Elementary Education (M.Ed.)

Elementary Education (M.Ed.)
education students in class

Why get an M.Ed. in elementary education?

With a Master of Education in elementary education, you’ll gain the knowledge, experience and skills to teach effectively in today’s classrooms and communities. Subject matter, research, theory and field-based experience will help you teach with confidence. Learn to foster caring, cooperation and improvement with internships available in culturally, linguistically and socioeconomically diverse urban and rural schools. We focus our teacher education program on preparing teacher-leaders  ̶  not only excellent practitioners, but teachers who work toward improving education in and beyond their classrooms. The M.Ed. leads to certification for teaching in elementary schools.

Why choose UNH for your master’s in education?

At UNH, you can enter the elementary education teacher preparation program at the graduate level or through the accelerated master’s degree option. With this option, you’ll begin preparation at the undergraduate level with a semester of field experience and professional coursework in education. After completion of your baccalaureate degree, move into a fifth year of study and full-year internship, which leads to the M.Ed. and licensure for teaching. Issues related to the challenges and rewards of serving in diverse schools are woven into the teacher preparation program, with unique opportunities through UNH Manchester.

Potential career areas

  • Elementary school teaching 

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Curriculum & Requirements

The Elementary Education program provides an M.Ed. degree and leads to certification for those who plan to teach in elementary schools.

  • UNH students can begin preparation for teaching at the undergraduate level  and apply to a fifth year* of graduate studies. 
  • During the fifth year, students complete a full year of internship with professional course work in education.
  • Students enrolled in an undergraduate degree program outside of the education department can also apply to the fifth year* graduate program. 

* With no prior course work in education, these programs will normally require two years to achieve licensure and a degree.

Students who have previously completed a baccalaureate degree may also enter the teacher preparation program at the graduate level.

Admission Criteria

In determining admission of students to teacher education graduate programs, several criteria are used:

  1. The undergraduate record. The undergraduate overall minimum grade point average for admission is 3.0.  The undergraduate grade point average of students admitted to the graduate programs in teacher education is approximately 3.55 (based on 2020 admissions).
  2. Positive recommendations from EDUC 500 Exploring Teaching, EDUC 935A Seminar and Practicum in Teaching or the equivalent and from those able to relay information about a candidate's performance in teaching situations or related areas.
  3. Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators (Core) exam scores are required. Applicants must obtain, at a minimum, a qualifying score (as set by the state of New Hampshire at the time of testing) on all three (Reading, Writing, and Mathematics) Core exams in order to be considered for admission. Current NH qualifying scores may be found at the ETS Praxis Website on the “Tests required for all licensure areas” page.
  4. Additional required application materials can be found at the Graduate School website under Programs.

Degree Requirements

The M.Ed. degree requires a minimum of 32 graduate credits. Some students will require more than 32 credits, depending on the coursework they have completed prior to entering the program.

Any Education course taken for a teacher licensure requirement must be completed with a grade of B- or better.  This applies to any courses from other departments that have been designated as equivalent to an Education course. 

Core Requirements (may be taken at the undergraduate or graduate level).

EDUC 500Exploring Teaching4
or EDUC 935A Seminar and Practicum in Teaching
EDUC 605Educational Perspectives in Critical Times4
or EDUC 959 Issues in Education
EDUC 801Human Development & Learning: Cultural Perspectives 14
EDUC 803FTeaching Elementary School Science4
EDUC 803MTeaching Elementary Social Studies4
EDUC 806Teaching & Learning Literacy in the Elementary Classroom4
MATH 801Exploring Mathematics for Teachers I3
or MATH 601 Exploring Mathematics for Teachers I
MATH 703Teaching of Mathematics in Grades K-54
EDUC 851AInclusive Elementary Education: Literacies and Learning for Diverse Learners4
Internship (Select one of the following options) 2
EDUC 808
Internship and Seminar in Teaching
and Literacy Assessment for Elementary Classroom Teachers (Fall semester)
EDUC 809
Internship and Seminar in Teaching
and Supporting Readers in Elementary Classrooms (Spring semester)
EDUC 812
Internship and Seminar in Teaching
and Teaching Multilingual Learners 3
or ENGL 815 Teaching English as a Second Language: Theory and Methods
ENGL 816
Internship and Seminar in Teaching
and Curriculum, Materials and Assessment in English as a Second Language 3
Note: All coursework listed above must be completed, therefore some students may exceed the minimum credit requirement while completing the required coursework.

At the undergraduate level, students who take both HDFS 525 Human Development and HDFS 623 Developmental Perspectives on Infancy and Early Childhood meet the requirement for EDUC 701.


A Master's Inquiry Project is required during the internship year.

ENGL 815 & ENGL 816 are to be taken during the internship year as an alternative sequence to EDUC 808 & EDUC 809.  If one or both of these courses is taken prior to the internship year, students must take the EDUC 808/EDUC 809 sequence during the internship. 

This graduate program is approved to be taken on an accelerated basis in articulation with certain undergraduate degree programs.

General Accelerated Master's policy, note that some programs have additional requirements (e.g. higher grade expectations) compared to the policy.

Please see the Graduate School website and contact the department directly for more information.


