Penn GSE

Teacher Education Program

In the secondary education program, coursework and mentored student teaching mutually inform one another. Coursework is aligned with the Common Core State Standards. Student teaching placements are carefully selected in urban public schools to provide critical preparation for teaching in urban contexts, and student teachers spend a full academic year in their content-specific student teaching sites and take two content-specific methods courses (in the fall and spring) to develop their pedagogical content knowledge. We offer certification in English, Math, Sciences, and Social Studies.

Program of Study

Summer: Coursework Special Topics, and Fieldwork

In the summer, students in the secondary education program focus contexts for learning and education in the neighborhoods where they will student teach during the school year.


Special Topics

In the summer, student teachers begin a series of yearlong modules that help them support the learner.

Summer Fieldwork:

Students work with youth in summer programs while taking courses.

Fall: Coursework Special Topics, and Fieldwork


Special Topics:

Click here to learn more about our Special Topics Seminars.


All student teachers are assigned to a full-year placement in a single urban high school. Students spend every morning in their placement schools while taking courses in the late afternoon.

Spring: Coursework Special Topics, and Fieldwork


Special Topics:

Click here to learn more about our Special Topics Seminars.


Student teachers take full responsibility for teaching in their high school classrooms for five full days per week, while finishing up their remaining courses and completing their portfolios.

Pennsylvania Secondary Education Certification

Upon successful completion of all components of the Urban Teacher Education Program, including clearances, prerequisite coursework, all required courses and student teaching, students receive faculty recommendation for instructional 1 certification, which is awarded by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. PDE requires that all applicants for instructional 1 certification be either US citizens or permanent residents and be willing to submit a form indicating intention of applying for US citizenship. 

All applicants for the secondary education certificate must have completed a minimum of two English courses (one a writing course and one a British or American literature course) and two math courses. In addition, a number of courses related to the certification subject are required. Upon admission, we work with students to determine if they need additional courses to satisfy these certification requirements.

While we offer faculty recommendation for Pennsylvania certification, many of our students obtain Pennsylvania certification and then move to other states or countries. There is a NASDTEC Interstate Agreement to facilitate movement by teachers among states. We recommend, therefore, that students obtain Pennsylvania certification even if they plan to teach in other states.