Bachelor's Degree Programs

BA in Urban Education: Elementary Education

Concentration with Illinois Professional Educators License

The Urban Education program with Elementary Education Concentration is committed to developing a generation of teachers who use their own diverse cultural, linguistic and economic backgrounds to improve urban schools and empower children and youth. Our students, as teacher candidates, benefit from working with some of the best education faculty in the world and gain real-world experience partnered with carefully-selected mentor teachers in the communities and schools of Chicago.  Students spend all fieldwork based semesters working in predominantly African American and Latino classrooms to cultivate unique skill sets for success in urban school classrooms. 

The extensive in-school immersion, with over 1000 hours of fieldwork experiences, is the hallmark of the program and creates teachers ready to lead in classrooms from day one.  Students begin their in-school work junior year:

  Junior Year-Fall Junior Year-Spring Senior Year-Fall Senior Year-Spring
Fieldwork 150 hours 190 hours 210 hours 450 hours
Setting School with predominant African American or Latino populations. School with predominant African American or Latino populations. CPS school with mentor teacher. CPS school with same mentor teacher.
Activities Observe classes, develop lesson plans, teach lessons, working in pairs with carefully-selected mentor teachers. Observe classes, develop lesson plans, teach lessons, working in pairs with carefully-selected mentor teachers. Pre-student teaching practicum, working one-on-one with a specially trained mentor teacher, often a graduate of the BA program. Full semester of student teaching with the same mentor teacher from previous semester.

The Elementary Education Concentration prepares students to teach in first through sixth grade classrooms with the option to add a Middle Grades Endorsement across the major content areas.  In addition, students can pursue the endorsements in English as a Second Language and/or Bilingual Education.  Our graduates are job ready because they are prepared to meet these areas of need.

For more information, sign up for our email list below, contact the Office of Student Services at 312-996-4532 or email Jennifer DeLago at  Click here to begin the application process.  Access the program advising guide.




Degree Requirements

Required Course Highlights

Advising Guide

First Year

The BA in Urban Education leads to the Illinois State Professional Educator License (PEL) in Grades 1-6 with the option of adding a Grades 5-8 endorsement in one of four areas: English, Mathematics, Science, and Social Science.  Please review the  4 Year Model Plans of Study which is applicable to you.

Freshman year students take all their General Education courses in English, History, Sociology, Political Science and special courses --designed for teachers-- in mathematics.  Students also have a College Connections Course for an hour each week in the first semester, that allows student to connect deliberately with their academic advisors.

For a complete listing of degree requirements, please visit the UIC Undergraduate Catalog.

Click here to view the Core Curriculum Handbook for Academic Year 2013-2014. (currently under revision, updates will be posted soon)

Options and Outcomes

Our Elementary Education concentration offers a rich curriculum that includes fieldwork and student teaching in an urban school. Not only will students be prepared to earn their professional educator license, but they can add endorsements and other options to that license, as well.

Application Process

Incoming First Year Application Process

Fall Early Action Deadline:  November 1

Fall Application Deadline:  January 15

The following application process applies to high school seniors seeking to enroll at UIC and the College of Education.

Apply to the University of Illinois at Chicago.


Current UIC Undergraduate Students Seeking Inter-College Transfer and Current College of Education Students Seeking to Change Majors

Fall Application Deadline:  May 1

Spring Application Deadline:  December 1

Apply to the College of Education


Non-UIC Students Seeking to Transfer to UIC and the College of Education

Fall Application Deadline:  April 2

Spring Application Deadline:  October 16

Apply to the University of Illinois at Chicago


Current UIC Undergraduate Students Seeking to Declare Candidacy

Fall Application Deadline:  May 15

Please see the Council on Teacher Education site for further instructions.

Program FAQs

1. What is urban education?

As the Chicago area's largest university, UIC has a responsibility and unique opportunity to contribute to the well being of urban life. The College of Education, through collaborations with urban schools and community-based organizations, focuses on work and research in urban settings that improves the learning opportunities for children, youth, and families. This work is carried out with an understanding that the problems and issues confronting schools and neighborhoods in urban areas cannot be addressed effectively without attention to the social and economic forces that exert influence upon the lives of children and families.

