Undergraduate Admissions - The University of Iowa

The University of Iowa

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Elementary Education (BA)
Elementary Education (BS)
Science Education (BS)


Educational Psychology
Human Relations
Teaching Licensure
Elementary, Secondary Levels
Honors Courses
Four-Year Graduation Plan
Not available because of student teaching requirements
Competitive Admission

Qualified teachers are in great demand. Public and private school enrollment in the United States is predicted to exceed 58 million students by 2015, an increase of nearly three million since 2003. The National Center for Education Statistics projects that four million teachers will be needed by 2015 because of teacher attrition and retirement plus increased school enrollment.

Why Study at Iowa? 

The College of Education's Teacher Education Program (TEP) is well known for offering a high-quality curriculum that provides solid preparation for teaching careers. The college has several graduate programs that are ranked among the nation's best. Also, the college's strong relationship with the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences makes Iowa’s education programs unique in their breadth, depth, and opportunity for diverse learning experiences.

The college's programs for undergraduates include:

  • A Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree program for students who want to major in Elementary Education (to teach grades K-6),
  • Teacher education programs for students interested in Secondary Education (grades 5-12), and
  • A Bachelor of Science (BS) degree program in Science Education for students who want to teach in schools or informal learning settings (park naturalists or museum educators).

Course Work 

To teach at either the elementary or secondary school level, you will first need to complete 30 semester hours of college course work with a minimum grade-point average of 3.0 before applying to the Teacher Education Program. Admission to the TEP also requires satisfactory scores on the Praxis I exam, among other criteria. After completing the TEP course work, you will file a student teaching application, and your progress will be reviewed to verify you are ready for a student teaching experience.

Elementary Education Licensure/Certification Areas

Iowa's BA degree program in elementary education offers instruction in teaching foundations and methods, plus course work in liberal arts and sciences. In addition to the general elementary endorsement, you may seek endorsements to teach these subjects in grades K-8:

  • Art
  • English as a Second Language (ESL)
  • English language arts
  • Hearing impaired
  • Mathematics
  • Middle school
  • Music
  • Physical education
  • Reading
  • Science
  • Social sciences (history, social studies)
  • Special education (Instructional Strategist I: Mild/Moderate)
  • Speech communication/theater

Coaching and Talented and Gifted are available only as additional approval areas.

Secondary Education Licensure/Certification Areas

Iowa's secondary education program prepares students to teach grades 5-12. If you plan to teach art or music, completing a program qualifies you to be licensed at both the elementary and secondary level. Programs are available to add additional licensure in other subjects. Secondary education has more specific requirements than some other areas, so be sure to talk with an adviser in the secondary education program area of your choice before you apply to the program.

Secondary school teacher preparation programs are available in these areas:

  • Art (includes art history)
  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Music
  • Science (general science, physical science, biology, chemistry, physics, earth science, 9–12 all science)
  • Social science (anthropology, economics, geography, history, political science, psychology, sociology)
  • World languages (Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Russian, Spanish)

Coaching, English as a Second Language, journalism, hearing impaired, middle school, talented and gifted, and reading are available only as additional approval areas.

BS in Science Education

Students in the Science Education program declare a primary and secondary area of emphasis from these options: biology, chemistry, earth science, and physics.

Minors in Educational Psychology, Human Relations

See College of Education in the General Catalog for more information.

Admission Requirements

Students interested in the BA program in Elementary Education or the BS program in Science Education need to meet the requirements for admission to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Students interested in teaching at the secondary level need to meet the requirements for admission associated with the major in the area in which they plan to teach. Review our Areas of Study (and the list of programs available for secondary education above) for admission requirements related to your major.

Admission to the Teacher Education Program

Students must first complete 30 semester hours of course work at Iowa or another institution with a cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.0 before applying to the TEP area in which they'd like to be licensed. Visit the Office of Education Services website to learn more about admission to the TEP, including submission of Praxis I scores.

Admission Requirements Tabs

Student Opportunities 

In addition to having nearly 500 Student Organizations, Iowa students choose from multiple Living-Learning Communities in the residence halls, Study Abroad Programs, and Undergraduate Research Opportunities.

Students interested in teaching may enjoy the Tomorrow's Teachers Today Living-Learning Community.


Among new teacher education graduates, 93 percent are professionally employed--62 percent in Iowa and 31 percent in neighboring states. Four percent of the new teachers accepted positions in surrounding states and three percent chose to work in other countries.

Our education alumni are located throughout the United States and in foreign countries, teaching in public and private schools, and working in other areas of education. Teaching is one of the few professions offering substantial choices in terms of job location, subject area, schedule, and school type. Salaries vary by region and by school district.

The Teacher Leader Center helps students acquire the technical skills they'll need to translate their ideas and paper materials to an electronic portfolio on the Internet. Students can videotape themselves teaching a class, counseling a child, or holding a conference with a family. Prospective employers may view the video online while speaking to the student on the telephone, making the interview process convenient and inexpensive for both.


The College of Education, Office of Admissions and the Office of Student Financial Aid are great resources for students seeking scholarships.

Student teaching scholarships also are available to provide financial assistance during the student teaching semester. Students apply in the spring for the following fall or spring semester. Eligible students must have a strong GPA and show exceptional promise as teachers, and they must plan to teach after completing the program.

Application Process

Elementary education
Apply to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and indicate an interest in elementary education. After admission to the university, you will apply to the Teacher Education Program.

Secondary education
Apply to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and indicate a major in the field you would like to teach. After admission to the university, you will apply to the Teacher Education Program.

Science education
Apply to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and indicate science education as your major. After admission to the university, you will apply to the Teacher Education Program.

Application Process Tabs