The university offers a wide range of educator preparation programs for students who wish to become public school teachers. Some of these programs are administered within the College of Arts and Sciences and some are administered within the College of Education. All undergraduate educator preparation programs are overseen by the Professional Education Faculty, which has membership from both colleges and is advised by Atlanta-area schools.
The following undergraduate programs are offered by the College of Education or College of Arts and Sciences:
||College of Enrollment
|Art: preschool through 12th grade
||Arts and Sciences
|Birth Through Five: Infants through Kindergarten
|Early Childhood Education: preschool through 5th grade
|French: preschool through 12th grade
||Arts and Sciences
|German: preschool through 12th grade
||Arts and Sciences
|Health and Physical Education: preschool through 12th grade
|Health Science Technology Education: 7th through 12th grade; nondegree
|Latin (Classical Studies): preschool through 12th grade
||Arts and Sciences
|Middle Level Education: 4th through 8th grade
|Music Education: preschool through 12th grade
||Arts and Sciences
|Physics: 6th through 12th grade
||Arts and Sciences
|Spanish: preschool through 12th grade
||Arts and Sciences
|Trade and Industrial Education: 7th through 12th grade; nondegree
The College of Education offers initial certification graduate programs in behavior/learning disabilities, communications sciences and disorders (speech-language pathology), early childhood education, educational leadership, English education, mathematics education, middle level education, multiple and severe disabilities, reading specialist, school counseling, school psychology, science education, social studies education, special education, and teaching English as a Second Language.
Educator preparation programs at Georgia State University are field-based; that is, much of the coursework requires structured participation in school settings. Therefore, students must be available for coursework that will be scheduled during elementary, middle, and secondary school hours, typically 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Students will find it necessary to be free of other obligations during the term of student teaching and will find it highly desirable to have few other commitments during the term in which blocks of coursework must be taken. Blocks are comprised of 6 or 12 hours of coursework, which are taken in the same academic term (i.e., fall semester only) and are field-based. Exit requirements for teacher education are satisfied by successful completion of student teaching. Additional requirements exist for specific programs.
Preparation for Prospective Teachers at the Middle Level (4-8) or Secondary Level (6-12) or of ESOL Students (P-12)
Students interested in applying to a Master of Arts in Teaching program in the Department of Middle-Secondary Education and Instructional Technology or who wish to explore the possibility of teaching in a content area (gr. 4-8 or 6-12) or in English as a Second Language classrooms (ESOL, preschool -12) are encouraged to take pre-education courses such as the following as part of their undergraduate preparation: EDCI 3250 Introduction to Teaching in the Secondary School; EDLA 3200 Topics in Middle Grades Language Arts; EDLA 3230 Special Topics in the Middle Level Literature Curriculum; EDLA 3240 Special Topics in the Middle Level Composition Curriculum; EDMT 3350 Topics in Middle Grades Math; EDMT 3420 Special Topics in the Middle Level Mathematics Curriculum; EDSC 3250 Topics in Middle Grades Science; EDSS 3400 Topics in Middle Grades Social Science and History; EXC 4020 Characteristics and Instructional Strategies for Students with Disabilities; or IT 3210 Teaching, Learning, and Technology Integration.
General information for preparing to teach in these areas can be found below. For more information on specific program admission requirements for the various M.A.T. programs in the Department of Middle-Secondary Education and Instructional Technology, see those program descriptions in the GSU Graduate Catalog.
English as a Second Language Education (P-12)
Prospective teachers of ESOL students in Georgia may choose any major but should complete at least two sequential semesters of a foreign language. Courses in applied linguistics and English grammar are also encouraged. Upon completion of an undergraduate degree, students should apply for the M.A.T. in Reading, Language, and Literacy Education which leads to certification as an ESOL teacher (P-12) and a reading endorsement.
Middle Level Education (4-8)
Prospective teachers of middle level education (MLE) level should focus on two content areas, either Language Arts/Social Studies or Math/Science, as part of their undergraduate preparation.
- For MLE language arts and social studies, students should major in either English or history and take at least 12 hours of upper division coursework in the second area. Within their undergraduate program, students should address the following areas: children’s literature, grammar, composition, literature or folklore, geography, world history, Georgia history, and US history.
