Any of the master’s degree programs in this ranking can prepare you for a richly rewarding career as an elementary school teacher.
Some people know from the time they’re children that teaching is their calling. Others don’t feel drawn to a career in education until later in life, and perhaps after they’ve worked for a while in another field.
Whether you’ve just graduated with a bachelor’s degree in education or you’re a career-changer taking your first steps into teaching, the degrees on our list will prepare you for your next step.
What are the options for a master’s degree in elementary education?
One of the biggest decisions you’ll make when choosing your graduate program is how you’ll earn your degree.
In-person programs allow for a traditional campus experience, where you’ll participate in face-to-face classes and interact with classmates and faculty members on a regular basis.
While on-campus programs are ideal for some students, they aren’t viable for everyone. Online programs are an excellent alternative. If you’re interested in early childhood as well as elementary education, visit our Best Online Master’s in Early Childhood Education ranking.
How much can you earn with a master’s degree in elementary education?
PayScale indicates that the typical salary for a Master of Education graduate who works as an elementary school teacher is $49,837 per year. By comparison, a middle school teacher with the same degree earns an average of $52,515 annually. High school teachers with an M.Ed. degree have an average salary of $53,657.
What can you do with a master’s degree in elementary education?
Many graduate programs will prepare you for initial or advanced teaching licensure. Typically, an elementary education license includes pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, or first grade through fifth or sixth grade (depending on state laws).
You may also be able to earn an endorsement through a master’s degree program, such as an endorsement in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) or a Reading Specialist endorsement. In many cases, a master’s degree will also qualify you for a salary increase over teachers with only a bachelor’s degree.
What are the requirements for a master’s degree in elementary education?
Like a master’s degree in any subject, the requirements of a graduate program will vary depending on the university and individual department where you earn your degree. Common graduation requirements include the compilation of a professional portfolio or the writing and defense of a master’s thesis.
If you’re seeking initial licensure, advanced certification, or a teaching endorsement, your program will include a practicum experience. The duration of the practicum will depend on the type of license you need, the regulations of your state, and the institutional requirements of your university.
What are the best residential master’s degrees in elementary education?
To generate our rankings, the Best Education Degrees research team delves into data from individual college websites and from PayScale, U.S. News & World Report, and the IPEDS database. For this ranking, we examined tuition rates, availability of financial aid, institutional reputation, student-to-faculty ratio, and student satisfaction.
While the degree programs on our list are varied, they have one common thread: They offer the nation’s most rigorous and innovative experiences in graduate-level teacher education.
1. University of Michigan—Ann Arbor
The University of Michigan is a leading research institution with a main campus in Ann Arbor and additional campuses in Dearborn and Flint. U-M Ann Arbor placed third in a nationwide ranking of the “Best Colleges For Your Money” from Time magazine. Through U-M’s teacher training program, students can earn initial certification to teach in self-contained, multi-subject classrooms for kindergarten through grade 8 or in subject-specific classrooms for grades 6 through 8.
The Elementary Master of Arts with Certification (ELMAC) is a 12-month program, which includes an internship that lasts a full academic year. Interns will start in August, when they will assist in setting up the classroom and planning for the year, and will work with the same cooperating teacher and students through the following spring. Core coursework in this program includes:
- Developmental Reading and Writing Instruction in the Elementary School
- Teaching Language, Literacy, and Academic Content to English Speakers and English Language Learners
- Foundational Perspectives on Educational Reform
- Research and Educational Practice
All students in the certification program will choose a teaching major. Options for the teaching major include Language Arts, Mathematics, Integrated Science, and Social Studies. Students will be enrolled as part of a 20- to 25-person cohort. Students will have the option of pursuing an endorsement in English as a Second Language (ESL).
2. Teachers College, Columbia University
The Teachers College, Columbia University is the nation’s first and largest graduate school of education. Over 5,000 students attend TC, about 3,800 of which are pursuing master’s degrees (the rest are doctoral candidates or non-degree students). TC offers nationally ranked programs in a number of education and education-related disciplines, including health, leadership, and psychology.
