As an “education school,” UMN Morris prepares students 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 students 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 learning community, or family.
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.
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 when it comes time 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 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.
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.
Our 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
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.
The elementary education program application must be submitted through TK20. There is no cost to submit through TK20.
Elementary Education Program Recommendation Forms
Graduate in Four Years
Things to Consider When Majoring in Elementary Education
- Take Ed 2121, Ed 2111, and Ed 2601 in your third or fourth semester. It’s common to take these courses during the fourth semester, even though at the time, you will have applied for the program. Only Ed 2121 and Ed 2111 must be taken together. We suggest taking these your second year. There are also Education Intellectual Community courses if you're anxious to jump directly into major content.
- Keep your GPA up. The teacher preparation programs require a GPA of 2.75 in courses that are part of licensure and a GPA of 2.5 overall.
- You will need three letters of recommendation from UMN Morris professors in the fall of your sophomore year, so establish good relationships with faculty early.
- In addition to taking two visual and performing arts courses and two social science courses in different disciplines, you’ll need to take two science courses (one with a lab) in different disciplines. Great options for elementary teachers include the solar system course in the physics discipline, basic biology, Chemistry for the Curious Citizen, and earth science courses.
- Volunteer (or work) in children’s fields: summer camps, babysitter/nanny jobs, after-school programs, in school volunteering on UMN Morris holidays. Check with the UMN Morris Office of Community Engagement for after-school and evening programs with children. Join the Education Minnesota Aspiring Educators (the student education club).
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.
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.
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
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
Many UMN Morris elementary education graduates pursue graduate studies, some having gone on to prestigious universities like:
- Brown University
- Johns Hopkins University
- University of Notre Dame
Areas of graduate study by past UMN Morris graduates include:
- Athletic training
- Counseling and guidance
- Early childhood special education
- Foreign languages
- Library science
- Social work
The University of Minnesota Morris is a national public liberal arts college committed to making a high-quality education available to students from across the country. Expenses for housing, meals, books and supplies, transportation, loan fees, and personal expenditures can vary.
The American Indian Salt Springs Award is presented to outstanding American Indian education students.
Beverley Wartman Munson was a 1967 elementary education graduate who died in 1984. Her sister, Judy Wartman Schmidt Blair '73, and Judy's husband, Michael Blair, established the scholarship in her memory in 1999. Recipients are elementary education majors.
A scholarship made it possible for Carrie Wickstrom to complete her West Central School of Agriculture education in 1929 and go on to college to become a teacher. Based on academic merit and financial need, recipients of the scholarship she established are students pursuing licensure in education with preference given to those intending to teach at the elementary level.
The Elementary Education Alumni Scholarship is awarded to an Elementary Education student based on academic merit. This scholarship is made possible by collective gifts from UMM education alumni.
This scholarship was created through the estate of Estelle Lundring Lee, a longtime resident of Morris and friend of the Morris campus. The scholarship assists those planning to teach in elementary, secondary, or higher education in obtaining a multi-cultural experience outside of Minnesota. It covers the course fee charged for students who go outside the sixty-mile service area for student teaching.
One of four scholarships established by Edward Kaufman and the late Dorothybelle Kaufman of Appleton, Minnesota, in memory of their parents, the Kate McCoy Kaufman scholarship is awarded to a student majoring in elementary education. Students must have demonstrated academic excellence and potential in the field.
Established by William R. King '73, who earned a bachelor of arts in elementary education, this scholarship is award to seniors planning to teach elementary education in rural Minnesota. Preference is given to students of color.
Presented annually to a senior enrolled in either the elementary or Elementary Education program, this award recognizes a student's demonstrated competence and potential for becoming an outstanding member of the teaching profession. William Scarborough joined the Morris faculty in 1966, made many contributions to public education in Minnesota, and served as chair of the Division of Education until his death in 1979.
Research & Engagement
UMN Morris offers many co-curricular and extracurricular activities for elementary education majors to engage in to supplement their 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.
As a UMN Morris elementary education student, you’ll have the opportunity to participate in a field experience each time you take an education course. This will provide developmental and constructive opportunities for personal growth in understanding key program components
Field experiences allow you to work with students in a variety of rural, suburban, and urban school settings. You’ll complete at least one field experience in a cross-cultural setting, either a large urban center or a regional tribal school and will complete experiences in a variety of grade levels representing the scope of your licensure.
One cross-cultural field service option is the urban field experience. Through a long partnership between UMN Morris and several schools in Chicago, this one-week, intensive clinical experience is designed to help elementary education majors gain cultural competence and improve their ability to meet the needs of students in diverse settings. During this time, 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 students. In this way, the clinical experiences match the characteristics of the program.
We work with school personnel to plan, implement, and assess your experience. We work closely with school personnel to provide you with a meaningful, appropriate experience that will allow you to put into practice the knowledge and theory studied in your coursework.
The Minnesota Standards of Effective Practice (SEP) are addressed in each experience, as field experiences are standards-based. Assignments and final assessments are based on the SEP. The blending of theory and practice will support you as you grow toward being an effective beginning teacher.
Opportunities for Students
The Undergraduate Research Symposium (URS) offers students an opportunity to present research plus scholarly and creative work. Types of presentations include posters, oral presentations, and short or abbreviated theatrical, dance, or musical performances.
The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) provides University of Minnesota undergraduates from every college, major, and discipline, the opportunity to partner with a faculty member on research or creative projects.
The University of Minnesota Morris offers the Morris Academic Partnership (MAP) program, in which faculty select academically talented, qualified second-year and third-year students to assist them in scholarly and creative projects. Selected MAP students undertake assignments intended to enhance their intellectual competence and increase their interest in graduate or professional study.
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 in the current Morris Catalog and in program materials. 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.