UMN Morris prepares you to teach kindergarten through sixth grade, with opportunities to earn an endorsement in pre-primary education or middle level language arts, science, math, or social studies. The elementary education program at UMN Morris meets the requirements of the Minnesota Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board so that you are ready for the next step of obtaining a K-6 teaching license. One distinction of the program is that all elementary education students progress through the program together as a cohort. As an elementary education student at UMN Morris, you’ll feel like you’re part of a tight-knit learning community.

You’ll be learning from talented, award-winning, elementary education faculty who are committed to collaboration and personalized instruction. Instructional technology is a key component throughout the program, as are the opportunities for you to work with faculty in multicultural and international educational experiences.

Our conceptual framework, which describes the discipline’s intellectual philosophy and institutional standards, distinguishes us from other education institutions. It reflects our program’s vision and mission and provides direction for programs, courses, teaching, candidate performance, scholarship, service, and unit accountability.


Degree Requirements

To major in elementary education at UMN Morris, you’ll need to apply and be admitted to the program after meeting certain requirements by the end of your sophomore year. Your UMN Morris academic adviser will guide you through your first year at UMN Morris so that you are prepared to apply for admission to the elementary education program.

During the fall semester of your sophomore year, you’ll attend a meeting to begin the application process. The application requires faculty recommendations, personal statements, and an interview with elementary education faculty. The decision to admit is made during the following spring semester. Enrollment in the program is limited. Once admitted to the program, you’ll follow a two-year sequence that begins the fall of your junior year. Information sessions will be held periodically to give you an overview of admissions and program requirements.

Any member of the elementary education faculty would be happy to visit with you by phone, email, or in person. Contact them directly or schedule a campus visit through the Office of Admissions. Admissions will coordinate your visit, including conversations with elementary education faculty. They will also walk you through the application process and tell you about Morris scholarships.

If You're a Transfer Student

If you’re transferring from another school, you must be admitted to UMN Morris before applying to the elementary education program here. Our transfer coordinator can guide you through the process. 

The Division of Education chair will conduct a preliminary review of your unofficial transcript to give you a general idea of which requirements you have met and which are still needed in order for you to apply for admission to the elementary education program. Once admitted to the program, you’ll follow a two-year sequence starting in the fall.

If You’re a Graduate of a Four-Year Institution

If you’ve already earned a four-year degree, we will first need to determine if you’ve met the requirements for admission to the elementary education program by looking at your transcripts. For a preliminary review, send unofficial copies of your transcripts to:

Division of Education Chair
200 Education
600 East Fourth Street
Morris, MN 56267

The preliminary review will give you a general idea of the courses you might have to take to get a license.

If you decide to complete your license requirements at UMN Morris, apply to the University of Minnesota Morris via the Office of Admissions.

After you’ve been accepted to UMN Morris, an official transcript review will be conducted. This will give you the final list of courses to be completed. In most cases, applicants have needed to complete content area courses and/or education prerequisites and will need to wait and enter the education program one semester to two years after beginning coursework.

If your transcript evaluation indicates that you only have a few courses to take (three to four), check with the Elementary Education Discipline immediately regarding program application. If your transcript review indicates that you will need many courses (eight or more), remember to apply to the program in the fall of the year before you would actually enter the program. If you’re unsure whether you should apply, contact the Division of Education for assistance.

If You’re a Practicing Teacher

If you’re interested in adding a pre-primary or middle level endorsement area to your license, send your transcripts to the Division of Education for review. You may need to take additional content area courses.

The State of Minnesota will require you to take the Minnesota Teacher Licensure Examinations (MTLE) content exam in that field for pre-primary or middle level endorsements.

You’ll also need to contact the Office of Admissions for special or expedited University admission.

Review the admission requirements for the UMN Morris elementary education program.

Program Application

You can submit the elementary education program application through TK20 at no cost.

