The graduate Certificate in Teaching Elementary Education prepares students to become teachers in high-needs and hard-to-staff elementary schools. Students will gain an in-depth understanding of science, social studies, literacy and mathematics pedagogy and content. The program provides field experiences during a one-year residency to expose students to classroom teaching and classroom management. Graduates will be prepared to teach in elementary (PK-6) classroom settings and will meet the needs of elementary students with a focus on urban and high-needs schools.

The certificate offers a unique learning opportunity for students planning to teach in urban and high-needs schools in the Greater Richmond area. Information on the RTR program can be found at

Graduates will receive a credential for successfully completing the program. The certificate does not provide full teacher licensure; however, the course work may be used to fulfill the requirements for provisional teacher licensure through a public school system.

Student learning outcomes

  1. Learner and learning: Students will understand human development and learning theory appropriate to the age group they will teach and acquire an awareness of the diversity of the school-age population in cultural backgrounds and styles of learning.
  2. Content: Students will demonstrate knowledge of the subjects they will teach.
  3. Instructional practice: Students will demonstrate an ability to plan and implement effective teaching and measure student learning in ways that lead to sustained development and learning.
  4. Professional responsibility: Students will develop an understanding of purposes for education and a defensible philosophical approach toward teaching and demonstrate professional dispositions.

VCU Graduate Bulletin, VCU Graduate School and general academic policies and regulations for all graduate students in all graduate programs

The VCU Graduate Bulletin website documents the official admission and academic rules and regulations that govern graduate education for all graduate programs at the university. These policies are established by the graduate faculty of the university through their elected representatives to the University Graduate Council.

It is the responsibility of all graduate students, both on- and off-campus, to be familiar with the VCU Graduate Bulletin as well as the Graduate School website and academic regulations in individual school and department publications and on program websites. However, in all cases, the official policies and procedures of the University Graduate Council, as published on the VCU Graduate Bulletin and Graduate School websites, take precedence over individual program policies and guidelines.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on academic regulations for graduate students.

Graduation requirements

As graduate students approach the end of their academic programs and the final semester of matriculation, they must make formal application to graduate. No degrees will be conferred until the application to graduate has been finalized.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following graduation requirements as published in the Graduate Bulletin for a complete list of instructions and a graduation checklist.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on graduation requirements.

Apply online today.

Admission requirements

Admission requirements
Degree:Semester(s) of entry:Deadline dates:Test requirements:
CertificateSummerFeb 1VCLA and Praxis subject tests for elementary education licensure

In addition to the general admission requirements of the VCU Graduate School, the following requirements represent the minimum acceptable standards for admission: 

  1. Acceptance into the RTR program through a rigorous on-site assessment process that includes:
    1. Completion of a written application to the RTR program (including written statement concerning commitment to teaching in hard-to-staff schools, three letters of recommendation addressing the student’s potential for graduate study in education and transcripts of all previous college work)
    2. Teaching a mini-lesson in front of students
    3. Personal interview
    4. On-demand writing sample
  2. A bachelor’s degree from an accredited university with no more than nine credits of content courses needed to meet state licensure requirements
  3. Three letters of recommendation addressing the student’s potential for graduate study in education
  4. Statement of intent
  5. Transcripts of all previous college work
  6. Satisfactory scores on the VCLA and Praxis subject tests for elementary education licensure

Prospective students should first contact for additional details on admission into the RTR program. 

Please visit the School of Education website for further information. 

Degree requirements

In addition to general VCU Graduate School graduation requirements, students are required to complete course work in core and elective courses.

  1. Credit hour requirements: Students are required to complete a minimum of 27 credit hours.
  2. Grade requirements: Receipt of a grade of C or below in two courses requires review of the student’s academic progress. Courses with a grade below C cannot be used to satisfy degree requirements.
  3. Internship requirements: Students must complete an internship in an RTR approved school.

Curriculum requirements

The curriculum for the Graduate Certificate in Teaching Elementary Education is designed to help hard-to-staff schools meet their critical teaching shortages in elementary education through a year-long residency experience designed to address the unique challenges of urban and high-needs schools. The focus of the required course work will be content, pedagogy and assessment. The courses will prepare students to understand how to meet the needs of all students with a focus on urban and high-needs schools.

EDUS 673Democracy, Equity and Ethics in Education3
TEDU 511Curriculum and Instruction for Residency Programs3
TEDU 516Elementary Social Studies Methods2
TEDU 517Science Education in the Elementary School3
TEDU 522Teaching Mathematics for Elementary Education3
TEDU 561Reading Foundations: Sociological/Psychological Perspectives3
TEDU 566Diagnosis and Remediation in Reading4
TEDU 588Classroom Management3
Graduate-level assessment elective (selected in consultation with an adviser)3
Total Hours27

The minimum total of graduate credit hours required for this certificate is 27. 

Communications and Enrollment Management
(804) 827-2670

Additional contact
Kim McKnight, Ph.D.  
Director, RTR Partnerships
(804) 827-0102