Teacher Licensure Program

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The School of Education offers course work leading to initial Colorado licensure to undergraduate, postbaccalaureate, and master’s degree students. Colorado requires public school teachers to be licensed by its state department of education. Students who successfully complete all School of Education requirements will be recommended for a Colorado provisional (initial) teaching license, the license issued to all new teachers in Colorado. Licensure requirements vary from state to state and from teaching area to area. Students who are interested in teaching in other states should familiarize themselves with the requirements of those states so they may plan an appropriate degree program.

Undergraduate and Postbaccalaureate (Nonmaster’s Degree) Licensure Programs

  • Elementary (grades K–6) education
  • Secondary education (grades 7–12) fields:
    English
    World language (French, German, Japanese, Latin, Russian, or Spanish)
    Mathematics
    Science
    Social studies
  • Music (grades K–12)

Secondary Master’s Degree Plus Licensure Program
(see Graduate Study section for additional program information)

  • Secondary education (grades 7–12) fields:
    English
    Mathematics
    Science
    Social studies

Program Goals

Teacher education programs focus on the preparation of novice teachers in three interdependent areas:

  • knowledge of subject matter and pedagogy, 
  • education of students in a diverse society, and 
  • professional obligations and dispositions of teachers in a democracy. 

To meet these goals teacher education students engage in a planned sequence of courses and accompanying field experiences in community and school sites.

Performance-Based Standards for Colorado Teachers

In addition to program goals, the teacher education programs address eight performance-based standards for Colorado teachers, as adopted by the Colorado Department of Education in January 2000.

  1. Knowledge of Literacy. The teacher shall be knowledgeable about student literacy development in reading, writing, speaking, viewing, and listening.
  2. Knowledge of Mathematics. The teacher shall be knowledgeable about mathematics and mathematics instruction.
  3. Knowledge of Standards and Assessment. The teacher shall be knowledgeable about strategies, planning practices, assessment techniques, and appropriate accommodations to ensure student learning in a standards-based curriculum.
  4. Knowledge of Content. The elementary teacher is knowledgeable, in addition to literacy and mathematics, in the following content areas: civics, economics, foreign language, geography, history, science, music, visual arts, and physical education. Middle school and secondary content teachers shall be knowledgeable in literacy and mathematics and expert in their content endorsement area(s).
  5. Knowledge of Classroom and Instruction Management. The teacher is knowledgeable about classroom practice in order to successfully manage time, communications, and record keeping procedures that will support and enhance student learning.
  6. Knowledge of Individualization of Instruction. The teacher is responsive to the needs and experiences children bring to the classroom, including those based on culture, community, ethnicity, economics, linguistics, and innate learning abilities. The teacher is knowledgeable about learning exceptionalities and conditions that affect the rate and extent of student learning, and is able to adapt instruction for all learners.
  7. Knowledge of Technology. The teacher is skilled in technology and is knowledgeable about using technology to support instruction and enhance student learning.
  8. Democracy, Educational Governance, and Careers in Teaching. The teacher recognizes the school’s role in teaching and perpetuating our democratic system. The teacher knows the relationships among the various governmental entities that create laws, rules, regulations, and policies that determine educational practices. 

The objectives of the university relative to teacher education are the following: 

  1. Provide programs of undergraduate and graduate studies designed to develop outstanding teachers, supervisors, college teachers, administrators, and researchers. 
  2. Conduct and direct educational research and to engage in writing and related creative endeavors. 
  3. Identify and attract future outstanding teachers into the teacher education program. 
  4. Cooperate with other state, regional, and federal agencies to improve educational programs. 

Teacher education at the University of Colorado, while administered by the School of Education, is a university-wide function. Many academic departments provide course work that supports the teacher in training. Undergraduate students follow a prescribed set of arts and sciences core courses that meet state content preparation standards, complete a major, and satisfy professional education requirements concurrently. The program involves a combination of courses at the university and K–12 school placements. 

Academic Majors

Undergraduate Students. Undergraduate students enrolled at the University of Colorado Boulder seeking both a bachelor’s degree and teacher licensure must complete a major approved for prospective teachers by the Colorado Department of Higher Education. With careful planning beginning freshman year, these programs may be completed in four years. A list of these approved majors is available on the School of Education website, www.colorado.edu/education. No professional education course work taken before the implementation of the Colorado Model Content Standards and Performance-Based Standards for Colorado Teachers may count for teacher education requirements. 

