Teaching and Learning Department

Adrea Lawrence, Chair

The Department of Teaching and Learning offers the Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education and teaching licensure in elementary education. The department also offers teaching licensure at both the secondary and K-12 levels for students who are earning or have already completed the baccalaureate degree (teaching major or teaching minor) in one of the following state-approved content areas: Art, Biology, Business Education, Chemistry, Earth Science, Economics, English, English as a Second Language, French, General Science Broadfield, Geography, German, Government, Health and Human Performance, History, Latin, Library Media, Mathematics, Music, Physics, Psychology, Reading, Russian, Social Studies Broadfield, Sociology, Spanish, Special Education, and Theatre. (See specific requirements for each in the following pages.) At the graduate level, the department offers master and doctoral degrees in Curriculum and Instruction. Programs across all degree levels are organized to foster the development of learning communities and incorporate three essential themes: integration of ideas; cooperative endeavors; and respect for diversity and individual worth. For more information go to the Department of Teaching and Learning web site.

Graduate Programs

The department offers the Master of Education (M.Ed.) in curriculum and instruction. Students select from one of the following options:

  • curriculum studies,
  • early childhood education,
  • library media services,
  • literacy education, and
  • special education.

Students may earn the master's degree in combination with requirements for initial teacher licensure at the elementary and secondary and K-12 levels. This option is further explained below. The department also offers the Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in curriculum and instruction. Information about these graduate programs is available from the department office and website, UM Graduate Programs and Admissions Catalog.

Teacher Preparation

Elementary Education

Individuals preparing to teach in elementary schools (license for grades K-8) complete a major in elementary education. Students apply for admission to the Teacher Education Programs, usually at the end of the sophomore year, in order to continue with the education (EDU) sequence of courses. All elementary education majors are advised by full-time advisors within the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

Secondary and K-12 licensure

Students preparing to teach at the middle or high school levels (license for grades 5-12) or in K-12 licensure areas will declare a major in the subject area(s) they wish to teach, e.g., English, mathematics, music, or any other of the state-approved major content endorsement areas listed previously. They are advised within their major department(s) and, upon admission to the Teacher Education Program, they also are advised within the Department of Curriculum and Instruction regarding the requirements necessary to earn secondary or K-12 licensure. All secondary and K-12 licensure students seek admission to the Teacher Education Program, usually at the end of the sophomore year, and complete course work required for licensure in Curriculum and Instruction and in their major content area(s).

Applicants for Montana teaching licensure must:

  1. satisfy all degree and licensure requirements as outlined below; and
  2. be at least 18 years of age.

Information about the Teacher Education Program is available in the department office and website.

Master's Degree and Initial Licensure

Individuals who have completed a bachelor's degree may elect to apply to the department’s Graduate Program and combine the master's degree in curriculum and instruction (curriculum studies option) with licensure to teach. At the secondary and K-12 licensure level, the combined program may be completed in a summer-autumn-spring-summer sequence provided the student previously has completed most of the required content courses. At the elementary licensure level, the program typically takes two academic years.

Assessment at Admission to the Undergraduate Teacher Education Program

Individuals seeking licensure to teach must apply for admission to the professional Teacher Education Program. Admission is limited to approximately 125 elementary and 125 secondary candidates per year. Deadlines for application are September 15 and February 15. Individuals are eligible for consideration for admission if they have:

  • been admitted to the University of Montana;
  • completed at least 30 semester credits;
  • earned a minimum cumulative GPA (including all transfer credits) of 2.75;
  • completed an English writing course (WRIT 101) with a grade of C- or better;
  • demonstrated evidence of writing ability in an application essay;
  • documented appropriate experience working with children or youth;
  • secured supportive recommendations from two faculty members; 
  • presented results of a national fingerprint-based background check; and
  • demonstrated appropriate professional behaviors and dispositions associated with success in the profession.

The Teacher Education Program Admission Application packet includes a policy and procedures handbook and can be downloaded from the website.

Once admitted, licensure candidates must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.75 each semester to continue in the program. Candidates who interrupt their studies for more than two years are placed on inactive status and must apply for readmission to both the University and the Teacher Education Program.

