Program in Teacher Preparation


  • Director

    • Todd W. Kent
  • Executive Committee

    • Alberto Bruzos Moro
    • Jennifer Jennings
    • Joshua T. Katz
    • Stanley N. Katz
    • Elizabeth L. Paluck
    • Daniel I. Rubenstein

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 Teacher Education Accreditation Council (now called the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation ), 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.

Upon successful completion of the program’s content course requirements and four of the program’s professional courses (PSY 307, TPP 301, TPP 403, and TPP 404), students receive a certificate in teacher preparation from the University. It is possible to earn the University certificate without being recommended to the State for licensure.  To be eligible for New Jersey’s initial state license for teaching in public schools, the Certificate of Eligibility with Advanced Standing, students must return after graduation to complete a semester of full-time student teaching (TPP 405 and TPP 406) and meet the performance levels and additional requirements described below. Participants can earn New Jersey teaching certification in art, biology, chemistry, earth science, English, mathematics, music, physics, social studies, and world languages. The New Jersey teaching license 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 historically reports a 100 percent pass rate.

Admission to the Program

Students are encouraged to apply during the first year 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, a letter of recommendation, ability to satisfactorily complete the State Oath of Allegiance/Verification of Accuracy form, and the successful completion of the Introductory Practicum.  Students must have a 2.75 GPA for undergraduate coursework at the time of admission and complete the program with a 3.0 GPA.  Students must also satisfy the New Jersey Basic Skills Requirement by passing an approved assessment or demonstrating a score on the SAT, ACT, or GRE above the established cut score for the year the exam was taken.

Program Requirements

Students should consult the Teacher Prep Handbook for more detailed explanations of the program’s requirements. 

General Education Requirements

In order to be well-rounded educators, program students are required to demonstrate proficiency 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, and social science. 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. With careful choice of elective courses it is possible to be certified to teach in one field while concentrating in another. 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 for all areas except mathematics, which requires three courses at the 200 level or above). There may be additional requirements or prescribed areas of study to be included in the coursework for specific areas of certification, and students should consult the Teacher Prep Handbook for more information.

Professional Education Requirements

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

Introductory Practicum

The Practicum consists of participation in three one-hour seminar sessions and 16 observation hours in school settings. Three brief written assignments and selected readings are also required. The Introductory Practicum is designed as a non-credit independent study to accommodate the student and the instructor's schedules and is considered the final step in the application process.

Educational Psychology (PSY 307) 

PSY 307 is usually completed during the year prior to practice teaching.  The course includes 15 hours of fieldwork that must be completed in addition to seminar meetings.

Seminar on Student Learning and Methods for Teaching (TPP 301)

TPP 301 is usually completed the semester prior to practice teaching.  The course includes 21 hours of fieldwork that must be completed in addition to seminar meetings, and students should block out a full morning each week to accommodate field observations and travel to schools.  If a student earns a grade of B- or lower in TPP 301 or if a student earns below a B- on the teaching portion of the course, the Program director will review the student’s performance with the possibility that the student may not be allowed to continue in the Program.

Seminar on Instructional Practice and Pedagogy (TPP 403)

A new course to be introduced in spring 2020, TPP 403 is designed to intersect and compliment TPP 404, Clinical Practice.  The course is structured by four broad themes:  The Learner and Learning, Content Knowledge and Pedagogy, Instructional Practice, and Professional Responsibilities.  The four themes are developed with a focus on meeting the needs of students with disabilities, and major course assignments focus on the research and practice of meeting the needs of exceptional learners. 

Clinical Practice (TPP 404) 

Introduced to complement TPP 403 in the spring of 2020, TPP 404 is a 12-week, 175 hour assignment as a student teacher in a local middle or high school over the course of the semester, amounting to approximately 15 hours of clinical work per week.  Students assume increasing control of instruction with the support of a host teacher over the 12 week period, and the experience culminates with the design and delivery of a small unit of instruction.  Assignments include research and summary of the school and classroom context and an analysis and reflection on the unit of instruction taught in the final weeks of the semester.  Candidates are placed in local school districts, and while the goals and needs of candidates are taken into consideration, the Program cannot guarantee placement in specific schools or districts.  While not required, access to a car provides greater flexibility in placing candidates in schools.  Candidates may be required by the district to successfully pass a criminal background check prior to their clinical practice. Candidates are expected to adhere to their host district’s or school’s professional code of conduct, and failure to abide by the code of conduct may jeopardize continued placement.  Teacher Prep candidates must earn a minimum grade of B- in Clinical Practice (TPP 404) to continue with Practice Teaching (TPP 406) and to be eligible for the New Jersey initial teaching license.

Seminar on Education-Theory and Practice (TPP 405)

TPP 405 (numbered as TPP 401 through fall 2019) is taken concurrently with Practice Teaching (TPP 406). The seminar allows students to consider issues in education and their impact on schools, to examine current philosophies of teaching and successful classroom practices, and to explore instructional goals and rubrics appropriate for assessing student work. The course assignments and requirements are closely linked to the Practice Teaching experience.

