Elementary Master's Degree first-time licensure program handbook
The following document represents the handbook for the current academic year. For an archived version of a previous year's handbook, please contact your specific program. All forms mentioned in the program handbook can be found on the Graduate Schools forms page.
I. Program description
Thank you for your interest in the Elementary Education licensure program. The Master's First-time Licensure Program in Elementary Education (M.Ed.) is designed for individuals who have earned a bachelor's degree in fields other than education at an accredited institution and who want to combine teacher licensure at the K-8th level and become licensed in Elementary Education by the Nevada State Department of Education (NSDE) with a Master's Degree in Education (M.Ed.). Students must meet graduate school admissions requirements, maintain the required GPA, and fulfill the other requirements stated in the manual.
This handbook describes the program and provides important details about applying to and advancing through the program.
The Master's First-Time Licensure Program is divided into two parts:
- Required course work that leads to an elementary teaching license in Nevada
- Additional coursework (4 classes) beyond licensure to complete the requirements for a Master's Degree in Elementary Education (M.Ed.).
II. Admission procedures and requirements
Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis. For full consideration, it is recommended that the applicant complete applications by March 15 for Fall admission and October 15 for Spring Admission.
All application materials are to be submitted to the Graduate School for this program. Once an application is completed, the Graduate School will forward the application to the Elementary Education Program for an acceptance decision.
Apply to the Graduate School
Master's First-Time Licensure student application forms for the Graduate School are found online at the Graduate School website. On the application form, list Master's in Elementary Education (M.Ed.) as your intended degree program and Elementary Education as your intended major. Please follow the directions on their website. It is the responsibility of the candidate to be aware of and comply with all application policies and procedures of the Graduate School.
If an applicant wishes to begin course work while awaiting notification of acceptance to the graduate program, he or she may apply to the Graduate School for admittance as a Graduate Special student. Only a total of 12 graduate credits may be applied to the master's degree, taken as a graduate special and/or transferred from another approved institution. For questions or concerns regarding the Graduate Special application, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
International students are required to take an English exam if their educational history is from a non-English speaking country. Please visit the Graduate School website to learn more about English exams, required scores and which countries are exempt from testing.
The following items must be included with your application materials to the Graduate School:
- Application form
- Prerequisite coursework form
- Two letters of recommendation. It is highly recommended but not mandatory that one recommendation must be from a supervisor who has directly observed your work with children. The other recommendation may be from an employer who has directly supervised your work experiences. Recommendations should provide detailed descriptions of professional qualities and potential for teaching.
- 1-2-page professional resume
- Acknowledgment of Nevada Revised Statute NRS 391.033 (subject to fingerprinting and background check) and NV Administrative Regulation R136-15 (criminal history records)
- Recognition signature of the Graduate School Professional Behavior and Dispositions policy.
- Recognition of the College of Education Professional Dispositions Policy for field-based courses and activities.
- A 3 to 5-page essay entitled, "Qualities That I Bring to the Teaching Profession."
Competency testing requirements:
Pursuant to NAC 391.036, all applicants for a Nevada educator license are required to pass the Praxis series of competency tests, which are administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) completed within five (5) years prior to application for licensure. When you are taking any Praxis tests, be sure to specify the Nevada Department of Education as a score recipient (recipient code 8670) if you would like ETS to transmit your test scores to us electronically. Test times and locations are listed on the ETS Praxis Testing website.
Pursuant to NAC 391.056, an applicant for initial licensure who has not completed all required competency testing may be issued a non-renewable/provisional license which is valid for three (3) years and given two (2) years in order to complete the necessary tests.
Required testing for most licenses includes:
- Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators - This is a series of three tests covering Reading, Writing, and Mathematics. The Praxis Core tests replace the Praxis I/Pre-Professional Skills Test (PPST) series of tests previously administered by ETS. You cannot combine passing test scores from the two series; if you have not previously passed all three parts of the PPST, you will need to take and pass all three of the Core Academic Skills for Educators tests in order to be licensed in Nevada. If you have previously passed all three portions of the PPST completed within the last five (5) years, you do not need to take the Praxis Core exams.
- There are currently two (2) versions of the Praxis Core tests for reading, writing, and math.