- For MLE mathematics and science, students should take at least 12 hours of mathematics and 12 hours of science as part of the undergraduate preparation. Within the undergraduate program, students should address the following areas: life science, earth science, physical science, geometry, algebra, number theory, and probability/statistics.
- Upon completion of an undergraduate degree, students should apply for the M.A.T in Middle Level Education which leads to certification in grades 4-8 in two areas of concentration (either Language Arts/Social Studies or Math/Science.)
- Students who do not follow the suggested preparation for Middle Level Education may be able to enroll in the M.A.T program, but additional coursework will be necessary prior to completion of the program and recommendation for certification.
Secondary Education (6-12)
Students interested in teaching English, Mathematics, Science, or Social Studies (history, political science, or economics) at the middle and secondary level should major in Arts and Sciences in the concentration in which they would like to teach. Certification in physics is available within the BS in Physics program. For all other fields students should apply to the appropriate Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) program in the College of Education upon completion of an undergraduate degree.
Admission to Georgia State University and to the College of Arts and Sciences or the College of Education (as indicated above) is prerequisite to entry into teacher education. The minimum criteria for entry into teacher education are listed below.
- Students must have successfully completed Area A (Essential Skills) of the undergraduate core curriculum with a grade of “C” or higher for each course.
- Students must demonstrate competence in oral communication. Screening takes place in all education courses. At any time during their courses of study, students may be referred to the Georgia State Speech–Language–Hearing Clinic. There, screening assesses the basic communication skills adults are expected to exhibit during communication in professional settings: hearing, articulation, fluency, appropriate grammar, comprehension of spoken language, and the ability to use appropriate voice quality. Completion of referral, evaluation, and the remedial process is necessary for continuation in the program.
- Students must have demonstrated competence in mathematics and science by successfully completing Area D (Science, Mathematics, and Technology) of the undergraduate core curriculum.
- Students must have a minimum grade point average of 2.50 based on all undergraduate coursework attempted. For students pursuing degrees in some majors, the minimum grade point average requirement is 2.75. Students are encouraged to contact their academic advisors for information regarding the grade point average requirement for their specific majors.
- Students must complete a separate application and pay an application fee. Students must also show proof of Tort liability insurance and criminal background check. See section 4000 College of Education in this catalog or visit the College of Education Office of Academic Assistance web site, education.gsu.edu/oaa/, for more information.
- Students must have successfully completed EDUC 2110 Investigating Critical & Contemporary Issues in Education with a grade of “C” or higher.
- Students must present passing scores on the GACE Basic Skills Assessment or demonstrate an exemption upon application to an initial educator preparation program. The current options for satisfying the Basic Skills Assessment, including the exemptions, are outlined at www.gapsc.com/EducatorPreparation/Assessment/BasicSkillsInfo.aspx.
Contact the Counseling Center (404/413-1740) or the College of Arts and Sciences Office of Academic Assistance or College of Education Office of Academic Assistance and Graduate Admissions for an examination schedule and application form. Students interested in teacher education are encouraged to take the GACE Basic Skills Assessment as soon as they complete Area A of the undergraduate core curriculum.
Additional criteria, including departmental requirements, may be added. Students are assigned an advisor to plan an appropriate course of study within the guidelines provided by this catalog. Entry into teacher education is a prerequisite for courses designated “(TE)” in the course description section.
Field Experience Placement Policies
Below are the policies governing the field placements of students in sites and schools. All students must comply with the prerequisites for placements and the continuing requirement to report any criminal events, and must acquire tort liability as outlined in the sections which follow.
Field Placement – Prerequisites
GSU students enrolled in educator preparation programs or in education coursework requiring field-based experiences must fulfill the GSU prerequisites set forth below before the University will initiate field placement efforts. However, fulfilling GSU’s prerequisites is not a guarantee of placement for a field-based experience or licensure by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission.1 Field placement sites/schools set their own placement requirements and may have additional requirements before a placement is finalized.
As a prerequisite, students must:
- provide written consent to a criminal background check with a vendor designated by GSU for the purpose of obtaining copies or summaries of any criminal records pertaining to the student that are held by any local, state or federal government agency or private entity; and
- if the criminal background report indicates the student has prior convictions,2 as defined by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission, or pending criminal charges against him/her, then the student must also provide written consent for the release by GSU of the student’s criminal background report to field placement sites for review and decision regarding acceptance for field placement at the site. GSU will not release the report to field placement sites for placement purposes without student consent. GSU may cross-reference a student’s criminal background history with the information supplied on the student’s application for admission to GSU. Misrepresentations revealed by such cross referencing may result in sanctions up to and including revocation of admission to the University.