The Master of Education from TC is considered an advanced master’s degree and an intermediary step between a Master of Arts and a Doctor of Education. The program is designed to be very flexible: Students will have the opportunity to work with an advisor to create a degree path tailored to their career specialization and interests. Available coursework within this degree program includes:
- Differentiating Instruction in Inclusive Classrooms
- Curriculum and Teaching in Urban Areas
- The Teacher: Socio-Historical, Cultural Contexts of Teaching
- Young Children and Social Policy: Issues and Problems
Candidates must have at least two years of teaching experience or an equivalent to qualify for the program. An initial master’s degree may also be required. TC also offers a Master of Arts program that leads to New York State Professional Certification for grades 1 through 6. The M.A. program is designed for students who already have an initial teaching certification.
3. Vanderbilt University
Founded in 1873, Vanderbilt University is an internationally recognized research university located in Nashville, Tennessee. Vanderbilt has been named among the top 10 in Reuters’ list of the World's 100 Most Innovative Universities. According to U.S. News & World Report, Peabody College at Vanderbilt ranks seventh among the top graduate schools of education in the nation.
The M.Ed. in Elementary Education from Peabody is rooted in three basic tenets: equity, access, and inclusion. Students who successfully complete this program will earn initial teaching licensure for kindergarten through grade 5. The program requires 32 credit hours, and students can complete the academic track in 13 months. Degree candidates may take courses such as:
- Learning Ecologies—Equity, Access, and Inclusion in Context
- Theory and Practice of Literacy Education in Elementary Grades
- Advanced Teaching of Mathematics in Elementary Schools
- Teaching Literacy for Diverse Learners
The Elementary Education program begins in June with an eight-week intensive course. This required experience incorporates an introduction to the social, historical, and political context of elementary education and a clinical experience in children's summer programs. Within four months of graduation, 100 percent of recent Elementary Education graduates were either employed or pursuing advanced study. U.S. News & World Report ranks this graduate Elementary Education program among the top five in the nation.
4. University of Virginia
For 19 consecutive years, the University of Virginia has been ranked by U.S. News & World Report in the top 30 among all national universities, public and private. The 11 schools of UVA serve 16,000 undergraduates and 6,700 graduate and professional students. Presented by the esteemed Curry School of Education, the Master of Teaching in Elementary Education provides intensive preparation for a student’s first year as an educator.
The M.T. in Elementary Education is available as both a 4+1 program for undergraduate students (where candidates will receive a bachelor's and a master's at the end of their fifth year of study) and as a Post-Graduate program for students who have already earned a baccalaureate degree. The Post-Graduate track is typically completed in two years, but students may be able to complete it in only one and a half years. This program leads to teaching licensure for pre-kindergarten through grade 6. Coursework for Post-Graduate candidates may include:
- Curriculum and Instruction for Elementary and Special Education
- Classroom Management and Behavioral Assessment
- Differentiating Reading Instruction
- Designing Technology-Enhanced Solutions
Through a unique partnership with Frederick County Public Schools, Goochland County Public Schools, and Virginia Beach City Public Schools, Post-Graduate students will have the opportunity to complete the last year of the program as a yearlong residency. This residency includes the traditional student teaching semester in the fall and an extra semester of student teaching the following spring.
5. The Ohio State University
More than 66,000 students attend the Ohio State University. The nationally renowned College of Education and Human Ecology at Ohio State offers 24 undergraduate and graduate degrees. The Master of Education program offers licensure pathways in Early Childhood Education (pre-kindergarten through grade 3), Middle Childhood Education (grades 4 through 9), and Secondary Education (grades 7 through 12).
