What Are the Top Universities with Elementary Education Programs?

Review the typical characteristics of top-ranked elementary education programs. Explore three schools with top programs in this field, chosen based on their national elementary education program rankings. Read about the elementary education degrees you could pursue at each of these schools. Schools offering Elementary Education degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Are Characteristics of Top Universities with Elementary Education Programs?

When you're looking for schools with elementary education programs, you might want to consider attending a school that can prepare you for certification and testing in the state where you'd like to teach. Top schools might have special projects or institutes that can help you develop advanced skills in teaching elementary education. You can seek out schools that are highly ranked. You might also be interested in looking for universities that offer opportunities to earn endorsements to work with gifted or special needs students.

Three Top Universities with Elementary Education Programs

Columbia University in New York, NY

Columbia's Teachers College ranked second for elementary teacher education and seventh for education overall in 2019, according to U.S. News & World Report. Columbia was also listed among the best colleges in the Northeast by the Princeton Review. The Teachers College at this Ivy League school is the oldest graduate school of education in the U.S., as well as the largest. Entities like the Hollingworth Center and Reading and Writing Project support student learning and teacher development.

Students can achieve professional certification through a master's-level elementary education program at Columbia. They can also pursue an elementary inclusive education option that qualifies enrollees for certification to teach elementary and special education students. Also available is a program that can prepare students to achieve certification to teach both elementary students and gifted students. The following degrees are conferred by the Teachers College:

  • M.A. in Elementary Inclusive Education
  • M.A. in Elementary Inclusive Education and Teaching Students with Disabilities
  • M.A. in Elementary Inclusive Education with Gifted Extension

Michigan State University in East Lansing

MSU was ranked first in elementary teacher education in 2019 by U.S. News & World Report, and it was also ranked by the publication the 23rd best school for education. The Princeton Review called it one of the best colleges in the Midwest in 2019. The College of Education supports research centers and institutes, including the Institute for Research on Teaching and Learning and the CREATE for STEM Institute to improve K-12 learning in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Elementary education majors complete a fifth-year internship and are prepared to provide general K-5 instruction as well as instruction in specific subjects for grades 6-8. An undergraduate program in special education can also be completed. Also available is a bachelor's program in child development offered through the Department of Human Development and Family Studies that can include elementary teacher certification. Undergraduate and graduate students can take part in faculty-led research projects. These degrees are available:

  • B.A. in Education - Elementary Education
  • B.A. in Special Education with Elementary Education Certification
  • B.A. in Child Development with Elementary Education Teacher Certification

Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN

Vanderbilt was fifth for elementary teacher education and sixth for education overall in the 2019 U.S. News & World Report rankings. It also placed on the Princeton Review's 2019 list for best colleges in the Southeast. Vanderbilt's Peabody College of Education and Human Development administers the university's elementary education programs.

Elementary education majors seeking a K-6 license are required to choose a second major of their choice in an interdisciplinary or liberal arts field, or else in another major offered by the Peabody College. A master's degree program for students seeking initial licensure in elementary education is also available. These degrees are conferred by the school:

  • Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education
  • Master of Education in Elementary Education

More Top Elementary Education Schools

College/University Institution Type LocationEstimated Graduate In-State Tuition*
University of Wisconsin - Madison Public, 4-year Madison, WI$12,000
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor Public, 4-year Ann Arbor, MI$23,000
University of Georgia Public, 4-year Athens, GA$11,000
Ohio State University Public, 4-year Columbus, OH$12,000
Stanford University Private, 4-year Stanford, CA$51,000
University of Washington Public, 4-year Seattle, WA$16,500
Indiana University - Bloomington Public, 4-year Bloomington, IN$10,500
University of Virginia (Curry) Public, 4-year Charlottesville, VA$19,000
University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign Public, 4-year Champaign, IL$18,000
Boston College (Lynch) Private, 4-year Chestnut Hill, MA$29,500

*Source: NCES, U.S. Department of Education

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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