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Education Overview

Chatham’s Education Department offers a major in PreK-4 education, and certificates to teach secondary English, social studies, mathematics, and biology (grades 7-12) and art (K-12). Many Chatham education courses draw from the UN Sustainable Development Goals, preparing you to take steps towards ending poverty, fighting inequality, and stopping climate change from your position as a classroom teacher. As a Chatham education graduate, you will stand out from other new teachers because Chatham will train you to help K-12 students critically examine and solve social problems, economic problems, and environmental problems in their community. 
Degrees Offered
  • BA
Program School

“We are not just preparing our students for the classroom, we are preparing our students to be conscientious global citizens. Through the lens of the seventeen UN Sustainable Development Goals, students examine the role education can play in making all communities more sustainable and equitable. Our students learn how to reflect on their own belief systems and how they can contribute to the profession. We value faculty who are current in best practices and are able to transmit their experiences to our future teachers.”

– KRISTIN HARTY, Ph.D., program director

Photo of a teacher at the front of a classroom, with students raising their hands

What Students Are Saying

"The education I'm receiving at Chatham is going to prepare me for my time as a teacher. We do four tiers of field placements, and we start off our second semester of our first year in schools. So we get an early experience at a school, working with children and in that school environment."—Isabella Vincent, PreK-4 Education Major

Explore the Education Degree:

  • Chatham has been named a 2019-2020 Top Education College of Distinction, recognizing the program for its expert blending of the liberal arts with professional programming in education.
  • All students complete a capstone seminar in which they conduct an action research project at a local school under close faculty guidance. Action research is a systematic process that educators use to improve student outcomes and school environments. Chatham is one of the few universities across the country that offers such an independent and student-driven program.
  • Earn your Pennsylvania certification and be prepared for advanced studies.
  • Put your interest in education and sustainability into practice by working for or volunteering with Chatham’s Eden Hall K-12 program office during your undergraduate years

Perspectives on Education

Students examine how an education system and society shape one another. Topics include the purpose of school in society; how social constructs (i.e. race, gender) interact with the education system; issues of power and control; the role of technology, and how we can provide an education for all that promotes equity and sustainability.

Pedagogical Practices

This course focuses on the characteristics of effective teaching practices and examines different instructional models that effective teachers help students learn. Students are first introduced to these models and then practice teaching using the models they learn.  The course also discusses best practices that align for education for sustainability and equity such as backwards design, performance assessment, and project based learning.  Students learn how to create instruction for diverse groups of students so that all might succeed in the classroom. 

Diverse Family and Professional Partnerships

This course provides students with an understanding of issues pertaining to student diversity and also examines partnerships and relationships between communities, schools, students and parents. Students will develop an understanding of how socially constructed categories such as race, sexuality, and nationality emerge, evolve, inform, and affect the individual, schools, families and communities. This course prepares students for responsible citizenship in a global community.

View Full Curriculum

Admission requirements are set by Chatham University, House Bill 1816, Chapter 354 of the Pennsylvania School Code and the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

*Advance Standing Undergraduate Admission to Education Programs Requirements

In accordance with House Bill 1816 and Chapter 354 regulations, all undergraduate students must apply for Advanced Standing by the time they have attempted 48 creditsThis includes any student wishing to earn certification in the state of Pennsylvania; PreK-4, Secondary content areas, K-12 Art, etc. Transfer students must apply for Advanced Standing prior to taking education courses at Chatham.  As stated in House Bill 1816 and Chapter 354 regulations, education students who do not apply for Advanced Standing and/or who do not meet the minimum requirements of Advanced Standing as required by PDE are NOT permitted to continue taking education courses.

In order to be considered for advanced standing a student:

  1. Must maintain a 3.0 GPA
  2. Pass or show evidence of passing one of the basic skills exams required by PDE
  3. Complete six credits of English (composition and literature) at the 100 level or higher
  4. Complete six credits of math at the 100 level or higher
  5. Completed Undergraduate Application for Advanced Standing
  6. Must have two letters of recommendation:
    1. One letter must be from a Chatham University Education faculty member
    2. One letter must be from a professional reference OR another faculty
  7. Recommendation from Chatham University’s Education Department

Please note that students may be conditionally accepted to the program for any reason, including poor academic performance, excessive tardiness and absenteeism and other reasons. 