The Middle Childhood Education program prepares graduates to integrate social justice education, creative pedagogies, and inquiry-based learning in their classrooms. Students will earn an initial teaching license for grades 4 through 9 in two out of four content areas: language arts, mathematics, social studies, and science. Coursework for this degree will address the following core areas:
- Equity and Diversity in Education
- Foundations of Middle Childhood Education
- Literacy, New Media, and Creative Pedagogies for Middle Childhood Classrooms
- Inclusion: Philosophical, Social, and Practice Issues
Applicants to this program with an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or above are not required to submit GRE scores. Students with a GPA between 2.75 and 2.99 must take the GRE to be eligible for the M.Ed. program. Although no teaching background is required, experience working with youth in group settings is encouraged.
6. Indiana University Bloomington
Offering more than 550 academic programs, Indiana University is a comprehensive doctoral institution. Bloomington is the flagship campus of IU’s eight total campuses located all over the state. The Elementary Education program at IU-Bloomington allows students to choose one of two concentrations: General Elementary Education (which focuses on grades 1 through 6) or Early Childhood Education (pre-kindergarten through grade 3).
The graduate program at IU-Bloomington requires 36 credit hours and leads to a Master of Science in Education degree. Fifteen credit hours will be earned through a number of available choices in foundational coursework. Another 15 credit hours will be earned through electives (which can be selected from within or outside of the School of Education), and the final six credit hours will be earned through a capstone activity. Options for the foundational coursework requirements include:
- Advanced Study in the Teaching of Reading in the Elementary Schools
- Methods of Individualizing Instruction
- Psychological Issues in Education
- Applied Cognition and Learning Strategies
This program is designed for practicing educators and does not lead to initial teaching licensure. Choices for the six-credit capstone activity include a written thesis or a practicum experience. With the approval of a student’s faculty advisor, other coursework may be used to fulfill the capstone requirement.
7. Stanford University
With an acceptance rate under 5 percent, Stanford University is one of the most selective universities in the nation. Stanford was founded in 1891 and today enrolls more than 16,000 students in nationally ranked programs in the humanities, social sciences, engineering, law, and more. The Stanford Graduate School of Education is home to over 60 multidisciplinary faculty members, 10 research centers, and 29 graduate and doctoral degree programs.
The elementary education program at Stanford, known as STEP Elementary, culminates in a Master of Arts in Education and a preliminary California Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. This is a full-time program that takes 12 months to complete. Degree candidates will take courses such as:
- The Creative Arts in Elementary Classrooms
- Elementary Classroom Leadership and Management
- Child Development In and Beyond Schools
- Development of Scientific Reasoning and Knowledge
Cohorts in the STEP Elementary program are small—typically around 20 candidates. While the STEP program requires a minimum of 45 credits, candidates may take up to 48 credits at no additional charge. Over the course of the program, students will complete three field placements in local public elementary schools in various grade levels. Candidates with a proficiency in Spanish can earn a Bilingual Authorization in addition to their teaching credential.
8. Northwestern University
Situated on a 240-acre campus in Evanston, Illinois, Northwestern University occupies a scenic location on the shores of Lake Michigan. The community of Northwestern includes over 3,300 full-time faculty members and 21,000 students. U.S. News & World Report routinely ranks Northwestern's School of Education and Social Policy among the nation’s top 10 graduate schools of education.
The teacher preparation program at Northwestern leads to a Master of Science in Education. The curriculum for this degree promotes a focus on reflection and inquiry and an emphasis on the social contexts of education. Successful graduates of the program will earn a State of Illinois Professional Educator License for grades 1 through 6. The Elementary Teaching Curriculum includes the following courses:
- Research and Analysis in Teaching and Learning: Analysis, Interpretation, and Dissemination
- Foundations of Learning in a New Language
- Elementary Literacy Methods and Content
- Instructional Design and Assessment
Full-time students can complete this program in one calendar year. Students also have the option of enrolling on a part-time basis. Program starts are available in every academic quarter. No prior teaching experience or background in education is required to apply. Northwestern also offers graduate programs in Learning Sciences, Higher Education Administration and Policy, and Learning and Organizational Change.
