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What is the Graduate Elementary Leading Teacher Program?

The Graduate Elementary Leading Teacher Program is guided by the mission of Duquesne University and the conceptual framework of the School of Education. It is designed to prepare teacher candidates for elementary classrooms in our nation’s schools by providing a caring and supportive learning environment that promotes academic excellence. This program satisfies the requirements for a Master of Science in Education Degree (MS Ed.) and initial certification (Instructional I) to teach at the elementary level in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (grades K-6). The program consists of 12 classes (36 credits), a field experience (one credit), a student teaching experience (six credits), and three gateways (one credit each).

How long will it take to complete the program?

Since there are three semesters in an academic year, candidates can complete all of their courses in one year (four courses per semester) or they may take five years to complete the program.

Part-time is considered two classes a semester (six credits). Full-time is considered three or four classes a semester (9-12 credits).

Note: Student teaching takes place after coursework has been completed. Candidates may register for one course while student teaching.

When can I start the program?

Candidates can start the program in the Fall (August), the Spring (January), or the Summer (May).

For application information, contact the Graduate Office at 412.396.6091.

How can I find out if I am a candidate for the program?

Applicants with a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college, university, or seminary will be considered for admission to graduate study in the School of Education. General admission is based on an applicant’s previous academic record as shown by official transcripts of all previous study. Applicants may be accepted into graduate study with the following conditions:

  • A minimum overall 3.00 grade point average - or -
  • A minimum 3.00 GPA on the most recent 48 credits - or
  • A minimum of 2.80 overall GPA with qualifying scores on three Praxis PPST examinations (Reading, Writing, Mathematics).
  • PPST Reading (10710) OR Computerized PPST Reading (5710)
  • PPST Writing (20720) OR Computerized PPST Writing (5720)
  • PPST Mathematics (10730) OR Computerized PPST Mathematics (5730)

Additional information about applying can be obtained by calling the Graduate Office at 412.396.6091 or mcginleyk@duq.edu .

What are the prerequisites for the program?

The following studies must be verified from academic transcripts. If deficiencies exist, the work must be completed before starting the Graduate Elementary Leading Teacher Program or during the first semester of the program. These courses can be completed at the undergraduate level from Duquesne University or other educational institutions (example: CCAC).

  • At least six credits (or the equivalent) in college level mathematics

SAT II Math Level IC Assessment with a score of 560 or above may be considered the equivalent of three credits of mathematics. In addition, any advanced placement mathematics credits that appear on your institution’s transcript meet the equivalency definition. The primary factor is whether the content of the course(s) require the candidate to demonstrate the mathematical skills involved in numerical calculation, computation, probability and statistics.

  • At least three credits (or the equivalent) in college level English Composition
    SAT II Writing subject test with a score of 600 or above will be considered the equivalent of three credits of English composition.
  • At least three credits (or the equivalent) in college level English Literature

How many credits can I transfer into the program?

A candidate may transfer a maximum of nine credits (three classes) of appropriate graduate work taken at other approved colleges or universities. The transfer of credits within Duquesne University, as well as the maximum credits accepted, will be approved at the discretion of the individual program. The transfer of credits from another degree can be permitted for certification, at the discretion of the individual program. The transfer of credits applied toward a previous degree can be permitted for a second degree, at the discretion of the individual program. Only courses with grades of “A” or “B” will be considered for transfer, provided the courses are in keeping with program requirements and are within the School’s six-year Statute of Limitations. No graduate credit is allowed for life and work experiences.

When should I send for clearances?

It is recommended that candidates send for their clearances when applying to the University. These clearances may take up to eight weeks to process.

The following clearances are required prior to starting the program:

  • Act 33 - Child Abuse History (pdf)
  • Act 34 - Criminal Record Check (pdf)
  • Act 114 - FBI Clearances
  • Tuberculin test (pdf)

Applicants must have all clearances to enter a school site. Please visit Cogent Systems for more information on registering for this clearance (link) All student teachers (participating in classroom teaching, internships, clinical or field experience) who have direct contact with children, must provide to their employer a copy of their Federal Criminal History Record that cannot be more than one (1) year old.

