K-12 Teaching

K-12 Teaching

Elementary and Secondary Education

Elementary Teaching and Secondary Teaching Degrees

Northwestern’s School of Education and Social Policy (SESP) Teacher Education programs are committed to nurturing ways of learning and teaching that can help all students thrive by centering our work around four guiding commitments to: Advance Equity and Social Justice; Foster Subject Matter Sensemaking; Understand Learning and Human Development; and Engage Within and Across Community. In response to our current moment in history, we seek to develop educators who are prepared to form new social and cultural realities for all learners, and especially for those who have been underserved by various systems of education. Candidates in our programs will work towards a better understanding of self and system in service of collaborative change and improvement.

NU Guiding Commitments

The size of the program allows for small, interactive courses where connections can grow between students and professors and within cohorts of teacher candidates. A combination of intensive coursework and deep clinical experiences are designed to develop strong understandings of the relationship between the skill of responsive practice and the explanatory power of theory. The teacher-candidate experience culminates in a capstone project that draws together clinical experience, action research, and the application of theoretical knowledge that allows students to understand the role of data and research in pursuit of transformative teaching and learning.

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Pathways to Licensure

Northwestern offers an Elementary and Secondary pathway to the State of Illinois Professional Educator License (PEL) for those looking to enter the profession. The PEL will allow you to be hired as a public school teacher in the State of Illinois. You can also be hired provisionally in other states while working to complete the steps necessary for a full license or certificate in that state.

Elementary Teaching

The Elementary Teaching concentration includes all coursework necessary for an elementary endorsement to teach grades 1-6. Elementary teacher candidates with sufficient undergraduate background in English, mathematics, science, or social science may also pursue an optional Middle Grades endorsement for their PEL which will also allow them to teach that subject in 7th and 8th grade classrooms.

  • Coursework: 15 units (40 semester hours); additional content area coursework may apply depending on undergraduate background
  • Timing: 1 year full-time (summer start), 2 years part-time (summer or fall start)
  • Clinical experience: Fall Practicum (100 hours during the school day, spread over 10 weeks), Winter Student Teaching (full-time during the school day for 10 weeks)
  • Licensure: Illinois Professional Educator License (PEL) with an elementary endorsement (general classroom, grades 1-6); optional Middle Grades endorsement available with additional coursework
  • GRE: Not required

Secondary Teaching

The Secondary Teaching concentration includes all coursework necessary for both a middle grades (5-8) and high school (9-12) endorsement in a specific subject area. Students admitted to the Secondary Teaching concentration are expected to have in-depth background in the specific area they will be licensed to teach. Students who do not already meet this requirement before entry into the program must complete additional coursework either at Northwestern or elsewhere before applying for licensure.

  • Coursework: 15 units (40 semester hours); additional content area coursework may apply depending on undergraduate background
  • Timing: 1 year full-time (summer start), 2 years part-time (summer or fall start)
  • Clinical experience: Fall Practicum (100 hours during the school day, spread over 10 weeks), Winter Student Teaching (full-time during the school day for 10 weeks)
  • Licensure: Illinois Professional Educator License (PEL) with both Middle Grades (5-8) and High School (9-12) endorsements in a specific content area; endorsements in multiple content areas available with additional coursework
  • GRE: Not required

Contact Us

Master of Science in Education School of Education & Social Policy

618 Garrett Place
Evanston, IL 60208
Northwestern University

Phone: 847/467-1458

Email: msedprogram@northwestern.edu