The major selected is determined by the student’s interest in teaching a certain subject or instructional level. Before selecting a particular major, students may see the School of Education advisor. Students interested in teaching at the secondary level should be aware that in many subject areas the teaching program requires additional courses or more hours than the academic major. Course requirements for all programs are explained in the program checklists available in Education 151. 

Arts and Sciences Core Requirements for Teacher Candidates

Arts and sciences students must complete college core curriculum requirements (see College of Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Degree Requirements section). Teacher licensure students must take specified courses within some categories of this core curriculum. 

The arts and sciences core is listed below; courses specified in each area for students seeking teaching licensure are in bold italic type. 

Elementary Licensure 

  • Foreign Language: Third semester proficiency in a single modern or classical foreign language.
  • Quantitative Reasoning and Mathematical Skills: 3–6 semester hours. MATH 1110 and 1120 Spirit and Uses of Mathematics 1 and 2 or MATH 1300 Calculus 1
  • Written Communication: 3 lower-division and 3 upper-division semester hours.
  • Historical Context: 3 semester hours. Choose from: ARAB 3230, ASIA 1000, CLAS/HIST 1051, CLAS/HIST 1061, CLAS 1140, ECON 4514, HIST 1010, HIST 1020, HIST 1038, HIST 1108, HIST 1113, HIST 1123, HIST 1208, HIST 1308, HIST 1408, HIST 1608, HIST 1708, HIST 2220, HIST 2629, RUSS 2211, RUSS 2221, RUSS 2471, RUSS 3601, RUSS 4301, or SCAN 2202.
  • Human Diversity: 3 semester hours. EDUC 3013 School and Society
  • United States Context: 3 semester hours. Choose from: CAMW 2001, ECON 4524, ETHN 2004, ETHN 2013, ETHN 2014, ETHN 2432/HIST 2437, ETHN 2536, ETHN 3015, ETHN 3905/WMST 3900, HIST 1015, HIST 1025, HIST 2015, HIST 2126, HIST 2166, HIST 2316, HIST 2326, HIST 2516, or HIST 2636/WMST 2400.
  • Literature and the Arts: 6 semester hours, 3 upper-division semester hours.
  • Natural Science: 13 semester hours, including a 2-course sequence and a laboratory or field experience.
  • Physical science required (ASTR, ATOC, CHEM, GEOG, GEOL, PHYS)
  • Biological science required (EBIO, MCDB, or IPHY)
  • Contemporary Societies: 3 semester hours. PSCI 1101 American Political Systems
  • Ideals and Values: 3 semester hours.
  • Additional liberal arts requirement: 3 semester hours. Human/Cultural Geography

Secondary Licensure 

  • Foreign Language: Third semester proficiency in a single modern or classical foreign language.
  • Quantitative Reasoning and Mathematical Skills: 3–6 semester hours.
  • Written Communication: 3 lower-division and 3 upper-division semester hours.
  • Historical Context: 3 semester hours.
  • Human Diversity: 3 semester hours.
    Course from major or EDUC 3013 School and Society
  • United States Context: 3 semester hours.
  • Literature and the Arts: 6 semester hours, 3 upper-division semester hours.
  • Natural Science: 13 semester hours, including a 2-course sequence and a laboratory or field experience.
  • Contemporary Societies: 3 semester hours. 
    Course from major or EDUC 3013 School and Society
  • Ideals and Values: 3 semester hours. 

Postbaccalaureate Students. Postbaccalaureate students are not required to have a degree in one of the majors approved by the Colorado Department of Higher Education. However, students who have graduated with a nonapproved major often must take additional arts and sciences and major course work to fulfill state teacher licensure requirements.

Admission

Admission to all School of Education programs is selective. Satisfying minimal admission criteria does not guarantee admission.

Students Entering or Currently Enrolled at the University of Colorado 

Undergraduate students seeking to complete the School of Education teacher education program must be enrolled in an approved degree program in one of the colleges or schools of the university. All undergraduates interested in teaching may seek teacher education advising at the time they enter the university. Freshman and sophomore students are encouraged to satisfy as many of the arts and sciences core requirements, liberal arts requirements for the appropriate licensure program, and major field requirements as possible before applying for admission to the teacher education program. Some education courses may be taken prior to admission to the teacher education program. Students should pick up advising materials in Education 151 and attend all education information sessions, including freshman orientation. 

