Frequently Asked Questions

Prospective Students and New Admits

Teachers College does not permit undergraduate credits to be transferred in to the M.A. level. There are, however, some requirements (e.g. educational foundations) that may be waived if you addressed them during your undergraduate work. If you think this applies to you, please check with program faculty during registration (bring your transcript). If you have taken appropriate courses, you will not need to duplicate coursework and the requirements will be waived. This does not reduce the number of credits necessary for the degree; you will still need to complete the full number of credits/points associated with your degree by taking additional electives.

First, do not worry. The Office of Teacher Education reviews hundreds of transcripts during the admissions process and they may sometimes overlook an appropriate course.  It is of course also possible, however, that a course you feel fulfills a requirement will not be acceptable to NYS. If you have any questions, bring a copy of your transcript (and if possible, course descriptions) to the OTE office in ZB 411 or email them at ote@tc.edu.

  1. Set up your TC email  and check it regularly!  This is a key channel for communications from professors, our program manager, The Office of Teacher Education, and Teachers College at large.  
  2. Be sure to regularly check our Program Blog. This is a primary source of communication from faculty and staff to students. On this blog, you will find information regarding registration, advisement, special program events, part-time and full-time job opportunities, recommendations for teaching resources and special events in New York City.

No. Coursework prior to application is not an automatic route to admission, even if you do very well in the courses. However, prospective students sometimes take a non-degree course or two, to help them decide if Teachers College is where they would like to study. Yes, these credits will transfer into your program if you are admitted; check the catalog for guidelines.

Yes! This program welcomes non-education majors who have had little to no experience in classrooms, experienced educators who are seeking certification, and career-changers who are ready to change direction. A diversity of perspectives and experience-levels is one of the things that makes this program so rich!

New admits are assigned a formal advisor after they have submitted their initial tuition deposit.  However, all of our faculty are happy to provide informal support and guidance to you, even before you’ve made your decision to attend Teachers College.  Feel free to reach out to the program manager at preservice@tc.columbia.edu; she can link you up with support!   

Student Teaching

No. The program has a commitment to urban education and has established partnerships with a group of schools and teachers in New York City; we place all student teachers in these settings. All cooperating teachers are recommended to the program by their principals and meet our criteria as well as New York State criteria.  We do not place students outside New York City and cannot honor requests for placements in other areas.

Students take Core and their literacy sequence while they are student teaching. This represents a heavy course load. Some students choose to enroll in an additional course as well, but it is not recommended.


Yes, it is possible to switch tracks, as long as you do so in a timely manner.  For more information, reach out to your advisor or the program manager at preservice@tc.edu.

Yes. Each of our degree programs has a credit minimum, but you are welcome to graduate with more than the minimum.

We suggest that you take as many courses as you can before your (very intensive) student teaching year. How many you take will depend on how quickly you plan to complete the program. You are required to attain a B or better in Multicultural Social Studies (C&T 4143) and Disability, Exclusion, and Schooling (C&T 4000) prior to student teaching.

Teaching Certification

The Elementary Inclusive Program is an approved New York State teacher education program.  In order to attain New York State certification, you will need to achieve strong academic marks in all courses (B or better for most courses) AND complete all certification requirements for your area of licensure (including paper and pencil certification exams).  The Office of Teacher Education at Teachers College is your go-to resource for certification support; feel free to learn more at http://www.tc.columbia.edu/office-of-teacher-education/.

We strongly recommend that you apply for New York State certification, even if you are not sure that you will teach in New York State.  In many cases, it is easier to apply for reciprocity with another state’s certification requirements than it is to start from scratch in a new state.  In addition, we have seen many of our alums come back to New York after all! It simply cannot hurt to have this certification in place.

Currently, NYS requires students in our programs to complete the following certification exams:

  • Educating All Students Test (EAS)
  • Content Specialty Tests (CST)

We recommend taking the exams during the student teaching year, as they do contain some questions related to your pedagogical decision-making; winter break of the student teaching year can be an ideal time to complete your paper-and-pencil certification exams.

Candidates should consult with the Office of Teacher Education for resources and support related to certification exams.  Additional Information can be accessed from the New York State Teacher Certification Examination Website: www.nystce.nesinc.com


All students now have a link on their myTC under Student Resources to file for graduation. There will be windows of opportunity to file for graduation based on the application deadlines set by the college. It is the student's responsibility to file. If there are any issues, consult your advisor.  The application deadline is August 1 for October graduates, November 1 for February graduates, and February 1 for May graduates.

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