- The previous Praxis Core test numbers are: 5712 (reading), 5722 (writing), and 5732 (math) and the NDE will continue to accept these test scores.
- The newer Praxis Core test numbers are: 5713 (reading), 5723 (writing), and 5733 (math).
- The only difference in testing is that the new math test has been revised to remove geometry.
- The NDE will accept passing test scores for all 3 of the new, all 3 of the previous, or a combination of both.
- There are currently two (2) versions of the Praxis Core tests for reading, writing, and math.
NAC 391.036 provides for the following exceptions to Nevada's competency testing requirements.
Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators: Applicants for licensure will not be required to pass the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators tests if they have met one of the following requirements:
- Have passed a basic skills test that is determined by the NDE to be equivalent to the “Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators” in reading, mathematics, and writing.
- Received a master’s or more advanced degree from a regionally accredited college or university and completed within five (5) years immediately preceding the date on which their application was submitted the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) prepared and administered by ETS or its equivalent and received a score which was at or above midpoint of the score range in effect at the time of examination.
GPA Requirement – GPA requirements for regular admission are:
- An overall undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 2.75 or higher in the bachelor's degree or cumulative GPA.
- An applicant may apply with a GPA lower than 2.75 and request a review of the last 30 credit hours' GPA. These exceptions will be reviewed by the faculty committee for admittance or provisional admittance if approved.
Reflective essay admission requirement
Compose a 3 to 5 page essay entitled, "Qualities That I Bring to the Teaching Profession". This essay should be double-spaced with 1-inch margins and should use a 12-point font. Essays should address each of the following areas:
- Amount and type of experience with children
- Beliefs about teaching and learning
- Strength of content-area knowledge (math, science, social studies, language arts)
- Attitudes and beliefs related to student diversity (consider ethnicity, language, religion, learning styles, disabilities, etc.)
- Evidence of your dedication to continuous learning
Essays will be evaluated on the quality of thinking exhibited in content, writing style and the level of proficiency demonstrated in the categories identified in the rubric. As you present and discuss your beliefs, be sure to provide support for each area of the essay. Support can include personal experiences and/or knowledge you have gained from education coursework, education experts, and textbook authors. Preference will be given to applicants with the highest overall qualification, including the quality of their thinking evident in the essay.
Beliefs about teaching and learning
- Not evident (1): The author does not discuss personal beliefs about teaching and learning.
- Developing (2): The author makes an attempt to describe his/her beliefs about teaching and learning, but without adequate support for the ideas presented.
- Acceptable (3): The author adequately discusses his/her beliefs about teaching and learning.
- Solid foundation (4): The author makes clear his/her beliefs about teaching and learning and provides adequate support for the ideas presented.
- Highly accomplished (5): The author provides a focused discussion of his/her beliefs about teaching and learning, with strong support for those beliefs that goes beyond personal experience.
Strength of content- area knowledge
- Not evident (1): The author does not provide evidence of his/her content area knowledge.
- Developing (2): The author makes an attempt to discuss his/her content area knowledge but without adequate support for this knowledge.
- Acceptable (3): The author adequately discusses content knowledge.
- Solid foundation (4): The author makes clear his/her knowledge in the content areas, and this knowledge adequately reflects the levels of coursework taken. Support for content area knowledge is presented.
- Highly accomplished (5): The author provides a focused discussion of his/her content area knowledge, and this knowledge superbly reflects the levels of coursework taken. Support for content area knowledge is outstanding
Attitudes and beliefs related to student diversity
- Not evident (1): The author does not discuss his/her attitudes and beliefs related to student diversity.
- Developing (2): The author makes an attempt to discuss his/her attitudes and beliefs related to student diversity, but without adequate and/or accurate support for
- these attitudes and beliefs.
- Acceptable (3): The author adequately discusses beliefs and attitudes regarding student diversity.
- Solid foundation (4): The author makes clear his/her attitudes and beliefs related to student diversity, and provides adequate and accurate support for these attitudes and beliefs.
- Highly accomplished (5): The author provides a focused discussion of his/her beliefs related to student diversity, with strong and accurate support for these attitudes and beliefs backed by empirical evidence.
Author's voice and writing style
- Not evident (1): The writing is flat, with no sense of the author's personal beliefs. No evidence of the effective use of language; the text contains numerous grammatical and/or spelling errors.
