Undergraduate Teacher Education

Elementary school teacher in classroom

Elementary Education Major (K-8)

The University of Southern Maine (USM) Teacher Education program offers a unique approach to teacher education. Our Elementary Education Major allows you to combine teacher preparation courses and student teaching experience with a concentration and often a minor in the liberal arts or sciences. You will have more experience directly in public schools and community service agencies than any other program in the state. 

You’ll graduate with a Bachelor of Science and you’ll be qualified for elementary and middle school teacher certification (Grades K-8) in public school settings through the Maine Department of Education.

The Benefits of Our Elementary Education Major

  • Experience in the classroom: You’ll gain more classroom experience here than any other teacher preparation program in the state of Maine. Field experience begins with classroom observation during your first year and continues during your second and third years. Your final year includes a year-long student teaching internship, during which you’ll gain experience in both elementary and middle school.
  • Educating the whole child: Our curriculum is well rounded to include content preparation in reading, writing, math, science, and social studies, as well as understanding the development of children, special education, arts in education, and cultural and linguistic diversity.
  • Expanded career options: By graduating with a BS and being certified to teach grades K-8, you’ll be qualified for a wider range of employment opportunities, including careers within and outside the field of education.
  • This program will prepare students to be eligible for licensure within the State of Maine. Visit the UMS State Authorization and Licensure page to learn more about the licensure requirements in other states and territories, and for contact information to inquire further about the licensure requirements associated with this program.

Selecting Your Concentration

As a student in the Elementary Education Major (K-8), you’ll select a concentration and/or minor from the follwoing content areas:

  • English
  • Geography-Anthropology
  • History
  • Liberal Studies
  • Mathematics
  • Sciences

Looking for a Different Teacher Education Pathway or Major?

Becoming a Teacher

Our Elementary Education Major provides a rigorous, authentic learning experience. When you graduate, you’ll have expertise in a broad curriculum and a superior background in educator preparation. You’ll also know which school setting suits you best, and you’ll be ready to tackle the professional challenges ahead.

The skills and attributes we emphasize and cultivate in future teachers:

  • Passion for working with children and for the subject matter you’ll teach.
  • Commitment to equity.
  • Skills and creativity in classroom technology use.
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills.
  • Adaptable team player.

Advising and Support

You’ll receive academic and professional development support on several levels:

  • Selecting courses: During your first and second years, you’ll work one-on-one with a professional advisor to plan your schedule and track your progress toward graduation.
  • Staying on track to graduate: During your third and final years, you’ll receive guidance from a faculty advisor. Faculty advisors ensure that you’re meeting requirements for your major, and they’ll discuss career plans with you.
  • Establishing your student teaching internship: You’ll work with our Office of Educator Preparation to determine which school district best matches your career goals, your content-area concentration, and your geographic location.
  • Learning from professional teachers: During your final year internship, you’ll be mentored by an on-site teacher.

Next Steps

  • Visit Us: The best way to learn more about our University is to visit our beautiful campuses. The Elementary Education Major is taught on our Portland and Gorham campuses. Register for a tour today.
  • Apply to USM
  • Visit the catalog to see the full requirements.


Our Admissions Counselors would love to answer any questions you have about our Elementary Education Major.