HWS Teacher Education Program: Application Process

Students may study to be teachers and prepare to earn a teaching certificate while pursuing their chosen major and minor.

Applying to the TEP

Students typically apply for admission to the Teacher Education Program (TEP) in the spring of their first year. Sophomores may apply but they will require a 9th semester for student teaching.

The 2017 Online TEP Application Portal will be open: February 13-24

The TEP application process consists of three steps, and uses an online system.

Step 1. Ask two HWS faculty members to complete TEP Faculty Reference Form. If they agree to be a reference, tell them you will provide a link to their online form when it becomes active. Tell them that they must complete the Faculty Reference Form by Feb. 24.

Step 2. When it is active, complete the online form providing basic information, indicating what one Certification Area you want to pursue, and providing the names of two HWS faculty members who have agreed to serve as a reference for you.

Step 3. Upload one Word or PDF document with your responses to these three prompts:

  1. Briefly explain why you want to be certified in the Certification Area you selected above in Step 2.

  2. Briefly describe specific experiences that demonstrate your interest in teaching, community service, or working with young people.

  3. Then write a 2-page essay on this two-part question: What should be the purpose of education and why do you want to become a teacher? Take time drafting, revising, editing, and proofreading a thoughtful essay—it will reflect a lot about you.

After it opens on February 13 and before February 24, click on the TEP Application Portal button (above right) and complete the online Application Form which includes entering the names and email addresses of the two faculty members who agreed to provide references for you. The link for faculty references will also be found above right.

The 2017 Online TEP Application Portal will be open: February 13-24


Teacher Education Program Information and FAQs

Students at HWS may prepare to be teachers and earn a teaching certificate
while pursuing their chosen major and minor.

Overview of the TEP Program

Students typically apply for admission to the Teacher Education Program (TEP) in the spring term of their first year, and begin working in the program in the fall of their sophomore year. Sophomores may apply but will require a 9th semester (see the FAQ below). Although it is necessary to take some credit-bearing courses, students mostly learn to teach by teaching: by spending 40 hours each semester working in a local classroom under the supervision of a classroom teacher, taking on teaching responsibilities that expand as they gain experience.  Students also attend professional education seminars, which meet early in the morning.  They spend one full semester during their senior year student teaching—working as a full time teacher, all day, five days a week—and normally do not take other courses during that semester. They do receive four course credits for student teaching; but otherwise, the professional education seminars and the fieldwork in classrooms do not carry academic credit, but are required for professional certification by the New York State Education Department.  Students enrolled in the TEP at HWS gain what amounts to an extra year of professional education during their four years of undergraduate study.

The 2017 Online TEP Application Portal will be open: February 13-24

Areas of Teaching Certification

Certification in Childhood Education (Grades 1-6)
Students may be certified for Childhood Education with almost any major (current exceptions are: studio art, theater, and writing and rhetoric).  In addition to the teaching internships and professional seminars, students must complete New York State general education distribution requirements including a foreign language (the equivalent of two semester of college coursework or comparable placement in any modern or classical language) and mathematics (one college mathematics course, or a suitable HWS math-placement test score).

Dual Certification in Childhood and Teaching Students with Disabilities (Grades 1-6)
Students being certified in Childhood Education and Teaching Students with Disabilitiesare prepared to work as full-time teachers of students with disabilities, and also certified to teach in “regular” classes in grades 1-6.  These dual certification students must meet all of the requirements for Childhood Education, and also complete four courses in special-education offered by the education, psychology, and sociology departments; and they must take three additional non-credit professional seminars in special education.

Certification in TESOL (Grades PreK-12)
Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages are required to complete a sequence of two TESOL-related courses in the Education Department, four semesters of a foreign language or its equivalent, and complete all of the other NY State distribution requirements for initial certification. Students must major in: anthropology, arts and education, English, French & Francophone studies, history, individual studies (BA), international relations, psychology (BA), sociology, Spanish & Hispanic studies, theatre, or writing and rhetoric.

Certification in Adolescence Education  (Grades 7-12)
Junior high or high school teachers are certified to teach in the area of their major.  HWS is licensed to offer certification in English, French, Spanish, Latin, mathematics, biology, chemistry, earth science, physics, and social studies (social studies certification requires a major in history, political science, or economics, and additional area-specific requirements). In addition to the teaching internships and professional seminars, students must complete NY State distribution requirements including a foreign language (the equivalent of two semester of college coursework or placement in any modern or classical language)

Certification in Art Education (Grades PreK-12)
Art teachers are certified to teach visual arts in grades Pre-K through 12.  Candidates are required to complete a major in studio art, with the provision that the major include either four art history courses or three art history courses and a course in aesthetics, and must study at least two historical periods or cultures.  Art students must complete all of the other distribution requirements for initial certification.

Certification in Music Education (Grades PreK-12)
Music teachers are certified to teach choral and instrumental music in grades Pre-K through 12.  Candidates are required to complete a major in music as well as additional music-methods courses, and meet all of the other distribution requirements for initial certification.