- Developing (2): The author makes an attempt to communicate ideas in a lively and interesting manner. The author demonstrates basic command of language, but text contains quite a few grammatical and/or spelling errors.
- Acceptable (3): The author adequately communicates his/her point of view. The author demonstrates basic command of language, but text contains quite grammatical and/or spelling errors.
- Solid foundation (4): The author communicates ideas in an interesting and lively manner. The author uses language effectively. The text contains few grammatical and/or spelling errors.
- Highly accomplished (5): The author takes a unique approach to communicating his/her beliefs. The author uses language in a sophisticated manner. The text is polished and contains no grammatical and/or spelling errors.
III. Program admission
Prerequisite Subject Matter Coursework
All applicants to the Master's First-time Licensure Program must provide evidence of the following prerequisite coursework in the major content areas of the K-8 curriculum prior to enrolling in the corresponding methods course
- English - 9 credits in composition, literature, linguistics, speech or communications;
- Mathematics - 6 credits of college-level mathematics (Math 122, Math 123 or higher math courses equivalent to MATH 126). Note*, math 122 & 123 are highly recommended because these courses specifically covers the math content taught in grades K-8;
- Science - 6 credits with at least one course in two of the following areas:
- life science: biology, environmental science, zoology, botany, anatomy, physiology (life science course should be no more than ten years old)
- earth science: geology, physical geography, general earth science, etc.
- physical science: basic physics (100 level) or basic chemistry (100 level)
- Social Science - 6 credits in history, political science, cultural geography, economics, and/or Western Traditions/Core Humanities.
IV. Admission to teacher education
Admission to the Master's First-Time Licensure Program constitutes admission to teacher education. Admission to teacher education is required in order to take methods courses. Upon admission to teacher education, you should meet with the assigned advisor to review course prerequisites, suggested program sequence, and to develop a plan of study for the master's degree.
Continuous Enrollment/Leave of Absence - Once admitted to the master's degree, you must enroll in a minimum of 3 graduate credits each fall and spring semester or apply for a leave of absence. You may take an approved leave of absence for up to one year without reapplying to the program. To return to the program, a Notice of Reinstatement to Graduate Standing form should be completed and submitted to the Elementary Program office. If you exit the program for longer than one year or who fail to complete a leave-of-absence form before exiting, you will be required to reapply to the program during the regular application period.
Internship (Student teaching)
Prior to internship (student teaching) in the licensure program described in this manual, all students are required to undergo fingerprinting and a background check. This is accomplished by applying for a substitute teacher's license in Nevada. This procedure is required with the application for an internship. The application for a substitute teacher's license may be obtained through the Nevada Department of Education in Carson City.
The supervised internship occurs at the end of the licensure portion of the Master's First-Time Licensure Program. Applications for Supervised Internships are due early in the semester prior to the internship. The Director of Field Experiences advertises deadlines each semester.
Criteria for approval for an internship placement:
- Completion of a Bachelor's degree,
- Completion of all required prerequisite content courses,
- Demonstration of the basic skills requirement,
- Completion of all U.S. and Nevada Constitution and Nevada school law requirements,
- Completion of all licensure coursework,
- Minimum overall GPA of 3.0 in licensure course work, with a minimum grade of B in all required courses (S for S/U courses),
- A valid substitute teacher's license in Nevada, or have completed the fingerprinting process and background check, and
- Satisfactory performance in the professional judgment of the Elementary Education faculty.
Performance Assessment: All programs in the College of Education & Human Development (undergraduate and graduate) are performance-based. The purpose of our assessment procedures is to ensure that the University program completers are educators of quality. Assessment procedures are aligned with state and national standards. Assessments occur throughout a program, but more specifically at admission to a program, at a midpoint in a program, and at program completion. For students in a teacher education program, the assessment also occurs for admission to the student internship.
Assessment criteria must be met in order to progress through a program. Details on departmental advising or performance assessment are available in the departmental handbook.