9. Boston College
Rooted in the values of its Jesuit founders, Boston College was the first institution of higher learning to open in the city of Boston. More than 800 graduate students attend the Lynch School of Education at BC. Lynch is the top-ranked Catholic school of education in the country, according to U.S. News & World Report.
The Elementary Education program at Boston College leads to a Master of Education degree and initial teaching licensure for grades 1 through 6. This degree track features 12 courses and 37 credit hours. The program of study includes the following required courses:
- Mathematics and Technology: Teaching, Learning, and Curriculum in the Elementary School
- Instruction of Students with Special Needs and Diverse Learners
- Teaching about the Natural World
- Social Contexts of Education
No prior teaching background or licensure is required for the Elementary Education program. Depending on course load, part-time students typically take between two and three years to complete this program. Full-time students will earn their degree and licensure in a full academic year plus two summer sessions. Students can begin the degree track in the fall, spring, or summer semester. The Lynch School of Education also offers graduate certificates in Early Childhood Leadership, in Serving Exceptional Learners in Catholic Schools, and in Deafblindness.
10. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Established in 1867, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is a land-grant institution serving more than 47,000 students. The community of U of I includes scholars from all 50 U.S. states and over 100 countries around the world. The University offers post-baccalaureate programs in more than 100 disciplines, including a number of outstanding programs in education and teacher preparation.
Presented by the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, the Elementary Education Plus Teaching Licensure program at U of I offers a pathway to initial teaching licensure for grades 1 through 6. Students can complete this M.Ed. program in two years while taking classes in the fall and spring semesters. Students must maintain a GPA of at least 3.0 to graduate with this degree. Available coursework for Master of Education candidates includes the following:
- Psychology of Learning in Education
- Learning and Human Development with Educational Technology
- Political and Cultural Context of Education
- Critical Thinking in Education
The Master of Education degree does not feature a thesis requirement. Candidates applying to a master’s degree program through the College of Education are not required to submit GRE scores. U of I also offers highly regarded graduate programs in Early Childhood Education and in Language and Literacy Education.
11. University of Minnesota
Three of the University of Minnesota’s campuses—Crookston, Morris, and Twin Cities—recently appeared on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, a distinction that recognizes outstanding dedication to community and civic engagement. Reflecting its focus on community and real-world impact, UMN has been a leader in educational research and teacher preparation for more than 100 years. During the 2016-2017 academic year, the College of Education and Human Development at UMN granted over 1,600 degrees, including more than 500 Master of Education degrees.
UMN offers a Master of Education program that leads to an initial teaching license for kindergarten through grade 6. All students will enroll in this intensive 15-month program on a full-time basis. The program begins in May and concludes in June of the following year. The M.Ed. plus initial licensure pathway requires a minimum of 51.5 credits, which candidates will earn through courses such as:
- Learning, Cognition, and Assessment
- Technology for Teaching and Learning
- Language Arts Instruction in the Elementary Grades
- Teaching English Learners in the Elementary Classroom
Students must have an undergraduate GPA of 2.80 or above to qualify for admission. The 2016 cohort of the M.Ed. and Initial Teaching License in Elementary Education program had a first-year job placement rate of 98 percent. Graduates of the program have found teaching positions in the local area, throughout the country, and around the world.
12. University of Oregon
The University of Oregon is composed of nine colleges, including the nationally ranked College of Education. The UO College of Education offers a comprehensive suite of academic options for current and future administrators, psychologists, therapists, educational researchers, and teachers. The College’s versatile Curriculum and Teacher Education program provides tracks such as ESOL Endorsement/Bilingual Specialization, Reading Endorsement, Added Subject Endorsement, Sociological Foundations of Education, Teacher Inquiry, Educational Research Methods, and many other options.
