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Master's in Education in Curriculum and Instruction in Elementary Education

The Elementary Education Program at Virginia Tech is a Master's degree program that prepares students to become licensed elementary teachers (PK-6) in the state of Virginia. Elementary Education is a full-time program offered on the Blacksburg campus only; there are no distance learning options. Students are required to complete extensive preservice teaching experiences in both Montgomery County and Roanoke City, and they are responsible for their own travel arrangements to field placements.

The MAEd-Elementary Education program can be completed in 12 months as follows; Summer I (6 hours), Summer II (6 hours), Fall (18 hours), and Spring (12 hours), if 6 hours of specific graduate level education courses are taken during the bachelor's program. In order to be eligible for 5000-level courses, an undergraduate must be a senior and have a 3.0 GPA.  Dual/Accelerated status is NOT required for this option.

If the specific 6 hours of graduate work is not completed prior to the master's program, the coursework is to be completed during the summer session following student teaching, resulting in a 14-month program.  Completing the program in 14 months, instead of 12, does not delay your degree/license, nor does it prevent you from applying for jobs to begin in the upcoming fall.

The elementary education program requires completion of 45-51 graduate credit hours in education (depending upon the possible completion of 3-6 hours of licensure requirements taken at the graduate level during the undergraduate senior year).

Required Bachelor’s Degrees

Students who wish to enter the Elementary Education program at Virginia Tech need a bachelor's degree from an accredited college of university. No particular major or combination of minors is required.

Requirements for Acceptance of Applications
  1. Applicants must hold a Bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university.
  2. Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 in the last 60 hours of undergraduate academic credit in order to be considered for regular admittance.  Applicants holding a GPA of less than 3.0 in the last 60 hours of undergraduate academic credit will be considered for acceptance as provision students.
  3. Applicants must have completed at least 61 semester credit hours of general studies including:
    • 12 hours in Math, (12 hours of courses with a MATH prefix or 9 hours with a MATH prefix and 3 hours with a STAT prefix. It is strongly recommended that candidates take Math 1614 and Math 1624),
    • 13 hours in Science (in at least two science disciplines [Biology, Chemistry, Geology/Geosciences, Physics/Astronomy] and one hour of Lab work in science. Note - VT students can take labs in Geology and Astronomy without being science majors),
    • 12 hours in English  (including at least 3 hours of Children's Literature: ENGL 3524, Literature for Children, and/or ENGL 3514, Ethnic Literature for Children, at VT),
    • 9 hours in History (including at least 3 hours of World History, Western Civilization, or European History, and at least 3 hours of American or U. S.  History. These courses must have History prefixes),
    • 6 hours in Social Science (including 3 hours of Geography and 3 hours of Economics),
    • 6 hours in Art and Humanities,
    • 3 hours in Human Development (PSYC 2034 or HD 1004 at Virginia Tech)
    • Pass/Fail courses. Students should work with their undergraduate advisors in making decisions about taking the P/F option on any courses that will appear on the Virginia Tech transcript. Courses taken at other institutions that do not carry credits needed for completion of the undergraduate program and are taken only for the purpose of completion of the Elementary Education General Studies checklist may be taken with a P/F option.
  1. Applicants must submit a passing score on the Praxis Core or have an equivalent SAT or ACT score. (See required tests)
  2. Applicants must submit scores on Praxis II at the time of application, however it is not necessary to pass Praxis II in order to be accepted. Passing scores for Praxis II must be submitted before students are permitted to enroll in student teaching. For the elementary program, the correct test is Praxis II: Elementary Education: Multiple Subjects. (See required tests)
  3. Applicants must submit passing scores for the Virginia Communication and Literacy Assessment (VCLA). Testing information is on (See required tests)
  4. Applicants must document that they have spent a minimum of 100 hours working with children at the PK-6 level (aged 3-14) during the five years prior to applying for the elementary education program. Letters from employers or similar signed documents containing addresses and phone numbers of the writers can be used to demonstrate completion of this requirement. The documented hours can include working as a camp counselor, substitute teacher, teacher's aide, service learning tutor, worker in a preschool or Head Start center, public school or YMCA volunteering, sports coaching, or working with groups such as Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts. We particularly recommend working with organizations and agencies that advocate for children, such as Head Start, Even Start, or the Virginia Tech Service Learning program. Also, international work with children in study abroad settings (such as the VT Malawi Study Abroad Program) can be included in the documentation.  Parenting or working as a nanny/babysitter will not be considered a substitute for these hours because it differs significantly from working with larger numbers of children from families other than one's own.
  5. Elementary Education Content Check Sheet (doc) This check sheet should be submitted by potential students with the other application materials. It is used for analysis of coursework and can be used by potential applicants to check on the completion of all requirements.
  6. Please contact the Pre-Education Advising Coordinator, Dawn Knight, for further information about applying to the Elementary Education program.

