Elementary Education

Completion of the elementary education major and passing all state tests “highly qualifies” one to teach in self-contained elementary grades (1-6). The Teacher Education Program (TEP) Handbook  provides detailed information about the TEP program, admission requirements, field requirements, and state and university licensure requirements.

Professional/Elementary Education Major (13.5 units)    Take the courses below in the sequence listed. Refer to the IWU catalog for course prerequisites and restrictions on concurrent enrollment. The professional education courses listed below are used to compute your professional education grade point average for TEP and student teaching acceptance.

Course Requirements

Elementary Education Major

First Year


EDUC 225: Education and Social Justice (CSI)  
EDUC 125: Schooling in Society, in most cases, concurrent with 225 20-25 hours field experience
EDUC 255: Child Study and Assessment (W)  
EDUC 126: Teaching to the World of the Child, in most cases, concurrent with 255 20-25 hours field experience
MATH 105: Mathematical Concepts for Elementary Teachers I  
MATH 106: Mathematical Concepts for Elementary Teachers II (FR)  

Sophomore Year


EDUC 255: Child Study and Assessment (W) if not taken first year  
EDUC 126: Teaching to the World of the Child, in most cases, concurrent with 255 20-25 hours field experience
EDUC 257: Disability Rights(AV,U)  
MATH 105: Mathematical Concepts for Elementary Teachers I if not taken first year  
MATH 106: Mathematical Concepts for Elementary Teachers II (FR) if not taken first year  

Junior Year


EDUC 320: Foundations of Literacy: Reading, Writing, and Oral Communication 25 hours field experience
EDUC 330: Mathematics, Science, and Technology Curriculum Pedagogy in Elementary Curriculum**


EDUC 335: Exploring Inquiry and Creativity in the Elementary Curriculum 35 hours field experience
EDUC 340: Instructional Planning, Assessment and Safe Learning Environments
EDUC 257: Disability Rights(AV,U) (if still needed)

Senior Year


EDUC 490: Student Teaching Seminar (1 unit) 15 week full time immersion in the field (continues last spring placement)
EDUC 496: Student Teaching (3 units)


EDUC 498: Educational Inquiry (W)

* If planning to travel abroad, do so prior to the junior year, or during any May Term. Plan your enrollment in EDUC 225, 255, and 257 accordingly. EDUC 257 can be taken concurrently with 300 level courses the junior year. Ninth semester graduates take required 300 level courses and EDUC 498 spring semester of the senior year prior to student teaching.    
** The equivalent of college algebra is required for success in EDUC 330. Equivalence may be demonstrated through one of the following means: C- or higher grade in a high school or IWU calculus course, a score of 4 or 5 on the AP calculus test, a minimum ACT or SAT mathematics score of 22 or 515, a minimum score of 240 on the mathematics subtest of the state Test of Academic Proficiency (TAP) or a C- or higher grade in a college algebra course approved by the Educational Studies Department.


Content Area Emphasis

Content Area Emphasis

(Applicable to those who entered the university in 2019 and wish to follow the requirements of their catalog year)

Elementary candidates need to obtain disciplinary breadth and depth with respect to the State of Illinois and national  content area standards in Social Science, English Language Arts, Reading, Fine Arts, Natural Science, and Mathematics. All candidates must complete a content area emphasis of four courses with at least one upper level course in one of the content areas listed below. In many cases content area emphasis requirements may overlap with general education and additional content area requirements as explained in the next section. Candidates who elect to complete a minor or second major in one of the areas below must meet the content area emphasis requirement.

  • Social Science:  American Studies, Anthropology, Economics, Political Science, Psychology, History, International Studies, Sociology.

  • Fine Arts:  Art, Art History, Music (BA), Music Theatre, Theatre Arts, Theatre Dance.

  • Health

  • Language Arts :  English

  • Mathematics:  Math 106 and three additional courses in Analysis, Algebra, Number Theory, Geometry or Probability and Statistics.

  • Natural Science: Biology, Chemistry, Earth and Space Science, Environmental Studies, Physics.

  • Reading: Educ 272, 322, 323, and REA 497

  • Spanish

General Education

IWU General Education

Elementary education majors take general education coursework in state standards aligned content areas (Language Arts, Fine Arts, Mathematics, Natural Science, and Social Science). You may need three to four courses across the social sciences, which may also meet general education requirements in CHC, IT, AV or CSI and U and GL.  You may need up to three courses in LSI/L and PSI/L.

Consult with your Educational Studies faculty advisor of the Director of Teacher Education regarding appropriate course selection, including alternate and special topics courses. In some cases, courses in your content area emphasis will help you meet general education and content area requirements. Reference the advising memo distributed each semester for suggested courses that meet content area and general education requirements. Transfer and AP courses will be accepted with the approval of the Director of Teacher Education.

General education courses in mathematics, social science and science are not used to compute your major grade point average for TEP and student teaching acceptance; however you must earn a grade of C or higher in required coursework. Plan to complete this coursework by the end of the junior year. Your content knowledge across these disciplines will be tested by ISBE as a prerequisite to student teaching.

The IWU following general education category requirements are met with required major or licensure courses.

Contemporary Social Institutions  (CSI)
EDUC 225 and PSCI 101
Cultural and Historical Change  (CHC)
Select from the following social sciences: history, international studies, political science, sociology, anthropology and/or economics. Content addressing Illinois, the United States (U.S. diversity flag) and the world (global diversity flag) must be addressed in your course selection.
Formal Reasoning  (FR)
Math 106 (Math 105 is prerequisite). Elementary candidates with a math minor may substitute the analysis sequence. A minimum grade of C is required.
Literature  (LIT)
EDUC 272 or any other LIT course.  
Natural Science (LSI/L, PSI/L)
Select courses across these three areas of the natural sciences: physical, life, earth and space. Environmental Studies may meet one of these requirements pending Educational Studies faculty approval. Please note: Psychology does NOT count as a natural science. You may need up to three courses.
Global Diversity  (G)
Any designated course in the social sciences.
Writing Intensive  (W)
EDUC 255 and 498 (required).
U.S. Diversity  (U)
EDUC 257 (required) and an additional course in the social sciences (e.g. sociology, political science, or history).


Sample Course Year 1

Fall Semester

Spring Semester

Sample Course Year 2

Fall Semester

Spring Semester

If you have any questions about general education and state content course requirements, in particular the status of courses taken your first year, please contact the Director of Teacher Education, Professor Nillas, for an appointment.