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The Middle Level English option is designed to support your growth and content understanding as an educator. This program helps you prepare to teach children in all subjects in grades four through six and English Language Arts in grades seven through eight. The option was developed using guidelines recommended by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and the Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE). The English option also uses the Penn State Teacher Education Performance Framework to guide the instruction and learning of its courses.

Student teacher leading class

Major Requirements

As a student interested in the English option, you will typically take general education courses during your first two years. During this time, you will work to complete the Entrance to Major (ETM) requirements. By doing so, you will be eligible as a candidate for the English program that you will apply to during your fourth semester. 

Upon entrance to the program, you will take the courses that will help solidify your understanding of the teaching and learning of middle school children. This includes courses in Arts and Literacy as well as the Reading in the Content Areas course.

Field Experiences and Student Teaching

Throughout the program, you will have the opportunity to gain valuable classroom experience as a student-teacher. In your first or second year, you will participate in a supervised field experience of approximately 60 hours in a middle school classroom. This experience is intended to introduce you to classroom observation and teaching as a career. During the final year, teacher candidates complete a one semester student teaching field experience.

In your final year in the program, you will enroll in a field experience that is a part-time apprenticeship in a fifth-grade classroom. During this field experience, you will take methods courses in math, science and social studies, as well as a general course in classroom management and teaching middle level students. 

Lastly, you will participate in a full-time student-teaching experience in a seventh or eighth grade classroom under the guidance of a certified, experienced mentor teacher and a University supervisor. Or you can elect to complete twelve weeks of student-teaching locally and then an additional five-to-seven-week-long student-teaching experience abroad. 

I'm a 4-8 English option student and I really enjoyed the coursework. I had the privilege of becoming knowledgeable in elementary/intermediate education and also English content. Perhaps what I enjoyed the most is the small education classes. Because this major is fairly small, you really get to interact with your professors and also your peers. I've been so fortunate to be able to develop what I know will be lasting relationships with my peers because of taking many classes together. It really encompasses the feel of a true community atmosphere.
Maggie Cardin, Middle Level English, class of 2014.

Graduation and Certification

Upon successful completion of all requirements for graduation, you will receive a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in Middle Level Education. For teacher certification, you must also meet all clearance and testing requirements specified by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. If you who plan to teach outside of Pennsylvania, you can have your credentials transferred to other states.

Many US states and territories require professional licensure/certification to be employed. If you plan to pursue employment in a licensed profession after completing this program, please visit the Professional Licensure/Certification Disclosures by State interactive map.


Graduates have often been successful in securing teaching positions in public and private schools in Pennsylvania, much of the eastern seaboard, and nationwide. Though hiring for English teaching positions can be competitive, you can benefit from the excellent reputation of Penn State's teacher education programs. for producing top-quality teachers that school employers seek. 

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