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 College of Education undergraduate major in Elementary Education prepares education majors to teach elementary students in grades one through six.  Elementary Education majors may also pursue dual certification at the middle grades (5-8) level with an additional semester of coursework and field experience (see Middle Grades Licensure below).  Professional education courses provide preparation for teaching, and general education courses expand candidates' knowledge of elementary school curricula and their understanding of pupils.  This curriculum offers a combination of classroom instruction, intensive pre-student teaching field experiences, as well as a supervised student teaching experience.


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.

Meet the Program Faculty

Click here to view the program fact sheet

Course Outline

    Professional Education Courses for Elementary Education:  65 hours 

  • SPED 2100  Survey of Students with Exceptionalities (3)
  • EDCP 2101  Introduction to Educational Technology (3)
  • EDUC 2310  Foundations of Education (3)
  • EDUC 2330  Educational Psychology I:  Child Growth and Development through Adolescence (3)
  • EMED 3099  Professional Development Seminar I:  The Mindful Educator I (2)
  • EMED 3321  Effective Teaching for Diverse Students and Effective Teaching Laboratory (4)
  • EMED 3333  Educational Linguistics (3)
  • EMED 3402  Field Experience I:  Teaching Language Arts and Creative Arts (1)
  • EMED 3404  Developmental Reading in the Elementary Grades (3)
  • EMED 3405  Literacy Across the Curriculum in the Elementary Grades (3)
  • EMED 3420  Teaching Creative Arts in the Elementary Grades (3)
  • EMED 3425  Professional Development Seminar II:  21st Century Learning (1)
  • EDUC 3440  Educational Psychology II:  Learning, Assessment, and Classroom Management (3)
  • EMED 3880  Teaching Health and Physical Education in the Elementary and Middle Grades (2)
  • EMED 4000-A  The Mindful Educator II (1)
  • EMED 4000-B  The Mindful Educator III (1)
  • EMED 4402  Field Experience II: Teaching Science, Math, and Social Studies in the Elementary Grades (1)
  • EMED 4404  Teaching Science in the Elementary Grades (3)
  • EMED 4405  Teaching Mathematics in the Elementary Grades (3)
  • EMED 4406  Teaching Social Studies in the Elementary Grades (3)
  • EMED 4425  Professional Development Seminar III:  Effective Strategies to Promote Critical Thinking (1)
  • EMED 4450  Language Arts Assessment and Differentiated Instruction in the Elementary Grades (3)
  • EMED 4999  Student Teaching and Culminating Professional Development Seminar (12)

NOTE:  Additional credits in Professional Education and in the area of Teaching Specialization will be required for students also seeking middle-grades licensure. 

 Total:  123-127 Hours

Teaching Specializations

 In consultation with a program advisor, candidates will select 18-19 hours of course work, depending upon the area of specialization, within one of the teaching specializations.  At least 9 specialization hours must be in upper-division courses; no more than 9 hours may be from courses also used to satisfy general education (GE) requirements; and only one 3-hour professional education (PE) methods course may be included in this 18-19 hour total.  


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.

Academic Advisors:

Student's last names A - L: Eileen Lally, 708.534.4399

Student's last names M - Z: Cynthia Hutson, 708.235.7304