Admission to the Teacher Education Program

We seek students who are mature, responsible, interested in working with young people, and academically strong enough to take on the extra work required by the TEP. Students must apply for admission by securing two faculty references, completing a form, and writing an essay. The department considers these along with a student’s academic standing and social-conduct record in deciding on admission. The online TEP Application Portal will be open February 13-24.

Frequently Asked Questions about the TEP

I’m a sophomore, is it too late? Sophomores may apply to the TEP in the spring also; however, they will have to return to HWS following graduation for a 9th Semester to complete their student teaching. The 9th Semester is tuition free, although there are some small fees. Sophomores will begin the TEP in the fall of their junior year and might not be able to also study abroad.

Can I study abroad? Yes and we encourage it! The TEP takes five semesters to complete, so students who begin the TEP in the fall of their sophomore year can take a semester away from the program and still finish in four years.  In many of the Colleges’ off-campus programs (notably Bath, England; Pietermaritzburg, South Africa; Wales; Avignon, France; Copenhagen, Denmark; Mendoza, Argentina; St. Louis, Senegal; and Auckland, New Zealand, among others) it is possible to carry out teaching field placements.

How much work is involved? Students report that the Teacher Education Program (TEP) takes about as much time and effort as one extra course per semester. There are forty hours of teaching in the schools, time devoted to one or two weekly seminars (each with a few hours of homework per week), plus time to prepare lessons for teaching in the schools and travel to the schools.

Can I major in Educational Studies and get certified? Not if Educational Studies is your only major. To become certified, you must have a liberal arts major other than Educational Studies; and then your second major could be Educational Studies.

Can you do the TEP and still hold a campus job, or play a sport?  Yes, responsible and organized students do succeed with other campus involvements. TEP students are certainly busy, but many play sports, hold offices in campus organizations, perform volunteer services such as America Reads, and complete Honors projects.

Is the TEP at HWS the same as other programs in the state? Yes and no. The TEP is registered with the New York State Education Department, and accredited by CAEP; it is as “official” and “rigorous” as it must be. It is unusual, though, in that it is field-based and liberal-arts oriented. You do not major in education. Our program provides extensive opportunities to learn to teach by teaching, and by studying broadly and deeply in the liberal arts—in your chosen major and minor. These are distinct advantages of the HWS TEP.

Can you teach in other states?  Yes. Students qualify to receive an Initial teaching certificate from New York State (this is the initial teaching certificate, which is valid for five years of teaching, after which a person must earn a masters degree). That certificate is recognized by most other states, as well as U.S. Armed Forces dependent schools around the world. To teach in a few other states, it may be necessary to fulfill an additional local requirement (e.g., a test or additional course). The Education Department advocates for our students who seek certification elsewhere.

Can you take courses in education? The Education Department offers a wide range of courses in TESOL, multicultural education, arts education, social justice, teaching people with disabilities, policy and leadership studies, children’s literature, science and mathematics education, social studies education, and literacy among other topics. Any of these courses will enhance your preparation to teach, but—with the exception of certification in teaching children with disabilities—no education courses are required. Education Department faculty serve as advisors, and are available to offer support and guidance to all students. Many TEP students do minor in education; however, it is not required.

What are the main advantages of Teacher Education at HWS? Beyond its field-intensive approach and its grounding in the liberal arts, students in the TEP report that they become more engaged in their other studies, partly because an excellent way to learn something is by teaching it to someone else. Also, students who wait to begin teacher certification after graduation must invest at least another year of study and further tuition costs. The TEP at HWS requires small fees each semester (which may be covered by financial aid), but no additional tuition. You are receiving an extra year or so of education free.

Suppose I decide not to teach after all? Even those students who do not pursue teaching after graduation are still grateful for what they learn through the TEP—personal organization, professionalism, working with people, leadership, and public speaking—as well as their involvement as helpers and guides to young people. On another note: because students acquire extensive early experience in teaching roles, they have a solid basis for knowing if teaching is the profession they wish to pursue. If they decide to go in another direction, they still have their major and minor as a foundation for a different career.

What is the HWS MAT Program? Strong students in the TEP may apply in their junior year for a 5th year graduate program to earn a Master of Arts in Teaching degree in addition to their Bachelor degree and their teaching certification. MAT students will student teach in the fall after graduation and then complete graduate courses in education and complete a community-based integrated group project or thesis in the spring. Tuition for this 5th year is half of the undergraduate tuition with additional HWS fellowships available to further reduce the cost. Admission to the MAT program is competitive.

Where do I get more information? Contact any member of the Education Department in Merritt Hall and visit our website.

The 2017 Online TEP Application Portal will be open: February 13-24


Chris FitzGerald
Education Department Coordinator
Merritt Hall 105
(315) 781-3638

TEP Portal Instructions

TEP Application Form

TEP Faculty Reference Form

Faculty Reference Instructions


Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.