Master of Elementary Education (K-5) Initial Licensure

The Master of Education program in Elementary Education (K-5) Initial Licensure is designed for individuals who have earned a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution and seek to change careers and demonstrate a strong potential to become an exceptional instructional leader. Completion of this graduate program will lead to the initial license in Elementary Education (K-5) and the Master of Education degree.

Highly capable applicants apply through the South College (SC) admissions office and complete an interview with the School of Education Graduate Program Director to determine their level of interest and commitment to a rigorous and intense graduate program of study. A transcript analysis is made of the applicant's baccalaureate coursework to determine completion of germane general education courses that are foundational to the licensure program. If deficiencies are found, undergraduate general education courses may be required. During the interview, the Program Director and applicant confirm initial program entry criteria and identify any deficiencies that must be satisfied. Potential candidates are presented to the Graduate Admissions Committee, composed of unit and school personnel, for final recommendation to the program.

Candidates who are working full-time can expect course work to be offered one evening and all day on Saturdays. Of course, appropriate out-of-classroom time must be allotted to complete required on campus, off campus, and online assignments. Sequenced field experiences are required and are completed during the K-5 school day or during appropriate after school programs. An online component is required for each field experience per course.

Professional development opportunities are provided that enhance the student's professional growth and are scheduled periodically after Saturday classes and before evening classes. This schedule allows individuals to remain employed prior to student teaching. The Master of Education in Elementary Education (K-5) Initial Licensure program is designed to be completed in 15 months.

Graduate students complete a 16-week student teaching experience in K-3 and 4-5 grade levels and complete an action research project, and develop a professional growth plan and a professional portfolio. Students are enrolled as full-time students each quarter. The Financial Aid Department is available to assist students with determining any eligibility for financial aid programs offered. After completion of the Master of Education Elementary Education (K-5) Initial Licensure program, candidates are recommended to the Tennessee Department of Education Office of Teacher Licensing for the initial teaching license in Elementary Education (K-5) and also recommended for South College graduation for conferring of the Master of Education degree.

The Master of Education in Elementary Education (K-5) Initial Licensure Program capitalizes on inquiry to advance students' professional growth and career opportunities and to cultivate their ability to think critically, to communicate effectively and to apply knowledge wisely. Through contemporary modes of delivery, the innovative and research-based curriculum exposes students to diverse perspectives and skills essential to independent and continuous learning. During the program, students experience sequential field experiences, professional development workshops, and clinical practice in enhanced student teaching. Graduate students provide assistance to classroom teachers, participate in student tutoring, provide classroom instruction and assessment, monitor their impact on student learning, and participate in school improvement planning and action research.

During clinical practice, students experience an in-depth exposure to K-5 teaching and learning that includes collecting and analyzing data to demonstrate the effect their teaching had on student learning. Each candidate must successfully complete two student teaching placements for a total of 16 weeks of full-time student teaching in grades K-3 and 4-5.

Placement I must be successfully completed with a grade of pass to receive approval to advance to Placement II. Placement II must be successfully completed with a grade of pass to be eligible to schedule an Action Research Presentation, Portfolio Presentation and Program Exit Interview. Candidates complete their program of study with a Portfolio Presentation and Exit Interview to demonstrate achievement of candidate learner outcomes. The Master of Education in Elementary Education (K-5) Initial Licensure program meets unit, state, and professional standards.


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Advance your career by earning a graduate degree and initial licensure.

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Consumer Information: Amounts for tuition, fees, books, and supplies are subject to change. The information included here is estimated for a full-time student.* South College follows the required methodology provided by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission for the reporting of employment information for graduates. This information is compiled on an annual basis and submitted to the Commission by October 15 each year for graduates during the most recently completed reporting year (July 1-June 30). For more detailed information related to the calculation of graduate employment rates, please click here.