  • demonstrate depth of knowledge in their subjects.
  • recognize how knowledge in their subjects is created, organized, and linked to other disciplines.
  • identify the organizing themes and central concepts necessary for understanding a subject.
  • identify associated content necessary for students to understand these themes and concepts.


  • understand how students develop and learn.
  • treat students equitably and work diligently to help each student reach his or her potential.
  • create and maintain an atmosphere conducive to learning.
  • recognize diversity among their students and adjust their practice accordingly.
  • create and maintain an atmosphere fostering mutual respect and caring.
  • cultivate within their own students a recognition and valuing of diversity.


  • demonstrate specialized knowledge of how to teach subject matter to their students.
  • use multiple approaches to facilitate student learning.
  • create lessons that are engaging and motivating for students.
  • create learning experiences that are appropriately challenging for all students.
  • involve students in thoughtful inquiry and reflection.
  • ensure that students understand the purpose of activities within and across lessons and units.


  • use multiple strategies to assess students.
  • regularly assess student progress using appropriate measures.
  • demonstrate the ability to make informed decisions about students and their learning based on classroom, district, and state assessments.


  • make well-reasoned choices and decisions within the complex and demanding conditions of teaching.
  • analyze the effects of their actions and make appropriate changes.
  • take into account the moral and philosophical implications of educational decisions.
  • improve their practice by reflecting on their own experience, observing others, seeking advice, and drawing upon educational research and scholarship.


  • assess the relative merits of educational reform efforts and determine their appropriateness to the classroom, school, and broader societal contexts in which teaching and learning occur.
  • develop and articulate their own conceptual and philosophical perspective on teaching and learning based on professional experience and current theories and research in education.
  • develop an understanding of how leadership is informed by varied perspectives on the structure of public education, the nature of educational change, and the teacher's role in the change process.
  • are willing to take risks as advocates for the benefit of students, teachers, and the profession.


  • work with colleagues to enhance their own teaching, learning, and professional development.
  • work collaboratively with students, peers, and community members to create and contribute to effective learning environments.
  • participate in professional organizations.
  • continue to pursue avenues of inquiry into the teaching and learning process through study, research, and dialogue.

Apply now


Applications must be completed by the following deadlines in order to be reviewed for admission:

  • Fall: April 15
  • Spring: November 1
  • Summer: April 15
  • Special: Students who plan to begin their internship Fall semester, must have a completed Graduate School application by March 1st and have taken all prerequisite coursework.

Application fee: $65

Campus: Durham

New England Regional: No

Accelerated Masters: Yes (for more details see the accelerated masters information page)

New Hampshire Residents

Students claiming in-state residency must also submit a Proof of Residence Form. This form is not required to complete your application, but you will need to submit it after you are offered admission or you will not be able to register for classes.


If you attended UNH or Granite State College (GSC) after September 1, 1991, and have indicated so on your online application, we will retrieve your transcript internally; this includes UNH-Durham, UNH-Manchester, UNH Non-Degree work and GSC. 

If you did not attend UNH, or attended prior to September 1, 1991, then you must upload a copy (PDF) of your transcript in the application form. International transcripts must be translated into English.

If admitted, you must then request an official transcript be sent directly to our office from the Registrar's Office of each college/university attended. We accept transcripts both electronically and in hard copy:

  • Electronic Transcripts: Please have your institution send the transcript directly to grad.school@unh.edu. Please note that we can only accept copies sent directly from the institution.
  • Paper Transcripts: Please send hard copies of transcripts to: UNH Graduate School, Thompson Hall- 105 Main Street, Durham, NH 03824. You may request transcripts be sent to us directly from the institution or you may send them yourself as long as they remain sealed in the original university envelope.

Transcripts from all previous post-secondary institutions must be submitted and applicants must disclose any previous academic or disciplinary sanctions that resulted in their temporary or permanent separation from a previous post-secondary institution. If it is found that previous academic or disciplinary separations were not disclosed, applicants may face denial and admitted students may face dismissal from their academic program.

Letters of recommendation: 3 required

Recommendation letters submitted by relatives or friends, as well as letters older than one year, will not be accepted. At least one letter should be from a university/college level instructor.

Test Scores: Praxis Required

Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators (Core) exam scores are required of all applicants to Master’s level (M.Ed. and M.A.T. ) programs leading to initial certification in Teacher Education, Special Education, and Early Childhood Education. Applicants must obtain, at a minimum, a qualifying score (as set by the state of New Hampshire at the time of testing) on all three (Reading, Writing, and Mathematics) Core exams in order to be considered for admission. Current NH qualifying scores may be found at the ETS Praxis Website under the “Tests required for all licensure areas” page. To have scores sent to our office please use our recipient code which is 3922.

For general information about test scores required for admission into our programs please visit our Test Scores webpage.

Personal Statement/Essay Questions

In no more than two pages, describe the reasons you wish to pursue the degree program you have chosen, including relevant personal qualities and life experiences that have shaped your beliefs about learning, development and teaching, counseling, or administration (depending on the program to which you are applying).

Statements must be included with your submitted application.

