematics (7-12)
- English (7-12)
- Social Studies (7-12)
- Latin (K-12)
- German (K-12)
- French (K-12)
- Japanese (K-12)
- Spanish (K-12)
- Health and Physical Education (K-12)
Note: Due to Educational Testing Service’s elimination of the Praxis II exam in Environmental Education, there is currently no pathway to a teaching certification in that subject in Pennsylvania. Students can teach Environmental Science/Studies in Pennsylvania schools by certifying in another science. Please talk to the Ursinus College Education Department and the Department of Environmental Studies as early as possible if interested in pursuing this pathway.
NOTE: The department does not offer certification in elementary education (though as noted above, some subject area certifications span grades K-12).
To pursue one of these subject area certifications, students must major in that subject and complete nine Education courses totaling 38 credits: EDUC-210, EDUC-265, EDUC-320, EDUC-350, EDUC-360, EDUC-375, EDUC-443, EDUC-405 (student teaching, 12 credits), and EDUC-406. See recommended course sequences below. (NOTE: Students seeking certification in Health and Physical Education are required to complete HEP-355 and 356 instead of EDUC-350 and 443.)
Most Education courses require field experience hours in local public schools. Students must arrange transportation for all field experiences and student teaching. To be eligible to visit schools and complete these required hours, students must obtain the necessary security clearances: 1) Act 34, Pennsylvania State Criminal History Record; 2) Act 114, FBI Fingerprints (Federal Criminal History Record); 3) Act 151, Pennsylvania Child Abuse Background Check; and 4) Tuberculosis test.
Admission to the Program
Students must fulfill the following requirements before being admitted into the teaching certification program:
- Completion of 48 hours of college-level study;
- Completion of CIE-100 and CIE-200;
- Completion of one course in mathematics and one four-credit Q course; or two four-credit courses in mathematics;
- Completion of EDUC-210 (usually in the 2nd or 3rd semester);
- Passing scores on either the Pre-Service Academic Performance Assessment (PAPA) or ETS Core Exams in Reading, Writing, and Mathematics; OR qualifying SAT or ACT scores. This should be done by the end of sophomore year (inquire in the Education department);
- Cumulative GPA of 3.00
Students must fulfill the following requirements in order to be eligible for student teaching:
- Cumulative GPA of 3.00
- GPA of 3.00 in Education courses (210, 265, 320, 350, 360, 375, and 443. Health and Physical Education candidates: HEP-355 and 356 instead of EDUC-350 and 443)
- Specified GPA in the candidate’s major department/certification area
- Completion of EDUC-350 and EDUC-443 (or equivalent HPE methods courses) with satisfactory evaluations from Ursinus Education faculty and field placement teachers (for EDUC-443), in terms of performance and professionalism.
- Satisfactory completion of Student Teacher Biography and Placement Application
- Recommendation by the candidate’s major department and approval by Education department faculty
Students must meet the following criteria to apply and be recommended for certification:
- Cumulative GPA of 3.00
- Grade of B or higher in student teaching
- Satisfactory PDE 430 Evaluation
- Passing score on Praxis II (Content Area) exams (NOTE: Post-baccalaureate students must take and pass Praxis II before being placed for student teaching.)
- Demonstration of good moral character
Reciprocal agreements extend certification eligibility to more than forty other states, though some states require additional standardized tests. Candidates who wish to teach outside Pennsylvania should contact state education departments for further information. Eligibility for permanent certification in any state depends upon successful full-time teaching and professional development requirements which vary among individual states.
Requirements for Minors
Minor in Education
The minor in education is intended for students with a range of interests in Education, including those who seek to pursue careers in schools (counseling, administration, private school, Teach for America, special education, higher education) and those who have a broader interest in human growth and flourishing. While the minor is an option for students who are not pursuing teaching certification, students in the certification program automatically earn a minor in completing their pre-teaching coursework.
- EDUC-210, 265
- Three from among the following (at least two courses must be EDUC):
- EDUC-320, 350, 375, 446, 491, 492;
- PSYC-232, 340, 342;
- HEP-223 and 224 (must take both to count as one course)
- HEP-366, 464
Students may receive departmental permission to substitute a different non-EDUC course, not on the above list, if they provide compelling evidence for its relevance to the minor. EDUC-446 may be taken more than once (with a new topic). Students interested in careers in teaching are encouraged to choose from among EDUC-320, 350, 375 and HEP-223, 224, 366, 464. Education minors who undertake study abroad in Education may work with the department to determine adequate substitutions for required courses.