Undergraduate Teacher Education

Student taking notes

Frequently Asked Questions

At the University of Southern Maine (USM) we offer Teacher Education Pathways that lead to a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science and a certification to teach Elementary (Grades K-8), Secondary (Grades 7-12), or foreign languages (K-12).

If you don’t see an answer to your question below, or you’d like to receive more information about the University, please contact our Office of Admissions.


When do I get to start student teaching?

  • 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 internship of student teaching, during which you’ll gain experience in two different schools or grade levels.

I read that I’ll get to select a major along with my Teacher Education Pathway. How do I decide what to major in?

  • You can review your options for majors on our Overview.
  • If you know what age range you’d like to teach (Elementary, Middle, or High School), ask yourself:
    • What subject am I most interested in?
    • What topics make me excited about teaching in the future?
  • If you’d like to teach a foreign language, you can major in either French or Spanish Linguistics and graduate with a qualification to teach grades K-12.

I want to teach middle school. Should I study through the Elementary Teacher Education Pathway (K-8) or the Secondary Teacher Education Pathway (7-12)?

  • You should take a look at the majors offered in both the Elementary Teacher Education Pathway (K-8) and the Secondary Teacher Education Pathway (7-12). You can review your options for majors on our Overview.
  • Choose a major in a subject you are most interested in. If you’re unsure, we’ll help you to determine which major and which pathway best suit your interests and your needs.

Where can I find more information about Art Education or Music Education majors?

  • The University offers majors in Art Education and Music Education that lead to K-12 teacher certification. Please note that these programs are offered separately from our undergraduate teacher education program. Learn more about Art and Music Teacher Education.

I’m excited about the field experience and student teaching internship — but how will I travel to those schools?

  • Students are responsible for arranging transportation to field experiences and student teaching internships. Students traveling to schools in Portland, Westbrook, and Gorham can make use of the METRO Husky Line, which provides free USM student transportation 7 days-per-week, year-round.
  • Many students also arrange group carpools for transportation to field experiences and student teaching.

When will I graduate?

  • Full-time students can complete the Undergraduate Teacher Education program and earn their degree in approximately four years if they begin as a first-year student and take the recommended 15 credits per semester.
  • The Teacher Education Pathways include 120 required credits. Required credits include your teacher preparation courses, the courses for your major, USM’s Core Curriculum requirements, and your student teaching internship.
    • This is the typical number of credits for an undergraduate degree.

I’m a current student at the University. Can I change majors and declare a Teacher Education Pathway?

  • Our current students who are interested in teaching should contact Christen Eaton, Academic Advisor, or connect with their professional advisor, for information about our Undergraduate Teacher Education Pathways.

I’m interested in transferring to USM to pursue a Teacher Education Pathway. Where do I start?

  • We welcome students who would like to transfer to the University! Our Office of Admissions would love to answer any questions you have about the transfer process. We can also offer an unofficial transcript evaluation to identify the best way to use the credits you’ve already earned.
  • Call us: 1-800-800-4USM
    or (207) 780-5670
    TTY (207) 780-5646
  • Email us: admitusm@maine.edu
  • You can also learn more about transferring to USM.

I already have a bachelor’s degree in an area outside of education, and I’d like to switch careers and to be a teacher. What’s the best option for me?

  • You may consider our Teaching and Learning — Extended Teacher Education Program (ETEP) (MSEd) program, which allows students who already hold a bachelor’s degree to earn their Master of Science in Education in as little as 9 months or up to 2 years. Learn more about the ETEP program.

Does USM offer graduate teacher education programs?