Education 500/935A

Is teaching right for you?  Are you right for teaching?

Education 500/935A: Exploring Teaching is a four-credit course offered every semester for students considering a career in teaching and is a prerequisite for most Education courses. Typically this course involves a 60-hour field experience in a public-school classroom in addition to the weekly UNH seminar. Due to the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on our local school partners, this requirement will not be in place this semester. Instead, EDUC 500/935A students will engage in alternative opportunities to learn about teaching.

Spring 2021 Course Information

Please read these Spring 2021 COVID-19 FAQs before applying.

Application Link: Apply for Education 500/935A Spring 2021 - Durham Campus

  • October 14  the application for Spring 2021 opens
  • November 8 the application for Spring 2021 closes (applications after this date will be considered on a case-by-case basis until the start of the semester)
  • November 18 placement offers are made
  • November 23 registration begins (for seniors)

Please note: There is an application process because there are always more students looking to take EDUC 500/935A than Cooperating Teachers. Placement in the course is NOT first-come first-serve, nor is it merit based; rather, course placements are made based on seniority so that students who must complete the course to continue in their Education programs can do so. If you apply by the deadline, you will be considered for the course.  However, be aware that we are typically able to accommodate most, but not all, requests for a placement in a particular semester. Please be as flexible as possible when identifying days and times you are available for Seminar, as you are more likely to be placed if you provide more than one option. If you are placed, we will do our best to assign you based on your preferred options, however you might be placed in your second or third choice.

If you are placed

  • You do NOT register for EDUC 500/935A yourself. Once you accept your placement, the Field Experience Office will register you for the course.

If you are put on the waitlist

  • You might receive an email offering a placement up until registration closes.
  • If you are not offered a placement, we will email you when registration closes offering priority status for next semester. You must reapply for the following semester and indicate you are a repeat applicant to receive priority status.

Questions and Concerns
(603) 862-4919
Morrill Hall 107

If the EDUC Coordinator is unavailable, you may contact:

Field Experiences Program Coordinator, Shannan Douglas
(603) 862-4501
Morrill Hall 107

During University holidays, please call the Department of Education: (603) 862-2310.

NOTE: The information below refers to typical circumstances and modifications may be necessary during Spring 2021. Please read the Spring 2021 FAQ link above for current information.

Frequently Asked Questions

EDUC 500/935A (or its equivalent) is the required course for undergraduates who wish to pursue most teacher preparation courses at UNH including the:

  • 5th-year Teacher Education master’s degree program in elementary or secondary education
  • 4-year undergraduate options in music, mathematics, family studies (P-3), or physical education

 If you intend to minor in education or want to be admitted to the 4- or 5-year teaching programs you should take EDUC 500/935A. 

In EDUC 500/935A there will be opportunities to explore school-related occupations outside the classroom, such as guidance counseling, athletic directing, English language learning, and outdoor education. EDUC 500/935A will get you into the school environment and can help you determine your desired areas of certification and your grade level preferences. 

There is a waiver process for those who have accrued 60 hours in a classroom setting. If you would like to petition to have the EDUC 500/935A course requirement waived, please contact the Director of Educator Preparation or email

Since each situation is unique the Director will advise you on whether your experience is truly comparable to EDUC 500/935A. If this preliminary evaluation of your experience appears comparable, you will be provided with a petition form and will then need to provide:

  • documentation of a minimum of 60 hours of fieldwork verified by a supervisor,
  • at least two letters of reference that provide an evaluation of your performance working with students in a classroom setting,
  • a brief summary of the types of work you have undertaken in schools (e.g., teaching lessons designed by others, designing and teaching your own lessons, lecturing, leading class discussions, correcting student work, chaperoning school field trips), and
  • the completed petition form.

 Completed petition forms should be returned with the accompanying documentation either directly to the Director or to the EDUC 500 office (Morrill 107). Please note that the waiver is NOT automatically granted upon completion of the process. 

Although there is no hard and fast rule, we suggest taking EDUC 500 your sophomore year. This gives you sufficient time to plan for college and university requirements, and to identify possible majors related to your area of interest in education. However, do not panic if you decide later in your college career to explore teaching as a career option! Many students take EDUC 500 in their junior or senior year, while others enroll in EDUC 935A  as graduate students.

Please note that because of the large number of applicants, you may not receive permission to take EDUC 500 the first time you apply. If possible, it is helpful to plan ahead when applying for permission to take EDUC 500. 

That is quite all right. Maybe EDUC 500 will help you reach a decision. It helps if you have done some thinking about possible majors and fields of interest ahead of time so that we can place you with a teacher whose interests parallel yours. 

There are no course prerequisites for EDUC 500/935A. You do, however, have to apply to take the course. When you apply, we assume that you are genuinely interested in finding out if you want to teach. Commitment and responsibility are essential. 

You will have a two-hour Seminar one afternoon per week, and you will be expected to spend 5 hours one day a week or 2.5 hours twice a week at your school placement site. You should also factor in travel time to and from your school. Many sections hold the two-hour Seminar at the school rather than at UNH. There are Seminar readings and writing assignments that, on average, involve an additional 3-6 hours per week. 

