Teachers play an integral role in the intellectual and social development of children during their formative years and have a substantial impact on their students’ future prospects. Teachers provide the tools and the environment that help children develop into responsible adults.

The Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education at Governors State University empowers you to successfully begin your career as a classroom teacher for grades kindergarten through nine. The program is fully approved by the Illinois State Board of Education to prepare you for the Illinois Professional Educator License endorsed in Elementary Education.

Outstanding Preparation

Professional education courses provide strong preparation in professional skills and dispositions. A firm foundation in general education courses expands your knowledge of elementary school curricula and your ability to understand students and their communities. At GSU, small class sizes guarantee that students get the attention they deserve and state-of-the-art educational technology prepares students to integrate computer technology into instruction. Middle grades endorsements are available in a number of subject areas.

GSU’s innovative, high-quality program offers a balanced blend of classroom instruction and hands-on field experiences, leading to a capstone supervised student teaching experience. At GSU, you’ll be prepared for an educational career where you continue to grow as a teacher and consistently make a difference in the lives of your students.

For more information, contact Program Advisor Cynthia Hutson.

Course Outline

Professional Education Courses (61-62 Hours)

The following courses may be taken at the lower-division level:

  • EDUC 2310 Foundations of Education (3)
  • EDUC 2330 Educational Psychology: Child Growth and Development (3)
  • SPED 4100 Survey of Students with Exceptionalities (3)

The following courses must be taken at the upper-division level:

  • EDCP 3101 Introduction to Educational Technology (3)
  • EDUC 3320 Future of American Education (3)
  • EDUC 3321 Effective Teaching and Laboratory (4)
  • EDUC 4440 Educational Psychology in Action (3)
  • ELED 3301 Teaching Laboratory I (1)
  • ELED 3302 Teaching Language Arts in Elementary Schools (3)
  • ELED 3303 Developmental Reading in Elementary Schools (3)
  • ELED 4401 Teaching Laboratory II (1)
  • ELED 4420 Teaching the Creative Arts (3)
  • ELED 4430 Teaching Elementary Health and Physical Education (3)
  • ELED 4450 Corrective Reading (3)
  • ELED 4460 Teaching Science in Elementary Schools (3)
  • ELED 4463 Teaching Mathematics in Elementary Schools (3)
  • ELED 4466 Teaching Social Studies in Elementary Schools (3)
  • ELED 4999 Student Teaching (12)

Choose one of the following four 3 hour professional education selectives:

  • EDEC 4460 Integrating Instruction in Early Childhood (3)
  • EDUC 4442 Early Adolescent Educational Psychology (3)
  • EDUC 5530 Multicultural Children’s Literature (3)
  • ELED 5500 Teaching in the Inclusive Classroom (3)

Additional credits will be required for students seeking middle-grades endorsement (see your advisor).
Total - 127-129 Hours


Teaching Specializations

In consultation with a program advisor, candidates will select at least 18 hours (except for biology which may require 19) of course work within one of the following teaching specializations. At least nine hours must carry upper-division credit.

General Science

  • BIOL 2104 Biological Science Foundations II (3)
  • BIOL 2107 Biological Science Foundations Laboratory (1)
  • CHEM 1111 Chemical Science Foundations I (3)
  • CHEM 1112 Chemical Science Foundations Laboratory (1)
  • CHEM 1113 Chemical Science Foundations II (3) (if CHEM 1111 has been used to satisfy a General Education requirement.)
  • PHYS 2141 Intermediate Physics I (3)
  • PHYS 2142 Intermediate Physics I Laboratory (1)
  • PHYS 2143 Intermediate Physics II (3)
  • PHYS 2144 Intermediate Physics II Laboratory (1) (if PHYS 2141 and PHYS 2142 have been used to satisfy a General Education requirement.)
  • PHYS 1200 Earth and Space Science (3)
  • LAS 4125 Investigations in Scientific Thought (3)

Elective Science course(s) (3-4)
Total - 18 Hours


  • BIOL 2102 Biological Science Foundations I (3)
  • BIOL 2104 Biological Science Foundations II (3)
  • BIOL 3316 Plant Diversity (2)
  • BIOL 3317 Plant Diversity Laboratory (1)
  • BIOL 3320 Animal Diversity (2)
  • BIOL 3321 Animal Diversity Laboratory (1)
  • LAS 4125 Investigations in Scientific Thought (3)
 Select at least three hours from the following:
  • BIOL 3108 Human Evolution (3)
  • BIOL 3112 Human Genetics: Concepts and Technology (3)
  • BIOL 3322 Ecology (3)
  • BIOL 3323 Ecology Laboratory (1)
  • BIOL 4430 Microbiology (3)
  • BIOL 4431 Microbiology Laboratory (1)

