Education Studies

Since 1904, Susquehanna University has prepared liberal arts students for teaching careers. In the teacher education program, students master professional knowledge and skills necessary for state certification and for developing successful and rewarding careers in education.

Upon completion of the education program, students will have learned to:

  • Design instruction and prepare for all aspects of managing a classroom;
  • Instruct students and assess their learning;
  • Maintain a classroom environment that is welcoming, respectful and productive; and
  • Fulfill other professional responsibilities.

Learning goals:

  • Understand how children learn and develop and can provide learning opportunities that support their intellectual, social and personal development.
  • Understand and use a variety of instructional strategies to encourage students' development of critical thinking, problem solving and performance skills.
  • Create a learning environment that encourages positive social interaction, active engagement in learning and self-motivation.
  • Prepare and plan instruction based on knowledge of subject matter, students, curriculum goals, and formal and informal assessment strategies.
  • Include every student—accommodating, adapting and/or differentiating instruction as appropriate, considering readiness, history, interests, achievement and learning styles; cultural, racial, social and ethnic affiliations; and exceptional needs and abilities.
  • Use effective verbal, nonverbal and media communication techniques to foster active inquiry, collaboration and supportive interactions in the classroom.
  • Function effectively within community-wide systems of education.
  • Evaluate the effects of his/her choices and actions on others (students, parents and other professionals in the learning community) through ongoing reflective practice and actively seek opportunities to grow professionally.

Teacher Certification. The Susquehanna University Department of Education offers the following programs for teacher certification approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education:

  • Early childhood education (preK-4)
  • Secondary (7-12) and (K-12) in areas listed below under Majors Approved for Teaching Certification
  • Music education (K-12). See the Music Department for information about this program.

The Elementary Education Major. Students taking the course of studies necessary to gain one of the Pennsylvania teaching certificates for the elementary grades will major in elementary education. This major combines courses in various disciplines with teacher education courses, including student teaching.

Early Childhood Certification. Students who enter SU's elementary education program will earn a bachelor's degree in elementary education and prepare for preK-4 certification.

Middle Grades Certification. At this time, SU does not offer a program for middle-grades certification (grades 4-8).

Secondary Certification. Students who earn certification in secondary education must major in the subject they will teach. They earn a teaching certification in grades 7-12 by completing the teacher education program, which includes student teaching in the spring semester of the senior year. Courses required for the secondary teacher education program are listed below.

The Teacher Intern Program is a route to certification for those who have a bachelor's degree in an approved major. It is an option for students who do not complete certification requirements as undergraduates, including those who decide to pursue teaching late in their undergraduate program. For information about the program, contact the director of the Teacher Intern Program in the Susquehanna education department office or see the department's website.

Majors Approved for Teaching Certification:


Teaching Certification


Communications (7-12)


Journalism Track

Communications (7-12)

Elementary Education

Early Childhood (preK-4)


English (7-12)

Creative Writing

English (7-12)


Spanish (K-12)


French (K-12)


German (K-12)


Mathematics (7-12)

Music Education

Music Education (K-12)


Biology, General Science (7-12)


Chemistry, General Science (7-12)


Physics, General Science (7-12)


General Science (7-12)


Social Studies (7-12)


Social Studies (7-12)


Citizenship Education,
Social Studies (7-12)

Political Science

Citizenship Education,
Social Studies (7-12)

(Some certifications, such as social studies, and some majors, such as biology, may require extra coursework because of state or university requirements.)

Certification Requirements. To qualify for teaching certification in Pennsylvania, students must complete a bachelor’s degree in the appropriate major with a grade point average of 3.00 or higher. They must also complete an accredited teacher education program, such as that offered by Susquehanna University, and pass the PAPA, PECT and/or Praxis tests required by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE). More detailed information about these and other certification requirements is available on the PDE website.

Declaring Interest in Education. Students who wish to pursue early childhood, K-12 or secondary education certification should notify their academic adviser and the head of the education department when they make that decision. They should also inform the Office of the Registrar by completing the Declaration of Academic Program form, available in that office.

Applying to the Teacher Education Program. PDE requires that education students apply and be admitted to a teacher education program before student teaching. The application packet is available through the education department's website and in the education department office in Seibert Hall. Students may apply for admission to the teacher education program as early as the spring semester of their sophomore year if all requirements have been met. Students must apply and be admitted no later than the second semester of their junior year.

Requirements for Admission to the Teacher Education Program

  • Completion of at least 48 credit hours of coursework, including three semester hours of English composition, three semester hours of English/American literature and six semester hours of college-level mathematics;
  • Successful completion of EDUC:101 Introduction to Education and Society;
  • A cumulative GPA of 3.00 or a cumulative GPA of 2.80 and successful completion of PAPA examinations;
  • Completion of one 40-hour externship (see below), with completed forms returned to the education department;
  • Current Act 24, Act 34, Act 151 and Act 114 (FBI) clearances;
  • Two reference forms completed by Susquehanna University faculty; and
  • A completed application form.

Externship. An externship consists of 40 hours in a school for observing and aiding in classrooms and other areas of the school, conducting staff interviews, etc. Applicants must complete an externship prior to admission to the education program. Externship information and forms can be obtained from the education department office or the education department website.

Student Teaching. Student teaching usually occurs in the spring semester of the senior year. To participate in student teaching, students must already be admitted to the teacher education program. Students must also have current TB test results and clearances through Act 24, Act 34, Act 151 and Act 114. Student teachers must have completed all courses required for the major and all education courses except the student teaching block. Students should not take any additional courses during student teaching without written permission from the head of the education department.

Professional Conduct. The education department faculty reserves the right to make a judgment on the suitability of students for professional teaching practice. Practicum students (those in the schools observing and/or aiding a teacher) and student teachers must follow the policies of the host school district. Practicum students and student teachers are held to a professional standard of behavior as specified by the Pennsylvania Code of Professional Practice and Conduct for Educators and will be removed from a school site by a building administrator for unprofessional conduct. A student asked to leave a school site may be assigned academic work outside of student teaching to complete the credits needed for graduation. Grades will be assigned by the education department faculty based on the work completed and evaluations from Susquehanna faculty and the cooperating teachers.

Departmental Honors. Departmental honors may be awarded to elementary education majors who meet the following criteria:

  • Overall GPA of 3.50 and GPA of 3.50 or higher in education courses;
  • Completion of early childhood education program for graduation;
  • Submission of a formal application for honors to the education faculty by the second Friday of September of the senior academic year and before implementation of the research project;
  • Acceptance of the application by the education faculty committee;
  • Selection of an honors adviser from the education faculty;
  • Development, in consultation with the selected adviser, of a proposal to execute, interpret and report on the individual research project;
  • Approval by the education faculty committee of the project proposal;
  • Enrollment in EDUC:601 Independent Study (1–4 semester hours);
  • Completion of the research project and a public presentation of results;
  • Submission of a final written report on the project to the honors adviser on or before the last day of classes for the semester of graduation; and
  • Determination of honors status by the education faculty based on student performance.

Education Honor Society. Susquehanna University has a chapter of the international education honor society, Kappa Delta Pi. Education students with a GPA of 3.40 or higher who qualify for admittance to the teacher education program will be invited to apply for membership.