Jul 17, 2024  
2024-2025 Graduate Catalog 
2024-2025 Graduate Catalog

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

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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

Distance Program Leading to Professional Licensure

Location Matters. This program is designed to meet the educational requirements for a professional license or certification and allows students to enroll in at least one course through distance education during the first semester. Pursuant to Federal Regulations, the program may only admit students who are located in states where the program meets the educational requirements for professional licensure or who attest in writing that they intend to seek licensure or employment in a state where the program meets those requirements. As part of your application to this program, you will be asked to provide additional information regarding your location to assist the program in determining your eligibility for admission. 

If you have questions regarding licensure, we encourage you to contact a program representative prior to submitting your admission application, as the application fee is non-refundable. For more information, visit USD’s Licensure-Track Programs page for links to the USD program websites and state licensure board websites. 

Additionally, this program is authorized to offer supervised field study experiences (internship, externship, clinical, rotation, practicum, independent study, study away, etc.) in South Dakota. Please be aware that there may be some restrictions on your ability to engage in supervised field study outside of South Dakota. If you have questions regarding supervised field study, please contact a program representative. 

Distance education courses or programs will not be offered outside of the United States without prior written approval from the University, which may be withheld for any reason. If you are taking distance courses while physically located outsides of the United States, it is your responsibility to confirm the following: (a) if the country will recognize an online degree; (b) whether the program meets licensure or certification requirements in the country including the availability of supervised field study opportunities in the country; and (c) if the country charges any additional taxes, withholdings or fees associated with online distance education programs.


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

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