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The Education Department offers Bachelor of Science degrees in Early Childhood Education (Birth-3). Early Childhood Education is offered on campus and in off-campus 2+2 distance learning programs. The Department also offers Elementary Education with an optional endorsement in pre-primary education or in grades 5-8 (Communication Arts/Literature, Mathematics, Science, Social Science, World Languages & Cultures/Spanish). A non-licensure minor in Special Education is also available. Secondary candidates earn a Bachelor of Science degree through their content area departments. Education courses are offered in sequence. Core classes are completed in the freshman and sophomore years. Upper level courses are taken in the junior and senior years after admission to the Teacher Education Program.


Mission: The mission of the Professional Education program at Southwest Minnesota State University is to create communities of practice where each learner is an active participant in the investigation of learning, teaching, and leadership processes. Teachers and learners will engage in educational theory, research, inquiry, critical reflection, and application in pursuit of excellence in education.
Vision: Communities of practice investigating learning and teaching.


Each student admitted to Teacher Education receives a Program Handbook, which identifies outcomes of the program and describes the research base for the theme, Communities of Practice Investigating Learning and Teaching. The student handbook for Teacher Education is available online on the Education Department page.


The Learning Center for Teacher Education includes a curriculum library, and other material which directly supports the Teacher Education Program. It is located in the Academic Commons in the Individualized Learning Building.



The Education Department provides teacher licensure programs in a variety of areas. Grades K-12 licensure combinations are available in Early Childhood Special Education, Music (Vocal or Instrumental), Physical Education, Special Education-Academic Behavioral Specialist, Teaching English as a Second Language, and Visual Arts. Grades 5-12 secondary licensure is available in Agricultural Education, Communication Arts/Literature + Speech, Communication Arts/Literature + English, Mathematics, and Social Science. Grades 5-8 licensure is available in General Science. Grades 9-12 licensure is available in Biology and Chemistry. (See later note in this catalog on Education Program changes to meet new licensure requirements.) Licensure in Special Education in the following specialties is available through our graduate program: Developmental Disabilities (DD); Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE); Emotional Behavioral Disorders (EBD); and Learning Disabilities (LD). Licensure in DAPE (Developmentally Adaptive Physical Education) is available through the DAPE minor.


The Education Department offers a 12-credit Autism certificate program.

Program Changes to Meet New Licensure Requirements

The teacher licensure requirements are subject to change without notice to accommodate the requirements of licensure and accrediting agencies. These changes may be applied to students currently enrolled in the program. Students seeking a teaching license must complete a program approved by the Minnesota Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board; the University will then recommend that an appropriate license be issued.
Students interested in Teacher Education should ask for updated information in the School of Education Office.

Application to Teacher Education Programs & Teacher License Application

For information on applying to the SMSU Teacher Education Program, see the Education Department webpage.


  • Early Childhood Education, birth - grade 3 (On campus)
  • Early Childhood Education, birth - grade 3 (Off campus)
  • Early Childhood Special Education, birth - age 6
  • Elementary Education, K-6 with Optional Endorsements
    • Elementary Education K-6 - no endorsement
    • Elementary Education + Pre-Primary (Ages 3-5)
    • Elementary Education + Gr. 5-8 Communication Arts-Literature
    • Elementary Education + Gr. 5-8 Mathematics
    • Elementary Education + Gr. 5-8 Science
    • Elementary Education + Gr. 5-8 Social Science
    • Elementary Education + Gr. 5-8 World Language/Cultures, Spanish
  • Secondary Education, grade 5-12
    • 5-12 Agricultural Education
    • 5-12 Communication Arts-Literature Education + English
    • 5-12 Communication Arts-Literature Education + Speech
    • 5-12 Mathematics Education
    • 5-12 Social Science Licensure
    • 9-12 Biology Education
    • 9-12 Chemistry Education
  •  K-12 Education
    • K-12 Art Education
    • K-12 Music Education Instrumental
    • K-12 Music Education Vocal
    • K-12 Physical Education
    • K-12 Special Education: Academic Behavioral Strategist
    • K-12 Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL)
  • Educational Studies (non-licensure)


  • Coaching Minor or Coaching Certificate
  • K-12 Reading licensure
  • K-12 Developmentally Adapted Physical Education license (DAPE)
  • Special Education minor
  • Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) minor


The School of Education also provides Master's programs. More information can be found by visiting the Graduate Studies webpage.

Colored Pencils


Teacher with students


  • Graduates in Educational Studies will be prepared for careers in Head Start, working with youth organizations such as Boys Club/Girls Club, 4-H, YMCA, Scouting, etc. This program does not prepare candidates for teacher licensure, does not require admission to the Teacher Education Program, and does not include student teaching.
  • Graduates with the ECSE SPED-licensure may pursue teaching in an Early Childhood setting working with children 3-6 years old as well as an opportunity to service children in their homes birth to 3 years. Working with birth to 3 year old children will give you the opportunity to collaborate with the child’s parents as well as service providers and work hand-in-hand assisting with the growth of the child. It is an opportunity that benefits not only the child, but the family as well.
  • Early Childhood Education Program graduates are prepared to provide developmentally appropriate activities for infants, toddlers, preschool and primary grade children. Private pre-school, childcare, Head Start, Early Childhood Family Education, kindergarten, and primary grade teaching are possible career directions. Early Childhood Education is an emerging field with the potential for leadership positions in higher education as well as in agencies that provide support to families and children, such as Head Start and other childcare resource and referral agencies.
  • Graduates of the Elementary Education Program most often have a goal to teach in a pre-primary, elementary, or middle school classroom. Graduates sometimes choose to apply for substitute teaching, Title I teaching, or parochial school teaching. Others find satisfying positions working with children and families in community education, youth groups and organizations, or preschool programs.


Education Program - Office

IL 229, Southwest Minnesota State University
1501 State St.
Marshall, MN 56258


Professors encourage students to attend professional conferences available. Education students participate in university-wide activities including music, theatre, marching band, student government, athletics, and much more. The Global Studies Program and other special projects provide additional opportunities for education majors.

The Education Minnesota Student Program (EMSP) is an active student organization that develops many projects each year. Other leadership opportunities are also provided, such as serving as student representative on the Teacher Education Advisory Committee.


  • Complete Application
  • $20 Non-refundable Application Fee
  • Official High School Transcript(s)
  • ACT or SAT Test Scores

Schedule Your Visit Today!


  • Rank in the upper half of graduating class
  • or
  • Score a composite of 21 or above on the ACT or 990 on the SAT

Last Modified: 2/3/20 2:51 PM