We offer teacher certification at three levels: elementary, middle school, and high school.  By completing our state-approved teacher certification program while you are at Wellesley, you will be able to teach in a public school right after graduation.  Or, if you are aiming at a private school or teaching abroad, certification is not required, but you are welcome to do an internship.  Teaching is a gratifying, challenging, intellectually, and emotionally gripping profession, which promotes social justice and allows you to connect with young people and communities.

Our program is individualized and designed to help you to become the best beginning teacher you can be.  Please come see Noah Rubin to talk about elementary school certification or Ken Hawes about middle and high school certification, as soon as possible to plan your coursework, and to discuss pathways into teaching.  

In general, for certification at any level, you’ll take: one introductory course; some specified arts and science courses; and some 300-level education courses, including student teaching.

As to timing, you’ll take some of the 300-level courses on teaching methods in the fall of your senior year and student teach in the spring semester of your senior year, as a sequence.  Student teaching is usually full time, five days a week, so in most cases, you’ll need to complete your coursework for your major by fall semester of your senior year. Student teaching is an amazing learning experience.

The introductory courses from which you’ll choose at least one (some students take more than one) for certification at any level are:

Either WRIT 114/EDUC 102 Education in Philosophical Perspective; or EDUC 110 First Year seminar Play, Literacy and Democracy; or EDUC 117 First Year seminar Education and Diversity; or EDUC 200 Theory and Practice in Early Childhood Education (summer only); or EDUC 201 Educating Young Children with Special Needs (summer only); or EDUC 212  History of American Education; or EDUC 213 Social and Emotional Learning and Development; or EDUC 215 Understanding and Improving Schools; or EDUC 216 Education and Social Policy; or EDUC 322 Digital Technologies and Learning Communities; or PSYC 248 Psychology of Teaching, Learning, and Motivation; or MIT 11.124 or MIT 11.125 Introduction to Education;  or other approved course.

By completing one or two of these introductory courses and three or four of these courses, EDUC 300EDUC 302EDUC 303EDUC 304EDUC 305, EDUC 308, EDUC 310EDUC 314, EDUC 322, EDUC 325 or PSYC 207 (or PSYC 208), for a total of five courses, you’ll qualify for the Teaching and Learning Studies Minor, although you don’t need to declare it if you already have another minor.  You may list the education courses you’ve taken on your resume and call them a “Concentration in Education.”

For certification, you will need to go on and complete student teaching and the student teaching seminar (EDUC 302 and 303).  If you do, your transcript will have an endorsement validating that you completed a Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education-approved program.  Certification in Massachusetts is reciprocal with almost all other states, although some states may require you to take a few other specific courses.  Many states, including Massachusetts, have tests for teachers as part of their requirements. 

Elementary Education Certification

Please talk with Noah Rubin, director of elementary education, to find out about elementary certification.  Elementary certification allows you to teach in grades 1 to 6.  You may major in any field.  We will help you develop a plan that works for your individual situation and can put you in touch with other students who are completing or have completed elementary certification.

To become certified as an elementary school teacher for grades 1 to 6, you’ll take one of the introductory courses listed above, and, to learn about children’s development, you will take either PSYC 207 Developmental Psychology, or EDUC 213 Social and Emotional Learning and Development, which also counts as an introductory course.

To learn about and practice elementary teaching methods, you will take the following courses:

EDUC 310 Child Literacy and the Teaching of Reading;

EDUC 314 Learning and Teaching Mathematics;

EDUC 304 Curriculum and Instruction in Elementary Education;

EDUC 305 Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Needs in Elementary Education;

EDUC 302 Methods and Materials of Teaching (elementary section of student teaching seminar); EDUC 303 Curriculum and Supervised Teaching (full semester). 

We recommend that you take either EDUC 310 Child Literacy and the Teaching of Reading or EDUC 314 Learning and Teaching Mathematics your sophomore or junior year. 

Most of these courses require fieldwork for at least a few hours aweek.  We will arrange fieldwork for you, in urban or suburban schools, and help pay for your transportation. You may student teach in an urban or suburban elementary school, during the spring semester of your senior year.  Elementary student teachers, usually a small group or about 7-9 or so, support each other throughout the year, especially during student teaching.  You’ll become very close to them.

For elementary education, you’ll need to plan your regular distribution requirements to include American history and English literature.  Be sure to talk to Noah Rubin about these courses.

Middle and High School Certification

Please talk with Ken Hawes to find out about middle and high school certification.  It’s easier to complete certification if you come talk with Ken as soon as you think you might be interested in becoming a teacher, but come see Ken even in your senior year, to see what we can work out.

You may become certified as a middle or high school teacher in any of these fourteen subjects:  English, history, mathematics, biology, chemistry, earth science, physics, general science, Chinese, French, Latin and classical humanities, and Spanish.

You will complete a major or minor, or the equivalent, in the subject that you’ll teach.  Be sure to talk with Ken Hawes about specific courses you’ll take within your major or minor, or arrange to take individually.  We have designated faculty advisors in every department in which we offer certification, who can help you plan courses.

To become certified as a middle or high school teacher, you’ll take one of the introductory courses listed above or an approved alternate.

You’ll also take courses to learn about and practice middle school and high school teaching methods, and student teach:

EDUC 300 Teaching and Curriculum in Middle and High School;

EDUC 325 English as a Second Language via Immersion;

EDUC 302 and 303 Methods and Materials of Teaching and Curriculum and Supervised Teaching (middle or high school student teaching and seminar, spring semester of your senior year).

You will have a special consultant for your subject field, a teacher who has taught or is teaching your subject, who will teach you a module in how to teach your specific subject as part of EDUC 300, and be your special advisor as you prepare for and student teach.

We can accept some of these courses as transfer credits, but you must student teach with us. These courses require fieldwork, which we will arrange for you in urban or suburban schools and help pay for your transportation. You will also need to pass a Massachusetts test on your subject and meet other requirements. We will help you in applying for teaching jobs and connect you to our nation-wide network of wonderful Wellesley teachers.


Come see us.  We look forward to working with you.