The Bachelor of Arts in Education allows undergraduate students at William & Mary to focus their studies on Elementary Education, with optional specializations in ESL/bilingual education and special education. Earn your bachelor's degree and prepare for licensure as a teacher in just four years. If you are interested in pursuing a major in elementary education, you should reach out to the faculty contact as early as possible for pre-admission advising.
The need for well-prepared teachers has never been greater. Graduates of our teacher education programs are highly sought by school districts throughout Virginia and beyond. Our programs combine deep investigation of educational ideas and practices with meaningful field experiences that allow you to make an impact on students and families even before you graduate.
A focus on current research, authentic practices and equity will prepare you to support the growth and development of students and expand opportunity as an advocate for equity and justice.
Students wishing to pursue a primary major in Arts & Sciences may also pursue Elementary Education as a second major.
Programs of Study
The B.A.Ed. in Elementary Education is a 41-credit hour program that includes educational foundations course work, methods courses in elementary school subject fields, and student teaching experiences. Students must be admitted to the program in order to register for classes listed on the program of study beyond the freshman/sophomore years.
The specialization in ESL/Bilingual Education prepares students to work with students of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds in general education, ESL and dual language classrooms and requires an additional 12 credit hours of coursework taken in the junior and senior years.
The specialization in Special Education prepares students with the knowledge, skills and strategies to teach students with varying disabilities and requires an additional 15 hours of coursework taken in the junior and senior years.
Clinical experiences are a complement to and an integral component of the teacher preparation program in the School of Education. Throughout the undergraduate program in Elementary Education, preservice teachers have experiences in a variety of settings and with diverse populations at our partnering public schools. Beginning as early as freshman year, these experiences serve as a bridge between the knowledge, skills, and dispositions developed through formal course work and the practical application of those professional attributes as a teacher candidate and, subsequently, as a classroom teacher.
During junior and senior years, elementary education candidates complete a minimum of 70 hours in the field, practicing their teaching skills, interacting with students, reflecting on the experiences, and learning about the ecosystem of schools. These field activities prepare candidates for their culminating field experience — student teaching. The 15-week, immersive student teaching experience takes place during spring of senior year and is a critical component of our candidates’ preparation and development as a teacher.
Additional Course Requirements
In addition to other program requirements, candidates seeking an endorsement in Elementary Education PK-6 must complete six semester hours in the four core elementary disciplines: English, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies. See our course guidelines and recommendations.
Students who successfully complete our Elementary Education program will be eligible to apply for licensure in Elementary Education PK-6 in the state of Virginia. Learn more about applying for licensure.
All teacher candidates must obtain passing scores on the professional teacher assessments prescribed by the Virginia Board of Education. At William & Mary, all required licensure tests are also graduation requirements; therefore, the appropriate tests must be completed regardless of a teacher candidate’s decision to apply for a teaching license. Learn more about testing requirements.
Applying for Admission
Students must apply directly to the School of Education if they wish to major in Elementary Education. This application typically begins during the second semester of a student's sophomore year. Students must be admitted to the program in order to register for courses beyond those listed in the Freshman/Sophomore years on the program of study. Learn more about applying for admission.