Prerequisite Requirements: Initial Teacher Certification Program
Undergraduate Coursework Required for Admission
For students interested in pursuing initial teacher certification through the University at Buffalo's graduate-level program, this page provides information regarding prerequisite requirements for the undergraduate major and content-area distribution as well as the general education core in liberal arts and sciences.
Undergraduate Major and Content-Area Distribution
To be eligible for admission, an applicant must have completed a baccalaureate degree with a major approved for the intended certificate title (and, for some certificate titles there are additional content distribution requirements). For applicants who have not completed such a major, program faculty can review transcripts to determine the extent to which an equivalent to an approved major has been achieved. The approved majors (and applicable content distribution requirements) for each certificate title are as follows:
Early Childhood and/or Childhood
A baccalaureate degree with a major in one of the following areas:
- Arts: Art History, Dance, Music, Theatre, Visual Arts
- Languages other than English (e.g., French, Spanish)
- Natural Sciences: Biology, Chemistry, Geology, Physics
- Social Sciences: Anthropology, Economics, Geography, History, Political Science
- Social Sciences Interdisciplinary (Health & Human Services: Early Childhood Concentration only)
A baccalaureate degree with a major in English, which includes at least 30 hours of course work in English.
English to Speakers of Other Languages
A baccalaureate degree with a major in English, a language other than English, linguistics, or a speech-related field, which includes at least 30 hours of course work in the major.
Languages Other Than English
A baccalaureate degree with a major in the language of the certification area (French, German, Latin, or Spanish), which includes at least 30 hours of course work in the language.
A baccalaureate degree with a major in mathematics, which includes at least 30 hours of course work in mathematics.
In addition, the following mathematics distribution must be met:
- 2 courses in linear and/or abstract algebra
- 2 courses in calculus
- 1 course in geometry
A baccalaureate degree with a major in music performance, which includes at least 30 hours of course work in music.
In addition, the following music distribution must be met:
- 4 courses in music theory
- 2 courses in music history
- 2 courses in conducting
- 4 courses in a primary instrument (including voice)
- Public Recital
- Keyboard Proficiency Exam
- Secondary Instrument Proficiency:
A baccalaureate degree with a major in the certification area (biology, chemistry, earth science, or physics), which includes at least 30 hours of course work in the content of the certification area.
In addition, for each certification area the following science distribution must be met:
- 3 credits in biology
- 3 credits in chemistry
- 3 credits in earth science
- 3 credits in physics
Select the link for the worksheet intended as an advising tool to assist prospective students in their planning:
Social Studies Content Prerequisite Distribution for Initial Teacher Certification
A baccalaureate degree with a major in history or one of the social sciences (anthropology, economics, geography, political science, or sociology), which includes at least 21 credits in history or geography and one economics and one political science course.
In addition, the following history/civilization distribution must be met:
- 12 credits in U.S.
- 6 credits in Western civilization
- 12 credits in world civilization
In addition, the following social science distribution must be met—two courses in each of three social science areas:
- political science
- psychology or philosophy
Note: Philosophy and psychology may be used to fulfill the social science distribution requirements, but are not acceptable as majors for admission to the program leading to social studies initial teacher certification.
General Education Core in Liberal Arts and Sciences
Admission to all certification areas in the initial teacher certification program requires applicants to complete a general education core in liberal arts and sciences (for course examples, refer to the Undergraduate Catalog), which includes the following:
- Arts/Artistic Expression (3 credits)
- Humanities (3 credits)
- Writing/English Composition (1st year, 2nd semester college course)
- World Civilization (6 credits)
- Social and Behavioral Sciences (3 credits)
- American Pluralism or equivalent (3 credits)
- Natural Sciences: lab-based biology, chemistry, geology, or physics (6 credits)
- Mathematical Processes (3 credits)
- Language other than English (1st year, 2nd semester college course)
- Library Skills/Information Retrieval (online workbook)
Note: Currently, the requirements for the general education core in liberal arts and sciences will have been met as part of successful completion of a baccalaureate degree from the University at Buffalo, with the possible exception of the requirements for natural sciences and language other than English. For natural sciences, course work must be in lab-based biology, chemistry, geology, or physics. For language other than English, course work must be a college course at the first year, second semester level.