 Total - 18 - 19 Hours


  • American Literature (3 Hours)
  • ENGL 3121 American Literature I (3)
  • ENGL 3122 American Literature II (3)
  • English Literature (3 Hours)
  • ENGL 3111 English Literature I (3)
  • ENGL 3112 English Literature II (3)
  • Multicultural Literature (3)
  • ENGL 5121 Advanced Survey of Black Literature (3)
  • ENGL 5131 Comparative Latin American Literature (3)
  • ENGL 5161 Chinese Literature and Culture (3)
  • ENGL 5171 Native American Literature (3)
  • ENGL 5475 The Short Story: Crossing Cultures (3)
  • Advanced Composition (3 Hours)
  • ENGL 4100 Advanced Composition (3)
 Two of the following* (6 Hours)
  • ENGL 3115 Studies in Mythology (3)
  • ENGL 3123 Modern American Poetry: Voices and Visions (3)
  • ENGL 3330 Studies in Literature (3)
  • ENGL 4200 Literary Criticism (3)
  • ENGL 4550 Shakespeare’s Plays* (3)
  • ENGL 5460 Philosophical Themes in Contemporary Literature (3)

Total - 18 Hours

* Those candidates interested in earning a Middle Grades Endorsement must select ENGL551 as one of their choices from this course group.


  • LAS 4100 Investigations in the Social Sciences (3)
  • U.S. History (6)
  • HIST 3110 U.S. History I (3)
  • HIST 3210 U.S. History II (3)
  • European History (3 Hours)
  • HIST 5650 Modern European History (3)
  • HIST 5670 Russia in the Twentieth Century (3)
  • Non-Western History (3 Hours)
  • HIST 5115 Modern African History (3)
  • HIST 5300 Modern Middle Eastern History (3)
  • HIST 5340 Modern Chinese History (3)
  • HIST 5470 Latin American History (3)
 Select one of the following:
  • HIST 3100 American Economic History (3)
  • HIST 5200 American Urban History (3)
  • HIST 5400 Black Experience in the U.S. (3)

Total - 18 Hours


Students planning to teach mathematics at the junior high level should consult with an advisor.

  • MATH 1423 College Algebra (3)
  • MATH 3331 Geometry (3)
  • MATH 2290 Calculus I (4) or MATH 2281 Applied Calculus (3)
  • LAS 4127 Investigations in Mathematical Thought (3)
  • MATH 2100 Elementary Statistics (3) or STAT 4219 Statistical Methods (3)
Select from the following to total 18 hours:
  • MATH 2150 Discrete Mathematics (3)
  • MATH 2229 Calculus II (4)
  • MATH 3155 Number Theory for Teachers (3)
  • Computer Programming (no more than three semester hours) CPSC 3120, 3130, or 3142 (3)

Total - 18 Hours

Social Science

  • ECON 2302 Macroeconomics (3)
  • GEOG 4470 Human Geography (3)
  • HIST 3110 U.S. History I (3)
  • HIST 3210 U.S. History II (3)
Select 6 hours from the following, including at most one 3-hour history course:
  • ANTH 3100 Trends in Cross-Cultural Analysis (3)
  • HIST 3100 U.S. Economic History (3)
  • HIST 5115 Modern African History (3)
  • HIST 5400 Black Experience in the U.S. (3)
  • HIST 5470 Latin American History (3)
  • POLS 2101 Principles of Political Science (3)
  • SOC 3100 Studies in American Society (3)

Total - 18 Hours

General Education Requirements


General Education Requirement for Teacher Certification, Initial Elementary Certificate (69-70 Hours)

Course work acceptable for meeting these requirements must be at the college level and may not include remedial courses even if college credit is granted. Generally, this course work must be at the 100-level or higher and applicable toward a degree at the institution providing the instruction. Courses with grades below “C” will not be accepted toward the degree. A "C-" is not acceptable. Course work must include at least one three-hour course in non-western or third world cultures.

The following course work may be completed at the lower division level:

  • Written Communication (6)
  • Oral Communication (3)
  • Mathematics for Elementary Teachers (6)
  • Mathematics selective (select from courses equivalent to MATH3331, MATH2150, MATH 2290, MATH3155,
  • LAS4127) (3)
  • Biological, Physical Science, and Earth Science (including 3 hours of biology, a 3 hour physical science course (chemistry or physics), 3 hours of earth/space science (astronomy, geology, or meteorology) and a 1 hour lab course with one of these (10)
  • Survey of American History (3)
  • Humanities (3)
  • Fine Arts (3)
  • Literature (3)
  • U.S. Government (3)
  • Psychology (3)
  • World or Cultural Geography (3)
  • Health/Nutrition (2)
  • Teaching Specialization (18-19)

(maximum of 9 hours of lower-division)

Program Requirements

Program Requirements

After meeting the university admission requirements, students must meet the following requirements to

continue in the Elementary Education program:
• Admittance to Governors State University and good academic standing.
• Present transcripts showing a cumulative G.P.A. of 2.5 or higher in all undergraduate work attempted.
• Present evidence of having passed the Basic Skills Test or the Test of Academic Proficiency (TAP)
• complete the ETS Proficiency Profile.
• Earn a grade of “B” or better in the following two courses taken at Governors State University:
EDUC3320 Future of American Education and EDUC3321 Effective Teaching and Laboratory**.
• Receive a positive recommendation from the Elementary Education faculty to continue in the program.

