2018-19 Catalogs

BA in Self-Designed Major - Elementary Teacher Education

The undergraduate Self-Designed Contract Major is designed to prepare those students 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 pre-service teachers with a deep understanding of the Common Core Mathematics and Next Generation Science Standards. Coursework models best teaching practices, 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 60.5 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.

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 course is recommended for this track of the Elementary Education Concentration; 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 requirement is fulfilled by several courses that are required for the major.
  • Cultural Interpretation – (ENG 140 Reading Literature or ENG 145 Topics in Literature 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? (This course is recommended for the Elementary Education Concentration and the International core requirement; 3 cr.)
  • Diversity: EDU 305 Foundations of Cultural and Linguistic Diversity (This course is required for the Elementary Education Concentration; 3 cr.)
  • Education in a Democratic Society Cluster – Additional required courses are SED 335 Students with Exceptionalities in General Education and SED 420 Multi-Tiered Systems Support in Education

Major Coursework (Total credits required for the major is 60.5-69)

Mathematics Content (a minimum of 24 credits)

  • MAT 108 College Algebra (4 cr.) or MAT 140 Pre-Calculus Mathematics (3 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 148 Applied Calculus (3 cr.) or 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.) 
  • AST 100 and AST 103 Astronomy and Lab (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 Forest Ecology (3 or 4 cr.)

Mathematics and Science Content and Pedagogy (9-15 credits)

  • MME 400 Elementary Mathematics Methods (3 cr.)
  • EDU 452 Teaching Science K-8 (3 cr.)
  • Professional Internship (3-9 cr.)


Students must complete elective credits to complete the 120 credit hour degree. For those students 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: HTY 101 Western Civilization I or HTY 102 Western Civilization II and HTY 122 United States History 1800 to 1900 or HTY 123 United States History Since 1900 (6 cr.)

Elementary Teacher Education (K-8) Requirements

In addition to meeting all major and CORE requirements the following teacher education requirements must be met.

The Elementary Teacher Education Program is designed to prepare elementary school teachers, grades K-8, who are knowledgeable of the content they will teach and who have the skills to apply that knowledge to teaching. Elementary education students major in the discipline they plan to teach and take a series of teacher education courses that fulfill their University Core Curriculum requirements and the requirements for teacher certification in their discipline. These courses introduce students to aspects of teaching and learning and give them hands-on experiences in community agencies and schools where they can connect what they are learning to the real world. At the time of degree completion, students will have met the degree requirements for a major and for initial teacher certification.

Program Declaration and Withdrawal

All students must formally declare their entry into a teacher education program by completing the Declaration and/or Dropping of Undergraduate Teacher Education Pathway Form with the registrar’s office. The form is located in the forms section of the Office of Registration and Scheduling Services: https://usm.maine.edu/registration-services/1forms

Academic Requirements

The minimum academic requirements to be a student in good standing in the secondary education program are as follows:

  • A grade of B or better in all professional education coursework.
  • A grade of C or better in content courses required for the area of teacher certification.
  • An overall GPA of 3.0 or better.

Failure to maintain the above requirements may result in program dismissal. Appeals may be made in writing to the Director of Educator Preparation, Susan Inman at susan.inman@maine.edu.


Upon declaring the elementary teacher education program, a student becomes a pre-candidate. The pre-candidacy phase of the program is the first three years of the program prior to the professional internship. Pre-candidacy coursework is as follows:


  • ADS 300: Ethics and Youth with Exceptionalities (3 cr.)
  • EDU 310: Purpose of Schooling in a Democracy* (3 cr.)
  • EYE 108: Culture, Identity and Education (3 cr.)


  • EDU 100: Exploring Teaching* (3 cr.)
  • EDU 222: Foundations of Language and Literacy Development* (3 cr.)
  • EDU 305: Foundations of Cultural and Linguistic Diversity* (3 cr.)
  • HRD/SBS 200: Multicultural Human Development (3 cr.)
  • SED 335: Students with Exceptionalities in General Education* (3 cr.)

