Elementary Education Major

An SPU student works with elementary school children

Are you considering a career as an elementary school educator? Housed within the School of Education, this program is designed specifically for individuals aspiring to teach at the elementary school level (K–8). If you are an undergraduate student at SPU and intend to obtain a Residency Teacher Certificate with an endorsement in Elementary Education, enrolling in this major is a mandatory step in fulfilling your academic requirements.


About the Program

SPU has a long-held reputation as one of the premier teacher preparation programs in the state and region. The School of Education offers a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education with kindergarten through 8th grade certification. With this degree you will be prepared to be a highly effective teacher in elementary and middle school classrooms.

You will be required to complete SPU’s General Education requirements, the elementary education major requirements, and additional certification requirements. The elementary education major offers several distinctives that set it apart from other programs.


Students in the Elementary Education major have the opportunity to gain practical experience in a wide range of educational settings. This includes both urban and rural schools, as well as schools with diverse student populations. These field experiences provide valuable insights and help students develop adaptable teaching skills.

One of the standout features of this program is the year-long internship. This extended period of hands-on teaching allows students to fully immerse themselves in the classroom environment, gaining a deep understanding of the challenges and rewards of teaching elementary students.

The program boasts a faculty with expertise in a wide variety of areas, including special education, multilingual learners, and literacy. This ensures that students receive comprehensive training and are well-prepared to address the unique needs of diverse learners. Every member of our faculty possesses extensive classroom experience spanning kindergarten through 8th grade, offering our students a rich repository of practical, real-world insights and knowledge. This wealth of hands-on experience equips our students with a unique advantage as they pursue their educational journey.

The program’s small cohort size fosters a sense of community and belonging among students. This intimate learning environment allows for meaningful connections with professors and peers. It also enables individualized attention, ensuring that each student’s unique needs and goals are addressed.

The program places a strong emphasis on inclusive education, preparing students to work effectively with students from diverse backgrounds and abilities. Special education, multilingual learners, and literacy are focal points, ensuring that graduates are well-equipped to support all students in their classrooms.

Program Framework: Residency Teacher Certification Program

The program's framework is thoughtfully designed to guide students through a seamless progression across four distinct stages, culminating in a well-prepared education and future career. From foundational knowledge acquisition to hands-on application, each stage equips students with the requisite skills and expertise, fostering their growth and readiness to be a successful educator. This structured approach not only imparts a strong theoretical foundation but also provides the real-world exposure and confidence necessary to excel in the classroom.

The professional program leading to a Washington State Residency Teacher Certificate at Seattle Pacific consists of stages:

Education foundation courses for students majoring in Elementary Education with the goal of K-8 certification are fundamental courses designed to provide a broad understanding of key concepts, theories, and practical skills necessary for a successful career in teaching.

Elementary content courses are an essential part of the curriculum for students majoring in Elementary Education with the goal of obtaining K-8 certification. These courses focus on the specific subjects and content areas that elementary teachers are expected to teach to their students.

Methods courses are a vital component of the curriculum for students majoring in Elementary Education with the goal of obtaining K-8 certification. These courses are designed to equip aspiring educators with the practical knowledge and teaching strategies necessary to effectively instruct and engage students in a variety of subjects and grade levels.

The professional year internship for students majoring in Elementary Education with the goal of obtaining K-8 certification is a critical phase in their training. The internship provides practical, real-world teaching experience and serves as a bridge between academic coursework and becoming a certified teacher.

Major Courses and Degree Requirements

There are two components to the Elementary Education major: the education foundations and core courses, and the Residency Teacher Certification requirements, which includes the professional year of the program.

Component I: Education Foundations and Core Courses

Students take a total of 86 credits in the education foundations and core courses. These courses, rooted in educational foundations, enable you to develop a breadth of content knowledge across the elementary subject areas you will teach, providing a solid pedagogical framework for effective classroom instruction. These courses simultaneously fulfill 30 credits required in SPU’s Exploratory Curriculum.

Component II: Residency Teacher Certification Program

Students will complete a year-long internship in their professional year in the program, which will include completing requirements for teacher certification. Students who do not complete certification requirements will be required to switch to the Elementary Education: No Certification major or a different major at the university.

Additional Endorsements

The K-8 Elementary Education major offers students the opportunity to enhance their professional qualifications by adding three endorsements to their primary teaching degree. These endorsements provide educators with specialized skills and knowledge that can significantly enrich their teaching capabilities and expand their career opportunities. Whether it's in the realm of special education, multilingual learners, or reading instruction, these additional qualifications empower teachers to better meet the diverse needs of their students. Each endorsement brings unique insights and strategies to the table, equipping educators to create inclusive and effective learning environments while also enhancing their competitiveness in the job market.

Special Education

Additional Required Courses

EDSP 3107 Exceptionality in the Classroom 3
EDSP 4642 Individual Education Programs 3
EDSP 4646 Severe Disabilities 3
EDSP 4648 Teaching Students with Emotional and Behavior Disorders 3
EDSP 4651 Special Education Assessment 3

15 credits

English Language/Multilingual Learners

Additional Required Courses

EDU 4210 Foundations of Bilingual/Multilingual Education 3
EDU 4215 Educational Linguistics 3
EDU 4220 Methods of Teaching and Assessing Multilingual Learners 3

9 credits


Additional Required Courses

EDU 4210 Foundations of Bilingual/Multilingual Education 3
EDU 4215 Educational Linguistics 3

6 credits

If You Don’t Want to Teach

Students may graduate with an Elementary Education major without seeking teacher certification. If you don’t want to teach, you are not required to complete methods or professional years required for the Residency Teacher Certification Program. You will complete a concentration-specific capstone course(s) instead of the education capstone course and practicum.

Entering the Elementary Education Major

You may enter the Elementary Education major during your first quarter at SPU. Entrance after your first quarter requires only good academic standing (2.0 or higher SPU cumulative GPA). Consult the undergraduate catalog for complete information on how and when to enter and what you must do to complete the program.


You will be assigned an Education faculty advisor during your freshman year. Once you are admitted to the Elementary Education major, be sure to work closely with your advisor as you make decisions regarding course selection for the core courses, the concentration, the teacher certification and Elementary Education endorsement requirements, and the University’s graduation requirements. You will also work closely with the Certification Office to ensure you complete all state and program requirements for the Washington State Residency Teaching Certificate.

If you plan to participate in a study abroad program, work with your advisor to determine the most appropriate quarter for such travel. This planning should be done during your freshman year if at all possible.

Transfer Students

If you are a transfer student from a Washington state community college with a direct transfer agreement (DTA) associate degree with an Elementary Education Major-Related Program (MRP), you will be allowed to transfer credits toward corresponding course requirements in the core courses and in the Elementary Education major at SPU.

Use the Transfer Course Equivalency Guide to see how credit from other institutions will transfer to Seattle Pacific University.

Admissions Contact

Allyson Rachal

Undergraduate Program Specialist

Phone: 206-281-2439
Office: Peterson Hall 306

Faculty Chair

Krystle Jalalian-Chursky

Assistant Professor; Director of Undergraduate Teacher Education
PhD, University of London, Birkbeck

Phone: 206-281-2365
Office: Peterson Hall 313

Over 100 years for SOE

For over 100 years, the School of Education has been an integral part of SPU’s vision to prepare future educators. Explore these milestones from years past to the present.

Did You Know?

Help IconThe SPU School of Education offers one-year alternative route teaching programs, including AMAT and AMTMS.