Santa Clara University

Liberal Studies program

Pre-Teaching at SCU


Elementary School Teaching



Santa Clara's Liberal Studies major is designed for aspiring elementary school teachers. Approved by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, the major encompasses the range of subjects taught in grade school. The more than 100 students pursuing this major become broadly versed in English, mathematics, science, social science, and humanities, and specialize by selecting an academic concentration or minor. About 25 percent of the course work is available for electives or pursuing a second major. Santa Clara's pre-teaching advisor helps you tailor a personalized study plan.

High School Teaching


If you want to teach high school classes, it makes sense to major in the subject you wish to teach. At Santa Clara, 5 majors have state approval as single-subject preparation programs.

“Santa Clara's single-subject preparation programs include: English, Mathematics, Science, Social Science, and Spanish. ”

The state waives the required exam in that subject, if you complete one of SCU's single-subject preparation programs. Santa Clara's single-subject preparation programs include: English, Mathematics, Science, Social Science, and Spanish. If you decide to teach a subject for which Santa Clara does not offer an approved single-subject preparation program, you must pass the state-required exam in that subject.


In addition to the programs available at SCU, the state offers teaching credentials in Agriculture, Art, Business, Health Science, Home Economics, Industrial & Technology Education, Music, and Physical Education. Upon earning a bachelor's degree, you must complete a fifth year of study to gain a credential, which can be completed at Santa Clara or another university.


Education Courses

While professional education training courses are the major focus of the credential program, you may also develop teaching skills and learn more about childhood development through a series of courses at the undergraduate level. Offerings include:

  • Elementary School Teaching Practicum
  • Secondary School Teaching Practicum
  • Psychology of Education
  • The Exceptional Child
  • one Upper Division Ethnic Studies course (consult advisor)
  • Teaching English as a Second Language
  • Writing for Teachers
  • Movement for Children
  • Community Health Education
  • Urban Education and Multiculturalism


A practicum, simply put, is a time to practice teaching. In a practicum, you will spend one full academic quarter or more as an instructional aide tutoring and teaching small groups under the direction of a professional educator. Santa Clara matches you with a site depending upon your preference for elementary school grade level or high school subject.