The Master of Science in Curriculum and Teacher Education is a flexible program that is open to licensed teachers seeking additional education, endorsements, and certification. The curriculum for this degree will be individually determined by each candidate and their faculty advisor. The program starts in June, during the summer term. Available coursework for degree candidates includes:
- Curriculum Reform for a Sustainable Future
- State and Local Policy Development
- Language, Power, and Education
- The Scholarship of Teaching
The University also offers a program called UOTeach, which leads to a Master of Education degree and initial teaching licensure. UOTeach provides certification pathways for both Elementary Multiple Subjects and Middle/High School Education. This program provides pre-service teachers with 660 clock hours of practicum experience. UOTeach includes an embedded English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) endorsement.
13. University of Maryland
U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Maryland’s Department of Teaching and Learning, Policy, and Leadership (TLPL) 12th in the nation. The Master of Education with Certification (MCERT) program has been in operation since 1985. Today, students in this program can benefit from more than three decades of excellence in teacher training.
Students in the MCERT program can earn initial teaching licensure for elementary education, middle school education, secondary education, or pre-kindergarten through grade 12 (for specific subject areas). Candidates for this degree participate in a yearlong inquiry project and produce a teaching portfolio to be presented at the end of the program. Required coursework for the MCERT includes:
- Processes and Acquisition of Reading
- Diagnostic Reading Instruction and Assessment
- Materials and Instruction for Creating Skilled and Motivated Readers
- Embracing Diversity in Classroom Communities
The yearlong internship experience is designed to serve as a “learning laboratory," where students will apply the theory they learn in their coursework. For the internship year, teaching candidates may be placed in one of 25 partner K-12 schools in the neighboring counties of Montgomery, Prince George’s, Howard, and Anne Arundel. The College of Education at the University of Maryland holds full accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).
14. Virginia Commonwealth University
More than 31,000 students attend Virginia Commonwealth University, pursuing over 200 academic programs. The nationally renowned faculty of VCU numbers over 2,300. Nineteen of VCU’s graduate schools and programs are ranked among the top 50 of their kind by U.S. News & World Report, including the VCU School of Education (ranked 26th among the nation’s Best Education Schools).
Candidates for the Master of Teaching can choose a concentration in early and elementary education or in secondary education. Both concentration tracks lead to initial teaching licensure. The concentration in early and elementary education requires a minimum of 34 credit hours. Degree candidates will take required classes such as:
- Human Development and Learning
- Physical Education for the Elementary Teacher
- Classroom Management in Elementary Schools
- Integrating the Arts in Curriculum for Young Children
Applicants to the Master of Teaching program must have satisfactory scores on either the GRE or the Miller Analogies Test. Program starts are available in every term (spring, summer, and fall). Students have the opportunity to earn this degree through the Richmond Teacher Residency (RTR) program. This initiative pairs teaching candidates with experienced mentor-teachers in Richmond Public Schools. In spring 2018, RTR also began operating cohorts in Petersburg City Public Schools.
15. University of Florida
The University of Florida is a land-, sea-, and space-grant institution serving more than 52,000 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students. Within the UF College of Education, the ratio of faculty members to doctoral students is 7:5. UF’s teacher preparation program for elementary education focuses on assessment, advanced pedagogy, and technology integration.
The University of Florida offers a 36-credit hour program leading to a Master of Education in Elementary Education with initial teaching licensure for kindergarten through grade 6. Graduates of this program will also earn an English for Speakers of Other Languages Endorsement and the Florida Reading Endorsement. Both endorsements are valid for kindergarten through grade 12. The required coursework for this program, much of which is offered online, includes the following:
- Culturally-Responsive Classroom Management
- Advanced Language Arts and Writing in Elementary Classrooms
- Formative Assessments in Mathematics
- Inquiry-Based Science Teaching
Applicants to any graduate program in the School of Teaching and Learning, including the M.Ed. program, must have a GPA of 3.0 or above on all upper-division undergraduate coursework. Students who do not wish to earn a master’s degree can enroll in a post-baccalaureate initial licensure program. This pathway requires only 21 credit hours and does not culminate in a master’s degree.