TK20 Guide for Students

Elementary Education Program Recommendation Forms

For non-Morris facultyFor UMN Morris faculty & staff

Graduate in Four Years

Graduate in Three Years

Student Learning Outcomes

By completing a degree in elementary education, you will be able to 

  • communicate about central concepts, tools of inquiry, and structures of disciplines taught in elementary school;    
  • understand child and adolescent development theory, individual and group motivation, and diversity among learners;                
  • create instructional opportunities adapted to learners from diverse cultural backgrounds and with exceptionalities;   
  • use instructional strategies and tools that reflect personal knowledge of effective verbal, nonverbal, and media communication techniques;                  
  • use formative and summative methods of student assessment;
  • plan and manage instruction; and
  • collaborate with parents/guardians, families, school colleagues, and the community.

General Education Requirements

The University of Minnesota and its faculty are committed to providing an education that invites you to investigate the world from new perspectives, learn new ways of thinking, and grow as an active citizen and lifelong learner. The University’s general education requirements are designed to be integrated throughout your four-year undergraduate experience. These courses provide you an opportunity to explore fields outside your major and complement your major curriculum with a multidisciplinary perspective.

Careers & Graduate School

UMN Morris elementary education graduates and their employers give UMN Morris uniformly high ratings for preparing new teachers who build learning communities, plan and assess well, and ensure student learning. Our graduates are teaching across the state, the country, and the world.

Most graduates seek and obtain teaching jobs. Recent data indicate that, on average, 87 percent of recent graduates work as classroom teachers or in an education-related field after completing their teacher preparation program. Those who chose to pursue other career options have benefitted from the organizational, interpersonal, cross-cultural, and presentation skills developed in the program. Non-educational career choices have included graduate school for counseling and social work, law enforcement, Peace Corps, and human resources.

A good percentage of UMN Morris graduates also use their undergraduate degree as a springboard for direct entry into graduate/professional schools. At some point in their careers, most UMN Morris elementary education graduates pursue a master’s degree in arts or science. Our Office of Career Services is available to help with graduate school decisions. 


We routinely are contacted by area school administrators encouraging UMN Morris graduates to apply for positions at their schools. Common occupations of recent elementary education graduates include:

  • Classroom teacher
  • School paraprofessional
  • Community educator
  • Early childhood education coordinator
  • Instructional technology specialist
  • Educational software developer

Note that you will need to complete state teaching license requirements if you plan to teach in elementary schools. The UMN Morris elementary education program is designed to meet the current Minnesota Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board requirements.

Graduate School

Many UMN Morris elementary education graduates pursue graduate studies, some having gone on to prestigious universities like:

  • Brown University
  • Harvard
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • University of Notre Dame

Areas of graduate study by past UMN Morris graduates include:

  • Art
  • Athletic training
  • Counseling and guidance
  • Early childhood special education
  • Foreign languages
  • Humanities
  • Law
  • Library science
  • Music
  • Psychology
  • Social work
  • Theology

Research & Engagement


UMN Morris offers many co-curricular and extracurricular activities geared toward elementary education majors to supplement your academic coursework.

  • The Honors Program is an interdisciplinary curriculum taught by faculty from across the campus. If you’re eligible and you complete the program, you’ll graduate “with honors.”
  • Study Abroad programs enhance your language, reasoning, and interpersonal skills with a global perspective that will serve you throughout your life and career. Credits earned apply to general education requirements.
  • Tutoring, Reading, Empowering Children (TREC) is a collaborative program between UMN Morris and regional communities through which you can volunteer to support literacy development and gain teaching experience in individual and small group settings.
  • The campus chapter of the Education Minnesota Aspiring Educators (EMAE) can help you develop your pre-professional skills. You would attend professional meetings and conferences, meet bi-monthly to discuss education issues, complete volunteer service projects, hear from professionals in the field, and have fun with other teacher candidates.
  • Big Friend/Little Friend is just one of the 100+ student organizations at Morris.
  • In a partnership between the University of Minnesota Morris and the Morris Area School District, you can volunteer in an after-school program in the Morris public schools.

