Undergraduate Elementary Teaching Program Launched

Undergraduate Elementary Teaching Program Launched

elementary_ed_boy.pngNorthwestern University’s School of Education and Social Policy (SESP) has opened a new pathway for aspiring teachers by creating a concentration in undergraduate elementary teaching that follows an interdisciplinary curriculum.

Previously, SESP undergraduates could earn their license in secondary education, allowing them to teach at the middle school (fifth through eighth grade) and high school (ninth through twelfth grade) levels. Undergraduates who wanted to be certified to teach elementary education (first through sixth grade) could enter the master’s program via an accelerated pathway.

The new concentration, which was launched in the Fall of 2022, expands the School of Education and Social Policy’s teacher preparation program called TEACH ED at the undergraduate level.

The School now offers the following options for undergraduates:

  • Earn a Bachelor of Science in Education and Social Policy degree with a concentration in elementary teaching.
  • Earn a Bachelor of Science in Education and Social Policy degree with a concentration in secondary teaching.
  • Major in a discipline in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and earn teacher licensure at SESP.
  • Earn multiple degrees through the Accelerated Master of Science in Education program. This fast-track initiative makes it possible for Northwestern students to earn a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree and teacher licensure in five years.

The elementary education concentration and licensure path creates a viable four-year degree option in part because there are different options for financial support and fewer state requirements than the secondary teaching program, said Kavita Kapadia Matsko, associate professor and associate dean for teacher education at SESP.

“In addition to potentially increasing the diversity of teacher candidates, this new pathway gives faculty the chance to collaborate and create new education courses that could be of interest to students in other SESP concentrations,” Matsko said. “As a program and School, we’re committed to opening as many meaningful and substantive pathways to classroom teaching as possible.”elementary_ed_boy.png

SESP students can now choose from one of six undergraduate concentrations. In addition to elementary teaching the others include learning sciences, human development in context, learning and organizational change, social policy, and secondary teaching.

The last time a new concentration was added was 2016, when SESP began offering a concentration in learning sciences at the undergraduate level. SESP pioneered the learning sciences graduate program in 1991.

“For years, SESP students have been asking for the option to earn elementary licensure as an undergraduate,” said Susan Olson, assistant dean of student affairs. “SESP is truly serving its students by offering this pathway for those who want to pursue their passion for teaching."

For more information, please contact TEACH ED adviser Gabriela Langendorf, who leads the teaching licensure process, or Funmilayo Ojikutu, associate director of academic advising.

By Julie Deardorff
Last Modified: 9/12/22