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Education, Teaching & Health

BA in Elementary Education


Admission to Candidacy in Teacher Education

Undergraduates seeking teacher certification in elementary education should contact an advisor in the School of Education, Teaching and Health as early as possible. Admission to the university and declaration of a major does not constitute admission to candidacy in teacher education, which is based on academic and related performance criteria. 

To be admitted to candidacy, students must earn a passing score (as set by the District of Columbia teacher licensing agency) on the PRAXIS I: Pre-Professional Skills Test (PPST); earn an average grade of 2.70 or higher in EDU-205 Schools and Society and EDU-420 Psychology of Education, pass EDU-321 Field Experience: Observation and Analysis, receive satisfactory recommendations from faculty, and have an overall cumulative grade point average of 2.70 or higher. The Teacher Education Committee reviews student applications. Decisions regarding admission to candidacy are made by this committee based on academic performance and references. 

Liberal Arts and Science Requirements for Teacher Certification: Elementary

To qualify for teacher certification, students must have completed all of the requirements from the specific curricular areas listed below. Some requirements may overlap with the university General Education requirements. Consult a School of Education, Teaching and Health advisor for more information. 

  • Literature: 3 credit hours in addition to LIT-102 
  • The Arts: 3 credit hours 
  • Health: 3 credit hours 
  • U.S. history: 3 credit hours 
  • Social science: 3 credit hours 
  • Biological science: 3 credit hours 
  • Physical science: 3 credit hours 

Note: biological or physical science must include a lab. 


University Requirements

  • A total of 120 credit hours 
  • 6 credit hours of college writing 
  • 3 credit hours of college mathematics or the equivalent by examination 

General Education Requirements

  • A total of ten courses, consisting of two courses from each of the five foundational areas
  • At least one course from Area Five: The Natural and
    Mathematical Sciences must include a laboratory science
    component
  • No more than two courses may be taken in the same
    discipline 

Note: Students must consult with an advisor from the School of Education, Teaching and Health as early as possible to discuss the coordination of General Education requirements with certification requirements. 


Major Requirements

  • 74 credit hours with grades of C or better, including 15 to 17 credit hours in a concentration
  • An overall cumulative grade point average of 2.70 or higher 
  • All students must complete the Praxis II Exam prior to graduation. 

Course Requirements

  • EDU-205 Schools and Society (3) 
  • EDU-250 Mathematics for Elementary School Teachers I (3) 
  • EDU-251 Mathematics for Elementary School Teachers II (3) 
  • EDU-419 Children’s Literature: A Critical Literacy Perspective (3) 
  • EDU-420 Psychology of Education (3) 
  • EDU-321 Field Experience: Observation and Analysis (1) 
  • EDU-330 Instructional Strategies and Teaching Methods (3) 
  • EDU-462 Classroom Management (3) 
  • EDU-371 Foundations of Reading Instruction (3) 
  • EDU-492 Service Learning in Teacher Education (1) 
  • EDU-519 The Uses of Technology in Education (3) 
  • EDU-541 Foundations of Special Education for Exceptional Children (3) or EDU-545 Overview of all Exceptionalities: The Arts in Special Education (3) 
  • EDU-552 Teaching Mathematics in Elementary
    Education (3) 
  • EDU-553 Teaching Language Arts in Elementary
    Education (3) 
  • EDU-554 Teaching Social Studies in Elementary
    Education (3) 
  • EDU-555 Teaching Reading in Elementary Education (3) 
  • EDU-556 Teaching Science in Elementary Education (3) 
  • EDU-499 Student Teaching Seminar in Professional Practice (12) 

Concentration or Minor

  • 15–17 credit hours in one of the following concentrations in art, biology, history, literature, mathematics, or music; or with approval, students may complete a minor in place of the concentration: 

Art (15 credit hours)

