Master of Education in Elementary Education (K-5) Initial Licensure

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Earn a Master of Education (MEd) in as little as 15 months. Prepare for a fulfilling future teaching students in K-5 and helping them develop into healthy, happy adults.


In our Master of Elementary Education (K-5) Initial Licensure program, you’ll work to learn how to apply effective practices of K-5 literacy, math, science, and social studies teachers. During the program, you’ll engage in diverse field experiences. You’ll assist classroom teachers, create plans for integrating technology into instruction, assess videotaped teaching, analyze instructional effectiveness, and more. With student teaching placements in grades K-3 and 4-5, you’ll gain 16 weeks of full-time student teaching and real-world classroom experience. This program is designed for individuals who already have a bachelor’s degree and caters to busy professionals with evening and Saturday courses. Some additional time is required for on-campus, off-campus, and online assignments. Field experiences are completed during the K-5 school day or during appropriate after school programs, with an online component required for each field experience per course. When you graduate, you’ll have an initial Elementary Education (K-5) TN teaching license and will have worked to develop the skills to pursue a teaching position.

Develop Essential Skills In
  • Communication
  • Curriculum planning and design
  • Classroom instruction
  • Student assessment and intervention 4 Instructional technology
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You May Enjoy This Line of Study If You…

  • Enjoy working with children
  • Have excellent written and spoken communication skills
  • Can think creatively to solve problems
  • Demonstrate patience and listening skills
  • Are organized, committed, and motivated
Learning Outcomes

The Master of Education in Elementary Education (K-5) Initial Licensure program is congruent with the School of Education mission to advance students’ professional growth and career opportunities and to cultivate their ability to think critically, to solve problems, to make informed decisions, to communicate and collaborate effectively, and to apply knowledge wisely. Through contemporary modes of delivery, the innovative and research-based content of academic programs exposes students to diverse perspectives and skills essential to independent and continuous learning.

The purpose of the MEd in Elementary Education (K-5) Initial Licensure program is to develop the knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions and commitments of candidates to become exceptional beginning teacher instructional leaders. This purpose is designed to accomplish the mission of the School of Education (SOE) and is guided by institutional goals, research, TN Teacher Licensure Standards, TN Academic Standards, Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (InTASC) Standards, and the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) Standards.

The MEd in Elementary Education (K-5) Initial Licensure curriculum has specific work products, objectives, and assessments that provide evidence to support pre-service candidates’ achievement of program learner outcomes for their role as beginning exceptional in-service instructional teacher leaders for which they have been prepared.

The MEd curriculum has specific work products, objectives and assessments that provide evidence to support candidates’ achievement of the program learner outcomes for their role as exceptional beginning instructional teacher leaders for which they have been prepared. Candidates completing the MEd Elementary Education K-5 curriculum accomplish the following program learner outcomes. Candidates will

  1. demonstrate a commitment to inquiry that results in the use and generation of research (InTASC Standards 1,2,3,5, and 7). demonstrate content and professional knowledge and skill that supports the success of all students (InTASC Standards 1,2,3,4,5,6,7and 8).
  2. demonstrate professional dispositions and commitments (InTASC Standard 10). engage in assessment practices that assure the continuous growth of self and all students (InTASC Standards 6 and 9).
  3. utilize technology to ensure learning of all students and to advance professional growth of self and the learning community (InTASC Standards 5,7,8, and 9).
  4. work independently and collaboratively to support the success of all students (InTASC Standard 10). demonstrate professional communications skills (InTASC Standards 7 and 10).

MEd candidates participate in multiple assessments while enrolled in sequenced coursework over the 15-month program of study. MEd candidates demonstrate achievement of learner outcomes from various assessments coordinated in all courses.

State Licensure

The Tennessee State Board of Education approves the South College School of Education to offer an elementary education program that leads to the initial TN Elementary Education K-5 license.  Bachelor’s and Master’s Elementary Education Initial Licensure students will be recommended for licensure in Elementary Education K-5 to the Tennessee State Department of Education only after being admitted to the Teacher Education Program, completing the required coursework, passing Tennessee’s licensure assessments, and completing student teaching.  The South College School of Education only recommends students for licensure in the state of Tennessee. 