Each of the courses with a * includes required service learning or practicum hours in a school or community setting to give students hands-on, real world experience. Students complete these experiences in community and school partner settings and are arranged by the Field Experience Coordinator in the Office of Educator Preparation. The other education courses may require observation experiences in field settings that students arrange on their own.


Candidacy takes place in the spring semester of the third year or when a student has completed the pre-candidacy teacher education coursework and has made satisfactory and sufficient progress in their major. It is the process students go through in order to be admitted to the professional level courses and internship. To be eligible for candidacy, students must be in good academic standing, have passed the Praxis Core, and provided evidence of their Criminal History Record Check.

Please see USM’s Professional Licensure and Certification Notice located on the Office of Registration and Scheduling website: https://usm.maine.edu/registration-services/academic-policies-undergraduate

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 complete the Candidacy application in TK20 and provide a current resume and three letters of recommendation from a field experience host teacher, from a professor in the student’s major, a d from an education professor. The candidacy application is due on January 31 of each year. Upon review eligible students will be invited to participate in a 30 minute internship admission interview.

Professional Internship

The professional internship is a full year experience that fulfills the state’s student teaching requirement and provides elementary education teacher candidates the opportunity to apply what they are learning in their teacher education courses. The first semester internship is the equivalent of a 2.5 day per week in a partner school district, and the second semester internship is a full time, five days per week experience in a partner school. Students take the internship courses concurrently. Required courses are as follows:

  • EDU 405: Teaching Mathematics K-8 (3 cr.)
  • EDU 442: Seminar in Teaching, Learning, and Assessment
  • EDU 445: Student Teaching (9 credits total - 3 credits first semester and 6 credits second semester)
  • EDU 451: Teaching Social Studies K-8 (3 cr.)
  • EDU 452: Teaching Science K-8 (3 cr.)
  • EDU 465: Teaching Reading K-8 for All Students Including those with Diverse Abilities and Backgrounds
  • EDU 466: Introduction to Writing Process for All Students Including those with Diverse Abilities and Backgrounds
  • SED 420: Multi-Tiered Support Systems in Education (3 cr.)

Content Requirements

For those students interested in teaching at the elementary level (grades K-8), they must complete 6 credits each in English, mathematics, science and social studies. The following mathematics courses are required:

  • MAT 131 Number Systems for Elementary Teachers
  • MAT 231 Algebra for Elementary Teachers or MAT 232 Geometry for Elementary Teachers

For those students interested in teaching at the middle level (grades 6-8), it is recommended that they complete coursework in a second content area (i.e., English, mathematics, social studies, or science) to become highly qualified to teach an additional content area. Finally, 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.

Candidacy Requirements

In order to be eligible for internship, students must successfully complete the candidacy process. Students must apply for candidacy through TK20 by creating a free Tk20 account and completing a candidacy application. In addition to the above academic requirements, students must submit three letters of recommendation and passing scores on the Praxis Core and participate in candidacy interview.


All undergraduate and graduate students who matriculate into an Educator Preparation program at USM and are accepted as a candidate for their internship year are required to subscribe to Tk20 (Watermark), a comprehensive web-based, assessment management and reporting system. Students use Tk20 (Watermark) to provide evidence they have mastered state and professional standards for their profession. The subscription fee of $103 covers some of the expenses related to the administration and assessment of the program.  For loan purposes, Tk20 (Watermark) is eligible for consideration as part of educational 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 website at http://usm.maine.edu/educator-preparation.

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).

Recommendation for Certification

Graduates who successfully complete all the teacher education program requirements are eligible for recommendation for teacher certification in Maine. In order to be recommended for certification, students must complete the Recommendation for Certification form.  Students who fail to meet the academic or professional teacher education program requirements or choose not to pursue teacher certification may withdraw from the teacher education pathway and graduate with their major.

NOTE: Course requirements are subject to change based upon changes in teacher certification regulations. For more information, visit: https://usm.maine.edu/teacher-education