The School of Education, in cooperation with the College of Humanities and Sciences, offers extended teacher preparation programs in early childhood and elementary education (prekindergarten through grade six) and secondary education (grade six through grade 12). The successful completion of these programs results in the simultaneous awarding of both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree.
General degree requirements
The successful completion of these programs results in the simultaneous awarding of both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree. Prospective Master of Teaching students earn their bachelor’s degree in a specific field in which they plan to teach. A student generally begins work on the professional studies component in the third or fourth year of academic study.
A student enrolled in any one of the three extended teacher preparation programs must complete a minimum of 153/154 credits. The student must maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.8 for admission to the teacher preparation program. Completion of at least 90 credits with a minimum GPA of 3.0 in the last 60 semester hours of study is required for that student to be admitted to the graduate studies portion of the extended program.
A Post-baccalaureate Graduate Certificate in Teaching is open primarily to those who have already earned a master’s degree. The candidate must complete at least 30 additional hours beyond the bachelor’s level. Admittance to this program requires a minimum GPA of 3.0 in the last 60 semester hours of study.
All initial licensure programs require clinical experiences throughout the program. During the initial stages of a program, these experiences occur as practica in varied placements in K-12 education relevant to the student’s program. Each program also requires a capstone clinical experience in the form of student teaching. For student teaching, those pursuing early and elementary education are placed in two settings, one in early elementary grades (K-2) and one in upper elementary grades (3-5). Those pursuing secondary education receive a single placement in their discipline in a middle school or high school setting.
With the guidance of a clinical faculty member or cooperating teacher, the intern assumes more independence in the field setting. Satisfactory completion of the internship and the preceding training is charted through evaluations made by the university supervisor, clinical faculty or cooperating teacher, and school administrator.
Freshman students who plan to become early and elementary education teachers are required to enroll in the Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies liberal studies for early and elementary education major. Transfer students should meet with a B.I.S. adviser prior to course registration. The B.I.S. degree requirements are outlined in the College of Humanities and Sciences section of this bulletin.
Prospective secondary teachers should major in the discipline they wish to teach. The disciplines in which VCU offers licensure programs are as follows: English, history/social studies, mathematics and science (various specialities). Students should consult with their education adviser to ensure that courses taken to meet major requirements also meet state licensure requirements.
Change of major and transfer students
Students wishing to enter the Extended Teacher Preparation Program in early and elementary education or secondary education must transfer initially to the College of Humanities and Sciences. They must declare a major in the college and a specialization in the appropriate professional studies sequence in the School of Education. .
For admission to teacher preparation, a minimum GPA of 2.8 is required. A minimum GPA of 3.0 in the last 60 semester hours of study is required for admission to the graduate phase of the Extended Teacher Preparation Program.
The College of Humanities and Sciences evaluates transcripts of students pursuing the extended program in early and elementary education or secondary education. Credits are accepted if they conform to specific program guidelines; course equivalents from accredited colleges and universities are accepted if the grade earned is a minimum of C. From the extended program, 60 semester hours of acceptable undergraduate course work are required to be admitted to a teacher preparation program. See specific criteria in the “Admission to the Extended Teacher Preparation Programs” section of this bulletin.
Credits that are accepted from two-year institutions may meet liberal arts and sciences requirements, but will not meet professional requirements for upper-division course work. The VCU Transfer Guide for Virginia Community Colleges lists, in full, credits accepted by VCU that have been earned in the state’s community colleges.
After the initial student transcript evaluation, the assigned adviser reviews the accepted transfer credits with the student, determining what additional course work at VCU will be necessary. An adviser is not required to use all the accepted transfer credits in a student’s program of study. Only those credits approved for transfer can be applied toward the chosen degree.
An academic adviser is assigned to a student by the department of that student’s chosen major in the College of Humanities and Sciences. A professional studies adviser is similarly assigned by the Department of Teaching and Learning or the Department of Health and Human Performance according to the student’s proposed teaching endorsement. This adviser-student relationship continues throughout the course of study at VCU. Student and adviser jointly develop the student’s individual program. During the planning process, the student identifies, clarifies and explores his or her personal and professional goals.
Educator as reflective practitioner
The guiding theme of the teacher preparation program is “educator as reflective practitioner.” The underlying foundation of instruction in the teacher preparation program is to challenge the prospective teacher to develop skills in critical reflection and to value thoughtful decision making. Candidates demonstrate critical reflection by: being open to and respectful of all stakeholders; taking other perspectives into account; utilizing critical thinking in framing and solving educational problems; making informed, ethical and professional decisions; and taking ethical and professional action.
Demographics consideration in teaching
The demographics of elementary, middle and high school students are changing. There is an increase in the number of students for whom English is not the first language, of minority students, of students who do not all learn or respond in similar ways and of students who may be identified as possessing a disability.
Future teachers are encouraged to take advantage of opportunities through formal courses and other experiences to gain greater insight and ability in addressing learners from differing cultural backgrounds and considering the needs of learners with different learning styles, participation styles, and special abilities or disabilities.
Standards of learning
Much of the prekindergarten through grade 12 curriculum is based on the commonwealth of Virginia’s current Standards of Learning. Students preparing to be teachers are advised to examine the SOLs for the grade levels and content areas they plan to teach. The School of Education website has a link to the SOLs.
In some instances the content and concepts associated with one or more SOLs may be incorporated in a course in the College of Humanities and Sciences or in the School of Education, but as the SOLs are for a kindergarten through grade 12 curriculum and not a college curriculum, one may need to study several of these on her or his own.
