Teaching Certification

Ursinus College is approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) to offer initial Teacher Certification in a variety of subject areas:

  • Chemistry (7-12)
  • Physics (7-12)
  • Biology (7-12)
  • Environmental Education (PK-12)
  • Mathematics (7-12)
  • English (7-12)
  • Social Studies (7-12)
  • German (PK-12)
  • French (PK-12)
  • Japanese (PK-12)
  • Spanish (PK-12)
  • Health and Physical Education (PK-12)

NOTE: The department does not offer certification in elementary education (though as noted above, some subject area certifications span grades K–12). The college no longer offers a post-baccalaureate teacher certification.

Course Requirements

To pursue one of these subject area certifications, students must major in that subject and complete 38 credits in the Education department as follows:

  • Core/foundational courses: EDUC-100, 265, and 320;
  • Methodological courses: EDUC-350W, 360 (two credits), 375, and 443 (two credits) (Students seeking certification in Health and Physical Education are required to complete HEP-355 and 356 instead of EDUC-350W and 443.)
  • EDUC-453 (student teaching, 12 credits) and 454 (two credits).

Students who complete the teaching certification program may also earn the Educational Studies major as a second major (in addition to the major in the content area) with the addition of eight credits in the Education department. At least one of the additional courses must be EDUC-280 or EDUC/PHIL-310W. Other possible courses are EDUC-270, 290, 330, 346, 380, and PSYC-240, 340, and 342. For such students, the combination of EDUC-453 and 454 will serve as the capstone for the Educational Studies major and fulfill the oral presentation requirement. Health and Physical Education students who wish to earn the second major should include EDUC/PHIL-310W as one of their two courses, to ensure fulfillment of the “W” requirement in Education.

Field Experiences

Most courses in the certification program 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. 

Program Requirements

Note: the Education department does not only serve its students in the teacher certification program; we are accountable to the schools and cooperating teachers who host our student teachers and to the students in those schools. For that reason, admission to the program, placement in student teaching, and completion of student teaching are not automatic. In addition to meeting all academic requirements, students must be approved by their major department and the Education department as having demonstrated the reliability, professionalism, and communication skills necessary for placement in student teaching; and during the student teaching semester, they must fulfill all of the student teacher responsibilities listed in the Guide for Student Teaching, including demonstration of satisfactory performance all four domains assessed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s final evaluation form (PDE-430), in order to complete student teaching and be eligible for certification.

Admission to the Program

Students must fulfill the following requirements—usually by the end of sophomore year—before being admitted into the teaching certification program:

  • Completion of 48 hours of college-level study;
  • Completion of CIE-100 and CIE-200 (fulfills Pennsylvania state English requirement);
  • Completion of one course in mathematics/statistics and one four-credit Q course; or two four-credit courses in mathematics/statistics;
  • Completion of EDUC-100 (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. Scores should be submitted to the Education department by the end of sophomore year.
  • Cumulative GPA of 3.00

Admission to Student Teaching

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 (100, 265, 320, 350W, 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-350W 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.
  • Application for EDUC-443 and Student Teaching: to be completed and approved by the Education department during EDUC-350W (HPE candidates complete the application during or upon completion of HEP-355/356). 
  • Recommendation by the candidate’s major department and approval by Education department faculty, based on academics and professionalism. 
  • Completion of a new set of security clearances, by spring break (fall student teaching) or fall break (spring student teaching)


Students must meet the following criteria to apply and be recommended for certification:

  • Cumulative GPA of 3.00 at the end of student teaching, including the grade for EDUC-453 (Student Teaching) and EDUC-454 (Professional Seminar)
  • Grade of B or higher in student teaching
  • Satisfactory PDE 430 Evaluation by college supervisor
  • Passing score on Praxis II (Content Area) exams
  • Demonstration of good moral character as defined by the PA Department of Education

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.

Course Sequence

The following are the recommended course sequences for teacher certification. Students and advisors should consult the Education department, especially in cases that do not conform to these sequences. All Education coursework must be completed prior to student teaching. Advising sheets for each certification subject area are available through the Education Department. Please contact the department Administrative Assistant for additional information.

Note: Field experience hours in local public schools are required in EDUC-265, 320, 350W, 375, and 443. Students must arrange transportation for all field experiences and student teaching. 

The courses listed below are four credits unless noted otherwise.

First Year

Fall or Spring:

EDUC-100 Critical Issues in Education

Sophomore Year

Fall or Spring:

EDUC-265: Educational Psychology (10 hours field experience; clearances required) Note: EDUC-265 may also be taken in the first year.


EDUC-320: Diversity of Learners (10 hours field experience; clearances required)

Junior Year


EDUC-350W: Curriculum and Instruction (15 hours field experience; clearances required)

EDUC-375: The Inclusive Classroom (15 hours field experience; clearances required)


EDUC-360: Teaching English Language Learners (2 credits)

EDUC-443 Methods Practicum (2 credits) (25 hours field experience; clearances required)

Senior Year

Fall or Spring:

EDUC-453/493 Student Teaching (12 credits)

EDUC-454 Professional Seminar (2 credits)

Note: EDUC-453 and EDUC-454 must be taken concurrently and should not be scheduled during a student’s participation in athletics or employment. No other courses, day or evening, may be scheduled. While most students complete student teaching during their senior year, some students elect to student teach in a 9th semester; see the Education department for details.

Health and Physical Education (HPE) certification students do not take EDUC-350W and EDUC-443; instead, they should take HEP-356 (fall semester only; 28 hours field experience) and HEP-355 (spring semester only; 12 hours field experience). Both courses require clearances.  Please contact the HEP department for information on when these courses are offered.