Elementary Teaching - M.A. with Specialization

Elementary TeachingM.A. with Specialization

Elementary teachers are curriculum generalists, working simultaneously across subject areas.

The specialization is intended to reflect the preparation of the recipient practitioners in the core areas of the elementary school curriculum of reading, mathematics, science, and social studies.

Memorandum of Courses


  • Minimum of 36 credit hours total
  • Students will work closely with the faculty advisor and supervisory committee to select graduate level courses, which may be taken within Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education or other departments as long as they meet Master's requirements.
  • Required Master's courses (9 credits) are listed below. These must be taken in order to earn the Master of Arts degree.
  • Required specialization courses (12 credits) must be taken in order to earn this specialization.
  • Elective courses (15 credits) may be chosen from within the department, college, or university depending on individual needs, interests, and professional goals.

Please note that if you are interested in earning your initial teaching certificate, you'll need to pursue a Master of Arts Leading to Initial Teaching Certification.

Required Master's Courses (9 hours)

  • TEAC 800 Inquiry: Teaching and Learning (3 credits)
  • TEAC 801 Curriculum Inquiry (3 credits)
  • TEAC 889 Masters Seminar (3 credits)

Required Specialization Courses (12 credits)

Science Education:
TEAC 842A Objectives and Methods of Science Teaching: Elementary

Social Studies Education:
TEAC 822A Principles and Practices in Social Studies Education

Choose one course in Literacy and Language Arts Education:
TEAC 811 Reading Processes and Practices
TEAC 811C Response to Intervention—Reading
TEAC 815E Emerging Reading and Language
TEAC 854 Literature in Education

Choose one course in Mathematics Education:
TEAC 808A Improved Instruction in School Mathematics Primary: K-3
TEAC 880E Teaching with Technology: Instructional Technology in Mathematics
TEAC 907 Seminar in Elementary School Mathematics

for Summer Sessions and Fall Semester

for Spring Semester

Application Requirements

  • Undergraduate GPA equivalent to 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
  • A good match between your goals and the department’s ability to address those goals
  • A completed application submitted to the UNL Office of Graduate Studies
  • A completed department application submitted through GAMES which includes the following:
    • Resumé
    • Three (3) letters of recommendation
    • Application Essay
      The Graduate Admissions Committee looks closely at the applicant’s goals in the application essay for further evidence of your meeting the admissions criteria. A well-written essay is crucial to admissions decisions. This application essay is a concise statement in which you address clearly why you want to pursue graduate studies at the master’s level at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In this essay you should address clearly:
      • Your academic and/or professional goals and how the master’s degree in Teaching, Learning, and Teacher Education will enable you to meet these.
      • Your academic strengths, with specific attention to your background in higher education and how this qualifies you for graduate study at a major university.
      • Any professional experience, knowledge, and skills you possess and how these further qualify you for graduate study at a major university.
      • This statement should be between 700–1000 words.

*Please note that a complete background check may be required upon admission to the program. Many institutions today require a criminal history background check before an individual is allowed to work, volunteer, conduct research or collect data within their facility. CEHS students who are required in their program to go into daycare facilities, schools, hospitals, or other community agencies must complete a background check before CEHS can place them in these facilities.

Only completed application files will be reviewed. Following the review process, you will be informed in writing of the admission decision.

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Degree Requirements

View the master's degree overview and milestones on the Graduate Studies website.

The NU Graduate College offers master's degrees under three Options, except in a few departments where such a choice is not feasible.

For All Options
  • No courses older than 10 years will apply toward master's degree requirements at UNL.
  • A written or oral comprehensive examination is required.
  • Courses open only to graduate students are those numbered at the 900 level, or at the 800 level without counterparts at the 400 level or below.

Option I
  • Minimum 30 cr, including 20-24 cr of regular coursework.
  • Thesis required, equivalent to 6-10 cr. At least half of the required work, including thesis, must be in one major subject.
  • Minor optional, at least 9 cr.
  • 8 cr, in addition to the thesis, must be in graduate-only courses.

Option II
  • Minimum 36 cr, a major and one or two minors.
  • No thesis required.
  • Minor required, at least 9 cr.
  • At least 12 of the 36 cr must be in graduate-only courses.
  • MEd is only available as Option II.

Option III
  • Minimum 36 cr.
  • No thesis required.
  • No minor available.
  • At least 18 of the 36 cr must be in graduate-only courses.

Change of Option

Students may change their declared Option at any time during the program of study with written approval from the advisor, the Chair of the Graduate Committee in the student’s major, and the Dean for Graduate Studies. The only exception to this policy is that students may not change from Option I to any other Option if certification of full-time status has been utilized.

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Faculty Contacts

Aaron Johnson

Jenelle Reeves

Julie Thomas

Loukia Sarroub (Graduate Chair)

Guy Trainin (Department Chair)

Stephanie Wessels

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Graduate Chair

Graduate Project Associate