Graduate Certificate in Teaching Elementary Education

Stock photo for Certificate in Elementary Education RTR program.

he Graduate Certificate in Teaching: Elementary Education prepares students to become teachers in high-needs/hard-to-staff elementary schools. Students will gain an in-depth understanding of science, social studies, and mathematics pedagogy and content. The program provides field experiences during a one-year residency to expose students to classroom teaching and classroom management. Graduates will be prepared to teach in elementary (K-6) classroom settings, and to meet the needs of elementary students with a focus on urban and high-needs schools.

This certificate is designed to meet the Virginia Department of Education’s requirements that are specified for provisional teacher licensure. Although it does not lead to full licensure, the coursework can lead to provisional teacher licensure through a public school system.

The target audience for this graduate certificate program includes students who hold bachelor’s degrees, but do not possess all of the necessary coursework to be eligible for teacher licensure in the state of Virginia.

Curriculum information

All students move through the certificate as a cohort. Courses will be taken in three consecutive semesters. Summer semester enrollment will be required. In the fall semester, students will enroll in 10 credit hours (fulltime). In the spring semester, students will enroll in six credit hours (part-time). In the summer semester, students will enroll in 12 credit hours (fulltime). Students will complete the program in one academic year.

Degree requirements for the Graduate Certificate in Teaching Elementary Education »

Students unable to complete a course or a semester with their cohort, will work with the director of the program to plan for re-entering with the next cohort. Students have up to three calendar years to complete the coursework for the certificate, once registered coursework has commenced.



How to apply: Graduate application
Semester of entry: Fall, Spring or Summer
Application deadlines: June 1 (Fall); Nov. 1 (Spring); April 1 (Summer)

Resources and Checklists

Application Checklist - Graduate Certificate in Elementary Education [PDF]
RTR Teacher Residency Application Checklist [PDF]



In addition to the general admission requirements of the VCU Graduate School, the following requirements represent the minimum acceptable standards for admission:

  • Acceptance into the RTR program or verification and recommendation from hiring school district of employment in a Virginia school as a provisionally licensed teacher in Elementary Education
  • Three letters of recommendation addressing the student’s potential for graduate study in education
  • Statement of intent
  • Transcripts of all previous college work
  • Satisfactory scores on the VCLA

Prospective students interested in the RTR program should contact for additional details on admission into the RTR program.

Ready To Get Started?

Jenna Lenhardt, Ph.D.