Elementary Teaching

Elementary Teaching

Secondary Teaching

SESP’s interdisciplinary elementary teaching concentration combines subject-area courses in the fields of Physical, Life, and Earth and Space Sciences, Civics and Government, Economics, Geography, Literature and Fine Arts, Historical Studies, and Mathematics/Statistics chosen from SESP and the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences with courses in child and adolescent development, elementary education theory and methods, and urban education.

Real-World Practical Experience

Similar to the other SESP concentrations, which have a four-unit practicum in the third year, elementary teaching students must complete a one-quarter student teaching internship in the last year while enrolled in TEACH_ED 387-0 Student Teaching: Elementary. 

All teacher candidates complete field clinical experiences before graduating:

  • Practicum  (usually during the fall of their final year) 
  • Student Teaching (full-time internship, usually during the winter of their final year)

Typically, student teaching occurs at the same site students fulfilled their practicum. The practicum and student teaching experiences occur at school sites in the Chicagoland area.


Elementary Teaching students take classes in five different areas. The Northwestern
distribution requirements make up one area of ten credits. 

The second area of academic work is the SESP core courses, including a child development course and a 4-unit student teaching experience. The SESP core is 8 units. 

Foundations is the third area of academic study. Courses include: 

  • Social Contexts of Education
  • Foundations of Learning in a New Language
  • Educating the Exceptional Child
  • Schooling in America
  • Theory and Practice of Teaching 

The fourth area is the concentration clusters. These courses include a wide array of subjects to prepare students for the classroom and include elementary teaching methods courses. These concentration clusters align with Illinois's licensure requirements of: 

  • History 
  • Literature and fine arts 
  • Physical science 
  • Life science 
  • Earth and space science 
  • Math and statistic
  • Civics and government
  • Economics 
  • Geography

Finally, students have 8 credits of elective credit.

After SESP

Graduates at the elementary level are prepared to become self-contained general education classroom teachers in grades 1-6. Some students may pursue work in administrative roles in school districts or move into education-related non-classroom jobs. 

Contact Us

Student Affairs Office

School of Education and Social Policy

Walter Annenberg Hall
2120 Campus Drive, Suite 123
Evanston, IL 60208
Northwestern University

Phone: 847/491-3790

Email: sespsao@northwestern.edu