Certification Options

We offer teacher education options for undergraduates majoring in Secondary Education (SECED) or scientific subjects. Certification requirements can also be completed while pursuing a master's degree in Curriculum & Instruction or in a scientific field. If you are an undergraduate majoring in a science subject, you can even begin your studies as an undergraduate and complete them as part of a master's program.

The following certification requirements are common to all routes to certification, undergrad and graduate options alike.

Please note that as of 2012, new PA regulations are in effect and requirements depend on when you finish your certification program. 

Common requirements


Degree-Specific Notes

  • If you are currently seeking certification as an undergraduate SECED major (in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction), complete the course requirements described on the curriculum checksheet that you received when you were admitted to the SECED major.

  • If you plan to seek certification as an undergrad SECED major, please note that there are requirements for the major that are not listed in the Common Requirements document above, such as the General Education requirements that are specific to undergraduate degrees. In your first and second years, we strongly encourage you to complete as much science course work as possible; in particular, do not postpone required science courses that are only offered once a year. Your adviser can help you choose the right courses. The Entrance to Major process is described online by clicking here. See also the "Notes on the Entrance to Major Process," below.

  • If you plan to seek certification while majoring in a "Qualifying Scientific Discipline" (these majors are listed in the Common Certification Requirements document above), you must complete the Education Requirements and the Option 2 requirements listed there. Please note that you will need a minimum GPA of 3.0, pass certain State-required PRAXIS exams, be in at least 4th semester status, and be formally admitted. See "Notes for students majoring in science fields or pursuing studies at the garduate level" below. In the Common Requirements document above, you will note that there are two possible sequences for completing special education training that is now required in Pennsylvania. If you intend to complete all certification studies as an undergraduate, we usually recommend Sequence A (see Note 3 in the document). If you intend to complete certification course work at the graduate level (e.g., for students in IUG programs), we recommend Sequence B. Please contact us if you have questions. We do not recommend postponing completion of your bachelor's degree in a science major in order to finish certification requirements. It usually makes more sense to finish your undergraduate degree in four years and, if necessary, complete certification requirements as a graduate student.

  • If you would like to become certified in science and have already completed a bachelor's degree, but do not have a master's degree, then you should pursue certification as part of a relevant master's degree. The most common option is to complete an M.S. or M.Ed. in Science Education (part of the graduate program in Curriculum & Instruction), but you may also complete certification requirements while pursuing a master's degree in another scientific field (with the consent of your graduate committee in that field and the permission of the Science Education program).

  • If you would like to become certified in science and have already completed a master's or doctoral degree in a relevant field, you do not need to complete another master's degree. You may complete the certification program requirements as a non-degree student. For more information on this option, please consult a faculty member or Cathy Hipple in 228 Chambers Building (cyh3@psu.edu, 814-863-1497). Also, note that you must complete a non-degree admissions review and be formally admitted to the program; Cathy can help with that process.

The need for new science teachers is strong, and if you are interested in teaching, we hope we have an option that matches your needs and ambitions.


Note on the Entrance to Major process (science certification through the SECED major)

Entrance to Major (ETM) is the process through which undergraduates are formally admitted to the Secondary Education major (College of Education). For the appropriate paperwork, please visit 228 Chambers. The ETM process is completed each Spring.


Notes for students majoring in science fields or pursuing studies at the graduate level

If you plan to complete an undergraduate degree before taking SCIED 412 and C I 495C (these courses are taken concurrently; SCIED 411 is a prerequisite), your admission to the certification program will be done through the Curriculum & Instruction graduate admissions process. You will not need to go through the College of Education's Entrance to Major process, and you may have greater flexibility for completing certification requirements.

If you intend to complete the certification requirements as an undergraduate science major, you must be formally admitted to the SCIED certification program prior to taking SCIED 412 and CI 495C (again, please note that SCIED 411 is a prerequisite). You will not need to go through the College of Education's Entrance to Major, but you do need to be formally admitted (that is, submit a written Application for Admission to the SCIED Program, for Students Majoring in Science Disciplines) and receive a written acceptance. For more information, please consult an adviser in 228 Chambers Building.