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Pre-Teacher Education

Portland State University educates prospective K-12 teachers in the Graduate School of Education, through the Graduate Teacher Education Program (GTEP) and the Special Educator Program (SPED). Both GTEP and SPED are split into separate tracks to emphasize either elementary (K-5) or secondary (middle/high school) education, and both result in a master’s degree (Master of Education or Master of Special Education) and an initial teaching license.

Undergraduates at Portland State University may prepare for competitive admissions by consulting with appropriate advisers, by achieving high academic standards in the recommended and required courses for specialization, and in courses in liberal arts, and by documenting successful experience with children in public schools. Passing scores on teacher exams mandated by the Oregon Teachers Standards and Practices Commission (TSPC) are also required for entry into the GTEP.


Pre-Teacher Education Undergraduate Advising

Early childhood and elementary education

Students who want to be elementary teachers choose from a wide range of majors to complete their undergraduate degrees. Pre-Education advisers have traditionally recommend interdisciplinary majors – such as Arts and Letters, Social Science, General Science, and Liberal studies – because they can include multiple subjects that are highly relevant to the elementary curriculum. However, specific disciplinary majors can also be fitting for the goal of progressing into GTEP. Such disciplines include (but are not limited to) English or History (especially those wishing to teach at the upper elementary level), Psychology, and Child and Family Studies. Prospective elementary teachers should consult with a Pre-Education Adviser in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Advising Center (503-725-3822), located in Smith Memorial Student Union, mezzanine level, room M305.


Secondary (middle/high school) education:

Prospective middle and high school teachers may receive general introductory pre-professional advising with a Pre-Education Adviser in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Advising Center; however, subsequent advising for pre-secondary education should be with the academic adviser for the secondary education content area they wish to teach. These specialized advisers are familiar with all GTEP admission requirements for their respective content areas, and the Graduate School of Education relies on their recommendations to determine whether an applicant has sufficient understanding of the subject matter they wish to teach.

Academic majors and their respective secondary endorsements are as follows: biology (biology and general science); physical education (physical education); history, anthropology, sociology, philosophy, political science, geography, and economics (social studies); health (health); mathematics (mathematics); English (English language arts); art (art); world languages and literatures (foreign language); music (music); chemistry (chemistry); physics (physics); business and economics (business); drama (drama); speech (speech).

Additional information is available online, or by contacting GTEP admissions at (503) 725-4753.


Special education:

All prospective special educators, whether they wish to teach special education at the elementary or secondary level, should consult with a pre-education adviser in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Advising Center (503-725-3822), located in Smith Memorial Student Union, mezzanine level, room M305. Students who are interested in teaching special education at the secondary level as well as teaching a specific subject in their middle or high school should also meet with the content area adviser for that subject (see above).


Graduate Teacher Education Program advising:

Any current or prospective PSU Students who are considering application to GTEP at PSU should attend one of the Graduate School of Education’s regularly held information sessions for prospective applicants. A current schedule of upcoming information sessions is available online, along with an online form to register to attend a specific session. For additional information, please contact the Graduate School of Education (; 503-725-4619), or stop by their information desk on the second floor of the Fourth Avenue Building (1900 SW 4th Ave).


Pre-Education - Course Worksheets

Elementary Pre-Teacher Education 
Elementary Education Minor
Elementary Education Science Minor
Elementary Education Freshman Suggested Courses
Mathematics for Middle School Teachers Minor                                                                                               
Middle and Secondary Pre-Education--Sciences                                        
Secondary Pre-Teacher Education 
Secondary Education Minor
Secondary Education--Social Studies                                                                                                               
Special Pre-Teacher Education
Special Education Minor