A teacher in a classroom assisting a young student with work

Elementary Education

Add greater depth and understanding to your classroom by exploring all curriculum and instructional areas related to teaching in preschool, kindergarten, the elementary grades or child care related settings.

Master Your Elementary Education Skills

Strengthen your future teaching experiences by expanding both your knowledge of elementary education and the opportunities inside your classroom. At USD, you will find supportive faculty and curriculum that allow you to continue your passion for teaching while also pursuing a graduate degree. The M.A. in Elementary Education prepares and strengthens teaching skills and exposes you to a variety of materials and programs used in elementary schools. This convenient and flexible online program allows you to continue your employment as you become a leader in your field. Here you can decide on different paths of specialization, such as culturally and linguistically diverse learning; reading and literary coaching; and science, technology and math pedagogy. Build upon your foundation and experience with a variety of new materials and programs that elevate your teaching career.

Become a leader who's prepared for all aspects of the education world as an elementary education graduate student at USD.

Degrees & Offerings

Elementary Education (M.A.)


The Master's in Elementary Education prepares and strengthens teaching skills and exposes you to a variety of materials and programs used in elementary schools. This M.A. program is for those with a baccalaureate degree in elementary education who want to expand their knowledge of best teaching practices.

View Admissions Requirements

Elementary Education Plus Certification (M.A.)


This M.A. program is ideal for those who have an earned bachelors degree and would like to become an elementary or middle school teacher in grades K-8. Students will complete the requirements for South Dakota teacher certification in Elementary Education. This program includes one semester of teacher residency where students gain experience as a classroom teacher with the support of a mentor teacher and the supervision of a USD Residency Instructor.

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Elementary Education: Reading Specialist/Literacy Coach (M.A.)


Success in literacy is highly correlated to success in life. Reading specialists and literacy coaches work with teachers and students to ensure growth in literacy. This specialization prepares teachers to use research-proven practices and programs, to effectively teach students and adults, and to lead literacy efforts in schools. Students who complete the program also are eligible for an additional teaching certificate as a reading specialist.

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Elementary Education: STEM Education (M.A.)


Now more than ever, there is a need for STEM education in our schools. As society has moved to an information age, teachers must be able to provide meaningful experiences which integrate science, technology and math into their curriculum to prepare students for the world. This specialization prepares teachers to use current evidence-based proven practices to design, carry out and evaluate STEM education in elementary schools.

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Accelerated Elementary Education: Reading Specialist/Literacy Coach (B.S.Ed./M.A.)

Accelerated Program

You can also choose an accelerated option when specializing in either reading specialist/literacy coaching. If you are a current USD undergraduate student who would like to begin a master's degree while completing your bachelor's degree, you may apply and begin the program after the completion of 90 undergraduate credit hours.

View Admissions Requirements

Program Details





Graduate Admissions

Known for Excellence

With qualities like small class sizes, specialized programs and incredible student opportunities, USD is not your typical university. What makes us unique is what makes your education exceptional.


As a student at USD, the opportunities available to you extend beyond the classroom. Explore your interests, find your community and experience your education to the fullest extent through the following opportunities.

There are plenty of ways you can get involved as a student in the School of Education at USD. Whether you want to serve the community of Vermillion, work with children who have special needs, promote literacy or explore another interest related to education, you'll be able to find the right organization for you.

Explore Student Organizations

The National Association for the Education of Young Children and the National Education Association are professional organizations for educators. Connect with a wide network of teachers and be an advocate for students in one of these organizations.

Explore Student Organizations

Enrich your education and see the world by participating in one of our many study abroad experiences. Here are a few benefits of studying abroad during your time at USD:

  • Gain a new perspective on your academic field of study
  • Improve your language skills
  • Explore a new culture
  • Gain independence and increase self-reliance
  • Become more prepared to work in a global economy
  • Set yourself apart from other job and graduate school applicants
  • Learn more about yourself and your own culture

Learn More

A unique part of your USD education is access to undergraduate research opportunities. As an education student at USD, you will have the chance to explore your interests and conduct innovative research with the support of professors who care about your success. Grants and travel funding are available through the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.