The BA in Urban Education, Elementary Education Concentration, provides the opportunity for students to become teachers for elementary school settings and earn a 1 - 6, Elementary Education teaching license. BA Teacher Candidates (TCs) are expected to develop (1) a deep understanding of school and community contexts; (2) a personal investment to underserved schools; (3) a commitment to critical self-reflection and inquiry into learning and teaching. These expectations are largely developed by having TCs conduct their student teaching in schools identified by the college that are urban sites, serve high concentrations of minority students, and have a significant number of highly respected leaders and teachers. The schools in this partnership with the BA in Urban Education Program also serve as sites for ongoing collaborative research on teaching and learning.

How long does the program take?

The program is a four-year, full-time program.

How do I apply?

First year applicants apply through the UIC Office of Admissions and Records.

What application materials do I submit?

Read the application checklists for first year students (pdf) and transfer applicants (pdf).

Can I get in?

All applications are individually reviewed by a committee and a number of criteria are considered and evaluated including:

  • ACT scores (first year only)
  • High school transcripts if you are applying as a first year or college transcripts if you are a transfer applicant
  • Essay on your commitment to urban education
  • Evidence of your commitment to the College of Education mission
  • Additional supplemental materials if you are applying for candidacy

Can I afford it?

UIC makes every effort to help students pay for the cost of going to college. Our Financial Aid page can help answer your questions.

Review the UIC tuition and fee schedule and find out more about billing and payment options.

Can I get housing on campus?

Yes, and it is best to apply as soon as you know you want to live on campus, because applications are prioritized by date of application. Visit campus housing to find out more and submit your application.

What support does the COE provide?

The College of Education is a close knit community and committed to the success of its students. If you have concerns or questions you can stop by the Office of Student Services, or make an appointment to see an advisor. The College encourages a strong bond between students and their advisors. The College of Education is also home to the CHANCE Program, which assists students with academic, personal, and professional challenges of academic preparation. You can also find support from your professors and fellow students. UIC offers many support programs and opportunities that encourage academic success. Your advisor can help you connect to UIC resources.

What is Candidacy?

To complete the BA program in Urban Education students declare for candidacy.  Candidacy status is reserved for the final four semesters of the BA program.  

What is the Core Curriculum?

Students in the BA in Urban Education program will take a Core Curriculum (pdf) in the first two years of study. This curriculum is characterized by:

  • Completion of the campus general education course requirements that focus on a broad liberal arts education
  • Completion of a set of foundational courses in education
  • Development of a specialization in an area of interest to the student

In addition, while they complete coursework in the foundations of education, students will engage in two 30-hour field placements in a community-based organization in high-poverty/high minority communities in Chicago.

What is the Area of Specialization?

In the Core Curriculum, students will develop a liberal arts background, expertise in a specified content area or related discipline, and knowledge about:

  • The philosophical, economic and political foundations of schooling in urban societies
  • The social, cognitive and emotional development of children in urban environments
  • The role that race, class, gender, ethnicity, culture and language play in shaping both the past and the current realities of schooling in the urban context
  • The social and economic factors that impact what happens in communities with schools that have been historically underserved.

Content areas of specialization for Middle Grades Endoresement can be completed with courses in the following areas:

  • Language Arts/English
  • Social Studies/History
  • Math
  • Science

What is Summer College?

Summer College at UIC is a free, five-week summer program for newly admitted first year students that provides you with many paths to jump-start your academic success at UIC. You can improve your skills in math, computers, writing, note-taking, and studying. It's a great opportunity to make friends with other new students, make connections with faculty and advisors, and get to know the campus. The College of Education encourages first year students to participate in Summer College. Programs begin in June shortly after the high school year ends.

Will my credits from another college or university transfer to the College of Education?

Yes, if the credits earned are from an accredited institution. UIC participates in the Illinois Articulation Initiative (IAI).  To find out which courses will transfer to UIC, visit the Transferology site.  You are welcome to make an appointment with a College of Education advisor who will go over your academic records with you.