Professional Performance Portfolio I
Upon admission to a teacher education program, you will begin to develop a portfolio of artifacts to document your progress toward the Domains of Professional Competence in Task Stream. In the semester before the internship, you will complete and submit a portfolio of accumulated work with explanatory pieces in order to advance to the internship. The portfolio is one piece of evidence concerning your progress in developing the knowledge, dispositions, and performances required of all highly qualified teachers. Information and guidance concerning performance assessment and portfolio development is presented in each method and practicum course throughout the teacher education program and is the same for the undergraduates and graduates in the licensure program. Artifacts will be gathered through Task Stream, an electronic program that you enroll in when you enter the program and maintains your assessment data on an ongoing basis during your course of study toward your degree completion.
Professional Performance Portfolio II
This Portfolio is built as part of the student teaching experience. It contains documentation from your internship that has already been reviewed and evaluated by your lead teacher and supervisor. Therefore, it does not need to be evaluated again by the Director. More information about this portfolio may be found in the Student Internship manual located on the College of Education & Human Developments' website.
Praxis II Exam
The Nevada Department of Education requires that all teachers demonstrate knowledge of their teaching field. Teachers seeking an elementary teaching license must pass the following exam prior to completion of the licensure portion of the program. This test is typically taken during the student internship portion of your program.
Elementary (K—8) Elementary Education: Instructional Practice and Application ETS test number 5019. A passing score of 155 or higher is required for licensure in Nevada. Please visit the ETS website for information regarding this requirement.
Obtaining a teacher license
Upon satisfactory completion of all licensure program requirements, the College of Education & Human Development will send a notice of completion to the Nevada Department of Education in Carson City. To receive a teaching license, however, interns must apply to the Nevada Department of Education. The College of Education is not authorized to issue a teaching license. The application process is reviewed in detail during student teaching.
Other policies and information
Please consult the Course Catalog for other policies and information pertinent to graduate work at the University. In particular, pay careful attention to relevant segments of the College of Education & Human Development and Graduate School sections.
For more information, contact Teruni Lamberg, Ph.D., Program Coordinator: Elementary Education, at email@example.com or call (775) 682-7533.
V. Program requirements
In order to earn the Master of Education (M.Ed.) degree in elementary education, students must complete 32 to 67 credits of approved courses. The program is divided into two parts:
- Required course work leading to an elementary teaching license in Nevada
- Additional coursework (4 classes) beyond licensure to complete the requirements for a Master's Degree in Elementary Education (M.Ed.).
VI. Timeline for degree completion
Degree completion timelines vary based on a number of factors, including the number of credits that a student can transfer, full-time or part-time status, summer classes and so forth. The average time is 2-3 years.
- Declaration of Advisor/Major Advisor/Committee Chair form: The completed form must be submitted to the Graduate School by the end of the student's second semester
- Program of Study form: The completed form must be submitted to the Graduate School by the end of the student's third semester
- Graduate Application: Must be submitted to the Graduate School several weeks in advance. Check the Graduate School graduation page for exact dates.
- Notice of completion: Completed form should be submitted after all requirements have been met.
VII. Advanced performance assessment guidelines
The Master's Degree in Education (M.Ed.) culminates in a scholarly activity, namely, a project, or a portfolio. Students who enter the Master's program should be aware of the culminating activity as part of their initial advisement. By the end of the second semester of the master's program coursework, the student should have developed a committee made up of a chair and two members, one who is from outside the Elementary Education program. Graduate students should contact his or her chair once a semester during the program. It is especially important to meet with your chair BEFORE the last semester to choose a topic for the project or guidelines for developing the portfolio.
The student should meet with his/ her advisor to determine a project to conduct a research project. These projects MUST be approved by the advisor prior to starting the project and collecting data. The goal of the project is to conduct action research examining practice within your classroom. Data collection may follow either qualitative or quantitative research designs. The final research product is typically a written paper that is between 25-30 pages in length and demonstrates abilities to review the literature, communicate methods, collect -data, interpret data through analysis, and make conclusions based upon the data. The research will be shared in a Master's defense which will demonstrate proficiency in all of the 5 Professional Domains.