** Note: Candidates must pass the Basic Skills Test or the Test of Academic Proficiency (TAP) before enrolling in EDUC3320 and EDUC3321.

All candidates for the Illinois Professional Educator License at Governors State University must submit to an Adam Walsh fingerprint-based criminal background check prior to their initial field experience in the schools. For more information, consult your advisor.

Candidate Progress

The faculty monitors and evaluates candidate progress continually. The section on Teacher Education and

Licensure in the GSU catalog provides a general description of the standards used to evaluate candidate progress. A more detailed statement of the standards and processes followed by the Elementary Education faculty is available in the Elementary Education Student Handbook.

Teacher Licensure

This program is approved by the Illinois State Board of Education for recommendation of the Professional Educator License endorsed in Elementary Education by entitlement. To be recommended for license by Governors State University, candidates must complete 72-73 hours in general education and the professional education requirements in Elementary Education. General education courses may include both lower and upper-division course work. Candidates must earn a grade of “B” or better in ELED4999 Student Teaching. Candidates must meet other requirements for license through approved programs listed in the Teacher Education and Licensure section in the GSU catalog. Candidates must also pass the Assessment of Professional Teaching of the Illinois Certification Testing System to be recommended for certification.

Program Portfolio

The Program Portfolio is a selection of examples of candidate work (artifacts) that is organized according
to the Illinois Professional Teaching Standards and the Standards for Licensure in Elementary Education. Throughout the program, candidates choose artifacts to include in their portfolios, write reflections, and
receive evaluations of their artifacts and reflections. At the conclusion of student teaching, candidates will have completed a portfolio that contains artifacts for each standard.

Admission to Student Teaching

All professional course work must be completed before enrolling in student teaching. For those student teaching in a content area at the middle-grades level, all endorsement requirements must also be completed.

To be admitted to student teaching, candidates must:
1. Complete all professional education requirements with a G.P.A. of 3.0 or higher in EDUC3320 and EDUC3321; and ELED3302, ELED3303, ELED4460, ELED4463, and ELED4466.
2. Complete the 69-73 hours of general education requirements with a G.P.A. of 2.75 or higher.
3. Complete 100 clock-hours of pre-student teaching field experiences.
4. Complete at least 18-19 hours in the teaching specialization with a G.P.A. of 2.75 or higher.
5. Have completed all but nine credits in general education.
6. Receive a positive recommendation from the Elementary Education faculty.
7. Verify successful completion of the elementary education content area state examination of the Illinois Certification Testing System.
An application certifying that the first six of these requirements have been met must be submitted to the coordinator of field experiences by January 31 for the following fall and spring semesters. Student teaching is not offered during the summer session. In addition, candidates must pass the ICTS Elementary Content Exam before student teaching.

Degree Requirements

Candidates must meet all university requirements for a bachelor’s degree, except candidates must complete the 72-73 hour General Education Requirement for Teacher Licensure instead of the University General Education Requirement.

Candidates must also:
1. Maintain a G.P.A. of 3.0 or higher in professional education courses (56-58 hours required).
2. Maintain a G.P.A. of 2.75 or higher in all general education courses (72-73 hours required).
3. Complete at least one three-hour course in non-Western or Third World cultures.
4. Complete all course work at GSU within five calendar years.
5. Maintain satisfactory candidate progress as defined in the Elementary Education Candidate Handbook.
6. Receive a positive recommendation from the Elementary Education faculty.

Academic Advising

The Division of Education provides professional academic advisors to serve the needs of all of its candidates. Your program's academic advisor is the ideal first contact for:

  • Individuals considering transfer into this degree program.

  • Newly admitted candidates who need to develop a plan of study, including evaluation of transfer credits.

  • Continuing candidates who have questions or comments on program policies, procedures, and requirements individuals considering transfer into this degree program.

The Academic Advisor who works with the B.A. Elementary Education program faculty and candidates is Ms. Cynthia Hutson. Ms. Hutson's office is located in the Division of Education's Academic Advising Center. You may contact Ms. Hutson via phone: 708.235.7304 or email: chutson@govst.edu.