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Elementary Education Pre-K-Grade 4

Master of Education – Pre-K-Grade 4  with certification – Credits:  54 (program code:  0906)

Master of Education – Pre-K-Grade 4 without certification – Credits:  45 (program code: 0908)

Program Description

The elementary education program, accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, is designed for students who have a baccalaureate degree and are seeking a master’s degree or Pennsylvania elementary education (grades Pre-K-4) certification with or without a master's degree. This program is appropriate for students who wish to broaden their knowledge of elementary/early childhood education and teachers certified in other areas, and for those with an undergraduate degree outside of education.

Students who are not certified in Pennsylvania must pass the PECT test. It is possible to earn the master's degree and Pre-K-4 certification in the same program.

Students who hold Pennsylvania teacher certification may also satisfy Act 48 requirements by successfully completing graduate courses.

Candidates for Pennsylvania certification must have completed undergraduate or graduate coursework that includes the following:

College-level mathematics (6 credits)

English composition and English/American literature (3 credits/3 credits)

 Health and wellness (3 credits)

Citizen: Geography, political or economy (3 credits)

English language learners (3 credits)

 Instructional technology (3 credits)

U.S. history (3 credits)

Physical science (3 credits)

Environmental/earth science (3 credits)

 Biology (3 credits)

The courses listed above apply only to the Master of Education with certification program. Students entering the program without all, or part, of the undergraduate requirements may meet them with additional coursework or by competency tests while they are taking the graduate classes.

Program Objectives

  • Knowledge of Subject Matter – The early, middle and special education candidate understands the central concepts, tools of inquiry and structures of the discipline(s) he or she teaches and can create learning experiences that make these aspects of subject matter meaningful for students.
  • Knowledge of Human Development and Learning – The early, middle and special education candidate understands how children learn and develop, and can provide learning opportunities that support their intellectual, social and personal development.
  • Adapting Instruction for Individual Needs – The early, middle and special education candidate understands how students differ in their approaches to learning and creates instructional opportunities that are adapted to diverse learners.
  • Multiple Instructional Strategies – The early, middle and special education candidate understands and uses a variety of instructional strategies to encourage students' development of critical thinking, problem-solving and performance skills.
  • Classroom Motivation and Management Skills – The early, middle and special education candidate uses an understanding of individual and group motivation and behavior to create a learning environment that encourages positive social interaction, active engagement in learning and self-motivation.
  • Communication Skills – The early, middle and special education candidate uses knowledge of effective verbal, nonverbal and media communication techniques to foster active inquiry, collaboration and supportive interaction in the classroom.
  • Instructional Planning Skills – The early, middle and special education candidate plans instruction based upon knowledge of subject matter, students, the community and curriculum goals.
  • Assessment of Student Learning – The early, middle and special Education candidate understands and uses formal and informal assessment strategies to evaluate and ensure the continuous intellectual, social and physical development of the learner.
  • Professional Commitment and Responsibility – The early, middle and special education candidate is a reflective practitioner who continually evaluates the effects of his/her choices and actions on others (students, parents and other professionals in the learning community) and who actively seeks out opportunities to grow professionally.
  • Partnerships – The early, middle and special education candidate fosters relationships with school colleagues, parents and agencies in the larger community to support students' learning and well-being.
  • Diversity – The early, middle and special education candidate understands the influence of culture on personal growth and recognizes and respects cultural differences, and believes that all human beings possess capacity for thought, feeling and learning.
  • Field experience – The early, middle and special education candidate understands the importance of completing and documenting early field experience and recognizes the importance of a steady progression from being an “observer” to becoming an “active participant.”

Delivery Mode

Traditional (on-ground, face-to-face delivery with some online/distance elements)


Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation ( CAEP, formerly NCATE)

Admissions Criteria

Master of Education: Minimum undergraduate 2.80 GPA, or 3.00 GPA in last 48 college credits, in a baccalaureate degree verified with official transcripts

Graduate School Application plus $25 nonrefundable application fee

Current Pennsylvania Act 24, 34, 114, and 151 clearances are required for course registration but not admission. Up-to-date clearances must be submitted to the Office of the Associate Dean of the College of Education and Human Services within six weeks of being admitted.


Course NameCredits

RES 800 Methods of Research
EDE 701 Standards Aligned Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment3
ESP 610 Special Education Foundations and Collaboration3
ESP 612 Evidence-based Practices for Pre-K-8 Inclusion3
ESP 701 Introduction to Behavior Analysis3
PSY 712 Advanced Psychology of Learning3
ECE 703 Literacy Development3
ECE 707 Leadership and Management in Early Childhood 3
ELE 701 Teaching and Assessment in Language Arts3
ELE 702 Teaching and Assessment in Reading3
ELE 703 Field Experience 3
ELE 711 Teaching and Assessment in Mathematics 
ELE 718 Teaching and Assessment in Expressive Arts3
ELE 721 Teaching and Assessment in Science3
ELE 731 Teaching and Assessment in Social Studies3
ELE 795 Student Teaching 

The Master of Education without certification program requires all courses above excluding ELE 795 student teaching (45 credits).

Program requirements may include comprehensive examinations and certification tests.


Students in the Pre-K-4  education program receive academic and professional advisement from the program coordinator and program faculty. Each student is assigned to an academic adviser from the time he/she is accepted into the program of study. Advisers work with students to discuss, monitor and provide advisement as it relates to their program of study.

Application Questions

School of Graduate Studies and Research
California University of Pennsylvania
Eberly 202B
250 University Ave.
California, PA 15419

Program Coordinator

Peter Cormas, Ph.D. (University of Texas at Austin), M.S. (University of North Carolina at Charlotte), Post- baccalaureate (Yale University), B.A. (University of Pittsburgh)
Phone: 724-938-4018

Graduate Faculty

For faculty bios, visit:

Holly Diehl, Ed.D. (West Virginia University), M.Ed. (Frostburg State University), B.S. (West Virginia University), Associate Professor
Deborah Farrer
, Ed.D., M.A. (West Virginia University), B.S. (California University of Pennsylvania),  Associate Professor
William Hug, Ph.D., M.S. (Pennsylvania State University), B.S. (Western Illinois University),  Associate Professor
Diane Nettles
, Ph.D., M.A., B.A. (University of South Florida), Professor
Christine Peterson, Ed.D. (West Virginia University), M.S. (Johns Hopkins University), B.S. (Edinboro University of Pennsylvania), Associate Professor