16. Arizona State University
In 2018, Arizona State University was ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the Most Innovative School in the nation. This marks the third consecutive year that ASU has topped the list. The Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at ASU is well-known for both for its groundbreaking research initiatives and for its outstanding degree programs for current and aspiring educators.
The Master of Education in Elementary Education at ASU is designed to allow candidates with a bachelor’s degree in any field to earn initial teaching licensure. Successful graduates of the program will be certified to teach in kindergarten through grade 8. This degree plus certification track requires a minimum of 50 credit hours and will take four semesters to complete (including fall, spring, and summer semesters). Candidates for this degree will take courses such as:
- Curriculum Theory and Instructional Planning
- Instructional Design for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students
- Effective Classroom Behavior Management
- Instructional Planning for the Diverse Classroom
All students begin this program in the fall term. The degree track features evening classes and one full semester of student teaching. All clinical experiences, including the student teaching placement, will take place in an approved setting within 45 miles of the Tempe, Arizona main campus.
17. The University of Kansas
The University of Kansas was founded in 1854 by a group of abolitionists working to ensure that the newly formed Kansas Territory would enter the Union as a free state. KU is now one of the nation’s leading research universities, home to more than 28,000 students and 46 graduate programs ranked in the top 50 nationwide by U.S. News & World Report. Overall, the School of Education at KU ranks eighth in the country among public universities.
The Curriculum and Instruction program at the University of Kansas is available as both an M.A. degree and as an online M.S.Ed degree. The M.A. degree is offered through a thesis or master’s project track (which requires a total of 30 credit hours) and through a comprehensive exam track (which requires 36 total credit hours). Both the thesis track and the exam track require the following courses:
- Pedagogical Considerations in the 21st-Century Classrooms
- Curriculum and Planning for Educational Settings
- Differentiating Curriculum and Instruction
- Instructional Strategies and Models
A graduate program in Literacy Education (Reading) is also available as an M.A. degree and as a fully online M.S.Ed. degree. Post-baccalaureate students in KU's initial licensure program can earn certification in Foreign Languages (pre-kindergarten through grade 12), Middle Level Math (grades 5 through 8), and Middle Level Science (grades 5 through 8).
18. Utah State University
According to Washington Monthly, Utah State University ranks fifth in the nation among all public universities. Founded in 1888, USU is now a thriving research institution with a student body of 27,000. The Master of Education program in Curriculum and Instruction from USU is available with a number of concentrations. Available options include Elementary Mathematics, Literacy Education, and Early Childhood Education (kindergarten through grade 2).
The M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction is available through two tracks. The Plan C track is the most commonly pursued. This track features 15 required credits plus 21 credits of electives (36 credits total), a final reflection paper, and an exit interview. The Plan B track is a research-oriented degree requiring 36 credits in a pre-planned sequence and a master’s creative project. For the Plan B track in Elementary Mathematics, required courses include:
- Social Foundations of Education
- Theories of Learning and Models of Teaching
- Rational Numbers and Proportional Reasoning
- Data Analysis and Problem Solving
Other available concentrations for the M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction include Science Education, Social Studies Education, Gifted and Talented Education, and English as a Second Language. Students who are planning to pursue a doctorate are encouraged to choose the Plan A track in Curriculum and Instruction, which leads to an M.S. degree and features a stronger emphasis on developing research skills.
19. Johns Hopkins University
Home to nine academic divisions, Johns Hopkins University is one of the nation’s foremost research institutions. The School of Education at JHU is at the frontiers of discovery in the individual, communal, behavioral, and neurological aspects of human development. This commitment to new knowledge complements one of the nation’s strongest programs in teacher training.
