Master's (M.Ed.) Elementary Education & PA State PreK-4 Certification

Master's Degree Program Elementary Education
Master's Degree Program Elementary Education

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  • Application requirements: Two letters of recommendation, transcripts, minimum GPA of 3.0 (undergraduate), proof of English language proficiency, personal statement, undergraduate coursework audit by content area specialist in the certification area, and résumé.
  • Deadline(s): April 15 for summer semester summer, July 15 for fall semester start, December 15 for spring semester start. The application and all supporting materials are due by the listed deadlines.
  • Course Requirements: 14 courses (42 credits) including the PreK-4 Level 1 PA Teacher Certification
  • Typical Course Load: Fall (2-3 courses), Spring (2-3 courses), Summer (3-4 courses)
  • Time to Completion: Typically 2 years 
  • Practical Experience Component: Student teaching in the last semester (only for those looking for additional certification)
  • Alumni Current Positions: Preschool and elementary school teachers
  • Note: Due to Pennsylvania Department of Education criteria, international students are not eligible for this program.


Lehigh University’s Master’s degree in Elementary Education with Pennsylvania certification in Pre-Kindergarten through 4th grade is designed for the college graduate who pursued a field other than education and now seeks to become a certified elementary school teacher. 

Working with talented, dedicated faculty, Master’s candidates learn the best practices for teaching all children, including English language learners and pupils with special needs. Candidates must take a minimum of 14 courses (42 credits) for the Master of Education and PreK-4 Level 1 Teacher Certification in Pennsylvania. A dual certification option in Special Education (PreK-12) or English as a Second Language (ESL) is available for additional course work.

Prospective educators can start the program in any semester, with admissions deadlines of July 15 for the fall semester, Dec. 15 for a spring semester start and April 15 for summer semester. 

Application requirements include completing an online application and providing undergraduate and (if applicable) graduate transcripts. Applicants must have achieved at least a 3.0 grade point average as an undergraduate. They should supply two letters of recommendation (academic or professional), a personal statement and an acknowledgement of the College of Education policy on background clearances. 

Full-time students can complete the program in two years. A typical course load for such students is three courses in the fall, three in spring and three or four in the summer. There is an option for a part-time course load. 

Candidates learn elementary curricula and the most effective methods for working with students of different abilities and backgrounds. Additionally, they are trained in the basic principles of research and testing and techniques for gathering and analyzing educational data. 

The prospective educators are required to do fieldwork for their classes and complete a full semester – spring or fall – of student teaching in a classroom as the culmination of the program. Lehigh’s College of Education certification office makes the placement. 


Once teachers are certified in Pennsylvania, that certification has reciprocity in most states. Educators who have completed Lehigh’s program teach in almost every state in the United States as well as overseas. 

Rising school enrollments and teacher retirements have contributed to a teacher shortage in Pennsylvania and around the country. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is predicting that the number of teaching positions for kindergarten and elementary school teachers will rise by 7 percent from 2016 to 2026, adding about 116,300 jobs. 


Core Course Work (21 credits)  
SPED 332 Education and Inclusion of Individuals with Special Needs 3
TLT 380 Child Development and Cognition  3
TLT 404 Cultural and Linguistic Diversity 3
TLT 405 Principles and Applications of K-12 Assessment 3
TLT 407 Instructional Design for K-12 Classrooms 3
TLT 409 K-12 Classroom Environment and Management 3
TLT 411 Early Childhood Education 3
Development of Professional Skills (18 credits)  
TLT 412  Social Studies in PreK through 4th Grade 3
TLT 420 Literacy in PreK through 4th Grade: Reading and Its Foundations 3
TLT 422 Literacy in PreK through 4th Grade: Writing and Its Foundations 3
TLT 426 Science in PreK through 4th Grade  3
TLT 428 Mathematics and Numeracy in PreK through 4th Grade 3
SPED 465 Advanced Inclusionary Practices in K-12 3
Extended Field Experience (3 credits)
TLT 444 General Education Student Teaching and Seminar  4
Additional coursework to add dual certification in Special Education PreK-12 (18 credits)  
SPED 418  Alternative Curricular Approaches  3
SPED 419 Intensive Intervention in Reading 3
SPED 421 Intensive Intervention in Mathematics and Content Area Literacy 3
SPED 423 Supporting Transition for Individuals with Disabilities 3
SPED 432 Positive Behavior Support 3
SPED 452 Assessment in Special Education 3
Extended Field Experience (3 credits)  
Dual certification in PreK-12 will require the following to replace TLT 444 above:
TLT 442 General Education and Special Education Student Teaching and Seminar 4

Pennsylvania Department of Education Requirements for Teacher Certification

It is important for individuals considering teaching as a career to be aware of the fairly rigorous academic, health, and personal character requirements for teacher certification that are required by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) for teacher candidates statewide: 

Course descriptions can be found in the course catalog.