Program in Teacher Preparation

Academic Unit

Program Information

The Program in Teacher Preparation is an interdepartmental course of study for undergraduates and is composed of a unique mix of coursework, seminars, laboratory experience, field work, and practice teaching. The program, approved by the New Jersey Department of Education and by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), allows students to explore teaching as a career option and to become fully prepared and certified to teach successfully at the middle and secondary levels within the regular framework of a Princeton A.B. or B.S.E. Participants can earn certification in art, English, mathematics, music, the sciences, social studies, and world languages.

Upon successful completion of the program requirements, students receive a certificate in teacher preparation from the University and may apply for a Certificate of Eligibility with Advanced Standing for teaching in public schools. The certificate is transferable to other states through reciprocity agreements. Independent schools, as a rule, do not require certification in order to secure a teaching position. However, independent school directors have become increasingly interested in teacher candidates who are fully prepared and certified within a liberal arts curriculum.

In accordance with Title II federal regulations for reporting pass rates in teacher licensing examinations, the Program in Teacher Preparation reported a 100 percent pass rate in the 2013-14 cohort.

Admission to the Program

Students are encouraged to apply during the freshman or sophomore year to allow adequate time for scheduling required courses, but applications are also accepted from third and fourth year students and alumni. Admission is based on academic standing, evidence of interest in teaching, personal interview, and the successful completion of the Introductory Practicum.

Program Requirements

General Education Requirements. The New Jersey Department of Education requires that students preparing to teach complete courses in a variety of academic disciplines within the liberal arts and sciences curriculum. A course is required in each of the following areas: fine arts, humanities, mathematics, science, social science, and technology. Courses taken to fulfill the University distribution requirements will cover all of these areas except for fine arts.

Teaching Area Requirements. Teaching area requirements normally correspond to departmental concentration requirements. A minimum of eight courses related to the area of certification are required, with three of the eight courses at the advanced level (300 or 400 level). With careful choice of elective courses it is possible to be certified in one field while concentrating in another.

Professional Education Requirements. In addition to the general education and teaching area requirements, the professional education sequence includes the following:

Introductory Practicum. Participation in three one-hour seminar sessions and a six-hour observation in a school. Three brief written assignments and selected readings are also required. The Introductory Practicum is designed as an independent study to accommodate the student and the instructor's schedules.

Educational Psychology (PSY 307) or an approved alternate course, usually completed during the year prior to practice teaching.

Seminar on Student Learning and Methods for Teaching (TPP 301). TPP 301 is usually completed the semester prior to practice teaching.

Site-Based Field Experience. A 30-hour observation in a school and the preparation of two lessons done in cooperation with a classroom teacher. (The field experience is completed concurrently with PSY 307, or alternate, and TPP 301.)

Seminar on Education-Theory and Practice (TPP 401). TPP 401 is taken concurrently with Practice Teaching (TPP 402).

Practice Teaching (TPP 402). TPP 402 is a 12-week assignment as a student teacher completed during the senior year (if done prior to the fall of 2018) or during an additional ninth semester (see The Practice Teaching Option below).

The above course requirements are subject to change, pending regulations approved by the New Jersey State Department of Education. Currently, students are required to complete a single semester of student teaching during senior year or in a semester after graduation. Beginning in the fall of 2018, students will be required to complete 175 additional clinical hours prior to the full semester of practice teaching. The full semester of student teaching must be done in a semester after graduation to accommodate the new requirements. In addition, students will be required to successfully pass a performance assessment (edTPA) in order to earn a New Jersey teaching license beginning in the 2017-18 academic year.

Program Options

The Reduced Course Load Option.  Students who choose to do their practice teaching in either the fall or spring semester of their senior year, prior to the fall of 2018, have the option of reducing by one, the number of courses taken in that semester so as to devote full time to TPP 401 and TPP 402. This option requires that students complete 26 courses prior to the senior year. The arrangement does not alter distribution, departmental, or language requirements, nor does it reduce the total number of courses required for graduation. Students wishing to select this option must secure the approval of a program staff member and the appropriate academic dean.

The Practice Teaching Option (PTO). Program participants who find that they are unable to schedule TPP 401 and TPP 402 in a semester of their senior year can take those courses in a term after graduating or in a term during a one-year leave of absence between the junior and senior years. There is a modest tuition charge for the extra semester, and students are responsible for their own room and board. Students considering this option should discuss their plans with a member of the program staff, since special arrangements are required. Financial aid is available to eligible students.

Preparation for Independent School Teaching. Students not enrolled in the program who are seeking preparation for teaching in independent schools may enroll in PSY 307 or TPP 301 provided space is available. Students considering this option should contact the program office and schedule an appointment with a staff member prior to registration.

Certificate of Proficiency

Students who fulfill all program requirements receive a certificate of proficiency in teacher preparation upon graduation.

Placement. The program also provides placement services for all Princeton students and alumni seeking teaching and administrative positions in elementary and secondary schools, both public and private.