The M.A.T. in Elementary Education requires 39 credit hours. Candidates for this degree will spend two full semesters in a student teaching placement. The accelerated M.A.T. allows students to earn their degree and licensure in 12 months, while the flexible M.A.T. can be completed at any pace as long as the degree requirements are met within five years of matriculation. Required coursework for the M.A.T. degree includes:
- Human Development and Learning
- Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment in School Settings
- Educational Alternatives for Students with Special Needs
- Advanced Processes and Acquisition of Reading
For students applying to the flexible part-time program, the application process will require two letters of recommendation. For the accelerated full-time program, candidates will need three letters of recommendation. Applicants to both tracks must have a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or above. Program starts for the flexible M.A.T. in Elementary Education are available in the spring, summer, and fall terms.
20. University of Texas at Austin
The University of Texas at Austin offers 237 graduate and doctoral degree programs. The College of Education at UT Austin is known for offering research-driven experiences set in collaborative environments. UT Austin offers a number of graduate programs that may be applicable to the career goals of elementary school teachers, including degrees in Early Childhood Education, Social Studies Education, Language and Literacy Studies, and STEM Education.
Both the Social Studies Education program and the STEM Education program are available as an M.A. degree or as an M.Ed. degree. For the STEM Education program, students will choose between a thesis track and a non-thesis track. Coursework for STEM Education students in either track will include:
- Knowing and Learning in STEM Education
- Curriculum History in STEM Education
- Research on Teaching and Teacher Development in STEM Education
- Systemic Reform in STEM Education
UT Austin presents a number of other master’s degrees in education, including Bilingual/Bicultural Education, Cultural Studies in Education, and Learning Technologies. All of these are available as an M.A. degree or as an M.Ed. degree. The Physical Education Teacher Education program is available as an M.A. or as an M.Ed. with initial teaching certification. UT Austin is one of only twenty institutions in the U.S. to offer a doctoral degree in Physical Education Teacher Education.
21. University of California, Berkeley
U.S. News & World Report has repeatedly ranked the University of California, Berkeley as the nation’s top public university. Roughly 30,000 undergraduate students attend this internationally renowned institution, along with 11,000 graduate students. In addition to programs in educational leadership and school psychology, the Graduate School of Education at Berkeley offers programs for pre-service candidates to earn their first teaching credential.
Berkeley Educators for Equity and Excellence (BE3) is a full-time program, beginning in the summer term and requiring four terms to complete. This program leads to a teaching credential and a Master of Arts in Education. Each student in the program will complete a total of 600 hours of fieldwork and student teaching. For candidates seeking an elementary education credential, the following coursework is required:
- Issues of Teaching, Learning, and Equity Professional Seminar
- Foundations for Teaching Language Arts
- Writing Across the Curriculum
- Educational Technology in the Elementary Classroom
Graduates of BE3 outperform their state and national peers on measurements of teaching and pedagogical skills such as student engagement, instructional planning and implementation, and student assessment. During a recent academic year, candidates in Berkeley’s professional education programs contributed more than 62,000 fieldwork hours to local partner districts, schools, and non-profit agencies.
22. Lehigh University
Located between Philadelphia and New York City, Lehigh University was founded in 1865 and today serves a small, top-tier community of roughly 7,000 students. The 2,358-acre campus in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania is home to 29 research centers and institutes and four academic colleges. The College of Education grants master’s degrees across a diverse range of fields, including Educational Urban Leadership, Instructional Technology, and Elementary Education.
The Elementary Education program at Lehigh leads to a Master of Education degree and certification for pre-kindergarten through grade 4. This track requires a minimum of 42 credit hours. With an additional 12 credit hours of coursework (for a total of 54 credits), candidates can earn dual certification in pre-kindergarten through grade 4 and Special Education for pre-kindergarten through grade 8. The single certification track features required coursework such as:
- Education and Inclusion of Individuals with Special Needs
- Diversity, Families, and School Collaborations in K-12
- Principles and Applications of K-12 Assessment
- K-12 Classroom Environment and Management
The dual certification track includes additional required coursework such as Alternative Curricular Approaches, Positive Behavior Support, and Assessment in Special Education. Lehigh also offers a number of graduate certificates, each of which requires either four or six courses. Certificates are available in English as a Second Language or TESOL, International School Counseling, Technology Use in the Schools, and Behavior Analysis.