By the end of the specific program, students must earn an overall 3.0 GPA, produce a B- or better in all certification coursework at the graduate level and a C- or better at the undergraduate level, complete all field work including practicum or student teaching, pass the appropriate Certification Test for their area of certification and all University requirements.

All required and elective courses for certification assess the students via portfolios, class presentations, course projects, papers exams, and field experiences. Upon completion of the program students will possess a full library of notebooks containing course notes handouts assignments and other information gathered during each course. All coursework is aligned with Pennsylvania Department of Education Requirements and Competencies as well as Academic Standards and Anchors.

As part of the practicum experience, students will earn a minimum of 4 on the PDE 430 form and not earn a 0 in any category.

Additionally, in order to become certified in the state of Pennsylvania, students will have to successfully pass the appropriate certification tests for their area.

View Pass Rate Data (pdf)

Chatham University is committed to supporting its graduates from this program. The Alumni office and the Education department communicate with former students about employment activities, speakers on campus, trainings, local and regional conferences and classes that support professional development. In addition, the faculty are available to mentor former graduates upon request. All student information is updated yearly. 

Our Faculty

Faculty members are accomplished teachers, scholars, practitioners, and active leaders in the field.  We care about our communities and our planet, and those commitments are apparent in all the work that we do. 

Full Faculty
Photo of Kristin Harty
Program Director & Associate Professor of Special Education
Photo of a student with glasses and bright red hair, typing on her laptop during class

Certificate in Education

Students interested in becoming secondary school, art, or music teachers major in their content area at Chatham and complete a certificate in education for 45 credits. Options include certification for English, social studies, mathematics, and biology for grades 7-12, and art or music for grades K-12.

Photo of a student with glasses and bright red hair, typing on her laptop during class

Social, Emotional & Behavioral Wellness Program

The Social, Emotional and Behavioral Wellness program focuses on the social-emotional, behavior and wellness of PK-12 students. Completely online, with the exception of a 70-hour practicum completed in an educational setting, the program aims to provide individuals working with youth with the tools and knowledge to create a nurturing, empathetic, supportive, and inclusive environment for students to support their overall development.

Explore the Program : Checkerboard 2 - Social, Emotional & Behavioral Wellness Program
Photo of Chatham University students sitting in a lecture hall taking notes on laptops in tiered seating.

Educational Research Methods

In the Educational Research Methods class, Education majors conduct an action research project for Environmental Charter School (ECS). Chatham students visited the ECS intermediate school, talked with school leaders, then designed a survey to examine how ECS students understand the concepts of equity and sustainability. Results from class analysis of the data were given to ECS school leaders to guide them in their continued work teaching about these concepts.

Photo of two female Chatham University students working in the library, one looking at a book and one looking at her computer

Our Mission

Chatham’s Education Division partners with students, teachers, and the community in support of transformation for social justice and sustainability. We challenge inequitable educational and other social systems that disenfranchise those with marginalized identities. We are committed to equitable learning and living experiences for all.

Photo of two Chatham University students paying attention to a lecture

Our Vision

The Education Division at Chatham strives to create and be educators and community members who demonstrate care, compassion, and optimism. We understand that learning is a reciprocal and lifelong process. We listen to and tap into the wisdom of youth and communities. We advocate for people with marginalized social identities. We help youth understand the world they live in and challenge them to transform it. We work to form active citizens that create just and ecologically sound communities.

Photo of a woman standing in front of a classroom teaching on a projector.

Student Profile: Aubrey Lawrence '22

Secondary English education student Aubrey Lawrence ‘22 presented a project-based unit she designed to area teachers with Chatham instructors and community organization leaders at the State of Black Learning Conference. Her unit was about youth-led, systemic community transformation. Aubrey co-presented with community leader Na'Tisha Washington of Operation Better Block and Kelly Henderson of Chatham’s Education Department. 

Photo of Chatham University's Lexi Kapla wearing a purple t-shirt while standing in the woods with children who are doing a team-building exercise.

Alumna Profile: Lexi Kalpla '19

Lexi Kapla ’19 is a double major in PreK4 Education and Sustainability. This past summer, she assisted with a faculty-led research project research about teacher understandings of sustainability and equity at a local school. During the academic year, Lexi works as part of the Eden Hall Campus K-12 team, leading sustainability-related field trips for area students. 

Do you have questions?

We make it easy to get in touch:

Call Us


Text Us

412-419-3772 (standard text/SMS rates will apply)

Email Us

Request Information

Complete our Request for Information form

Or, answer a few questions and we will be glad to help.

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