The use of computers, graphing calculators, science probeware and other technologies is integral to successful teaching in today’s schools. Individuals preparing to teach must be competent on each of the eight standards in Virginia’s Technology Standards for Instructional Personnel. These standards may be reached through the School of Education website.
Students are advised to consult with the professional studies adviser regarding the program’s requirements for demonstrating competence. Several of the standards may be documented as met by passing the Computer Literacy Examination offered online through Knowledgenet. Please see the General education requirements for undergraduate study in the “College of Humanities and Sciences” section of this bulletin.
Extended program in early and elementary or secondary education
In the extended program, a student generally begins work on the professional studies component in the third year of study. Information on specific requirements for all academic majors is available in the Department of Teaching and Learning, in the College of Humanities and Sciences’ associate dean’s office or through the department of the chosen major. Students may visit soe.vcu.edu/academics_programs/teaching-and-learning for information about programs in the Department of Teaching and Learning. A student in the extended program must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.8 for admission to teacher preparation and clinical experience and, prior to the fifth year, a minimum GPA of 3.0 for admission to the graduate study portion of the program.
Any undergraduate admitted to VCU who declares a major in the College of Humanities and Sciences is eligible to declare a specialization in special education or secondary education. Students specializing in early and elementary education must declare liberal studies for early and elementary education as their major in the Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies program.
Transfer students and students currently attending VCU who wish to change their majors to this program must have a minimum GPA of 2.0; however, note the much higher GPA requirement for admission to teacher preparation and then to graduate study. All students in the program, upon completion of 60 hours of undergraduate course work and prior to completion of 90 hours, must apply for admission to teacher education. To be accepted, a student must have a minimum GPA of 2.8 and must have achieved the required commonwealth of Virginia scores on Praxis core tests and must have achieved the established score for the three tests.
Students who pursue one of the extended teacher preparation programs follow a series of steps as noted in order to meet all requirements, including the 153/154 credits.
Step 1: Admission to the university
- Scores from Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) or American College Test (ACT)
- Minimum 2.0 GPA from high school or previous college
- Declare an undergraduate major in the College of Humanities and Sciences (for early and elementary or secondary education) or a major in health, physical education and exercise science with a general health and physical education concentration in the School of Education (for health and physical education).
- Declare an education specialization in early and elementary education, secondary education or health and physical education.
Step 2: Admission to teacher preparation
Complete before enrolling in the first practicum (upon completion of 60 credits of liberal arts and prior to completion of 90 credits).
- Minimum GPA of 2.8
- Completion of six hours of English, three hours of mathematics, four hours of laboratory science and six hours of social science and/or history.
- Meet Virginia scores required for the mathematics portion of Praxis and achieve a passing score on the Virginia Communication and Literacy Assessment
- Confirmation of education specialization (Undecided majors must decide.)
- Complete Admission to Teacher Preparation Application Form (obtain in Office of Student Services) and submit a current transcript
- Complete TEDU 101, EDUS 300, EDUS 301 or equivalent course; submit required Praxis scores
- Register for practicum placement and accompanying courses. (Note: Students must be admitted to the Teacher Preparation Program to be eligible for practicum placement and accompanying courses. Applications for practicum are available at the Student Services Center. In secondary education, such applications may be distributed at the initial class meeting.)
- Register for, take and submit required Praxis core scores
Step 3: Application to graduate studies
- Minimum GPA of 3.0
- Acceptable scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Miller Analogies Test (MAT). Generally students are expected to score at least a 290 composite (Verbal and Quantitative) on the GRE or 386 on the MAT.
- Personal statement addressing reasons for seeking graduate education, including career goals; experience working with age group to be taught; reasons for entering teaching; and success in organizing, planning and implementing work with other individuals
- Three references: it is suggested that these be instructors or advisers in the College of Humanities and Sciences and the School of Education; use Graduate Studies Reference Forms
- Obtain Graduate School Admissions packet from the Student Services Center in Room 1037, Oliver Hall
- Return completed application packet, along with up-to-date transcripts, to the VCU Graduate School
Note: Students must be admitted to the Graduate School to be eligible to enroll in graduate-level courses. No more than six graduate credits taken prior to admission to graduate study may be accepted toward the degree.
Application deadlines for early and elementary or secondary education
- Oct. 1 for spring semester
- Feb. 1 for summer and fall sessions
Step 4: Internship
All programs require a graduate-level internship (TEDU 672 and TEDU 674) during the fifth year. Applications for internship can be obtained in the Student Services Center in Room 1037, Oliver Hall. Individuals in early and elementary education are placed in a kindergarten and a grade one through six classroom in the same semester. Individuals in secondary education typically have a single placement, although perhaps with two different teachers.
- Minimum 3.0 GPA on graduate courses
- Admission to teacher preparation and to graduate study
- Completed application and transcripts submitted by established deadlines
- Passing scores on applicable Praxis II specialty tests accompanying application
- Passing scores on the Virginia Communication and Literacy Assessment.
- Obtain application form from the Student Services Center.
- Submit copies of transcripts and required statement to a professional studies adviser for review.
- Obtain approval signature of professional studies adviser.
- Submit completed application to Student Services Center by Sept. 1 for the following spring semester, by Feb. 1 for the following fall semester.
Step 5: Admission to the profession
(during the final semester of enrollment)
- Completion of all degree requirements
- Completion of application for initial teacher licensure (obtain from Office of Student Services)
- Complete applications for undergraduate degree in humanities and sciences with academic major adviser, and graduate degree in teaching with professional studies adviser.
- Submit application for initial teacher licensure with signature of university supervisor or professional studies adviser to the Student Services Center.