If the student has decided to follow a portfolio option, the student will need to bring in a draft of the portfolio to the chair before the culminating course is completed. The portfolio should include an overview and the student's reflective changes in teaching during the master's program, representative artifacts with a clear rationale for why each artifact was included in each of the six domains, and a culminating reflective writing of how the portfolio artifacts were brought into the curriculum, teaching, and learning process in the classroom. Some possible questions that may help to guide the culminating reflective writing are: "What is the meaning of each of the six competencies?" "How are the artifacts reflecting on the growth of students' learning in the classroom?" "How has the master's program provided a clearer understanding of each of the six competencies?" Once the chair has approved the final portfolio, he or she sends the portfolio (or copy) to the other members of the committee. Each member assesses the portfolio using the rubric. The members each return the rubric to the chair within an agreed upon time, and the chair determines by the average or all rubric scores (or a mode) if the student has received a passing score. If the portfolio is not satisfactory, the chair returns the portfolio to the student with a list of revisions.
Final Master's Defense:
Regardless of the option for a final project or portfolio, there must be an oral defense where the research or portfolio is presented to the Master's Degree Committee. This typically takes place within the last month of the final semester that the student intends to graduate. Please see the Important Dates on the Graduate School website for the deadlines of paperwork.
VIII. Graduate assistantship
- The College of Education and Human Development has a limited number of graduate assistantships for full-time students admitted to masters or doctoral programs
- The graduate assistant may teach a course, supervise lower-level students in internships or field experiences, or assist faculty with their teaching and related research.
- View eligibility and applications on our graduate assistantship web page.
- All graduate students holding an assistantship (teaching GTA or GRA) are considered Nevada residents for tuition purposes. Non-resident tuition is only waived for the duration of the assistantship. To be eligible for an assistantship, students must be admitted to a degree-granting program and be in good academic standing. The student must have an overall GPA of at least 3.0 and must be continuously enrolled in at least 6 graduate level credits (600-700) throughout the duration of the assistantship.
- State-funded assistantships (GTA/GRA) may be held for a maximum of: three (3) years for master’s degree students and five (5) years for doctoral degree students.
- General information on graduate assistantships.
- Graduate Assistantship handbook.
IX. Health insurance
All domestic degree-seeking graduate students, who are enrolled in six or more credits (regardless of the course level) in a semester, will be automatically enrolled and billed for the University-sponsored health insurance for each term they are eligible (fall & spring/summer). If a student has other comparable coverage and would like to waive out of the student health insurance, it is the student’s responsibility to complete the University online waiver form prior to the deadline. If approved, a health insurance waiver is good for the current academic year only. A new waiver must be submitted each academic year. All international graduate students are required to carry student health insurance, and the cost will be automatically added to your student account. Any international graduate students with insurance questions must contact the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) directly.
View information on graduate student health insurance.
X. Leave of absence
- Continuous Enrollment: To maintain “good standing,” all graduate students are required to enroll in a minimum of three (3) graduate credits each fall and spring semester until they graduate. International students may be required to enroll in nine graduate credits each fall and spring semester, depending on the requirements of their visa. All students holding assistantships (whether teaching or research assistantships) are required to enroll in a minimum of six (6) graduate credits each semester they hold the assistantship.
- Leave of Absence: Students in good standing may request a leave of absence by completing a Leave of Absence form, during which time they are not required to maintain continuous registration. Usually, a leave of absence is approved for one or two semesters. The leave of absence request may be extended by the student filing an additional leave of absence form. Students applying for a leave of absence should not have any “incomplete” grades, which could be changed to “F” and have a detrimental impact on their cumulative GPA. Requests for leave of absences must be received by the Graduate School no later than the last day of enrollment for the semester the leave is to begin.
- Reinstatement: When a student has been absent for one semester or more without an approved leave of absence, he or she may request reinstatement via the Reinstatement form. This form allows the program the option to recommend the student be re-admitted to their graduate program based on their previous admission OR require the student to re-apply for admission, which would require students to submit a new application for admission and pay the application fee. The Notice of Reinstatement to Graduate Standing must be received by the Graduate School no later than the last day of enrollment for the semester the reinstatement is to begin.
XII. Graduate Student Association
- The Graduate Student Association(GSA) represents all graduate students and promotes the welfare and interests of the graduate students at the University of Nevada, Reno. The GSA works closely with appropriate university administrative offices, including the Graduate School and Student Services and reports to the President of the University. The GSA government functions through the Council of Representatives, Executive Council and established committees.
- The GSA offers several events, awards and needs-based services to current graduate students.