Field Experience

Field Experience

Rigorous field experiences augment the Master of Science in Education academic program, permitting students to connect theory with practice, gain significant teaching experience and fulfill the requirements for Illinois teacher certification. Over the course of two academic quarters, students immerse themselves in schools with which Northwestern has strong, ongoing relationships; placements are designed to match each student's needs and interests.


During the fall quarter, students complete 100 hours of observation in Chicago or Chicago-area schools under the guidance of mentor teachers. Students are often able to move beyond observation during this period to actively assist the mentor teacher in class and school activities. The observation hours occur during the school day, so even though our classes are primarily in the evening, you will require some daytime availability to complete your Practicum.

Numerous opportunities for reflection and growth are provided in the classroom setting as relationships with mentor teachers, high school students and school personnel develop. These are enhanced by two on-campus courses: a weekly theory and practice seminar where observations, reflections and experiences are discussed with peers and advisers and a subject-specific methods course that emphasizes lesson and unit planning.

Student Teaching

Student teaching is completed during the winter quarter, usually at the practicum observation site. Working full-time in a classroom under the supervision of a mentor teacher, each student serves as the primary teacher in the area in which he or she will be licensed (along with any other subjects agreed upon by the mentor teacher and Northwestern University). Elementary teacher candidates teach all core subjects (language arts, math, science and social studies). Concurrently, the student attends an on-campus student teaching seminar designed to enrich the field experience through small- and large-group discussion and reflection about issues that arise during student teaching.

In order to receive a practicum placement in fall quarter, prospective students must apply for admission by March 1.

Contact Us

Master of Science in Education School of Education & Social Policy

618 Garrett Place
Evanston, IL 60208
Northwestern University

Phone: 847/467-1458