Undergraduate Teacher Education


Classroom with studentsThe University of Southern Maine (USM) Undergraduate Teacher Education program prepares well-rounded and insightful educators who are deeply knowledgeable in the subject areas that they’ll teach.

We provide teacher preparation through Teacher Education Pathways, which offer a beneficial approach for students:

  • You’re able to combine your education courses and student teaching experience with a major in the liberal arts, sciences, or a foreign language.
  • You’ll graduate with a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science, depending on your major, and you’ll be qualified to obtain teacher certification for public school settings through the Maine Department of Education.

The benefits to our Teacher Education Pathways:

  • Expertise in the content you’ll teach: By majoring in one of the subjects that you’ll teach, you’ll be prepared as an engaging and resourceful educator.
  • 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.
  • Expanded career options: By majoring in a subject area that you’ll teach, you’ll be qualified for a wider range of employment opportunities upon graduation, including careers within and outside the field of education.

Our Teacher Education Pathways

Each pathway offers a different level of teacher certification and different options for your major.

  • Elementary Teacher Education Pathway (K-8): This pathway leads to certification to teach elementary and middle school. You’ll select a major in the liberal arts or sciences.
  • Secondary Teacher Education Pathway (7-12): This pathway leads to certification to teach middle and high school. Because teachers at these levels usually focus on one subject, you’ll select a major in the subject you’d like to teach. We offer majors in the liberal arts and sciences.
  • K-12 Teacher Education — Foreign Languages (K-12): We offer majors in both French and Spanish Linguistics. You'll graduate qualified to teach in a range of K-12 classrooms.

Selecting Your Major

Below you can review the majors that are available for each Teacher Education Pathway. As you review your options, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • If you know whether you’d like to teach elementary, middle, or high school, take a look below at the majors available to you.
    • When considering your major, ask yourself: What subject are you most interested in? What would make you excited about teaching your future classroom?  
    • If you’d like to teach middle school: You should look at the majors offered by both the Elementary and the Secondary Teacher Education Pathways. 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.

  • Not sure what age range or major you’re interested in? That’s okay — if you just know you’d like to be a teacher, that’s a great place to start!
Teacher Education Pathways Majors
Elementary Teacher Education Pathway (K-8)
  • English (BA)
  • Geography-Anthropology (BA)
  • History/Social Studies (BA)
  • Liberal Studies: Humanities (BA)
  • Natural and Applied Sciences (BA)
  • Self-Designed Major in STEM (BA)
Secondary Teacher Education Pathway (7-12)
  • Biology (BS)
  • Chemistry (BA)
  • English (BA)
  • Environmental Science (BS)
  • Geography-Anthropology (BA)
  • History/Social Studies (BA)
  • Mathematics (BA)
  • Natural and Applied Sciences (BA)
  • Physics (BA)
K-12 Teacher Education — Foreign Languages (K-12)
  • French Linguistics (BA)
  • Spanish Linguistics (BA)

Teaching Art and Music

The University also offers majors in teaching Art Education or Music Education (K-12). These programs are offered separately from our Teacher Education Pathways. Learn more about Art and Music Education.

Experience in the Classroom: Early and Often

We’re proud of our school partnerships with Southern Maine districts, which allow our students to gain experience in a mixture of urban, suburban, and rural school settings.

Field experience begins with classroom observation during your first year of studies, which is earlier than many other undergraduate teacher preparation programs. Most of our teacher preparation courses integrate field experience into the curriculum, so you’ll continue classroom observation throughout 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 school settings or grade levels.

Learn more about Field Experience and Student Teaching.

Our Faculty

As a student in a Teacher Education Pathway, you’ll study with our education faculty as well as faculty dedicated to your major — a subject area you’ll eventually be teaching. Our faculty is deeply dedicated to our students, and they strive to create a community of lifelong learners.

Our Campuses

Your classes will be held on both our urban Portland campus and our residential Gorham campus. Students who major in Natural and Applied Sciences through the Elementary Teacher Education Pathway will also take courses on our Lewiston campus.

Our students commute easily between the Portland and Gorham campuses via the WiFi-enabled METRO Husky Line.

Accreditation & the School of Education and Human Development

As a program within the School of Education and Human Development, the undergraduate Teacher Education program is nationally accredited by CAEP (Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation) and state-approved by the Maine Department of Education.

The School of Education and Human Development has a rich history dating back to the Gorham Normal School, established by the state of Maine in 1878. Today, the School has a mission of preparing educators and human development professionals for responsible service that is as relevant to society today as it was more than a century ago.

Learning Outcomes

Upon graduation, our students must meet the Maine Department of Education and InTASC (Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium) Model Core Teaching Standards. Our Learning Outcomes are aligned with these standards.