Elementary Education

Why study elementary education at the University of Maine?

Elementary education majors at the University of Maine have the opportunity to work within the community of the College of Education and Human Development, yet take advantage of the vast resources available at Maine’s largest and most comprehensive university. The College of Education and Human Development is nationally accredited for its teacher certification programs and provides many opportunities for students to gain professional experience in schools locally, statewide and internationally. Students build a strong liberal arts background by drawing from the many departments on campus to fulfill general education and concentration requirements. Students in the College of Education and Human Development also have the option of studying in the Honors College, which offers intensive work in small classes, as well as the chance to pursue undergraduate research.

What can you do with a degree in elementary education?

In addition to becoming certified to teach in K-8 classrooms, graduates may work in such nonacademic settings as research units, museums and corporations. Our students acquire skills they can use in any career, including the ability to collaborate, to work effectively in team environments, and to communicate clearly. In addition, graduates may pursue careers in schools outside the traditional classroom role, such as technology integrator.

Undergraduate program

The elementary education program builds on strong partnerships the College of Education and Human Development has created with school districts locally, statewide and internationally. This gives students the chance to combine academic work in a university environment with field-based work in a wide range of settings. Our students are prepared to teach and work in diverse educational situations.

The College of Education and Human Development has a nationally recognized Advising Center, which assists students in their first two years at UMaine. As juniors and seniors delve deeper into their major, they work closely with faculty advisors who provide academic and professional guidance. We also offer introductory seminars to acquaint students with program requirements and expectations. Our students have opportunities to build their technological skills, while learning how to utilize technology to enhance the learning of K-8 students. Finally, elementary education students complete a concentration, which allows them to specialize in an area that might broaden their professional opportunities.

Opportunities after graduation

For students wishing to continue on to graduate school, an elementary education degree is preparation for a variety of graduate programs. Students might pursue further work in general education, or pursue specialties such as instructional technology, special education, early childhood education, counselor education, educational leadership or a discipline such as science and mathematics education.

Our faculty

Faculty members in the elementary education program are nationally recognized scholars in their fields and have received national and state level teaching awards as secondary school educators and as college instructors. They are also well-represented in professional organizations both statewide and nationally. Our faculty are from a diverse range of professional backgrounds and draw on a variety of pedagogical perspectives. Many have taught in the United States and abroad, in urban, suburban and rural schools. Equally important, our faculty are accessible and available to students as a resource for assistance with classwork, advising and research.

Opportunities to excel

Scholarships are available to academically qualified students in the college. Students who have a 3.0 GPA can apply to be a member of Kappa Delta Pi, an international honor society for educators. Our students can gain professional research experience at the Katherine M. Durst Child Development Learning Center, a licensed nursery and pre-K program on campus that is one of the oldest such university-affiliated centers in the United States. The Student Education Association of Maine, a campus offshoot of the Maine Education Association, hosts workshops and professional development events. UMaine is home to the Early Childhood Organization (EChO), the nation’s largest college-based early education advocacy group. The organization gives UMaine education students the opportunity to collaborate with peers from nearby colleges, teachers, social workers and others in the field, allowing them to build their professional network before they graduate.

I’m ready to apply. Where do I go?

Visit go.umaine.edu for an application, as well as information about academics and life at UMaine.

UMaine Advantage

  • Comprehensive liberal arts foundation
  • Faculty actively engaged in research
  • Internship opportunities in rural, urban and international classrooms
  • Close interaction with faculty
  • Top-notch advising
  • An education that prepares students to thrive in any career
"I was sitting in Wells Central, waiting to meet a friend, and one of my professors walked by and said, 'Hi, how are you doing? How's the article review coming?' My professors know who I am. If you have open communication with them, they're very flexible and they want to help you." — Hannah Rowell, Class of 2011, South Portland, Maine, elementary education major