Transfer Students 

Undergraduate students who seek to transfer to the University of Colorado from another accredited institution must apply for admission through the Office of Admissions. They must enroll in a degree program in one of the undergraduate degree-granting colleges or schools of the university and also apply for admission to the teacher education program in the School of Education. At least 30 hours of course work for licensure must be taken while the student is officially enrolled as a student in the university. Credit in student teaching will not transfer to the University of Colorado Boulder. Please see Undergraduate Admission in the General Information section for specific requirements. 

Former Students 

Former students who have not completed an undergraduate degree may reenter the university according to general university policies; however, subsequent to that readmission, they must apply separately for entry into the teacher education program. Undergraduate students who anticipate that they will graduate prior to completing the teacher education program must see the School of Education advisor. All admitted students who remain continuously enrolled will be expected to complete the program in effect at the time of their admission to the program unless state accrediting changes dictate otherwise. 

Postbaccalaureate and Master’s Degree Students Seeking Teacher Training 

Students who already hold a bachelor’s degree and wish to pursue licensure should apply directly to the School of Education. Students desiring institutional recommendation for licensure must complete at least 30 semester hours of work at the University of Colorado and also must fulfill the same academic area requirements as undergraduate students. The actual number of required hours will depend on courses already completed. 

Application Requirements 

Students may apply to one of the teacher education programs if the following requirements have been fulfilled: 

  1. GPA. Elementary and secondary students must have and maintain a 2.75 (on a 4.00 scale) cumulative GPA, 2.75 at CU-Boulder, 2.75 in their subject area (secondary teacher fields), and 2.75 in education. Music students must have and maintain a 3.00 overall and in their subject area. Students applying to Master’s Plus (MA+) programs must have and maintain a 3.00 cumulative GPA.
  2. Prior Degrees. Students applying to Postbaccalaureate and Master’s Plus (MA+) programs must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.
  3. Youth Experience. Students must provide written verification of 25 clock hours of satisfactory experiences with elementary, middle/junior high, or senior high school-aged youth (appropriate to the desired program) in the past five years.  Forms for this purpose are available in the Office of Student Services, Education 151, or online at www.colorado.edu/education/prospective/teachereducation.html. Students in the CU Teach program meet this requirement through school experiences in Step 1 and 2 courses.
  4. Basic Skills. All teacher education students must demonstrate basic skills competence in mathematics and literacy. This may be done through acceptable grades in appropriate college course work, or by acceptable standardized test scores. Contact the Office of Student Services in Education 151 for more information. 
  5. Letters of Recommendation.
  6. Personal Statement.
  7. Fee. The appropriate application fee should be submitted with application materials. Fees vary by program. 
  8. Deadlines. Deadlines for undergraduate and postbaccalaureate admission are February 1 for fall and September 15 for spring. The deadline for MA+ is January 1.

Application Materials 

Individuals interested in completing the teacher education program at the University of Colorado Boulder should request application materials from the Office of Student Services, Education 151 or online at www.colorado.edu/education/prospective. Students currently enrolled in a degree program at Boulder will need to complete an application.

Individuals who have completed a baccalaureate degree at an accredited institution and are not currently enrolled at the university must complete a program application, a university application and submit official transcipts from all previous colleges directly to the Office of Admissions. 

Advising

Students are responsible for obtaining a student handbook and program checklist, which are available online. The student handbook is available at www.colorado.edu/education/current-students/forms-policies and the program checklists are available at www.colorado.edu/education/prospective-students/undergraduate-licensure/current-CU-undergrads

Off-campus students may obtain advising materials online at www.colorado.edu/education/prospective-students or by calling 303-492-6555.

At CU-Boulder, degree requirements vary among the schools and colleges. Students seeking a degree at the University of Colorado should consult, as soon as possible, with an advisor in the college or school from which they expect to graduate and with the School of Education advisor. 

Students are encouraged to become familiar with the teacher education requirements by comparing their own transcripts to the published advising materials. Students can then talk with an advisor before applying to the program or they may wait until after their applications are processed. Students seeking teacher training in French, German, Japanese, Latin, Russian, Spanish, or music should see the designated advisor for that teaching field in addition to the School of Education advisor. 

Advising also may be obtained by e-mail through contacting Travis Anderson at travis.anderson@colorado.edu. When requesting e-mail advising, students should make questions as specific as possible.