  • ARTS-100 Art: The Studio Experience (3) 
  • One course from the following:
  • ARTH-105 Art: The Historical Experience (3)
  • ARTH-210 Modern Art: Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries (3) 
  • Three courses from the following:
  • ARTS-205 The Artist’s Perspective: Drawing (3)
  • ARTS-210 The Artist’s Perspective: Painting (3)
  • ARTS-215 The Artist’s Perspective: Sculpture (3)
  • ARTS-420 Painting Studio (3)
  • ARTS-440 Sculpture Studio (3)
  • ARTS-460 Drawing Studio (3)
  • ARTS-463 Relief Printmaking Studio (3)
  • ARTS-464 Intaglio Studio (3) 

Biology (17 credit hours)

  • BIO-110 General Biology I (4) 
  • BIO-210 General Biology II (4) 
  • Three courses from the following:
  • BIO-200 Structure and Function of the Human Body (3)
  • BIO-220 The Case for Evolution (3)
  • BIO-250 Oceanography (3)
  • ENVS-250 Living in the Environment (3)
  • BIO-xxx 300-level or above course, with advisor’s approval 

History (15 credit hours)

  • HIST-205 American Encounters: 1492–1865 (3)
  • HIST-215 Social Forces that Shaped America (3)
  • One course from the following: 
  • HIST-100 History, Memory, and the Changeable Past (3) 
  • HIST-110 Renaissance and Revolutions: Europe, 1400-1815 (3) 
  • HIST-120 Imperialism in History (3)  
  • HIST-210 Ethnicity  in America (3)  
  • HIST-220 Women in America since 1850 (3)  
  • HIST-225 Russia and the Origins of Contemporary Eurasia (3)  
  • HIST-235 The West in Crisis, 1900-1945 (3)  
  • HIST-250 Empires and States in East Asia (3)  
  • One approved HIST-2xx course (3)  
  • One approved HIST-3xx course (3) 

Literature (15 credit hours)

  • LIT-120 Interpreting Literature (3) or LIT-105 The Literary Imagination (3) 
  • Two courses from the following:
  • LIT-125 Great Books that Shaped the Western World (3)
  • LIT-210 Survey of American Literature I (3)
  • LIT-211 Survey of American Literature II (3)
  • LIT-220 Survey of British Literature I (3)
  • LIT-221 Survey of British Literature II (3)
  • One course from the following:
  • LIT-225 The African Writer (3)
  • LIT-235 African-American Literature (3)
  • LIT-240 Asian American Literature (3)
  • LIT-245 The Experience of Poetry (3)
  • LIT-265 Literature and Society in Victorian England (3)
  • LIT-270 Transformations of Shakespeare (3)
  • One approved LIT-3xx course (3)

Mathematics (17 credit hours)

  • MATH-211 Applied Calculus I (4) or MATH-221 Calculus I (4)
  • MATH-222 II (4)
  • Three approved courses at the 300-level or above

Music (16 credit hours)

  • PERF-124 Music Theory (3)
  • PERF-227 Musicianship I (3)
  • PERF-100 Class Piano Level I (1)
  • PERF-114 Class Voice (1)
  • MUS-122 Private Instrumental or Vocal Study (2) (four semesters for a total of 8 credit hours)
  • One approved LIT-3xx course (3)


University Honors Program

To graduate with University Honors, students must be admitted to the University Honors Program, maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.50, and receive grades of B or better in all University Honors course work. There are three levels of University Honors course requirements: Level I (100-200-level); Level II (300-level and above); and Level III (Honors Capstone Project). The department Honors coordinator advises students in the University Honors Program regarding requirements for graduating with University Honors in the major. For more information, go to the University Honors Program.

Combined Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees
American University offers students the opportunity to earn both undergraduate and graduate degrees through its accelerated bachelor’s/master’s programs. Undergraduate students may complete up to 3 credits for every 9 credits required for the graduate degree that may be applied to the requirements for both degree programs.  The department that oversees the graduate program the student enters will determine if the courses the undergraduate student completes will satisfy master’s degree requirements. Bachelor’s/master’s students must complete at least 18 in-residence credit hours at the graduate level after the bachelor’s degree is earned and  maintain continuous, sequential enrollment in the two programs. Students must finish the master’s degree requirements within three years from the date of first enrollment in the master’s program.