As an elementary education major at NSU, you'll receive hands-on instruction and extensive in-classroom experience – including courses at a local elementary school – to prepare you to become an exceptional teacher.
    About The Program

    Complete your undergraduate degree in only 120 credit hours!


    As an elementary education major at Northern, you’ll learn to create lessons that actively involve your students, and how to best address a wide variety of learning styles.


    You’ll be encouraged to enhance your employability by earning endorsements in birth through preschool education, kindergarten education, middle level education, and coaching.


    Northern also offers the following minors to enhance the value of your degree:

    • E-Learning
    • English as a new language
    • Coaching
    • Reading
    • Early childhood
    • Special education
    • Music minor for education
    • Physical education

    In our elementary education program, you'll receive a free iPad in your sophomore or junior year, and learn to use it and other technology tools effectively as a teacher. Through a partnership with the Aberdeen School District, several of your elementary education classes will take place at the new Mike Miller Elementary school, where each student has access to an iPad. To further enhance your educational technology skills, the Creation Lab at Northern's Williams Library offers open access to a 3D printer, 3Doodler Pen, Chromebooks, SMARTboard and AppleTV.


    Our partnership with local schools and the community extends beyond the classroom, with recognized student organizations focusing on education, and extracurricular activities involving K-12 students.


    You’ll also have the unique opportunity to provide reading and writing instruction to K-8 students through the NSU Reading Clinic.





    Northern’s B.S. in elementary education program prepares you to make an impact in the teaching field. Graduates can pursue careers as elementary teachers or paraprofessionals, or apply to graduate school.


    NSU offers academic advising throughout your college experience, as well as focused career planning. For more information on careers in your major or help choosing a major, contact Career Services.


    Students gain valuable hands-on experience during their sophomore field experience and two residencies. NSU’s extensive field experiences, under the supervision of our caring university faculty, prepare you to make an impact in the lives of elementary students.


    Due to the generosity of Millicent Atkins, who earned a teaching degree from Northern State in 1940 and believed in the true impact of educating children, we are able to offer every incoming Elementary Education major an annual scholarship.


    Scholarship awards start at $500 a year and are provided annually for up to four years. Please contact to find out your scholarship level.


    Additional School of Education scholarships are available to incoming freshmen and upperclassmen. For details, call the School of Education at 605-626-2415. 


    NSU Scholarships

    Program Success/Outcomes

    “When I first started looking at colleges to go to, Northern wasn’t even on my list as a school to choose from. It was too close to where I was originally from and I wanted to get away from my hometown and have a fresh start. On a fluke, I decided to sign up for a Northern Bound Day. Touring Northern was one of the best decisions that I have ever made. The moment that I stepped on campus, it felt like home and I knew that this was where I was meant to be. The small class sizes and extremely helpful faculty are another factor why I chose Northern. Coming from a class size of 30, I knew that large lectures would not be helpful for my education. The small and personal class sizes allowed me to get to know my professors and classmates and learn in a way that I was used to coming from such a small school. The professors at Northern are there to help you succeed and they will help in any way that they can. Being a part of the Honors program and living in the Honor’s learning community is an experience that I do not think I would have received or tried for anywhere else. If not for Dr. Fouberg pushing me to join Honors, I don’t think that I would have participated in this amazing program. This program allowed me to learn more about myself, meet people that I would have never spoken to before and participate in campus life. The Honors program has provided me with experiences and a network that will help me with my future outside of Northern.”—Hattie Weismantel, Columbia, S.D. #BeNORTHERN #UnleashYOURPotential #NorthernStateU #WhyNSU

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    Contact Information

    For more information about this degree, contact Justin Bartel or call 605-626-2429. Or, contact NSU Admissions at 605-626-2544 or

    I have been working as an advisor at Northern since 2015. First, I served as a JumpStart Advisor to support American Indian and low-income students throughout their college career. From 2016 to 2020, I served as a professional advisor in the College of Arts and Sciences – working mainly with students in history and social sciences and students in secondary education programs. In 2020, I moved to the Millicent Atkins School of Education, where I advise all students in teacher education programs. I earned my bachelor of science degree in geography and geographic information sciences and my master of science degree in school counseling from South Dakota State University. 

    Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL (2020)
    M.Ed. in Special Education with Reading and TESOL specializations, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL (2014)
    B.A. in Elementary Education, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL (2013)
    Christina J. Cavallaro, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of elementary education in the teacher education department who joined NSU’s faculty in 2021. She specializes in preparing teacher candidates to use equitable and explicit reading and literacy pedagogical approaches that support students in developing and using academic language in purposeful ways. Her research agenda comprises three interconnected objectives: (1) To investigate and support inclusive literacy practices across classroom contexts; (2) To document teachers’ understanding of language and promote explicit teaching of schooling literacies as a vehicle for student academic…

    Ed. D., M.Ed., University of Nevada, Las Vegas

    B.S., Valley City State University

    Dr. Timothy Houge has been an NSU faculty member since 2000 and is director of the NSU Reading Clinic. He has Ed.D. and M.Ed. degrees in instructional and curricular studies from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and a bachelor's degree in elementary education with a reading minor from Valley City State University, Valley City, N.D.