GSU will contact the student if his/her criminal background report indicates prior criminal convictions and/or pending criminal charges. The student will have the opportunity at that point to:
- Provide written consent allowing GSU to forward the criminal background report to field placement sites for their review and decision regarding field-placement at their institution for student teaching. No field placement attempts will be initiated by GSU for students with prior convictions or pending charges except with such a consent;
- Withdraw from GSU’s field placement process. Student must also formally withdraw from any corresponding GSU courses for which field placement is a requirement to avoid earning a failing grade; or
- Contest the accuracy of the report with the background check vendor or reporting entities. No further attempts will be taken to place the student in the field unless the student subsequently consents to GSU’s release to field placement sites of the student’s criminal background report or the submits official documentation showing to the University’s satisfaction that the background check report was erroneous.
Field Placement – Continuing Duty to Report Criminal Events
In addition to the continuing duty Georgia State University students have to report criminal events that occur after application to the University per the Georgia State Student Code of Conduct, students enrolled in educator preparation programs or in education coursework requiring field-based experiences must (1) report to the College of Education Office of Academic Assistance any criminal events described below that occur after the criminal background check required for field placements was conducted (notice to COE Academic Assistance must be made within 72 hours of the student’s notice of the event); (2) consent to a new criminal background check; and (3) provide written consent for the release of the criminal background report and all information about the criminal event to any field placement site at which the student is currently student teaching or at which GSU attempts to place the student in the future. Failure to comply with the notice requirement described herein may result in sanctions up to and including immediate withdrawal from the University. Failure to comply with the criminal background check and release of information requirement described herein will result in immediate removal from all current field placements and courses and denial of future requests for field placement.
- Conviction of a crime other than a minor traffic violation.
- Criminal charges filed against the student.
- Entering a plea of guilty, a plea of no contest, a plea of nolo contendere, an Alford plea, or a plea under any first offender act in response to charges filed against the student.
Policy Regarding Tort Liability
Teacher education and counseling students are required to purchase tort liability prior to placements in field experience courses, practica, or student teaching. Students will be expected to show proof of coverage to program coordinators/supervisors prior to field placements.
Educational field experiences and student teaching are clinical in nature. They are designed to complement the humanistic, behavioral, and pedagogical studies in teacher education and to offer experiences in a variety of settings.
At the baccalaureate level, a sequence of clinical and field experiences is planned to complement the professional education courses included in the students programs of study.
The Opening School Experience provides practical experience in the school and classroom setting during the week of preplanning and the first week of school. Students learn effective procedures necessary for setting up a classroom at the beginning of the year. This takes place at the beginning of the students’ senior year prior to the student teaching experience. Students in early childhood education and health and physical education must apply for this experience in advance and must register for the course during early registration of the fall term of the year in which the experience takes place. Students should check with their departments for the deadlines to apply for their Open School Experience.
Student teaching is the culmination of the clinical field experiences. Student teaching involves full participation by the students for at least one full academic term. Because student teaching constitutes a full load of academic credit, it is recommended that the students attempt neither regular employment nor other courses during the term of student teaching.
To be eligible for enrollment in student teaching, students must be admitted to teacher education and have:
- successfully completed the specific required courses of the program;
- earned an overall grade-point average no less than 2.50 (2.75 for early childhood education majors) the term prior to the student teaching experience;
- earned a minimum grade-point average of 2.50 (2.75 for early childhood education majors) in the major teaching area courses and in professional education courses. (Students who earn a grade of “C-,” “D,” or “F” in a major teaching field or professional education course must repeat that course and earn a grade of “C” or higher. The grade of “C,” “D,” or “F” will still be included in the overall grade-point average.) Early Childhood Education and Middle Level Education majors must earn a grade of “B” or higher in majors courses specified in the program of study.
The Professional Education Faculty believes that all students who are in field experiences must be personally and psychologically equipped as well as academically prepared. Students may be denied entry to field experiences based on departmental prerequisites or the professional judgment of faculty based on observed performance and behavior. This policy is based on the premise that educators should be part of the evaluation of the students’ ability to function adequately and safely in classrooms and that educators have a right and responsibility to make such judgments prior to placing students in schools.
