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), health and physical education (grades six through 12) and secondary education (kindergarten 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
Change of major and transfer students
Professional development schools
Educator as reflective practitioner
Demographics consideration in teaching
Standards of learning
Extended program in early and elementary or secondary education
Extended program in health and physical education
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 mentor, 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, colleague-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.
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. Students who wish to enter the extended program in health and physical education must choose the general health and physical education concentration in the health, physical education and exercise science major within 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; transcripts of students pursuing the extended program in health and physical education are evaluated by the School of 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 C or better. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 www.soe.vcu.edu/departments/tl 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.
Students who plan to become health and physical education teachers should enroll in the Bachelor of Science in Health, Physical Education and Exercise Science major with a concentration in general health and physical education. Transfer students should consult with a program adviser prior to course registration. The requirements for the B.S. are outlined in the program section of this Bulletin.
In the extended program students pursue an integrated curriculum leading to simultaneous awarding of a B.S. and Master of Teaching. Students begin professional studies early in the program. A student in the extended program must maintain a GPA of at least 2.8 for admission to teacher preparation (generally in the third year) and a minimum GPA of 3.0 to be admitted to the graduate portion of the program. Admission to graduate study typically occurs during the fourth year of study.