Applications are completed online at the Graduate School website. Completed application materials should be submitted as follows:

  • Online applications and official transcripts for courses not taken at Virginia Tech should be sent to the Virginia Tech Graduate School;
  • The 3-4 page essay, documentation of 100 hours working with children, an option commitment form, and required test scores should be mailed to: Elementary Program Area Leader, 307 War Memorial Hall (0313), Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061;
  • Reference letters should be submitted online to the Graduate Office via the online application, or hard copies of reference letters can be mailed directly to the Elementary Program Area Leader's address above. 
Selection of Candidates for the Program

There are two application phases, one in October, and one in January of the senior undergraduate year (or thereafter). 

To be considered for an Early Decision, applicants should complete and submit all application materials between October 1 and October 15 of the senior year.  Early Decision candidates must have completed all requirements for the program other than coursework (to be finished in the current fall semester and the upcoming spring semester).  During the October phase, applicants will be notified of a decision by the end of November.  Students who have been accepted at this time will be asked to make a decision about commitment to the VT Elementary Education Program by December 15.

The second application phase is during January and application materials are due by January 31.  Applicants should have completed all requirements for the program except for coursework to be completed in the current spring semester.  Applications will be analyzed during February and candidates will be notified about a decision during the first few weeks of March.

At the time of application, candidates must demonstrate completion of all requirements and submit: (a) transcripts for non-VT courses, (b) three letters of reference, and (c) official test scores for Praxis I, VCLA, and Praxis II, (d) documentation demonstrating a minimum of 100 hours working with children at the PK-6 level, (e) a commitment form for Option 1, 2, or 3, and (f) a 3-4-page double-spaced essay. The essay prompt is: Reflecting on your experiences in working with children, what have you learned from them that will have an impact on your teaching?

Acceptance into the elementary education program is competitive. All eligible applicants have completed the basic pre-requisite requirements (holding the Bachelor's degree or in the last semester of undergraduate study, a 3.0 GPA in the last 60 hours of coursework, and completion of the general studies course list). Thus, preference is given to students who have (a) earned the highest undergraduate GPA, (b) written the highest quality essays, and (c) documented the most significant teaching/advocacy-related experiences with children. Essays are judged on a rubric that assesses (a) writing organization, (b) correct writing structure (grammar, spelling, sentence and paragraph structure), and (c) quality and reflectivity in terms of responding to the prompt.  Applicants are evaluated on the three criteria using a weighted scale in which GPA accounts for 50%, the essay accounts for 30%, and the documentation of work with children accounts for 20% of the scale.

The Elementary Program

The program at Virginia Tech provides course work and experiences within public schools in the region through the development of mentoring communities with teachers committed to social justice, cultural diversity, and teacher as agent and reflective inquirer. The university course work and experiences within the mentoring community address the highest professional standards of NCATE and other professional associations.

The program follows the policies of the Graduate School and the requirements of the Graduate School in the graduate catalog.

Plan of Studies

On acceptance into the graduate program in Elementary Education, an advisor is designated to assist students in developing a Plan of Study, which is submitted at or before completion of 12 credit hours. The Plan of Study template is available under MAED Degree - Proposed Plan of Study under the Academic Progress tab at here.