The practicum or student teaching supervisor has the authority to withdraw students from their classroom experience if their performance constitutes a detriment to the children in the class. If such removal is necessary, students will be given an F in each corresponding course.
Applications and deadlines for student teaching are posted at education.gsu.edu/oaa/field_placement.htm.
Failure to submit applications on or before prescribed deadline dates will result in a delay of one or more terms in student teaching or practicum placement. Further information regarding educational field experiences, practicum, and student teaching experiences for each major is available from the appropriate department in the College of Arts and Science or the College of Education.
An additional lab fee of $125 will be charged at the time students register for the student teaching experience. Educator preparation students must be aware that extra costs such as tort liability and transportation will be incurred at various times during the completion of the various teacher education field experiences, particularly during the students’ senior year.
Final Student Teaching Seminar
At the completion of the student teaching semester, all students who are eligible for certification must attend a final seminar to complete all requirements. Information concerning this seminar will be sent to the students.
Criteria on Academic and Professional Integrity
The College of Education is committed to upholding standards of academic and professional integrity. These standards require that students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs within the College of Education adhere to both the University’s Student Code of Conduct as described online at codeofconduct.gsu.edu as well as their individual degree program’s Policy on Student Professionalism, Integrity and Retention. Students should contact their department for a copy of their degree program’s policy.
1 The Professional Standards Commission was created by the Georgia General Assembly as of July 1, 1991, to assume full responsibility for the certification, preparation, and conduct of certified, licensed, or permitted personnel employed in the public schools of the State of Georgia. The Commission is also responsible for the development and administration of teacher certification testing. The Commission handles the investigation, advisement, monitoring, and due process of cases associated with educator discipline. In 1999, the Georgia Teaching force Center was placed in the Georgia Professional Standards Commission for administration purposes. The Teaching Force Center is one component of the Georgia P-16 Council’s Title II Plan for having a Qualified Teacher in every Classroom in Georgia by 2006.
2 Conviction includes a finding or verdict of guilty, or a plea of nolo contendere, regardless of whether an appeal of the conviction has been sought; a situation where first offender treatment without adjudication of guilt pursuant to the charge was granted; and a situation where an adjudication of guilt or sentence was otherwise withheld or not entered on the charge or the charge was otherwise disposed of in a similar manner in any jurisdiction.
Teachers and other educational personnel must be certified by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission to be employed in the state’s elementary, middle, and secondary public schools. Private elementary and secondary schools may also require state certification for employment.
Completion of Teacher Education Requirements: A requirement for initial certification in Georgia is completion of teacher education requirements. This may be accomplished in one of the following ways at Georgia State University. (Options vary by program.) In all cases, “Entry into Teacher Education” criteria apply.
- Students may complete an approved educator preparation degree program as described in the College of Arts and Sciences or the College of Education chapter of this catalog.
- Students may complete or present a non-educator preparation bachelor’s degree and all additional components of an approved educator preparation degree program.
Initial certification programs in Behavior/Learning Disabilities, Communication Disorders, Educational Leadership, English Education, Health and Physical Education, Mathematics Education, Multiple and Severe Disabilities, Reading, School Counseling, School Psychology, Science Education, and Social Studies Education are available only at the graduate level. The College of Education offers seven Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) programs which prepare students for initial certification in the following fields: Early Childhood Education, English Education, Mathematics Education, Middle Level Education, Reading, Language and Literacy Education (ESOL), Science Education, and Social Studies Education. See the current Georgia State University Graduate Catalog for more information on the university’s master’s level programs.
Students who complete a Georgia State University educator preparation program by one of the three methods above and who present a passing score or scores on the appropriate GACE Content Assessments may be eligible for the Georgia State recommendation for teacher certification. The College of Education’s Office of Academic Assistance and Graduate Admissions can issue the recommendation to the prospective teacher shortly after Commencement following the term of completion of requirements.
Prospective teachers must apply for teacher certification. Applications are available online at www.gapsc.com. It is the students’ responsibility to request the application and complete the submission process with the College of Education. The student, in a single package, must forward the application, the completed recommendation form, and official transcripts from all colleges attended to the Professional Standards Commission.
Students seeking certification from the State of Georgia Professional Standards Commission are required to pass the GACE Basic Skills Assessment (or provide an exemption) and GACE Content Assessment in their fields.
