The CFS licensure program specializing in early childhood education (PreK–3) is designed to prepare students for licensure to teach general child populations, birth through age eight. This program is, at minimum, a five-year program at the end of which, students will receive both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in early childhood education as well as statewide licensure. Briefly, successful completion of each requires the following:
- Completion of the undergraduate program: Students will successfully complete the undergraduate program and earn a bachelor’s degree in CFS specializing in early childhood education through 1) fulfilling the progression prerequisites and degree requirements, 2) completing the steps for admission to the licensure program via the teacher education interview process, and 3) being accepted into the CFS master’s program. Details are further outlined in the remaining sections of this page.
- Completion of licensure: Students will successfully achieve licensure through two steps: 1) upon successful completion of the bachelor’s degree and 2) upon successful completion of the licensure internship, which is a yearlong teaching internship that consists of 24 credits toward the master’s in CFS. However, successfully completing the licensure program does not fulfill the requirements to complete the master’s.
- Completion of the master’s program: Students will have successfully completed the master’s program by earning an additional 12 hours of graduate coursework. These 12 hours are in addition to the 24 hours that the licensure internship warrants, and credits are to be taken either before or after the licensure internship, but not during. However, undergraduate seniors in this program are permitted to take up to 9 hours of graduate coursework towards the master’s degree. For further information, consult the Seniors Eligible for Graduate Credit (p. 41) section in the undergraduate catalog .
Undergraduate Program Overview
Students who wish to pursue the PreK–3 teacher licensure track are those who are interested in teaching general child populations, birth to grade three. The program is designed to prepare students for both the teacher licensure program and the graduate program in CFS, and successful completion of the undergraduate degree is governed by admission to both. Before students are considered for admission, they must fulfill a number of progression prerequisites and undergraduate degree requirements. Students must also complete the (1) Admission Boards Interview Process and (2) the process of applying to both the Graduate School at UT and the department’s master’s program. Once students have successfully progressed into the program via the aforementioned prerequisites and requirements, students must complete a semester-long teaching practicum (CFS 470) in the Early Learning Center, which is done after successfully completing CFS 351. For more information on how to complete the master’s, contact the PreK–3 coordinator.
Progression for PreK–3 candidates is the formal acceptance into the program, which occurs through fulfilling progression prerequisites and completing the two-step progression process: 1) the Admission Board application and interview process and 2) applying for and being admitted to both the UT Graduate School and the department’s master’s program. PreK–3 candidates must have the following prerequisites in order to be eligible to progress and apply to the program. Please see the Teacher Licensure Handbook.
Prerequisites for Progression:
- Completion of 60 undergraduate hours (Junior standing)
- A 2.75 minimum GPA
- A score of 21 of the ENACT, or 1020 on the RSAT, or passing all three parts of the Core Academic Skills for Educators: math, reading, writing test
- Minimum grade of “C” in all CFS courses
- Successful completion of CFS 350, and enrollment in or completion of CFS 351
- Pass a UT Hearing and Speech Evaluation
- Completion of the application questionnaire for admission
Steps to Progression:
Step 1: Completion of the Admission Boards application and interview process. Details of this process are outlined in the Teacher Licensure Handbook.
Step 2: Application to and acceptance into both the Graduate School at UT and CFS master’s program. Students who have successfully progressed into the PreK–3 program will apply to the Graduate School during their senior year. Students should talk to their academic advisor about this process.
Having the above prerequisites and being eligible to apply does not guarantee admission into the Teacher Licensure Program. Candidates must also exhibit a strong knowledge base, professionalism both in and outside of academic settings, experience with children, and abilities to collaborate and interact interpersonally (see Teacher Licensure Handbook.)
Once candidates have successfully finished the admission process, students will have officially progressed as a CFS major concentrated in early childhood education, ages PreK–3.
In order to complete the early childhood education PreK–3 track, students must maintain basic curriculum requirements, progress into the major via the Admission Board interview process, apply for and be accepted into the master’s program in CFS, and complete the 12-hour senior practicum, CFS 470. Please note that students who are either no longer interested in pursuing PreK–3 licensure or are unable to meet academic requirements for the program should contact the advising coordinator, Sally Hunter, to explore other options. See contact information at the end of this page.
Basic curriculum requirements:
- Maintain a 2.75 minimum GPA over the course of undergraduate study
- Make no less than a “C” in all CFS courses
- Complete all CFS core courses
- Utilize and successfully complete all courses designated for PreK–3 candidates
Application requirements for the master’s program in CFS:
- Complete and submit an application to the Graduate School, which includes sending the completed application and official academic transcripts.
- Students should talk to their academic advisor about this process.
CFS 470 (PreK-3) Practicum: PreK Teaching
The undergraduate major course of study concludes with a 12-credit-hour field-based experience that enables students to hone practical skills and knowledge in a work setting consistent with their personal and professional goals. PreK–3 candidates will complete a semester-long practicum in one of the Early Childhood Learning Center’s classrooms. If you are currently a PreK–3 candidate and would like more information, please contact your assigned faculty advisor for details on applying, prerequisites to the practicum, and other general information necessary for successful completion of the practicum and program.
Important Progression Considerations
- Students are expected to know the criteria they must meet in order to progress into the major and should regularly monitor their progress in meeting these criteria.
- Students must work closely with advisors to ensure that they understand the requirements for progression and that they strictly follow the application process for the practicum experience of their choice. Students are advised to start working with faculty advisors as early as possible.
- If students do not appear able to meet these criteria, they are encouraged to work closely with their faculty advisor to plan an alternative educational program.
If you are interested in this program, you will first need to visit the Advising Center in the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences (CEHHS) to meet with an advisor. They are located at 332 Bailey Education Complex (1122 Volunteer Blvd.). Appointments can be made by calling 865-974-8194. The advisors at CEHHS will discuss all of the information summarized above, go over the CFS program and curriculum, look over your degree audit report (DARS), and academic transcript(s) to ensure this program is the best fit for your needs. Also visit the CEHHS Advising Center online for further information.Once you have met with the CEHHS advisors and decided this is the program you would like to pursue, you will be assigned a faculty advisor through the CFS department. Please note that it is in your best interest to start this process as early in the academic career as possible.
Tennessee Transfer Pathway
Follow the link here to view the Tennessee Transfer Pathway requirements.
Any student pursuing a track in ECE (PreK–3) or EDL (PreK–K) will receive advising from the faculty advisor to whom they were initially assigned. If you have forgotten who your faculty advisor is, contact the CFS front office. If a student has yet to be assigned an advisor, please view the “Declaring PreK–3” tab above for more information.