Practice Teaching (TPP 406)

TPP 406 (numbered as TPP 402 through fall 2019) is a 12-week assignment in a local middle or high school and is completed in the fall semester after graduation. Teacher Prep candidates are placed with an accomplished teacher for the entire school day, five days each week throughout the semester.  Candidates take over all teaching responsibilities under the supervision of the mentor teacher and a program staff member who regularly observes and provides feedback on the candidate’s teaching. Teacher Prep candidates must earn a minimum grade of B- in Practice Teaching (TPP 406) to be recommended by the Program for the New Jersey Department of Education initial teaching certificate (the Certificate of Eligibility with Advanced Standing).

Professional Portfolio Defense. 

The Professional Portfolio is a collection of artifacts and evidence gathered throughout the Program, which, along with written reflections, document the student’s progress in their professional skill development and ultimately a demonstrated proficiency in the New Jersey Professional Standards for Teachers. The portfolio is evaluated at three checkpoints. The first evaluation occurs at the end of the semester just prior to the beginning of TPP 403 and TPP 404, and the candidate must receive a “Pass” on the portfolio evaluation by their adviser in order to begin Practice Teaching.  A second review by the adviser takes place prior to the start of the TPP 405 and TPP 406 student teaching courses, and a "Pass" is required to continue in those courses. The final review is a formal defense of the portfolio that occurs at the completion of TPP 406. The defense must be successfully completed before the student’s application for certification can be submitted to the New Jersey Department of Education.  The portfolio must receive a “Pass” by a majority of reviewers for the program to recommend the student for state licensure. In addition, students will be required to successfully pass a performance assessment (edTPA), and the appropriate Praxis subject area tests in order to earn a New Jersey teaching license.

The above requirements are subject to change, pending regulations approved by the New Jersey State Department of Education.  Students should consult the Teacher Prep Handbook for the most current requirements and information. 

Program Options

Certificate of Proficiency

Students who fulfill all program content course requirements and four of the program’s professional courses will receive the University’s Program in Teacher Preparation certificate upon graduation. Due to changes in New Jersey state licensure requirements effective January 2020, the requirements for the certificate will be different in the fall and spring terms of AY 2019-2020:

  • Classes of 2019 and before:  The professional courses required for the certificate are PSY 307, TPP 301, TPP 401, and TPP 402, to be taken by the conclusion of the fall term of 2019.
  • Classes of 2020 and beyond:  The professional courses required for the certificate are PSY 307, TPP 301, TPP 403, and TPP 404 (TPP 403 and 404 will be offered for the first time in the spring of 2020).  Students who wish to pursue professional licensure will also need to take TPP 405 and 406 in the fall term of 2020 or later, following graduation (see below).

State Licensure

Students are eligible to be recommended for the state of New Jersey’s Certificate of Eligibility with Advanced Standing, the state’s initial teaching license, by fulfilling all program course requirements (including TPP 405 and TPP 406 taken after graduation) and additionally completing and passing the professional portfolio, the edTPA performance assessment, and the appropriate Praxis subject area tests. Students seeking certification in World Languages may also be required to take an oral proficiency test.

The Reduced Course Load Option

Program students are strongly encouraged to exercise the Reduced Course Load Option, which allows the student to reduce by one the number of courses taken during senior year to allow greater time and flexibility for fulfilling the program course and clinical requirements during the spring of senior year. 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.

Preparation for Independent School Teaching

Students not enrolled in the program who are seeking preparation for teaching in independent schools or for work in other areas of education 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.


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.


TPP 301 Seminar on Student Learning and Methods for Teaching Fall/Spring SA

A study of essential dimensions of learning and teaching, including learner characteristics and needs, organization and structure of educational institutions, development of curriculum and instructional goals, preparation of evaluation and assessment, and design of subject/level specific methodologies and classroom management techniques. Required course work includes 21 hours of site-based field experience and evening laboratory sessions. Instructed by: T. Kent, K. Nolan

TPP 316 Dance in Education: Dance/Theater Pedagogy (See DAN 316)

TPP 401 Seminar on Education-Theory and Practice Fall

The Seminar on Education-Theory and Practice is designed to intersect with and compliment Practice Teaching (TPP 402). Students will read and reflect on educational research and reflect on how to best integrate theory and practice in the reality of their school setting. Students investigate the processes of curriculum development and implementation, develop learning goals and lesson plans, and learn strategies for measuring student learning by applying both formative and summative assessments. Prerequisite: permission from the Director of Teacher Certification. Students enroll in the seminar concurrently with TPP 402. Instructed by: A. Catena

TPP 402 Practice Teaching Fall

Supervised practice teaching (a minimum of 12 weeks) in a local school. Teaching is done under the supervision of an accomplished teacher and a program staff member who regularly observes and discusses the student's practice teaching. Students gain firsthand experience in developing teaching strategies, planning and differentiating instruction, assessing student learning, and classroom management. Must be taken concurrently with TPP 401. Instructed by: A. Catena, K. Nolan, A. Jacobson