State and Federal Background Check

A background check is a requirement before an application can be reviewed by the Education department. Here is the document and instructions Department of Education Background Check and Criminal History Release form.

Important Notes

All applicants are encouraged to contact programs directly to discuss program-specific application questions.

International Applicants

Prospective international students are required to submit TOEFL, IELTS, or equivalent examination scores. English Language Exams may be waived if English is your first language. If you wish to request a waiver, then please visit our Test Scores webpage for more information.

Explore Program Details


The teacher education program prepares teachers who possess the knowledge, disposition, and skills necessary to take the lead in establishing effective teaching and learning environments within their own classrooms and school communities. Immersion in subject matter, research, theory, and field-based experience provides a base for our graduates to make well-reasoned judgments in complex situations, render informed decisions, model exemplary practice, and take initiative for planned change. Students learn to establish caring environments which celebrate individual differences and backgrounds while fostering cooperation and educational improvement. We stress reflective critical inquiry as a mode of study and community-building as a means for promoting change. We value and support both our students' local practice and their broader leadership within the profession.

Program Themes

Excellence in Practice

We expect our students to gain mastery of subject matter, command professional knowledge, and acquire a good grounding in general education, including global perspectives regarding diverse cultures and environments. They will recognize how knowledge in their subject matter areas is created, organized, and linked to other subjects. Upon graduation, they should possess a specialized knowledge of how to teach subject matter to their students and employ multiple, motivational approaches in teaching their subjects. They will know how to orchestrate learning in group settings, placing a premium on student engagement and thoughtfulness. They will remain mindful of their teaching and learning objectives through selection and use of appropriate measures.

In their commitment to students and their students' learning, our graduates will recognize diverse backgrounds and perspectives in their students as well as individual development. They will be able to adjust their practice to meet students' needs, working diligently to help each student reach his or her full potential. They will create and contribute to a classroom atmosphere which fosters a community of learners, establishes an atmosphere of mutual respect and caring, and cultivates a celebration of diversity.

We expect our graduates to be thoughtful and reflective practitioners who learn from experience. They will be capable of making choices and decisions in complex and demanding situations, analyzing the effects of their actions, taking into account moral and philosophical implications. They will seek to improve their practice by observing others, seeking advice, and drawing upon educational research and scholarship.


We believe that, over time, our graduates will become well-informed decision makers and agents of change, providing leadership within the school community and profession. We seek to equip our graduates with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary for such leadership, but we recognize that development and demonstration of leadership skills take time and practice within the professional setting. Through study and experience, our graduates will learn to assess the relative merits of educational reform efforts, determining their appropriateness to the classroom, the institution, and the broader societal contexts in which reform is implemented. Drawing upon current theories and research in education, graduates will be able to develop and articulate their own conceptual and philosophical perspectives on teaching and learning. We expect them to develop an understanding of how leadership is informed by varied perspectives on the structure of public education, the nature of educational change, and the teacher's role in the change process. They should be willing to take risks in advocating for high levels of quality within the teaching profession. We expect them to become active members of learning and professional communities. In doing so, they will engage colleagues in their own and others' teaching, learning, and professional development. They will be able to work collaboratively with all members of the community--students, peers, specialists, parents, etc., to contribute to effective learning environments. They will continue to be active learners, participating in professional organizations, pursuing avenues of inquiry through study, research, and dialogue while taking into account the moral and ethical implications of their professional practice and efforts to enhance the school, community, and profession.

Our two program themes, Excellence in Practice and Leadership in the Profession, are reflected in the goals and expected student outcomes that form the basis of our program.

For students in educator preparation programs at UNH, a two-semester, post-graduate teaching internship is required. [Note: A four year undergraduate option, including one semester of student teaching is available for teacher candidates in Kinesiology, Family Studies, Mathematics, Music, and Theater.]

In many respects, the two-semester internship experience is the heart of our educator preparation programs, and the selection of healthy, productive sites and competent, supportive school personnel is of critical importance to the quality of our program. We are very aware of the essential role that cooperating teachers and other school personnel play in the professional development of our interns. We view our relationship with the schools as a truly collaborative one in which we strive to create communities where we can support one another and explore new ideas and concepts together.

Resources for Elementary Interns

Praxis Core and Praxis II

Internship Handbook (complete information about the internship)

Field Placement Policy

Internship Timeline for Durham campus

Internship Timeline for UNH Manchester

Photo Resume (Word Doc)

Praxis Core and Praxis II

Elementary Cluster Packet

Elementary Intern Preference Form

Elementary Sites (near Durham campus)

Check out videos of interns in the field!

Hear from current interns at Deerfield Community School and North Hampton School - and learn what their internship is like and how they are making the most of their experience. Videos were filmed, directed and edited by Teacher Ed Graduate Assistant, Adam Kraus!

Deerfield Interns

North Hampton School Interns

Students pursuing certification as an Elementary Education teacher (grades K-6, K-8) through the UNH teacher education program can use this course requirements worksheet as a guide. Students should always meet with an academic advisor to confirm courses and create a plan to complete degree requirements in their anticipated timeline. Students are responsible for monitoring their progress and informing their advisor of any situations that may impact degree or certification completion.

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