2016-17 Catalogs

BA in Self-Designed Major with a K-8 Teacher Certification Track

The undergraduate Self-Designed Contract Major is designed to prepare those seeking elementary and middle school (K–8) certification in Maine with a strong foundation in mathematics and science and essential knowledge in integrating the disciplines through modeling, engineering, research, and technology. The overarching goal of the program is to prepare the pre-service teachers with a deep understanding of the Common Core Mathematics and Next Generation Science Standards. The coursework models best teaching practices and emphasizes using reading and writing across the STEM curriculum and focuses on hands-on, problem-based learning. Interested students should see the STEM education coordinator upon acceptance at USM, matriculation, upon choosing this major, or as early in their time at USM as possible. The Concentration in Elementary Education offers a continuous focus on both the theory and practice of teaching through a sequence of pre-internship education courses and field experiences.

Students completing the degree will have satisfied the USM Core Curriculum, the STEM Education Major, and Elementary Education Concentration, as well as liberal arts courses required for initial K-8 teacher certification. Graduates who complete the degree are eligible for recommendation for K-8 teacher certification in Maine. A minimum of 69.5 credits are required for the STEM Education major (note: additional credits are required for the Elementary Education Concentration and liberal arts courses required for initial K-8 teacher certification in Maine) and USM requires 120 credits total for graduation.


All students must formally declare their entry into a teacher certification concentration by completing the declaration procedures found on the Office of Educator Preparation web site at http://usm.maine.edu/educatorpreparation. Passing Praxis Core scores, creation of a Tk20 account and declaration application, and two recommendation forms are necessary to complete the declaration process.

All undergraduate and graduate students who matriculate into an Educator Preparation program or pathway in USM summer 2013 or later and are accepted as a candidate for their internship year are required to subscribe to the Tk20 online data management system once being accepted as a teacher education candidate and prior to their internship year. The subscription allows students to use the system for assessment, advisement, field-experience, and career portfolio management. The subscription fee of $103 covers some of the expenses related to the administration and assessment of the program. For loan purposes, it will be eligible for consideration as part of costs. The subscription is a one-time payment and must be made by each student after they have passed their candidacy process and before the first semester of their internship year. Subscription instructions are posted on the Office of Educator Preparation web site: http://usm.maine.edu/educatorpreparation.

Please note Professional Education Council Policy: In order for USM’s Education Preparation Unit program completers to be recommended by the institution to the state for certification or licensure, the candidate must provide evidence of meeting all certification requirements including proficiency on the standards relevant to his/her state approved professional program and this evidence must be compiled and assessed within the context of the Unit’s data management system (i.e., Tk20). For the purposes of field placements in schools during the educational cluster and internship year, students are required to complete and show documentation of the fingerprinting process outlined by the Maine Department of Education: http://www.maine.gov/doe/cert/fingerprinting/

Students must maintain a high level of academic achievement. Minimum academic requirements are as follows:

  • A grade of C or better in all University Core and major coursework
  • A grade of B or better in all professional education coursework
  • An overall GPA of 3.00 or better.

USM Core Courses (including pre-internship education courses that are required for the Concentration in Elementary Education; 24 additional credits above those required by the major)

  • Entry Year Experience – EYE 112 Built Environment: Energy (This is a required course for all students to complete the major even those who have already completed or are not required to take an EYE course), (3 cr.)
  • College Writing (ENG 100 College Writing is recommended), (3 cr.)
  • Quantitative Reasoning – MAT 120 Introduction to Statistics (This course is a requirement for the major), (4 cr.)
  • Socio-Cultural Analysis – HRD 200: Multicultural Human Development (This course is a requirement for the Elementary Education Concentration), (3 cr.)
  • Science Exploration – This is fulfilled by several courses that are required for the major.
  • Cultural Interpretation – (ENG 140 or ENG 145 are recommended.), (3 cr.)
  • Creative Expression – EDU 230 Teaching through the Arts (This course is recommended for this track of the Elementary Education Concentration), (3 cr.)
  • Ethical Inquiry, Social Responsibility, and Citizenship: EDU 310 What is the Purpose of Education in a Democracy? (Requirement for the Elementary Education Concentration and the International core requirement), (3 cr.)
  • Diversity: EDU 305 Foundations of Cultural and Linguistic Diversity (This course also serves as the first course in the cluster), (3 cr.)
  • Education in a Democratic Society Cluster – Additional required courses are SED 335 - Students with Exceptionalities in General Education & SED 420 Multi-Tiered Systems of Educational Support

Major Coursework (Total credits required for the major is 69.5 - 72)

Mathematics Content (24 credits)

  • MAT 108 College Algebra (4 cr.)
  • MAT 120 Introduction to Statistics (4 cr.)
  • MAT 131 Number Systems for Elementary Teachers (3 cr.)
  • MAT 231 Algebra for Elementary Teachers (3 cr.)
  • MAT 232 Geometry for Elementary Teachers (3 cr.)
  • MAT 152 Calculus A (4 cr.)
  • MAT 242 Applied Problem Solving (3 cr.)

Science Content (27.5 - 30 credits)                                                           

  • ESP 101 and ESP 102 Fundamentals of Environmental Science and Lab (4 cr.) 
  • STH 112 Physical and Earth/Space Science for K-8 Teachers (4 cr.)
  • CHY 113 and CHY 114 Principles of Chemistry I and Lab (4.5 cr.) 
  • PHY 111 and PHY 114 Elements of Physics I and Lab (5 cr.)
  • BIO 105 and 106 Biological Principles I: Cellular Biology and Lab (4.5 cr.) or ESP 125 and ESP 126 Introduction to Environmental Ecology and Lab (4 cr.)                
  • Two of the following upper-level science courses: ESP 207 Atmosphere: Science, Climate, and Change; ESP 260 Soil and Water Conservation Engineering; ESP 275 Energy Use and Societal Adaptation; ESP 280 Research and Analytical Methods; ESP 303 Wetlands Ecology; ESP 412 Field Ecosystem Ecology; or ESP 413 Forestry Ecology (3 or 4 cr.)

Engineering and Interdisciplinary STEM Content (3 cr.)

  • EYE 112 Built Environment: Energy (This is a required course for all students to complete the major even those who have already completed or are not required to take an EYE course), (3 cr.)

Mathematics and Science Content and Pedagogy (15 credits)

  • MME 400 Elementary Mathematics Methods (3 cr.)
  • EDU 452 Teaching Science K-8 (3 cr.)
  • Professional Internship (This is the capstone experience for the major and will be taken over 2 semesters), (9 cr.)

Additional Professional Education Internship Year Requirements for Elementary Concentration/Certification (15 credits)

  • Teaching and Learning Seminar (taken over 2 semesters), (6 cr.)
  • EDU 451 Teaching Social Studies K-8 (3 cr.)
  • EDU 465 Teaching Reading in Grades K-8 (3 cr.)
  • EDU 466 Teaching Writing in Grades K-8 (3 cr.)


Students must complete elective credit to complete the 120 credit hour degree. For those seeking elementary certification, the Core Curriculum allows students to meet the minimum requirements for distributed credits across the liberal arts (i.e., all students must have at least 6 credits in English, math, science, and social studies). The following courses are also recommended: 

Social Studies (6 cr.) HTY 101 or HTY 102 and HTY 122 or HTY 123

Students should consider taking education courses that will support them to become better teachers including, but not limited to, topics such as literacy, technology, understanding and collaborating with families.