Jun 14, 2024  
2024-2025 Graduate Catalog 
2024-2025 Graduate Catalog

Elementary Education Plus Certification or non-specialization (M.A.)

Program Overview

The elementary education master’s program is the ideal program if you are interested in becoming an elementary or middle school teacher or if you’re an existing teacher looking to expand upon your knowledge and skills. Students in the program will follow one of two pathways: an initial certification pathway or a generalist pathway. In the initial certification pathway, individuals with a bachelor’s degree will complete the necessary coursework and experiences to meet South Dakota’s certification requirements, including a semester of teacher residency/student teaching. In the generalist pathway, current teachers will further develop their expertise in elementary education. The USD School of Education has been accredited by CAEP (formerly NCATE) since 1956. Learn more at usd.edu/tre or usd.edu/online-eled.

Praxis Information for Initial Teacher Certification and Admission to Teacher Education
A series of Praxis tests are required to earn initial teaching certification. Students pursuing initial teacher certification must pass the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators test for admission to the Teacher Education Program. Students must pass the Praxis Elementary Education: Multiple Subjects Content Knowledge test to be eligible to student teach. Students must pass the Principles of Learning Test (PLT) for successful program completion and teacher licensure. Students may be fully admitted to the Elementary Education MA program, however, admission to Teacher Education is provisional until the content knowledge test is successfully passed.


Start date Summer 2024

Master of Arts, Elementary Education plus Certification or non-specialization Non-thesis only

30-43 Credit Hours Required

Plus Certification (initial certification coursework) 43 hours required

  • Elementary Education Methods Core 12 credit hours
  • Teacher Residency Core 7 credit hours
  • Supporting coursework 4 credit hours
  • Courses Required for Initial Certification 20 credit hours

Non-specialization 30 hours required

  • Elementary Education Methods Core 12 credit hours
  • Teacher Residency Core 7 credit hours
  • Supporting coursework 11 credit hours

Teacher Residency Core: 7 credit hours

Supporting Area Coursework: 4-11 credit hours

Courses Required for Initial Certification: 0-20 credit hours

General Application Requirements

  1. Completed application
  2. $35 application fee
  3. Official transcripts*
  4. Letters of recommendation*
  5. Statement of purpose
  6. Resume/CV*

*Requirements for admission vary by program and may require different documentation and have different deadlines. This list is not all-inclusive, to view specific program requirements and submission deadlines, follow the “Admissions Information” hyperlink at the top of this page OR visit the specific program/dept. page found here: link.usd.edu/grad-catalog

Courses or Programs Leading to Professional Licensure or Certification

The educational curriculum for your academic program may or may not meet educational prerequisites for professional licensure or certification in states other than South Dakota. If you are planning to apply for licensure/certification in a state other than South Dakota after completion of your program, please review that state and your program on USD’s Licensure-Track Programs webpage. Licensure-Track Programs

If your learning placement course (internship, externship, clinical, rotation, practicum, independent study, study away, etc.) or your online course will be taken outside South Dakota, please reference USD’s State Authorization webpage.

State Authorization


Division of Teacher Residency and Education
605-658-6639 | tre@usd.edu | usd.edu/tre

Graduate Admissions 
605-658-6140 | gradadmissions@usd.edu  | usd.edu/grad