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Elementary Education

Bachelor of Arts — Program Overview

Prepare to teach kindergarten through sixth grade by majoring in elementary education at Briar Cliff. Our program is known for producing caring, distinguished teachers and is fully approved by the Iowa Department of Education.


As a teacher candidate at BCU, you'll be active in actual classrooms from the get-go: observing teachers, working with small groups of students and being part of our unique Professional Development School, a collaboration with neighboring Leeds Elementary. You'll rack up 225 hours of classroom experience — and that's before you even start student teaching!


As part of the elementary education major, you'll complete a K-8 reading endorsement, and if possible, a 5-8 middle school endorsement. These endorsements supplement an elementary education major, so you'll be qualified to teach more subject areas and more grade levels. Coaching endorsements are also available.


You have the option to complete a certificate program to teach in Catholic schools. This certificate program is a partnership between the four Iowa Catholic Dioceses and BCU’s education and theology departments. Although not a full teaching endorsement, this certificate enables you to teach religion courses and gives you preferential hiring status in Diocesan schools.

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BCU alum named worldwide finalist for Global Teacher Award

Mar 18, 2015

Dr. Michael Baldwin, a 1981 Briar Cliff graduate, was recently selected as one of 50 finalists worldwide for the prestigious $1 million Global Teacher Prize.

Read Full Article →

Mar 11, 2015

Education chair published in Journal of Youth Development

Mar 10, 2015

Injuries turn into teachable moments for BCU basketball star

More News →

Core Elementary Education Courses

BIOL 102 - Human Biology

An introduction to human structure and function. Topics include the scientific method, cell structure and function, and human inheritance, as well as other selected systems. Three lectures. Read more »

CHEM 446 - Physical Chemistry II

A continuation of CHEM 445 with expansion of topics to include kinetics, quantum mechanics and spectroscopy. Read more »

EDEL 241 - Children's Literature

The study of literature, encompassing PK-8, either expressly written for children or given to children, including folklore, poetry, fantasy, modern realistic fiction, biography, historical fiction, multicultural and informational books. Prerequisite:WRTG 109 or permission of instructor Read more »

EDEL 316 - Teaching Elementary Science

The principles and methods of teaching elementary science will be covered. Emphasis will be placed on teaching science through discovery, inquiry and hands-on activities. Read more »

EDEL 335 - Teaching Elementary Mathematics

Principles and methods for teaching elementary mathematics will be emphasized in the course. Practical application of concepts through the use of manipulatives and interdisciplinary approaches are included in this course. Read more »

EDEL 342 - Teaching Elementary Social Studies

The principles and methods of teaching elementary social studies will be covered. Emphasis will be placed on: designing instruction that incorporates research-based strategies; differentiation of instruction based on students' needs; and supporting instruction through literature, writing, and a variety of resources, including technology. Read more »

EDEL 461 - Teaching Elementary Language Arts

This is an introductory course which emphasizes the principles and methodology of teaching language arts skills (grammar, spelling, listening, thinking, speaking and writing). Read more »

EDEL 464 - Reading Assessment, Diagnosis and Evaluation

This course emphasizes the teaching of language development, corrective and remedial reading problems and strategies. Informal and formal assessment measures are studied. Read more »

EDEL 466 - Elementary Reading and Content Area Instruction

This course emphasizes research-based reading, writing, vocabulary and assessment strategies and practices for teaching reading effectively in the elementary through middle school classroom. Read more »

EDMI 421 - Teaching in Middle School

The structure and curriculum of the middle school are studied in relationship to educational objectives and research in human development. Careful analysis will be made of research- based models for curriculum design and instruction in the middle school, specifically grades 5-8. Interdisciplinary teaming, advisories, and other strategies supporting the rationale of the middle school concept will be addressed. Read more »

EDUC 03 IS - Introduction to Education Computer/Media Technology

This is an introduction to using computers and information technology in education. The various uses of computers and technology in education are examined with an emphasis on creating all types of digital media: text, images, audio, and video. The student will become familiar with common productivity tools, and will identify useful education-related Internet resources. The student will look at how information technology is being used in today's classrooms. Read more »

EDUC 14 IS - Electronic Portfolio

This course prepares education majors in how to create the electronic portfolio used to demonstrate the candidate's competency in meeting each of the standards of the Teacher Preparation Program. This course must be taken in conjunction with student teaching. Read more »

EDUC 250 - Management and Instruction

An examination of and experimentation with various processes and strategies in classroom management and arrangement available to elementary and secondary classroom teachers is presented. Activities will include planning and organization of lessons, and approaches to discipline. EDUC 01 IR is taken concurrently with EDUC 250. Read more »

EDUC 270 - Exceptional Learners

The intent of the course is to examine education of persons with learning disabilities, mental retardation, emotional and behavioral disorders, physical disabilities, sensory impairments, other health impairments, and gifted and talented children. The special traits of each group will be studied as well as the relationships of their traits and abilities to their education, social and psychological needs. Stress will be placed on practical applications of theory (e.g. remediation techniques, etc.) as well as the theories regarding etiological factors. Read more »

