Teacher Education 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.

Students 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.

TEP Application Portal



Becoming a strong teacher requires students to be able to work independently and collaboratively, to be sensitive to the needs of others, to be academically secure, to work well with diverse populations and individuals who have experiences different than their own, to be mature, and to be exceptionally responsible and attentive to detail.

Students are required to have a minimum GPA of 2.75 in order to proceed to student teaching (senior year), therefore students applying to the TEP with GPAs lower than 2.75 are typically admitted ‘Conditionally’ until Spring semester grades can be reviewed.

Students are required to ask two HWS faculty members to serve as references, preferably from outside of the Educational Studies Department. Please be sure to ask for their permission before sending them information about completing the recommendation form.

There are significant additional responsibilities related to participating in the TEP and the field experiences in local schools; therefore, students currently on social probation or related sanctions may not be admitted or only admitted on a Conditional basis. Applications are evaluated on a case by case basis.


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 an application form, and writing an essay. The department considers these materials along with a student’s academic standing (including GPA) and social-conduct record in deciding on admission. The next 3 steps must be followed in order to complete the online TEP Application:

Step 1. Ask two HWS faculty members (preferably from outside the Educational Studies Department) to complete an online recommendation form. If they agree to write a recommendation, forward them the link to the TEP Faculty Recommendation Form.

It is your responsibility to provide the faculty member with the link to the reference form.

Step 2. In addition to completing the application, two documents will need to be uploaded. It is recommended that you complete these steps prior to starting your application:

  • Document 1: Answer these prompts in one document: Briefly explain why you want to teach in a particular Certification Area (see categories below) Briefly describe specific experiences that demonstrate your interest in teaching, community service &/or working with young people, and Write a 2-page essay about 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 your essay.
  • Document 2: Obtain your unofficial transcript to submit with your application. You can download an electronic copy from your PeopleSoft account at no cost. The Registrar’s Office can also provide assistance.

Step 3. Complete your application:

When you are ready to start your application, click on the link TEP APPLICATION PORTAL.

Scroll to bottom of the page and select ‘Click here to create your account.’

Follow the instructions to set up your account.

Once your account is successfully created, click ‘Back to Login.’

Note: It is very important to write down your user name and password. You may need it if you don’t complete your application and want to log-in again in the future. There is no ‘forgot username or password’ feature.

A unique username has been assigned to you. Enter the password you created for the application and select ‘Log Into Your Account.’

Once you are in the hws.Tk20 portal, click on ‘+Create New Application.’

At the ‘Please Select’ prompt, click ‘Application to the Teacher Education Program.’

Click ‘Next’ at the bottom of the page.

Review the Instructions and Checklist.

Click ‘Next.’

Follow the directions on the application:

  • Complete Student Information (items with an asterisk * are required)
    Select a Certification Area
  • Upload your Personal Statement
  • Identify 2 Faculty References
  • Upload your Unofficial Transcript
  • To save your work and return another time, click ‘Save.’

To submit your application to the Educational Studies Department to be reviewed, click ‘Submit’. All required items will need to be completed before the application can be submitted. A window will open to confirm the submission once all items are completed. When ready, click ‘OK.’

To return to a saved application: Log in to the TEP Application Portal. Click on ‘Application to the Teacher Education Program.’

To reopen an application after submitting it: Log in to the TEP Application Portal. Click on ‘Application to the Teacher Education Program.’ It will open a review window that cannot be edited. Click ‘Recall’ to reopen the application. You can now click on the Application and edit. When ready to finalize your submission, click ‘Submit.’

To delete your application: click on the box to the left of the Application and click on the Trashcan, and confirm the deletion by clicking ‘OK.’

Frequently Asked Questions


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

Learn more about Teacher Education Program Certifications. 

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, work, perform volunteer services such as America Reads, and/or 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 Educational Studies Department advocates for our students who seek certification elsewhere.

Can you take courses in education? The Educational Studies 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 and we encourage you to take courses in the department, but—with the exception of certifications in teaching children with disabilities or English language learners —no education courses are required. Educational Studies Department faculty serve as advisors, and are available to offer support and guidance to all students. Many TEP students do minor in education, or even double major in Educational Studies; 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 TEP students in eligible certification programs are invited to apply for admission to the HWS Masters of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program through which students may complete teacher certification as well as a master’s degree. Eligible programs include Adolescent Education, Childhood Education, or dual Childhood Education/Students with Disabilities. The MAT program has not yet been expanded to include the three newer certification programs: Art, Music, and TESOL. MAT students complete a full semester of student teaching in the fall after graduation and then complete a semester of graduate coursework and an MAT Project (a community-based, integrative research experience) in the spring. Tuition for this 5th year is 1/4 of the undergraduate tuition through an HWS Fellowship available to all admitted MAT students. Admission to the MAT program is competitive.

Where do I get more information? Contact any member of the Educational Studies Department in Merritt Hall.