Candidates seeking a K-12 endorsement in library, reading, or special education must have full admission to the Teacher Education Program or be a licensed teacher before applying to one of these specialized programs.

Degree-holding individuals are invited to submit transcripts for review to determine how previous course work applies. They may earn a second baccalaureate degree and/or a teaching license or they may combine elementary, secondary, or K-12 licensure with a master's degree. They should enroll with the Admissions Office as “post-baccalaureate” unless pursuing a graduate degree.

Admission Policy for Minority Students and Students with Disabilities

The Teacher Education Program is committed to providing opportunities for teacher preparation for members of groups that have been historically disadvantaged and subject to discrimination. The criteria for admission are the same for students with disabilities and for members of racial, ethnic and other minorities, as for other students; however, students who do not meet one or more of the criteria for admission are encouraged to describe in their applications any special circumstances, experiences, skills and/or special talents that may compensate for unmet criteria. The physical, social, economic, and cultural circumstances that may have influenced a student’s ability to achieve minimum eligibility for admission will be considered. A special effort will be made to determine the student's abilities and potential to overcome disadvantage or discrimination and become a successful beginning teacher. Upon entry to the program, the candidate will be assigned to a faculty mentor. The candidate and mentor will design a course of study appropriate for the candidate’s progression toward the degree and/or licensure.

Assessment at Application for Student Teaching

Candidates begin planning for student teaching two semesters prior to placement. Candidates are eligible to student teach if they have:

  • full admission into the Teacher Education Program;
  • a grade of C- or better in all required licensure courses;
  • a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75 (and 2.75 in each field of licensure);
  • results of a current national fingerprint-based background check (candidates with misdemeanors or felonies may be subject to further review by the Field Experience Committee);
  • a completed application to student teach and the consent of the Director of Field Experiences;
  • for elementary education majors, student should be enrolled in Level  of the Program, and have completed all coursework in all previous levels.
  • for secondary licensure candidates, all methods courses, two thirds of content course work, and approval by departments in the major/minor content area.

Consult the Teacher Education Policy Handbook for application deadlines and procedures. The Student Teaching Application is available on the Field Experiences website.

Internships and practica in library, reading, and special education do not substitute for the student teaching semester required for licensure in a subject field.

Assessment at Program Completion

As active participants in this learning community, candidates are expected to assume roles as both learners and teachers in course work and clinical performance. Through personal disposition, classroom performance, and professional action, candidates who complete the Teacher Education Program at the University of Montana will be able to:

  • demonstrate knowledge of the disciplines and subject matter related to curriculum;
  • design interdisciplinary and discrete subject area instruction to achieve curriculum goals;
  • use appropriate technologies and resources to enhance instruction and student performance;
  • select and design appropriate, authentic means of assessing student learning and progress;
  • implement instructional and behavioral management strategies to promote a safe and positive learning environment;
  • engage students in learning activities that promote critical and creative thinking;
  • design and organize learning environments to accommodate learners;
  • communicate clearly, accurately and professionally with students and their families, colleagues, and community members;
  • reflect on professional practices and demonstrate commitment to fairness and the ability of all to learn.

Indian Education for All

It is Montana’s constitutional intent that the state’s education system will recognize the distinct and unique cultural heritage of American Indians and will be committed in its education goals to the preservation of their cultural heritage. The intent of the legislature as expressed in MCA20-1-501, Indian Education for All, is that every Montanan, whether Indian or non-Indian, be encouraged to learn about the distinct and unique heritage of American Indians in a culturally responsive manner. It is also intended that educational personnel provide means by which school personnel will gain an understanding for the American Indian people.

Candidates preparing for teaching licensure in all endorsement areas are required to complete a minimum of one course in Native American Studies. Candidates also may choose ANTY 323X , Indians of Montana, to meet this requirement. Throughout their programs of study candidates must demonstrate

  1. ability to integrate into their content areas knowledge of the history, cultural heritage, and contemporary status of American Indians and tribes in Montana;
  2. knowledge of how students within different populations, including Montana American Indians, differ in their approaches to learning; and
  3. ability to create instructional opportunities that are adapted to diverse learners, including situations where concentrated generational poverty has affected student academic achievement.