This MAED program requires a total 45-51 credit hours (45 for students who take EDEP 5154 and EDCI 5554 during the program, and 51 for students who take all of their graduate level courses during the Master's Program)

EDEP 5154 Psychological Foundations of Education for Preservice (3 hrs.)
EDCI 5204 Elementary School Curriculum (3 hrs.)
EDCI 5214 Linguistic Theory in Reading and Written Expression (3 hrs.)
EDCI 5224 Advanced Curriculum & Instruction in Elementary/Middle Social Studies (3 hrs.)
EDCI 5234 Advanced Curriculum & Instruction in Elementary/Middle Math (3 hrs.)
EDCI 5244 Advanced Curriculum & Instruction in Elementary/Middle Science (3 hrs.)
EDCI 5414 Early Literacy Instruction (3 hrs.)
EDCI 5424 Theory & Practice in Content Literacy (3 hrs.)
EDCI 5554 Educating Exceptional Learners across the Lifespan (3 hrs.)
EDCI 5754 Internship in Education (9 hrs.)
EDCI 5784 Advanced Curriculum and Instruction in Elementary Math, Grades 4-8 (3 hrs.)
EDCI 5784 Elementary STEM Education (3 hrs.)
EDCI 5964 Field Studies (6 hrs.)
EDEP 5194
EDCI 5784
Graduate Seminar: Research on Assessing Student Achievement (3 hrs.)

Graduate Seminar: Research on Assessing Student Achievement in Math (3 hrs.)
EDCI 5784 Diversity and Classroom Management (3 hrs.)
Field Studies and Student Teaching
  • EDCI 5964: Field Studies (Field Experience) and EDCI 5754: Internship in Education (Student Teaching)
    • Students must complete at least two literacy courses before enrolling in EDCI 5964 (among EDCI 5214: Linguistic Theory in Reading and Written Expression; EDCI 5414: Early Literacy Instruction, and EDCI 5424: Theory & Practice in Content Literacy).
    • Students will complete one of their elementary classroom experiences in a PK-2 classroom, and one in a 3-6 classroom (that is, EDCI 5964 in PK-2 and EDCI 5754 in 3-6, or else EDCI 5964 in 3-6 and EDCI 5754 in PK-2).
    • Students will have one formal classroom experience (EDCI 5964: Field Studies, or EDCI 5754: Internship in Education) in a more rural and one in a more urban public school setting.  It is possible that students might have a fall experience that requires a drive of 30-60 minutes in the morning and in the afternoon, and they may also have a spring experience that requires a drive of 30-60 minutes in the morning and in the afternoon.  Students must provide their own transportation to their assigned schools.
    • The Field Experience (EDCI 5964) is configured such that students spend at a minimum of 1 full day and three half days working in a public school classroom. There is a related seminar that is usually scheduled weekly on Friday afternoons.
    • The Internship (EDCI 5754, student teaching) is scheduled all day Monday through Friday from the start of public school spring semester in January  (with the date to be identified by the elementary program faculty) through the end of the Virginia Tech semester in May.