Act 114 - Process

The fingerprint-based background check is a multiple-step process:

  1. The applicant must register prior to going to the fingerprint site. Walk in service without prior registration will not be provided at any fingerprinting location. Registration is completed online or over the phone. Registration is available online 24 hours/day, seven days per week online (link). Telephonic registration is available at 1.888.439.2486 Monday through Friday, 8 am to 6 pm EST. During the registration process, all demographic data for the applicant is collected (name, address, SSN, etc.) so there is no data entry required at the fingerprint collection site.
  2. The applicant will pay a fee of $40.00 for the fingerprint service and to secure the Criminal History Record. Applicants may make their payment online (link) using a credit card or debit card. Money orders or cashiers checks payable to Cogent Systems will be accepted on site for those applicants who do not have the means to pay electronically. No cash transactions or personal checks are allowed. Cogent Systems will also establish a billing procedure for these services from an appropriate requesting agency that is willing to pay the applicant’s fee. Billing may only occur after the requesting agency has completed the Cogent Systems’ Agency Pay Agreement. To establish a billing account visit the Cogent Systems online (link) and download an application. The billing account must be established prior to sending applicants to the fingerprint site.
  3. The applicant proceeds to the fingerprint site of their choice for fingerprinting. The location of the fingerprint sites and days and hours of operation for each site will be posted on Cogent Systems online (link). The location of fingerprint sites may change over time so applicants are encouraged to confirm the site location nearest to their location.
  4. At the fingerprint site the Applicant Livescan Operators (ALO) manage the fingerprint collection process.
  5. The fingerprint transaction begins when the ALO reviews the applicant’s qualified State or Federal photo ID before processing the applicant’s transaction. A list of approved ID types may be found on the Cogent Systems’ link (link). Applicants will not be processed if they cannot produce an acceptable photo ID.
  6. After the identity of the applicant has been established, all ten fingers are scanned to complete the process. The entire fingerprint capture process should take no more than three to five minutes.
  7. The applicant’s scanned fingerprints will be electronically transmitted to the Pennsylvania State Police, who in turn submits the fingerprints and demographic information to the FBI as required by federal statute.
  8. PDE will receive the Federal Criminal History Record from the FBI. PDE’s School Services Unit will return the Federal Criminal History Record to the applicant. The Record will be printed on standard 8.5” X 11” paper with the Commonwealth Seal imbedded on the paper. This document constitutes an official Record. If an applicant presents their Federal Criminal History Record and the Commonwealth Seal is not embedded on the paper, it should be considered as invalid and not an official Record. If the applicant does not receive the Criminal History Record from PDE within eight weeks after being fingerprinted, they should call 717.783.3750 or email PDE at dwolfgang@state.pa.us .
  9. The applicant will then provide the Federal Criminal History Record to their prospective employer. Applicants must also have a Tuberculin test from a physician.  This form can be found online (doc) or in the Graduate Office, 214 Canevin Hall.

When should I schedule the PRAXIS exams?

Candidates need to take the first FOUR PRAXIS exams before the end of the first semester.

  • PPST Reading (10710) OR Computerized PPST Reading (5710)
  • PPST Writing (20720) OR Computerized PPST Writing (5720)
  • PPST Mathematics (10730) OR Computerized PPST Mathematics (5730)
  • Fundamental Subjects: Content Knowledge (0511)

Note: Candidates may need to complete the first three Praxis exams for admission to the School of Education; however, the first four Praxis exams are required for all candidates by the end of the first semester.

What if I have other questions about the program that cannot be found on this link?

Additional questions about the program should be sent to the Director of the Graduate Elementary Leading Teacher Program, Dr. Kim J. Hyatt, at the following e-mail address: hyatt@duq.edu .

What if I have additional questions (Ex. Financial Aid, Parking, etc.) that are not related to the program?

Additional information can be obtained online at Duquesne University (link) or by call the University Operator at 412.396.6000.