The Curriculum and Instruction: Elementary Education program prepares teachers to excel in classrooms and other educational settings. As you progress through the program, you will gain additional experience and knowledge to meet any challenge in elementary classrooms. Additionally, our specialist and doctoral students go on to produce research that shapes classrooms and policy around the country.
Students choose to pursue an Elementary Education degree at Florida State for several reasons. Our highly accomplished faculty have strong backgrounds in their respective subject areas and value close-working relationships. They want nothing more than to see their students succeed.
Classes are small, so you can easily form friendships and study groups. We offer a small school atmosphere rarely found at a major research university. This provides our students with unique and invaluable classroom experiences.
We offer an online master’s degree as well as on-campus specialist and doctoral degrees to individuals who already hold a Professional Educator’s Certificate. Note: If you are seeking a program that will lead to teacher certification in Elementary Education (grades K-6), please see our Elementary Education combined BS/MS pathway.
In order to meet minimum University admission requirements, applicants must have:
- A bachelor’s degree with at least a 3.0 GPA – An earned bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution, or a comparable degree from an international institution, with a minimum 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) grade point average (GPA) in all coursework attempted while registered as an upper-division undergraduate student working towards a bachelor’s degree.
- A master’s or specialist degree with at least a 3.0 GPA – An earned master’s or specialist degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution, or a comparable degree from an international institution, with a minimum 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) grade point average (GPA) in all coursework attempted.
- GRE test scores*. Official test results are required from the General Test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). These scores are considered official only when they are sent directly to the Office of Admissions from the testing agency. Examinee copies are not considered official. Graduate Record Exam (GRE): http://www.ets.org/. FSU Institution Code: 5219. The Educational Testing Service (ETS) do not retain scores longer than five years. If your test scores are older than five years, you may have to retake the test to have official scores sent directly to FSU from the testing agency. If you have the report that was mailed to your home address for older scores, then FSU will accept that report.
- M.S. and Ed.S. applicant target scores: Verbal – 146+, Quantitative – 140+
- Ph.D. applicant target scores: Verbal – 151+, Quantitative – 145+, Writing – 3+
- *NOTE: The GRE admission requirements for master's and specialist programs have been waived through Fall 2026.
- Language proficiency test (international students only)– FSU accepts scores from TOEFL (minimum 80), IELTS (minimum 6.5), MELAB (minimum 77), Cambridge C1 Advanced Level (minimum 180), Michigan Language Assessment (minimum 55), and Duolingo (minimum 120)
- Transcripts – Applicants must submit an official transcript from each college and/or university attended. Transcripts should be sent to the Office of Graduate Admissions electronically at firstname.lastname@example.org or via mail in a sealed envelope:
- Florida State University
Office of Graduate Admissions
314 Westcott Building
P.O. Box 3061410
Tallahassee, FL 32306-1410
- Florida State University
Applicants must upload the following REQUIRED supporting documents to the Admissions Application Portal:
- Statement of purpose – should describe your purpose for pursuing a degree, qualifications and long-term career goals.
- At least one (1) page for M.S. and Ed.S. applicants
- At least two (2) pages for Ph.D. applicants
- Letters of recommendation
- Two (2) for M.S. and Ed.S. applicants
- Three (3) for Ph.D. applicants
- One page resume/curriculum vitae
- Writing Sample – it is acceptable to submit a paper used in another class, or one that was published.
Master’s and Specialist programs:
Fall: July 1
Spring: November 1
Summer: March 1
Fall: December 1
The Specialist in Curriculum & Instruction (Ed.S.) with a major in Elementary Education is an advanced degree to prepare individuals for leadership in the field of elementary education as master teachers, curriculum specialists, in-service teacher educators, or consultants for public or private educational organizations as well as state and federal government. Typically, this degree is sought as a terminal degree in the field for individuals with prior education-related degrees and/or experiences.
A minimum of 32 semester hours, post-master's degree, is individually designed by each student’s committee based on the curricular needs and career focus of the student. Areas of concentration typically include developmental learning, integrated curriculum, and subject area content and pedagogy. Students are encouraged to write a thesis in lieu of a comprehensive exam, which may substitute for up to six hours of coursework.
The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in Curriculum and Instruction (C&I) with a major in Elementary Education emphasizes theory and research in elementary education drawn from the disciplines of anthropology, sociology, philosophy, psychology, and the humanities. Completing a doctoral program requires an intensive commitment, and students are encouraged to pursue doctoral study on a full-time basis. Qualified applicants are eligible for financial support, teaching assistantships, tuition waivers, student housing, and consulting opportunities for teacher education centers. A limited number of fellowships and scholarships from the College and University are also available on a competitive basis.
The program of study leading to a Doctor of Philosophy in C&I with a major in Elementary Education requires a minimum of 48 semester hours of coursework, twenty-four semester hours of dissertation credit, and satisfactory completion of a qualifying exam, preliminary exam, and oral defense of the dissertation. The coursework includes a nine-semester hour core of doctoral courses in elementary education; a 14-18 semester hour core in research design and qualitative and quantitative methods; and other coursework specializations to meet the student’s professional and academic goals. Such areas may include specific subject areas in teacher education, evaluation, policy, sociology, economics, or institutional research.
Curriculum choices in our master’s and specialist programs are designed to enable students to become teacher leaders, college instructors, as well as curriculum specialists, state testing specialists and textbook company representatives. Doctoral program graduates are prepared to become university professors, researchers and leaders in the field.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job outlook for elementary teachers is expected to grow 7.4% through 2026, which equates to approximately 104,100 new jobs. The job outlook for instructional leaders/coordinators is expected to grow up to 10.5% through 2026. That translates into over 17,000 new jobs nationwide. The median national annual salary range for instructional leaders/coordinators is $64,450 per year. For university or college professors, the Bureau predicts a 10.3% increase in jobs by 2026, totaling 7,700 new jobs. The median national salary is $64,780 per year.
A career in education can be very rewarding, and a typical path offers ample opportunities for professional development and growth. Educators make a difference in the lifelong learning experience of their students, as well as, the quality and standards of the programs they teach.