The Georgia Assessments for the Certification of Educators is developed and administered by National Evaluation Systems, Inc. (NES®). Subject Assessments include the Professional Pedagogy Assessment, Paraprofessional Assessments, and Content Assessment Area tests. The GACE program helps the PSC meet its goal of ensuring that candidates have the knowledge and skills needed to perform the job of an educator in Georgia public schools. The GACE are aligned with state and national standards for educator preparation and with state standards for the P–12 student curriculum (Georgia Performance Standards). Information about the assessments is available at www.gace.nesinc.com and www.gapsc.com/.
Students must present passing scores on the GACE Basic Skills Assessment or demonstrate an exemption upon application to an initial educator preparation program. The current options for satisfying the Basic Skills Assessment, including the exemptions, are outlined at www.gapsc.com/EducatorPreparation/Assessment/BasicSkillsInfo.aspx.
A requirement for educator certification in the State of Georgia is a passing score on appropriate tests of the GACE Content Assessment series. This test is administered at various times throughout the year. Test applications are available at www.gace.nesinc.com. Unless otherwise indicated in a program description, passing the GACE Content Assessment is not a degree-program requirement. All initial certification students must submit copies of complete GACE Content Assessment scores (all pages of the score report) to the Office of Academic Assistance in order to be recommended for educator certification by Georgia State University. Students are encouraged to take the test during the last term of enrollment.
Questions about educator certification in other states should be addressed to the State Department of Education in the capital city of that state.
The teacher education core is common to all educator preparation programs in the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Education. The core is comprised of the following three courses:
||Investigating Critical and Contemporary Issues in Education
||Exploring Socio-Cultural Perspectives on Diversity in Educational Contexts
||Exploring Learning and Teaching
The Dean of the College of Education is the presiding officer of the Professional Education Faculty. The faculty meets at least twice each year, once during Fall Term and once during Spring Term.
Quotidian governance of the Professional Education Faculty is conducted by the Professional Education Council, which consists of faculty members elected from the various teacher education areas, faculty members appointed by the Dean of the College of Education, students appointed by their departments, and school personnel representing Metro-Atlanta school systems. The chair of the Professional Education Council is elected annually, and the position alternates between members of the College of Arts and Sciences and members of the College of Education.
The Professional Education Faculty’s primary duty is to promote and facilitate constructive interaction of the members of the Professional Education Faculty, especially along interdisciplinary lines, in the interest of maintaining excellence in professional education programs at Georgia State University. The council is served by eight committees: The Executive Committee, which reviews the work of other committees and sets the agenda for council meetings; the Assessment Committee, which focuses on assessment issues at the unit level; the Content Knowledge Committee, which makes recommendations regarding the assessment of content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge of teacher education and other school professionals; the Curriculum Committee, which reviews existing and proposed professional education programs; the Diversity Committee, which monitors and makes recommendations regarding the faculty’s progress toward goals and outcomes stated in its Diversity Plan; Field Experiences and Clinical Practice Committee, which assess the impact of candidates’ development and demonstration of knowledge, skills and professional dispositions to help all students learn; Induction Committee, which studies issues related to induction and retention; and the Standards and Accreditation Committee, which reviews the Conceptual Framework, legislative and Professional Standards Commission actions affecting curriculum, criteria used by accrediting bodies in their periodic reviews of programs, and programmatic recommendations of relevant scholarly and professional associations.
Additional information about the Professional Education Faculty and its activities is available through the Internet at pef.gsu.edu.
The Professional Education Faculty’s conceptual framework illustrates its philosophies and purposes in regard to effective teacher preparation. The framework builds on the College of Education mission statement and includes the Professional Education Faculty’s purpose, assumptions guiding our programs, and candidate outcomes. The conceptual framework is described fully at pef.gsu.edu.
Georgia State University teacher education programs provide a limited warranty and guarantee the following:
- The Professional Education Faculty of Georgia State guarantees the quality of any educator that they recommend for initial certification in Georgia.
- Georgia State guarantees educators during the first two years immediately following graduation from Georgia State or following recommendation by Georgia State for an initial certificate, whichever occurs first.
- Any Georgia State educator in a Georgia school who fails to demonstrate essential skills can receive additional training at no expense to the educator or the employer.