EDUC 318 - Educational Psychology

Study of psychological principles applicable to the learning process; theories of learning, and research pertinent to teaching and learning. EDUC 02IR is taken concurrently with EDUC 318. Read more »

EDUC 330 - Educational Measurement and Evaluation

Emphasis upon the nature of standardized tests and the construction of classroom evaluative devices; introduction of elementary statistics; test interpretation; discussion of current trends and needs in evaluation. Read more »

EDUC 410 - Student Teaching in the Elementary School

Scope and general characteristics of the elementary school, including teacher characteristics, evaluation; classroom management and control; current trends and issues in teaching and professional growth. Directed observations, participation and teaching under the supervision and guidance of selected classroom teachers and the college supervisor of student teaching. Prerequisite: Acceptance into the Teacher Preparation Program and completion of the professional methods sequence Read more »

EDUC 452 - Human Relations for Teachers

Designed to develop professional human relation skills for teaching in an aspiring pluralistic society through both theoretical and experiential work. Special emphasis placed on understanding social, cultural, and interpersonal dimensions of the interaction among subgroups. Approximately half of the course time is spent in off-campus experiences. Read more »

HIST 231 - American History to 1877

A survey of the history of the American people from the colonial period to the end of the Civil War. Read more »

MATH 118 - Mathematics for Elementary Teachers I

MATH 118 Mathematics for Elementary Teachers I 3 sem. hrs. Emphasis on the understanding of mathematics taught in elementary school using a problem- solving approach and recommendations of the Iowa Core Mathematics. Topics from basic mathematics include numeration systems, whole numbers, operations, problem solving, measurement, sequences, sets, functions, Venn diagrams, and mathematical reasoning. Prerequisite: MATH 10 or recommendation of the department chairperson based on mathematics assessment Read more »

MATH 119 - Mathematics for Elementary Teachers II

Continued emphasis on the understanding of mathematics taught in elementary school using problem-solving approach and recommendations of the Iowa Core Mathematics. Topics include number theory, integers, fractions, decimals, rational and irrational numbers, proportions, percent, geometry, probability, and statistics. Prerequisite: MATH 118 Read more »

PHYS 116 - Physical Science

A survey of physical science with emphasis on physics, chemistry and earth science. Arithmetic and simple algebra are used throughout the course. Required for elementary education majors, but open to all students. Not recommended for science majors. Three lectures, one lab. Read more »

PSCI 224 - Geography and World Cultures

A survey of human cultures within their physical and social environments. The course reviews basic physical geography and examines major cultural regions and problems in the modern world. Understanding both of global social organization and of the ever-changing position of the United States within the international community is a major emphasis. Read more »

PSYC 110 - Introduction to Psychology

This course is an introduction to fundamental psychological concepts which are derived from applying the scientific method to the study of behavior. Examples of selected topics include: personality development, abnormal behavior and therapy, physiology, motivation and emotions, human development, learning and memory, and social behavior. This course emphasizes theories and theorists as well as relevant applications to everyday living. An introduction to APA style of writing is included. Read more »

PSYC 354 - Psychology of Adolescence

Study of physiological, psychological, cognitive, and social/moral development of adolescents. Middle School education, guidance, and implications for multicultural diversity will be emphasized. A formal classroom presentation and an APA-style presentation on current issues in adolescence are required. Prerequisite: PSYC 110 and 280 Read more »

WRTG 109 - Introduction to College Writing

Practice in essay planning, writing and revision; understanding of expository modes; and reconciliation with a personal sense of language. Prerequisite: WRTG 100 Read more »

EDUC 100 - Introduction to Education

This course includes 15 hours of field experience mandated by the Iowa Department of Education and serves as the gateway to the education program. Read more »

EDUC 101 - Practicum

This course is a fifteen-hour practicum that is taken concurrently with EDUC 100. Read more »

EDEL 317 - Health Methods

The principles and methods for integrating physical education, health, and wellness in the elementary classroom will be emphasized. This course is taught in conjuntion with EDEL 316: Teaching Elementary Science. Read more »

EDEL 318 - Visual Arts Methods

The principles and methods for integrating visual arts in the elementary classroom will be emphasized. This course is taught in conjuntion with EDEL 461: Teaching Elementary Language Arts. Read more »

EDEL 319 - Performance Arts Methods

The principles and methods for integrating performance arts in the elementary classroom will be emphasized. This course is taught in conjuntion with EDEL 342:Teaching Elementary Social Studies. Read more »

Additional Program Requirements

All students intending to seek an elementary education degree must first be admitted into the Teacher Preparation Program.

The Federal Department of Education states that all elementary education majors must take the Praxis II Testing for Licensure in all content areas prior to applying for their teaching license.

What can I do with this major?

Elementary Teacher
Middle School Teacher
Personal Tutor
Athletic Coach
Religious Instructor


Iowa Board of Educational Examiners »

Iowa Department of Education »