Learn More

Departments & Facilities

Explore the departments, facilities and centers that contribute to your education in teacher residency & education.
Teacher Sitting at a Table with Students.

Teacher Residency & Education

The Division of Teacher Residency & Education is focused on preparing effective, responsive teachers who can meet the needs of all students in today's schools. Through unique features such as a robust yearlong residency, an emphasis on technology and curriculum that recognizes a variety of learners, our division offers an enriching education for educators and leaders.

Exterior view of Delzell education building

Center for Student and Professional Services

The School of Education offers resources and support for you in the Center for Student and Professional Services (CSPS). Our faculty and staff are committed to preparing you with resources to help you excel personally, academically and professionally.

Faculty & staff

Get to know the faculty and staff in the Division of Teacher Residency & Education. Our faculty's K-12 experience informs their teaching; they know what it's like to manage a classroom, plan curriculum and teach a wide variety of learners, so they have the expertise necessary to prepare you for your future classroom.
Bio Image for Faculty Member Daniel Mourlam

Daniel Mourlam

Division Chair
Bio Image for Faculty Member Susan Gapp

Susan Gapp

Associate Professor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Jing Williams

Jing Williams

Associate Professor


Social Studies Education
Bio Image for Faculty Member John Williams

John Williams

Assistant Professor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Lisa Hazlett

Lisa Hazlett



Young adult literature; secondary ELA education
Bio Image for Faculty Member Nicki Carr

Nicki Carr

Bio Image for Faculty Member Danielle Davenport

Danielle Davenport

Senior Secretary
Bio Image for Faculty Member Kristen DeMuth

Kristen DeMuth

Bio Image for Faculty Member Jamie Hovden

Jamie Hovden

Bio Image for Faculty Member Monica Iverson

Monica Iverson

Senior Lecturer


Special Education
Bio Image for Faculty Member Kelly Knutson

Kelly Knutson

Bio Image for Faculty Member Carla Kozak

Carla Kozak



K-12 Special Education
Bio Image for Faculty Member Kevin Reins

Kevin Reins

Associate Professor
A teacher speaking to a student.

Tailor the Program to Your Interests and Career Goals

Graduate with a degree that reflects your passions, prepares you to lead and sets you apart.

USD's graduate degrees in educational leadership are unique in that you can craft the program to fit your interests and career goals. You'll learn from supportive faculty and take classes from other departments across campus to expand your skillset and knowledge. This unique structure provides a versatile and supportive climate that prepares you for success in today's information-rich society.
A teacher and younger student in a classroom near a chalkboard smiling at camera

Impact the Lives of Children

Master your leadership skills and study in greater depth all curriculum and instructional areas related to teaching in elementary schools. Strengthen your teaching skills and expand your knowledge to include a variety of current materials and programs used in elementary schools.
A woman teaching a class of children.

Discounted Tuition for South Dakota Teachers and Vocational Instructors

If you live in South Dakota, be sure and take advantage of the 50% reduced tuition program for currently contracted elementary/secondary teachers and vocational instructors.


Learn More

Surprisingly Affordable

Whether you’ve recently completed your undergraduate degree, or you want to kick your career up a notch, graduate school is the next logical step. The good news is there is funding for both online and on-campus students to get you through your program. 

Graduate Tuition & Costs

Learn more about tuition and fees for undergraduate students and see how your out-of-pocket costs at USD compare to those at other colleges and universities. Visit the Graduate Tuition & Costs Detailed page for program specific costs and fees.

Financial Aid

Navigating options for how to pay for college can be challenging, but you are not alone. The Office of Financial Aid will work with you and your family to explore how you can make your college education even more affordable.

Graduate Assistantships

USD offers opportunities for grad students to earn a reduced tuition rate in exchange for their teaching, research and service efforts to the university.


student success story

Success story Sidney Bitz smiling.
For art, I always loved creating. I made it a career. And then, when I was student teaching, I was shown the devastating literacy rates and I decided to work in that area. I chose these paths because I wanted to make a difference, and USD made the difference for me.

Sydney Bitz

M.A. Elementary Education '23
B.A. Art Education '21

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