    Courses Taught
    K-8 Reading Methods
    Content Area Reading

    Ph.D. Curriculum & Instruction (Mathematics Education), Montana State University, 2022

    M.S.Ed. Educational Studies, Northern State University, 2018

    B.S.Ed. Secondary Mathematics Education, Northern State University, 2016


    Dr. Monte Meyerink joined NSU’s faculty in 2022 as a specialist in mathematics education. He earned a Ph.D. from Montana State University and master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Northern State University. Dr. Meyerink’s general research interests revolve around the preparation of teachers of mathematics. His primary research interest is preservice teachers’ ability to use technological resources to enhance K-12 students’ understanding of mathematics concepts.


    Courses Taught

    ELED 330 K-8 Math Methods

    EDER 761 Graduate Research & Design

    EDFN 102 Introduction to Education

    Ph.D. Educational Psychology, University of Arizona, 2020
    M.A. Educational Psychology, University of Arizona, 2016
    B.A. Education, University of Arizona, 2014
    Graduate Certificate in Educational Research Methodology
    At the University of Arizona, Dr. Lauren Pierce studied motivation and identity development within group dynamics. She researches co-regulatory aspects of motivation and identity as they relate to proactive coping and emotional regulation. These areas help inform her approach to educational psychology in classroom contexts.
    Research Interests
    Mental health
    Team sports
    Efficacy beliefs
    Group processes
    Canonical correlation
    Team dynamics
    Expectancy value

    Dr. Anna Schwan joined Northern’s faculty in 2018 after 16 years in public K-12 education, serving as a high school teacher and secondary school administrator. She currently serves as interim dean of the Millicent Atkins School of Education. Previously, she was department chair of Teacher Education and graduate faculty coordinator of the Educational Studies and Leadership and Administration programs. 

    Doctor of Education, School Administration, University of South Dakota
    Master of Education, Valley City State University, Teaching English Learners
    Bachelor of Arts, South Dakota State University, English & Spanish
    Professional Work Experience
    Middle school/High school principal
    6-12 English as a second language teacher
    7-12 Language arts teacher
    K-12 Spanish teacher


    University of South Dakota, Ed.D. Special Education Administration, 2021

    Black Hills State University, Endorsement, Early Childhood Special Education, 2013 

    Southwest Minnesota State University, M.S., Emotional & Behavioral Disorders, 2009

    Northern State University, B.S., K-12 Special Education, 2006 


    Dr. Jessica Vogel joined the NSU School of Education faculty in 2016 after being a special educator for more than 10 years. She has experience as an EBD teacher, self-contained special education teacher, and early childhood teacher. Her undergraduate degree in special education is from Northern State University. Dr. Vogel serves on various committees on campus and community boards. 


    Dr. Vogel also serves as the graduate coordinator for the MSEd in Teaching and Learning…

    Ph.D. Learning, Literacies, and Technologies, Arizona State University, 2021 

    M.Ed. Curriculum and Instruction: Emphasis in English as a Second Language, Utah Valley University, 2010 

    B.S. Elementary Education, Brigham Young University, 2001  


    Dr. Wendy Wakefield joined the NSU School of Education faculty in 2021. She specializes in preparing NSU teacher candidates to implement science and engineering instruction and to integrate assessment in meaningful, engaging, and inclusive ways in their future classrooms. She also focuses on designing teacher education and professional development opportunities that foster agency, identity, and success across teachers’ careers.  


    Dr. Wakefield was an elementary school classroom teacher for 14 years. She then spent two years working with student teachers, interns, and new teachers at an elementary school…

    Ph.D., University of North Dakota
    M.S.Ed., Northern Illinois University
    B.S.Ed., Northern State University
    Dr. Cheryl Wold joined NSU's faculty in 2013. She received a Ph.D. in Teaching and Learning from the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND, her M.S.Ed. degree in Special Education/Learning Disabilities from Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Ill., and B.S.Ed. degrees in Elementary Education and Special Education from NSU. Dr. Wold was a special education teacher for 17 years; Title I reading and math teacher for seven years; and a director of special education for eight years.
    Dr. Wold is a member of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), Council of Administrators of Special Education (CASE), and the Teacher Education Division of CEC (TED). She has served as South Dakota CEC president and past president and is currently the membership chair. At the national level of CEC, she…