College of Education and Human Development

Department of Curriculum and Instruction

Elementary education foundations BS

This major is designed to prepare you to become an elementary teacher. However, you will also gain valuable and highly transferable skills for many different career paths including boards of education, consulting firms, test preparation companies, adoption agencies and educational publishers.

Program length: This program is a four-year bachelor’s degree that will prepare you to earn your teaching license and master’s degree. You will earn your teaching license after completing the one-year, graduate-level MEd and Teaching License in Elementary Education (a fifth year of study).


Our elementary education graduates recognize schools as places for the essential justice-oriented work of engaging with children and communities. They advocate for justice-oriented action in support of children, communities, colleagues, and the field of education. Our graduates value an ethos of vulnerability, recognizing their knowledge and pedagogical skills as wide-ranging, ever-evolving, and in collaboration with students. They are part of a growing movement to disrupt and dismantle unjust practices and actively humanize systems in public education in order to build a just future for all.

Quote from Grace Hjort, BS 2021

The faculty is extremely dedicated to their student’s success. I have found every faculty member in this program to be helpful, kind, and passionate. I am grateful to have role models and leaders to support me in this major.

Grace Hjort, BS 2021

About this program


You will benefit from the knowledge of our faculty, the cutting-edge curriculum, and over 1200 hours of classroom experience during the program. Graduates will feel prepared to enter the licensure program after completing the foundational coursework and teaching experiences.

Student teaching

As an Elementary Education Foundations major, you will complete three separate practicum experiences during your undergraduate program: Elementary Teaching, Reading Foundations, and Special Education Foundations. You will gain practical skills through these hands-on experiences, including creating and teaching your own lesson plans, working in classrooms with students on Individual Education Plans (IEPs), and mentoring elementary learners in literacy skill development. Each of these experiences is directly linked to University coursework and takes place within Twin Cities elementary schools that are part of our CEHD partnership network.

View the core curriculum and program requirements in the undergraduate course catalog.

After graduation

After you graduate with your BS in elementary education foundations, you can apply to earn your MEd and Teaching License in Elementary Education which can be completed in one academic year of full-time study. You will have completed all the required prerequisites and be immediately eligible to enter the licensure program and will be able to teach in your own classroom within a year of graduation.

Earning your MEd offers the following advantages:

  • Teachers with a master's degree are regarded as experts in their field, making you a more competitive job candidate with an MEd
  • Teachers who have a master's degree will see a roughly $7,000 annual salary increase []
  • Teachers with advanced degrees can be promoted to school administration positions and can become mentors to other teachers based upon specific graduate training.

How to apply

    Application deadline and instructions

    Freshman applicants apply through the Office of Undergraduate Education. Undergraduate transfer students apply through the College of Education and Human Development. Drop-in advising hours and information sessions are available.

    We encourage you to visit campus and take a tour. You’ll find the University of Minnesota has a lot to offer beyond just academics!

    Request information

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