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Secondary Education

In a Penn State undergraduate teacher education program, students gain the experiences necessary to become certified teachers of secondary education. Each program requires:

  • 45 credits of directed general education study to begin the lifelong inquiry into subject area knowledge,
  • professional course work, and
  • various field experiences including student teaching


Students gain additional practical experience with children and adolescents through volunteer activities or part-time employment in related areas as well as the required courses.

Upon successful completion of all requirements for graduation, students receive a bachelor's of science degree. To be certified to teach, students must also meet any test and clearance requirements as specified by The Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Emphasis Areas

The Secondary Education major offers nine teaching certification options:

  • Biological Science
  • Chemistry
  • Social Studies/Citizenship Education
  • Earth and Space Science
  • English and Communication
  • Environmental Education (must be earned in conjunction with one of the other Science teaching options)
  • General Science (must be earned in conjunction with one of the other Science teaching options)
  • Mathematics
  • Physics

Professional study includes course work for the major, two short-term practica and a 15-week student teaching experience, and a variable amount of other course credits depending upon the option selected.


[For students beginning their studies after May 2009]

Biology [semester plan]
Chemistry  [semester plan]
Earth & Space Science  [semester plan]
English & Communications [semester plan] {clusters A-H}
Environmental Education *
General Science  *
Mathematics [semester plan-spring/fall student teaching]
Physics [semester plan]
Social Studies [semester plan-spring/fall student teaching]

*Offered only with one of the other teaching options, which will require additional coursework.


Entrance to Major / Graduation:  Entrance and Exit Criteria

Computer requirement for English and Communications:  EDUCATE

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.