There are also opportunities to work in the Writing Center, tutor for the Student Success Center, or serve as a teaching assistant for a course or professor.

Field Experience

As a UMN Morris elementary education student, you’ll be able to participate in a field experience for each education course, which will allow for personal growth in understanding key components of the elementary education program. During a field experience, you will work with students in a variety of rural, suburban, and urban school settings, completing at least one field experience in a cross-cultural setting, either a large urban center or a regional tribal school. You will also complete field experiences in a variety of grade levels that represent the scope of your licensure. 

One cross-cultural option is the urban field experience. Through a long partnership between UMN Morris and several schools in Chicago, this one-week, intensive clinical experience will help you gain cultural competence and improve your ability to meet the needs of students in diverse settings. You will have the opportunity to teach lessons, interact with students from a variety of racial, ethnic, and linguistic groups, and experience a variety of curricula and teaching styles. Past participants of this program have deemed it a career shaping and transformative experience. Another cross-cultural option is to spend time in a Native American tribal school where you would have the opportunity to learn more about Dakota culture, interact with Indigenous students, and reflect on decolonizing education.

You’ll be expected to explore and analyze instructional technology and student diversity in every setting. You’ll build leadership skills as you build relationships with your cooperating teachers, other school personnel, community members, and the students. In this way, the field, or clinical, experiences match the characteristics of the elementary education program.

The UMN Morris Division of Education will work closely with school personnel to ensure that you have a meaningful, appropriate experience that will allow you to put into practice the knowledge and theory studied in your coursework. They work together to plan, implement, and assess your experience based on the Minnesota Standards of Effective Practice (SEP)

Student Teaching

Student teaching will be your capstone clinical experience as an elementary education major. It’s an opportunity that brings together all dimensions of teaching so that you can apply everything you learned through your coursework and field experiences. Everyone involved in the student teaching program—you, the cooperating teacher, the host school administrator, and the university supervisor—play important roles in creating an environment in which you can demonstrate your abilities as a future full-time teacher.

Student teaching is your chance to effectively perform the professional duties of teaching in a real school setting. You’ll get to explore and apply multiple principles of learning, along with multiple teaching strategies, and prepare, teach, and assess lessons with a specific focus on student learning. This will help you develop entry-level competence in the full range of teaching behaviors. You’ll also be able to put into practice principles of professional and ethical behavior.

During student teaching, cooperating teachers share their expertise with you, observe the activities you planned and introduced, offer advice about your teaching and management techniques, and provide the support you need in maintaining your professional and personal well-being during this important transition from student to professional educator.

You’ll need to complete a three–week beginning student teaching experience in the fall and 10–12 weeks of student teaching during the following spring semester. Your teaching placement will be observed either by UMN Morris elementary education faculty or by district personnel who work closely with UMN Morris faculty. Your competence for effective teaching and potential for growth as a teacher will be assessed by University and school personnel.


  • Maintenance of GPA
  • Completion of required education courses
  • Recommendations by faculty

The UMN Morris elementary education program has specific appeals procedures for students who are not initially admitted or who are struggling at various points in the program. Students are expected to follow the grievance and appeals procedures outlined under Academic Petitions and under Student Complaints and Grievances. If any dispute is not settled after full implementation of the appeals processes as defined, the student may contact the Minnesota Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board, per MN Statute 122A.09, Subdivision 4c.

Admissions Appeal Process

Communication of Concern Process

The Communication of Concern is a developmental, supportive process intended to communicate clearly with teacher candidates about areas of growth and concern. The UMN Morris course instructor or cooperating teacher completes the form that identifies the concern. Then, an individualized learning plan is created in collaboration with the discipline coordinator. Teacher candidates are supported in their growth and held accountable for improvement. 

Student Teaching Appeal Process

Quick Facts

Program Offerings
  • Major


University of Minnesota Morris
Welcome Center
600 E Fourth Street
Morris, MN 56267