Each section of EDUC 500/935A will be assigned to an area school or several area schools. Students in that section will do their fieldwork in those particular schools.

Seminar will meet either in one of the schools assigned to that section, or on campus. In either case, every Seminar will meet on campus for the first time and your UNH Seminar Professor will tell you where the Seminar will be meeting thereafter. Some Seminars may list that their location is to be announced (TBA). If your Seminar is listed as such, you should check the Time and Room schedule online during the first week of class. 

Time and Room schedule

You can be placed in an elementary (K-5), middle (6-8), or secondary (9-12) school. Starting in middle school, most schools divide their curriculum into subject areas (e.g., mathematics, English, biology, art) so you will likely focus on one discipline if you are placed at the middle or secondary level. You will rank your grade level and subject preferences on the EDUC 500/935A application.

Durham students interested in completing their EDUC 500/935A course in a diverse urban school can do so in Manchester. For more information on EDUC 500/935A in Manchester, please contact the Manchester Director of Field Experiences, Kathryn McCurdy at

This varies from student to student. You will be assigned to an experienced teacher who has agreed to work with you. You will observe first, and then eventually teach small groups of students and/or the whole class. 

This will depend on decisions made by you, your Cooperating Teacher, and your UNH Seminar Professor. You will not be expected to teach full-sized classes on a day-to-day or week-to-week basis, although you may teach the entire class on occasion. You will also have the opportunity to work with small groups, and you may help with the evaluation of students or set up and lead activities. 

This is an extremely difficult question to answer. A big part of the answer depends on your relationship with the students and how you expect to be treated. Your Cooperating Teacher and UNH Seminar Professor can strategize with you, and your demeanor should reflect your pre-professional status in the classroom. 

As mentioned before, you will have a 2-hour afternoon weekly Seminar either in a local school or on campus. From time to time, Cooperating Teachers from the local schools will join your Seminar or even lead it. Although each UNH Seminar Professor runs his or her Seminar a bit differently, there are certain common themes that all sections discuss. One major goal of the Seminar is to allow time for you to make sense out of what has been happening during your field experience. Your UNH Seminar Professor will also try to provide information which will help you function more effectively in the schools. Your Seminar will likely include topics such as how to engage students in learning; how the school and community work together; working with English language learners and students with special needs; different methods of evaluation; and whether or not teaching is the right career for you. 

Of course! You will provide your grade level and subject preferences on the application.

The application asks if you have regular access to a car. If the answer is no, every attempt is made to place you in a school that is accessible by foot, by Wildcat Transit, or by Coast bus. Sometimes students without cars are placed in sections without public transit access in the hopes that a carpool can be arranged. UNH Seminar Professors try to arrange carpools during your first Seminar in hopes of easing the transportation obligations of each student. 

Notify the EDUC 500/935A Coordinator immediately. It is possible that a placement might be available in another section that works with your new schedule. If a new placement is not readily available, you may put your name on the waitlist in hopes that a new placement will open up at a later date. Otherwise, you will need to take EDUC 500/935A during another semester. 

Notify the EDUC 500/935A Coordinator immediately. We will do our best to accommodate you, but if a satisfactory placement is not available or does not become available, you may have to settle for your original placement or drop the course and reapply another semester.

This is an appropriate outcome for Exploring Teaching. A first step is to discuss your feelings with your UNH Seminar Professor. You can still finish the course as an educational experience. Deciding not to become a teacher is not related to passing the course; in fact, this very decision is one of the major goals of the course. The final paper can be used to describe how you came to the decision and why teaching is not the career for you.

There is no letter grade assigned for EDUC 500/935A. Satisfactory completion of the course requirements will result in a grade of "credit." Unsatisfactory work will result in a grade of "fail." Please remember that satisfactory completion of EDUC 500/935A is a prerequisite for further study in the Teacher Education Program, and that both the Cooperating Teacher Evaluation and the UNH Seminar Professor evaluation will be seriously considered if you decide to apply to the graduate program.

Yes, you can take other 700/800 level courses concurrent with EDUC 500/935A, but you must be at least a junior in order to be eligible for these courses. One of the main goals of EDUC 500/935A is to allow you to determine if you want to go into teaching as a career.

If you are actively involved on campus, it may take extra planning to schedule EDUC 500/935A. If you are involved in a Fall sport, for example, you should apply for a Spring placement. If you are an athlete, and are consciously trying to work your schedule around your athletic commitment, please note what sport you play on your application and how this affects your placement. Other activities may limit what days you are available for Seminar. Please consider this information before applying so you do not have to go through the process of changing sections due to a conflict. If conflicts are unavoidable, you will need to take EDUC 500/935A another semester.

Yes, students in EDUC 500/935A are required to create an account with Taskstream, our data management system. This includes a fee of $45. Additionally, most schools that EDUC 500/935A students will be placed in require a background check, which has a fee of approximately $20.