Teacher Preparation

Program Offerings

Offering type

The Program in Teacher Preparation (link is external) is an interdepartmental course of study for undergraduates and is composed of a unique combination of coursework and clinical experiences in schools at every level of the program. Graduate students and alumni are eligible to complete it.

The program, approved by the New Jersey Department of Education and by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, allows students to explore education as a career choice and provides the option 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, English as a second language, 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 on teacher licensing examinations, the Program in Teacher Preparation historically reports a 100 percent pass rate on all required licensure tests.

Goals for Student Learning

Classroom teaching requires a broad range of knowledge, skills and professional dispositions in order to foster the success of all learners. The program supports its students in attaining the following learning goals which reflect current national and state standards for teaching. Students in the program will:

  • Understand how learners grow and develop, recognizing the need to address individual needs across cognitive, linguistic, social, emotional and physical domains.
  • Understand individual differences and diverse cultures and communities to ensure inclusive and equitable learning environments to enable all learners to meet high standards.
  • Create learning environments that support individual and collaborative learning, positive social interaction, active engagement and self-motivation.
  • Understand the central concepts, tools of inquiry and structures of their selected content area and apply their knowledge of the content in accessible and meaningful ways to create learning experiences that will develop mastery of the content.
  • Understand how to connect concepts and use differing perspectives to engage learners in critical thinking, creativity and collaborative problem-solving related to authentic local and global issues.
  • Understand and use multiple methods of assessment to engage learners in their own growth, monitor progress and guide instructional decision-making.
  • Plan instruction that supports every learner in meeting rigorous learning goals by utilizing knowledge of content areas, curriculum, cross-disciplinary skills, pedagogy and knowledge of learners and the community context.
  • Use a variety of instructional strategies to encourage learners to develop deep understanding of content areas and develop skills to apply knowledge in meaningful ways.
  • Engage in ongoing individual and collaborative professional learning with the goal of reflecting on teaching, applying current research and best practices and using assessment evidence to improve student learning.
  • Collaborate with learners, families, colleagues, other school professionals and community members to advocate for educational equity, ensure learner growth and advance the profession.
  • Act in accordance with legal and ethical responsibilities and use integrity and fairness to promote the success of all learners.

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 juniors and seniors, graduate 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.

Please note that requirements are subject to change, pending regulations approved by the New Jersey State Department of Education. Students should consult the Teacher Prep Handbook(link is external) for the most current requirements and information. 

Program of Study

General Education Requirements

In order to become 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 major requirements. With careful choice of elective courses it is possible to be certified to teach in one field while majoring 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). Specific areas of certification may include additional requirements or prescribed areas of study in the coursework, 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 18 observation hours in school settings. Three brief written assignments and selected readings are also required. The Introductory Practicum is designed as a noncredit independent study to accommodate the student's 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 completion of 15 hours of fieldwork 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 completion of 22 hours of fieldwork 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) TPP 403 is designed to intersect and complement TPP 404, Clinical Practice. The course covers four broad themes: The Learner and Learning; Content Knowledge: Planning Instruction and Assessment; Instructional Practice and Pedagogy; and Professional Responsibilities. Major course assignments address these themes through a focus on the research and practice of meeting the needs of students with (dis)abilities. The course is designed to help students connect theory and practice, become self-reflective practitioners, use data from formative and summative assessments to inform instruction and prepare for being in the classroom.
  • Clinical Practice (TPP 404) TPP 404 is typically taken during the spring of senior year and is taken concurrently with the TPP 403 seminar. 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 20 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, having 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. TPP 404 carries two units of course credit, allowing students to satisfy University course count requirements for graduation by taking only TPP 403 and TPP 404 during the spring of their senior year.
  • Seminar on Education – Theory and Practice (TPP 405) TPP 405 is taken concurrently with Practice Teaching (TPP 406). 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 and content areas. Students investigate the processes of curriculum development and implementation, develop learning goals and lesson plans, and acquire strategies for measuring student learning by applying both formative and summative assessments. The course assignments and requirements are closely linked to the Practice Teaching experience.
  • Practice Teaching (TPP 406) TPP 406 is a 12-week assignment in a local middle or high school and is typically 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 assume 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). The course carries two units of course credit.

Course Load Requirements

Due to the number of hours required in schools in addition to other required academic work and meetings, both TPP 404 and TPP 406 carry two units of course credit.  Because of the demands of the TPP 404 student teaching semester, students are expected to take only TPP 403 and TPP 404 with their senior thesis during the spring of their senior year, and the two-course count of TPP 404 allows students to do so while meeting graduation course count and minimum course load requirements.  

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

Additional Requirements

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 provide 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 upon 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 and the appropriate Praxis subject area tests in order to earn a New Jersey teaching license.

Certificate of Proficiency

Students who fulfill all program content course requirements and four of the program’s professional courses (PSY 307, TPP 301, TPP 403 and TPP 404) will receive the University’s Program in Teacher Preparation certificate upon graduation. Students who wish to pursue professional licensure will also need to take TPP 405 and TPP 406 in the fall term following graduation (see Program of Study section). 

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 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.

Additional Information


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

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. If students want additional preparation and classroom experience, they are urged to consider completing the Teacher Preparation certificate by also taking TPP 403 and TPP 404. Students considering this option should contact the program office and schedule an appointment with a staff member prior to registration.


  • Director

    • Todd W. Kent
  • Executive Committee

    • Alberto Bruzos Moro, Spanish & Portuguese
    • Jennifer L. Jennings, Schl of Public & Int'l Affairs
    • Stanley N. Katz, Schl of Public & Int'l Affairs
    • Elizabeth L. Paluck, Psychology
    • Daniel Rubenstein, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
  • Sits with Committee

    • Sami Kahn
  • Lecturer

    • Ashley T. Jaffee
    • Todd W. Kent
    • Jessica R. Monaghan
    • Kathleen M. Nolan

For a full list of faculty members and fellows please visit the department or program website.


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 lesson plans, alignment of instructional goals with evaluation and assessment, design of subject and level specific methodologies, and classroom management techniques. Required course work includes 22 hours of site-based field experience and evening laboratory sessions. Students should have one morning of unscheduled time available each week to allow for school visits. The course is open to any student who has an interest in teaching. T. Kent, K. Nolan

TPP 307 - Educational Psychology (also PSY 307) Fall/Spring EC

TPP 405 - Seminar on Education-Theory and Practice Fall/Spring

The Seminar on Education-Theory and Practice is designed to compliment Practice Teaching (TPP 406). 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 and content areas with an emphasis on instructional planning and evaluation of student learning. Course topics include asset pedagogies related to culture, language use, and (dis)ability, academic language development, unit planning and assessment, education policy, and the philosophy of education. Students enroll in the seminar concurrently with TPP 406. K. Nolan

TPP 406 - Practice Teaching Fall/Spring

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 405. TPP 406 counts as two courses by the University. J. Monaghan, K. Nolan, A. Jaffee