23. University of Connecticut at Storrs
With a student body of roughly 23,000 undergraduates and 8,000 graduate and professional students, the University of Connecticut is one of the nation’s leading public research universities. In a 2018 publication, U.S. News & World Report ranks UConn among the 25 best public universities in the country. The main campus, located in Storrs, is home to a suite of nationally acclaimed advanced teacher training programs.
UConn offers a Master of Arts in Education in Curriculum and Instruction, with available emphasis areas in both Elementary Education and Secondary Education. Within the Elementary Education emphasis, students may specialize in either General Elementary Education or Reading/Language Arts Education. Graduate-level coursework offered by UConn's Department of Curriculum and Instruction includes:
- Teaching Children’s Literature in the Elementary School
- Materials and Methods in the Teaching of Elementary School Science
- Classroom Assessment and Correction of Reading Difficulties
- Education and Popular Culture
To qualify for this program, applicants should have experience as a K-12 teacher or other relevant experience working with children. Graduates of the M.A.Ed. are prepared to serve as instructional leaders in elementary schools and other educational institutions, such as colleges, universities, governmental agencies, and educational settings in fields such as allied health, nursing, and business.
24. George Mason University
As the largest public research university in Virginia, George Mason University has quickly made a name for itself since its founding in 1957. Mason dedicates more than $104 million annually towards groundbreaking research, driven by its world-class faculty and organically diverse community of 34,000 students. The Advanced Studies in Teaching and Learning (ASTL) program at Mason is designed to allow practicing teachers to elevate their content knowledge and research skills.
The Elementary Math concentration of the ASTL program offers a dual focus on mathematics content for kindergarten through eighth grade and on mathematics education research, curriculum, leadership, and assessment. This Master of Education degree requires 30 credit hours. The program is intended for candidates with at least one year of teaching or education-related experience. Coursework within the Elementary Math concentration includes:
- Number Systems and Number Theory for K-8 Teachers
- Geometry and Measurement for K-8 Teachers
- Probability and Statistics for K-8 Teachers
- Rational Numbers and Proportional Reasoning for K-8 Teachers
In addition to Elementary Math, the ASTL program offers concentrations in Early Childhood Education, Foreign Language (French and Spanish), Gifted Child Education, Literacy: K-12 Reading Specialist, Special Education, and Teacher Leadership. An Individualized track allows students to take 12 credit hours in core ASTL coursework and to select 18 additional credit hours of coursework for a concentration of their own design.
25. College of William and Mary
The College of William and Mary is one of only eight “Public Ivy” institutions in the United States. Chartered in 1693 by King William III and Queen Mary II of England, W&M is the second oldest college nationwide. (The College formally severed ties with Britain in 1776.) The rigorous Master of Arts in Education degree at W&M leads to initial teaching licensure for kindergarten through grade 6.
The M.A.Ed. in Elementary Education is open exclusively to candidates without any prior teacher certification. This degree track requires a minimum of 45 credit hours, and is designed as a full-time, 12-month program. Required coursework for this program includes:
- Social and Philosophical, Cultural, and Historical Foundations of American Education
- Advanced Educational Psychology and Development
- Adaptations for Exceptional Student Populations—Elementary
- Differentiating and Managing in Diverse Classrooms—Practicum
While not required, it is recommended that applicants to the Elementary Education program hold a bachelor's degree in a liberal arts and sciences discipline. This program offers an optional emphasis in Literacy. To earn the emphasis, students will take two additional courses (one is Language Acquisition and English Language Learners; the other is Diverse Children’s Literature) during the summer term. These six additional credit hours can be applied to an endorsement as a reading specialist.