Dec 07, 2022  
2016-2017 SGPP Catalog and Handbook 
2016-2017 SGPP Catalog and Handbook [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Instruction, K-8, Graduate Certificate

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Programs of Study

The Graduate Certificate in Instruction for K-8 program on the Twin Cities and Winona campus is tailored to serve students who have completed a bachelor’s degree with little or no previous coursework in education, and who wish to obtain a teaching license in Elementary Education (K-6) with an Early Adolescence (5-8) Specialty. The program is designed for both the recent graduate with a bachelor’s degree who subsequently decides to pursue a teaching career, or for the person who may wish to make a career change and enter the teaching profession.

The program is based on the standards required by the Minnesota Board of Teaching. All standards and requirements must be satisfactorily completed prior to recommendation to the state for licensure.

Program Outcomes

Consistent with the mission of Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, the Minnesota Standards of Effective Practice, and the educational outcomes for the School of Graduate and Professional Programs, the Graduate Certificate in Instruction program expects its graduates to be able to do the following:

  1. Create learning experiences that make the central concepts, tools of inquiry, and structures of the disciplines taught meaningful for students.
  2. Provide learning opportunities that support a student’s intellectual, social, and personal development.
  3. Create instructional opportunities that are adapted to students with diverse backgrounds and exceptionalities.
  4. Encourage student development of critical thinking, problem-solving, and performance skills through the use of a variety of instructional strategies.
  5. Create learning environments that encourage positive social interaction, active engagement in learning, and self-motivation.
  6. Foster active inquiry, collaboration, and supportive interaction in the classroom through the use of effective verbal, nonverbal, and media communication techniques.
  7. Plan and manage instruction based upon knowledge of subject matter, students, the community, and curriculum goals.
  8. To evaluate and ensure the continuous intellectual, social, and physical development of the student through the use of formal and informal assessment strategies.
  9. Reflect on and evaluate the effects of personal choices and actions on others, including students, parents, and other professionals in the learning community, and actively seek out opportunities for professional growth.
  10. Communicate and interact with parents or guardians, families, school colleagues, and the community to support student learning and wellbeing.

Program Structure

Students will be asked to demonstrate preparation in a specialty, or content area, which is determined by undergraduate coursework. Specialty areas include Communication Arts and Literature, Mathematics, Social Studies, Science (Life, Physical), Music, or World Languages and Cultures (Spanish or French).

All students will be required to present evidence of successfully completing content area courses that fulfill the state requirements for content area competence. Documentation may include syllabi, course descriptions, or other evidence that can detail the student’s competence. Content courses completed with a grade of C or above may be submitted as evidence of competence. Students will be required to retake coursework completed with a grade of CD (C-) or lower. Prerequisites must be completed and documented (by submitting an official transcript) before placement for student teaching.

The program director, in consultation with content faculty, will complete a transcript analysis during the application process to determine whether content area coursework is needed. Preferably the student will have completed the content area coursework as an undergraduate. However, students may complete content coursework while enrolled in the master’s program.


Licensure in Elementary Education (K-6) with an Early Adolescence (5-8) Specialty:

  • The American Experience
  • Mathematical Concepts I: Systems
  • Mathematical Concepts II: Geometry
  • Botany & Zoology II
  • Earth and the Solar System
  • Foundations of Physics
  • American National Government

Degree Requirements

Instruction, K-8, Graduate Certificate Degree Requirements  

Program Delivery

The program on the Twin Cities campus is delivered on evenings and weekends. The program on the Winona campus is delivered full-time during the day. Students are expected to spend significant time in K-12 schools in conjunction with their coursework.

Field Experience and Sudent Teaching

Experience applying theoretical concepts in real life settings is crucial to a teacher’s development as a professional. Saint Mary’s categorizes these experiences in two blocks: field experiences and student teaching. This overarching framework provides for greater exposure to the developmental spectrum of students in the student’s licensure category (K-8).

Student teaching is a semester-long, full-time experience in a K-12 school under the guidance of a supervisor from Saint Mary’s University and a cooperating teacher licensed by the State of Minnesota. Students must attain a 3.0 GPA in their coursework in order to student teach.

Portfolio Development

Students are required to develop and maintain a professional portfolio that demonstrates mastery of the Saint Mary’s University Standards of Effective Practice. In each course students will receive guidance in building portfolio evidence for mastery of course-relevant Standards of Effective Practice. Students who do not meet mastery of course-specific standards must submit evidence of mastery to the Graduate Student Performance Assessment Committee (SPAC) before beginning student teaching. Mastery of standards associated with student teaching must be submitted to the SPAC before licensure recommendation will be made. Failure to meet standards may result in an intervention plan or removal from the program.

State Required Testing

In order to be recommended for licensure in the State of Minnesota, you must pass the Minnesota Teacher Licensing Examination.

Admission Requirements

Applicants may apply for admission to master degree programs at any time during the year. Applicants must have completed an undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution and maintained an overall grade point average of 2.75 on a 4.00 scale. Applicants must demonstrate the language proficiency necessary for successful graduate coursework. Applicants must complete an interview with a program administrator and must complete a spontaneous writing proficiency exam.


The faculty members for this program have earned doctorate or master’s degrees. Faculty are selected for their combination of educational and professional experience and expertise.

Application Process

Applicants must submit the following:

  1. Completed application form with the nonrefundable application fee (fee not required for alumni or students seeking readmission or veterans and active military personnel), and
  2. An official transcript issued to Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota from the institution posting the applicant’s completed bachelor degree and other relevant transcripts documenting program prerequisites and potential transfer credits. (An official transcript is one that is sent to the university by the credit-granting institution. Transcripts from countries other than the U.S. must be evaluated by a university accepted evaluation source, such as World Education Services, Educational Credential Evaluators, Educational Perspectives, or One Earth International Credential Evaluators and be deemed equivalent to accredited U.S. university standards).
  3. A reflective essay which includes the following:
    1. brief description of the applicant’s background, training, and experience; and
    2. statement indicating the career goals of the applicant and his or her reasons for seeking admission to the program; and
    3. description of the areas the applicant considers to be his or her strengths and areas in which the applicant wishes to develop greater strengths and abilities; and
    4. personal information the applicant wishes to share.
  4. Letter(s) of recommendation that verify professional and/or volunteer experience and academic ability; and
  5. A current résumé listing educational background and work experience.
  6. Applicants with international transcripts may require an English language proficiency exam (TOEFL, IELTS, PTE or MELAB accepted.)

Please Note: Application materials should be sent to the attention of the Office of Admission on the Twin Cities campus.

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota
Office of Admission
2500 Park Avenue
Minneapolis, MN  55404

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Programs of Study