Any individual desiring licensure in a state different from Tennessee, or any currently TN licenses teacher who desires to transfer his/her license to another state, should contact the Board of Education for that state.

Admission Requirements

According to state and national standards, different levels of assessment must occur throughout a program of study to inform candidates of their progress. MEd assessments begin with pre-entry admission assessment, continue throughout the program with quarterly course assessments and Stage 2 key assessments, and end with quarterly monitoring of cumulative grade point averages and individual course grades, prior to the Stage 3 clinical practice in student teaching. During clinical practice in student teaching, assessment of candidates continues to ensure that candidate performance positively impacts the learning of all students.

Pre-entry Graduate Applicant Assessment:

It is expected that all applicants will present a strong level of interest for becoming an exceptional beginning instructional teacher leader and demonstrate high capability for program success by satisfying pre-entry screening requirements that include the following:

  • complete a South College application;
  • provide official transcripts from each regionally accredited institution of higher education attended for Bachelor’s and any post graduate degrees;
  • satisfy cumulative Bachelor’s degree GPA of 2.75 or 3.0 in the last 60 hours of undergraduate coursework;
  • satisfy online course technology requirements;
  • complete online program orientation;
  • complete and submit a TBI Waiver; and
  • complete TBI Fingerprinting & Criminal History Records Check; results required in SOE Admissions office prior to first enrollment in education courses.

Graduate Admission Stage 1/Pre Stage 2 Assessment-Quarter One:

It is expected that all applicants will demonstrate high capability for program success by satisfying Quarter One Admission requirements that include the following:

  • provide evidence of liability insurance (e.g., STEA or P.E.T membership);
  • achieve a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00;
  • achieve a B, or better, for each course;
  • Completion of Faculty Dispositional Assessment; and
  • Completion of Stage 1 Key assessments Upon the successful completion of all requirements for Pre-Entry Student (Stage 1), candidates will be recommended for entry into the Pre-Service Candidate (Stage 2).

Pre-Service Candidates (Stage 2) must complete the following requirements to be admitted to Pre-Service Clinical Practitioner (Stage 3) and before starting student teaching:

  • Pass the following Praxis Exams:
    • Elementary Education: Content Knowledge (Test Code 5001 or can be taken individually using codes 5002, 5003, 5004, 5005)
    • Teaching Reading: Elementary Education (Test Code 5205)
  • Completion of Stage 2 key assessments
  • Completion of Faculty Dispositional Assessment
  • Grade of B or higher in all coursework
  • Maintain a G.P.A of 3.0 or higher

Upon the successful completion of Pre-Service Candidate (Stage 2) requirements, candidates will be recommended for Pre-Service Clinical Practitioner (Stage 3).

Once admitted to Pre-Service Candidate (Stage 3), candidates must complete the following requirements to graduate:

  • Create a TN Compass account
  • Successfully submit and obtained a passing score on edTPA
  • Completion of Stage 3 portfolio and presentation
  • Completion and presentation of Action Research Project
  • Completion and presentation of Professional Development Project

Upon the successful completion of Pre-Service Candidate (Stage 2) requirements, candidates will be recommended for Pre-Service Clinical Practitioner (Stage 3).

Once admitted to Pre-Service Candidate (Stage 3), candidates must complete the following requirements to graduate:

  • Create a TN Compass account
  • Successfully submit and obtained a passing score on edTPA
  • Completion of Stage 3 key assessments
  • Completion of Mentoring Teacher Dispositional Assessment

Applicants interested in the Master of Education in Elementary Education (K-5) Initial Licensure program should be aware that all courses in the curriculum are required and must be completed at South College. The Master of Education program does not grant transfer credits, experiential learning, or advanced placement from another institution’s program.

Candidates who complete the Master of Education in Elementary Education (K-5) Initial Licensure program of study and who have successful completion of Stages 1, 2, and 3, pass all required Praxis test, and obtain a passing score on edTPA will be recommended to the TN Department of Education for the initial teaching license in Elementary Education K-5 by the Dean of the School of Education.


The South College Bachelor of Science in Teacher Education – Elementary (K-5) program and the Master of Education Elementary Education (K-5) Initial Licensure program offered at the Knoxville campus are approved by the Tennessee Department of Education.

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