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Elementary Education Major Concentrations


Within the Elementary Education major, you develop your professional expertise by selecting from one of four concentrations. Each concentration represents five courses (15 credit hours total) that focus on an area of professional interest (see below).

To progress through your concentration coursework in a timely manner, declare your concentration early in your studies.  This can be done during your initial advising appointment with a School of Education Academic Advisor.  

After your initial School of Education Academic Advising appointment, proactively meet with an Elementary Education faculty advisor each semester to understand how concentration coursework is sequenced across semesters.  Once your application to the licensure program has been submitted and processed, you will be assigned to a specific faculty advisor, and you should begin meeting with that advisor consistently.

Content Specialization

Culturally & Linguistically Diverse (CLD): Focus on developing extended knowledge for teaching English Language Learners (ELLs).
Mathematics: Deepen your knowledge for effectively teaching elementary mathematics

Three of your concentration choices allow you to develop disciplinary knowledge around high priority instructional foci in Colorado districts and across the nation: Culturally & Linguistically Diverse Education (CLD), Literacy, or Mathematics.


Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CLD) Concentration: Develop specific knowledge and skills to meet the academic needs of our largest growing population in public school: English Language Learners (ELLs). Through this concentration, you complete coursework towards an additional endorsement. Upon completion of the program, students must apply to the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) for an additional endorsement in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education (CLDE) to verify they have met state criteria for this additional endorsement.  Although MSU Denver provides the state-required content for the CLDE endorsement, the CDE is the agency that officially grants it and must approve students’ applications. Teachers with the CLD Endorsement are in high demand in all content areas and grade levels across the state of Colorado. Additionally, given that the CLD Endorsement is a K-12 credential, you have the prospect of teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) at the middle and high school levels.

  • CLD 2890 Second Language Acquisition: K-12 Educational Implications
  • CLD 3290 Literacy Development for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students K-12
  • CLD 3310 Integrated Methods of Teaching English as a Second Language
  • CLD 3910 Assessment of English Language Learners
  • ANT 2330 Cross-Cultural Communication OR CAS 3760 Diversity & Communication in the U.S.

Note: Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CLD) is sometimes known as English as a Second Language (ESL).

Mathematics Concentration: Sharpen your instructional knowledge for teaching mathematics. Learn about the current best practices in mathematics instruction with a focus on teaching for understanding. At the same time, develop advanced familiarity of research-based best practices in mathematics education for K-6 students. This combined knowledge situates you as a potential instructional leader in mathematics within elementary schools. Concentration courses are student-centered, similar to MTH 1610, MTH 2620, and MTL 3600.

  • MTL 3710 Number and Operations for Elementary Mathematics
  • MTL 3720 Algebra Connections for Elementary Mathematics
  • MTL 3730 Geometry and Measurement for Elementary Mathematics
  • MTL 3740 Statistics and Probability for Elementary Mathematics
  • MTL 4710 Issues in Elementary Mathematics Education

Professional Interests

Applied Developmental Psychology: Expand your developmental knowledge of children’s cognitive and social growth
Chicano/a Studies: Focus on advocating for a key population in Colorado’s schools

Two of your concentration choices allow you to self-select how you specialize your knowledge, based upon your professional interests: Applied Developmental Psychology or Chicano Studies.

Applied Developmental Psychology Concentration: Gain in-depth knowledge of children’s cognitive, social-emotional, and physical development both inside and outside of the classroom. Understand what contributes to how children express and control their emotions and explore means to foster children’s prosocial behaviors and peer relationships. In addition, develop your understanding of how children learn, think and process information at different ages as well as how cognitive developmental theory informs your teaching practices.

  • PSY 1001 Introductory Psychology
  • PSY 2110 Educational Psychology
  • PSY 3250 Child Psychology
  • PSY 3400 Psychology of Exceptional Children
  • One of the following: NUT 2040 Introduction to Nutrition OR PSY 2210 Psychology of Human Development OR PSY 3260 Psychology of Adolescence OR SLHS 2890 Language Acquisition

Chicano Studies Concentration: Enrich your understanding of a large demographic within Colorado elementary schools. Join dialogues around issues of social justice, human rights, and self-empowerment for children and their families within our multicultural classrooms and global society. Build your knowledge of Chicano literature and explore inclusive teaching practices that celebrate the contributions and expand the successes of Colorado’s Chicano population.

  • CHS 1000 Introduction to Chicana/o Studies
  • CHS 2010 Survey of Chicana/o Literature
  • CHS 3300 Education of Chicano Children
  • CHS 3800 Topics in Chicano Studies
  • One of the following: CHS 3100 Social Justice and Activism in the Chicana/o Community OR
    CHS 3460 Chicana Feminisms
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(303) 615-1777

Advising Appointments:
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(720) 778-5690

West Classroom 132, 136, 162

School of Education
MSU Denver
Campus Box 21
P.O. Box 173362
Denver, CO 80217-3362


To contact the Alternative Licensure Program:

(303) 615-0013