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About this Program

Schoolkids raising their hands in classroom at schoolIn the Department of Elementary Education and Literacy, our goal isn’t simply graduating future elementary teachers. We aim to empower our Elementary Education Majors to change their lives, their communities, and our future generations.

The Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education allows you to differentiate your learning through choices in coursework by choosing a licensure or non-licensure pathway and in selecting one of five concentrations:

  • Applied Developmental Psychology
  • Chicana/o Studies
  • Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CLD) Education
  • Disciplinary Knowledge (focus on the Natural, Physical, and Social Sciences)
  • Ethnic Studies (proposed for Fall 2023)
  • Mathematics

At the same time, all Elementary Education Majors develop common educational knowledge that they apply during experiential learning.

Licensure Pathway

In addition to immersive field experiences throughout the program, you will experience two consecutive semesters in the Elementary Teacher Residency.  You will spend significant time in an elementary classroom each semester at one of our partner public schools in the Denver metropolitan area.  Each residency semester is intentionally paired with a hybrid co-requisite course and a residency seminar to further strengthen the professional abilities you bring into your first year of teaching.

Non-Licensure Pathway

For students not pursuing licensure, the extended residency with co-requisite coursework is replaced by coursework that prepares them for careers that build upon their expertise in teaching, learning, and education.

Field Experience Coursework

All students in this major will complete three 45-hour field experience courses throughout their program. For each course, you will be placed in a K-6 classroom with one of our partner Elementary schools in the Denver metropolitan area.

Your first field experience course focuses on instruction and assessment, the second on literacy, and the third on math and science.

Residency for Licensure Students

Students on the licensure pathway will complete two semesters of residency in the last year of their degree program. Review some of the key details of this part of your program:

  • You can start residency in spring or fall semester.
  • We use a cohort model with the goal of placing at least 3-5 students in one school so that you will have a small group of peers to work with during your residency.
  • You will be strongly supported each semester via a Mentoring Network (your Mentor Teacher, University Supervisor, Site Coordinator, and/or course instructor).

Residency I:

  • You will work 3 full days per week at your placement school, which usually occur on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
  • You will take a hybrid course (RDG 4444) and a seminar on Fridays.
  • You may take only one additional course in your program during Residency I.

Residency II:

  • You will work 4 full days per week in your placement, which usually occur on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
  • You will take a hybrid course (EDU 4222) and a seminar on Fridays.
  • You may not take any additional courses in your program during Residency II.

Note to Student Athletes:

If you are a student athlete who plays an NCAA sport at MSU Denver, contact the department chair, Dr. Corey Sell ([email protected]) during your first semester to learn more about how our year-long residency works when you are a student athlete.

Benefits of Earning Your Degree at MSU Denver

Image of backpacks hanging from hooks in the hallway of an elementary school.Benefits of Program Coursework:

  • Extended knowledge of serving diverse populations with a social justice lens
  • Coursework with integrated focus on Trauma-Informed Practices (TIP)
  • Methods courses dedicated to inquiry-based teaching of mathematics, science, and social studies
  • Content courses paired with supervised clinical experiences
  • Expanded literacy methods coursework and clinical experiences
  • Differentiated coursework to meet professional goals and personal interests

Benefits of the Elementary Teacher Residency for licensure students:

  • Cohort-based learning within our partner schools with highly qualified mentor teachers
  • Intentional structuring of your time in schools each residency semester to allow more time outside of the classroom to focus on developing lesson planning and curricular knowledge
  • Individualized, multi-layered support from MSU Denver faculty and district staff
  • Teacher candidates co-teach across two consecutive semesters with gradual release of responsibility for lead teaching
  • Opportunity to earn additional endorsement in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse CLD Education (English general education classroom) and/or CLD-Bilingual Education Specialist (BES) (Spanish-English general education classroom) within one of our partner school
  • Opportunities to engage with grade-level teams in data-informed practices
  • Expanded opportunities through school- and district-based professional development, interviews, and hiring events

Are you a Teacher Cadet?

Speak with an Elementary Education advisor to learn how your Teacher Cadet credits apply in our programs!

Career Opportunities for Our Graduates

EE Careers Banner

Career opportunities include teaching as a licensed K-6 general education classroom teacher in Colorado. Earning a state teaching license affords you more opportunities for expanding your professional career within districts, often leading to teachers on special assignment (TOSA), instructional coaches, or other administrative or leadership positions within schools or the district.

Our concentrations support graduates in competitively applying for specialized positions, such as Mathematics-Science or Language Arts-Social Studies positions for a grade-level cluster.

Some alumni utilize their credentials and skills in non-profit positions or connected to long-term goals related to serving families and children.


Featured Faculty

Headshot photo of Dr. Ingrid Carter.Dr. Ingrid Carter

Dr. Ingrid Carter is among our faculty recognized for exemplary teaching with her focus on inquiry-based science. Look for Dr. Carter and her students outside of the West Classroom – perhaps walking along Ninth Street Park as part of an inquiry walk or on an experiential learning field trip to places such as the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

Headshot photo of Ali O'Brien.Ali O’Brien

Recipient of the Faculty Senate Teaching Excellence Award, Ali O’Brien is a Literacy Lecturer and lead Elementary Residency Site Coordinator. Ms. O’Brien is part of a strategic team dedicated to the success of our yearlong residents. You might meet Ms. O’Brien during residency seminars, professional development with mentor teachers, and in our residency partner schools.

Alumni at Work

Our residency partner districts recruit students during the residency year, with hires occurring in these districts. However, residents are impacting communities across the state. Graduates of our Elementary Education Major are hired in school districts across the greater Denver metropolitan area and Front Range from Castle Rock to Boulder, and in other regions of Colorado.

Our partner districts include:

  • Denver Public Schools
  • Jefferson County Public Schools
  • Littleton Public Schools
  • 27J Schools
  • Aurora Public Schools


All School of Education teacher licensure programs are authorized by the Colorado Department of Education and the Colorado Department of Higher Education.

Contact the Department of Elementary Education and Literacy

West Classroom: 132, 136, 162

Advising Appointments:
click to schedule

(303) 615-1777

[email protected]