  • EDCI 5754: Internship in Education (Student Teaching)
    • Before enrolling in EDCI 5754: Internship in Education, students must successfully complete 30 credit hours (including EDCI 5214: Linguistic Theory in Reading and Written Expression; EDCI 5414: Early Literacy Instruction; EDCI 5424, Theory and Practice in Content Literacy; EDCI 5234: Advanced Curriculum & Instruction in Elementary/Middle Math; EDCI 5244: Advanced Curriculum & Instruction in Elementary/Middle Science; EDCI 5224: Advanced Curriculum & Instruction in Elementary/Middle Social Studies; EDCI 5784: Advanced Curriculum and Instruction in Elementary Middle Math, Grades 8; EDCI 5964: Field Studies; and either EDEP 5194: Graduate Seminar: Research on Assessing Student Achievement, or EDCI 5784: Graduate Seminar: Research on Assessing Student Achievement in Math).
    • Students must take EDCI 5204: Elementary Education Curriculum, and EDCI 5784: Elementary STEM Education, during the same semester that they take EDCI 5754: Internship in Education.
    • Students must take the Praxis II exam and submit a passing score to the Center for Teacher Education before enrolling in EDCI 5754: Internship in Education.
    • Students must take the Reading for Virginia Educators: Elementary and Special Education test and submit passing scores to the Center for Teacher Education before enrolling in EDCI 5754: Internship in Education.
  • Students who demonstrate unprofessional behaviors or who are unable to make successful progress (in required courses, the field experience [EDCI 5964] or student teaching [EDCI 5754]) will be identified by the program faculty for a Plan of Improvement. The Plan of Improvement will be a written document specifying the problems that have been identified, the goals for improvement and consequences for not meeting these goals, and a timeline for achieving the stated goals. A Plan of Improvement meeting will be held, and in this meeting the document will be discussed in detail. The student, the program area leader, and involved faculty and/or GAs will sign the document. The program area leader will continue to consult with all signers of the document to assure that the goals are met. A student who is not able to meet the identified goals in the timeline provided may be dismissed from the program.
  • Students must receive grades of A or B in all of the required program courses they have taken to date in order to be eligible for a placement in EDCI 5964: Field Studies. Students who are not eligible for a placement in Field Studies may be dismissed from the program.
  • Students must receive grades of A or B in all of the required program courses they have taken to date in order to be eligible for a placement in EDCI 5754: Internship in Education (student teaching). Students who are not eligible for a placement in Student Teaching may be dismissed from the program.
Reflective Comprehensive Portfolio

The MAED in Curriculum and Instruction in Elementary Education is a non-thesis program. As the alternative to writing a thesis, students in the MAED in ELED will submit a Reflective Comprehensive Portfolio (RCP) during the student teaching semester. This portfolio serves as the Final Comprehensive Examination for the Master's Degree in Elementary Education. The RCP is expected to be a reflective document that (a) demonstrates how the student has grown as a teacher across the Master's program, and (b) provides evidence of how the student has met the ACEI (Association for Childhood Education International) Standards for Elementary Teachers. The RCP rubric can be downloaded at the resource page in the portfolio tab. Due dates for RCP submission will be provided at the beginning of each spring semester.

Each student must submit a Request to Admit Candidate to Final Exam form, with the signatures of all committee members, to the School of Education, Office of Academic Programs (105 WMH) at least three weeks prior to the due date for the RCP.

The RCP is created as an ePortfolio using Scholar. The RCP includes a home page, evidence of meeting each ACEI Standard, and evidence of meeting Technology Standards.

For each ACEI Standard, the student writes a reflection that explains ways in which the standard has been met during the elementary program and includes links to artifacts such as lesson and unit plans that reflect mastery of the standard. Students should provide examples clearly demonstrating that children's learning occurred as a result of lessons taught by the candidates. [These demonstrations should include artifacts gathered from children (with no names or identifying information). Candidates will write about specific examples and discuss how learning was assessed, the degree to which the class achieved the learning objectives, and how the candidate responded to learning difficulties.] Papers and projects that have been created across the program can be put in PDF or MSWord formats and included as artifacts.

For each Technology Standard, the student will provide evidence demonstrating achievement of the standard.

A three-member Master's Committee assigned by the Elementary Education Program Area Leader, evaluates each student's Reflective Comprehensive Portfolio. A scoring rubric is completed reflecting student performance in demonstrated proficiency in meeting all of the standards.

When a committee agrees that a student has not demonstrated proficiency in meeting all of the standards, students will be given the opportunity to demonstrate their proficiency in an oral exam with the committee. An oral exam can lead to the recommendation that the student passes the exam or completes a follow-up assignment, such as revision of the portfolio. Another type of assignment or exam could be assigned.


It is necessary to complete an application for graduation early during the semester when students intend to graduate. Information on the application and application deadlines are included at