A page within Secondary Teacher Education Preparation (STEP)

Below you will find answers to some frequently asked questions regarding the STEP Program. If your FAQ is not listed, please feel free to email the STEP Program Director, Dr. Jenn Kosiak (jkosiak@uwlax.edu).

If you are looking for more information on the School of Education, visit the School of Education Website.


What are the majors and minors that are part of the STEP program?

STEP Majors:

  • Biology - Science Education (grades 4-12) concentration
  • Chemistry - Science Education (grades 4-12) concentration
  • Physics - Science Education (grades 4-12) concentration
  • Broadfield Social Studies Education (grades 4-12)
  • Broadfield Social Studies Education (grades 4-12) - History concentration
  • Broadfield Social Studies Education (grades 4-12) - Political Science concentration
  • Broadfield Social Studies Education (grades 4-12) - Sociology concentration
  • English Education (grades 4-12)
  • Mathematics Education (grades 4-12)

General Education Requirements 42 credits. To ensure that teacher candidates meet state performance competencies and make timely progress to degree, candidates are encouraged to  select general education requirements from the list applicable to teaching certification programs. Required General Education courses aligned with each program are listed in the Advisement Report. Students can generate a “what if” Advisement Report for a given STEP major through their account in WINGS.


School of Education Core Requirements 32-42 credits Teacher candidates in all teacher preparation programs are required to complete 6 credits of Educational Foundations (EDS 203, EDS 206), 3 credits of child/motor development (PSY 212 for STEP), 3 credits of teaching students with disabilities (SPE 200 for STEP), at least two teaching methods courses (see program requirements for details), at least two field experience courses (see program requirements for details), Student Teaching Seminar (EDS 492), and a full semester of full-time, full K-12 semester Student Teaching (EDS 496 or EDS 495). Teacher candidates must also meet other benchmarks required by the WI Department of Public Instruction and the School of Education as part of program completion requirements. Teacher candidates successfully completing one of these programs earn a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree from UWL.


Additional Secondary Professional Education Requirements 3 credits. In addition to SOE Core Requirements, STEP teacher candidates must take EDS 309 Teaching Global Perspectives Across the Curriculum.  During methods and field experience courses aligned with the particular STEP program, candidates will progress through coursework designed to integrate theory with practice, as well as provide candidates with the opportunities to reflect upon teaching experiences.


Content Major Requirements 35-56 credits. To ensure the teacher candidates have a deep understanding of the central concepts, content knowledge, tools of inquiry, and structure of their discipline, teacher candidates will complete program requirements outlined by their respective content department(s). 

Advising worksheets for faculty and students are also available.

The DPI is the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. Students in STEP earn a degree from UWL and are endorsed for a WI teaching license. In order to actually obtain the license, they must  apply for a license to teach from the DPI. All  teacher education students must meet certain state requirements in order to be licensed to teach in Wisconsin, which are outlined in the educator preparation code PI 34.

The grades 4-12  licensure range is set by  Wisconsin PI 34, and administered by the Department of Public Instruction. According to PI 34.046, STEP students are prepared to teach in Middle School and High School in the subject area aligned with their major (English and Language Arts, Mathematics, Science (all subjects) or Social Studies (all subjects)). The expansion of the grade range to include grades 4 and 5 was dictated by the WI state legislature and intended to embrace middle schools that may begin at grade 4 or 5. The Middle and High School (grades 4-12) subject area license does not prepare candidates to teach in a “regular education” (multiple subjects) setting, including elementary schools.

Yes, all education students must apply for admission to the School of Education. Some students assume that admission into the University equates to admission into the School of Education. The admissions requirements vary among each of the teacher education programs so they should consult with their academic advisor or visit the School of Education website for more information. Pre-admission students, especially those in the STEP Program are advised to gain experience working with children and youth prior to applying to the School of Education.


All students must be admitted to the School of Education in order to enroll in professional education courses. Meeting the eligibility criteria does not guarantee admission into a teacher education program. Limited availability of resources impacts the number of students admitted, and not all students declaring an education major or completing the application for admission are guaranteed to be admitted. STEP students typically apply during their sophomore year and must meet the application criteria before applying to the School of Education.

In addition, the WI Department of Public Instruction (DPI) requires that candidates for admission to a teacher education, administration, or pupil services program successfully pass a criminal background check (CBC) as one criterion for admission. By applying for admission to one of these programs, candidates agree to provide the necessary personal information to UWL in order to initiate their CBC, and to complete their portion of the process prior to the deadline specified in their admission letter.  Teacher candidates are responsible for all costs associated with their criminal background check(s). Admission decisions by programs are contingent upon CBC clearance by the UWL Office of Field Experience.


All application materials are due at 4:00 p.m. on the Friday of the third week of the Fall or Spring semester.

Prior to student teaching, STEP students must demonstrate content knowledge by passing the appropriate Praxis II: Subject Assessment exam(s) or earning  a 3.0 GPA in their certifiable major based on the established set of courses for their program (this list is identified in the Advisement Report in WINGS). During student teaching, STEP students must demonstrate pedagogical knowledge by submitting a completed edTPA and receiving a passing score.  The edTPA is the education Teacher Performance Assessment. The edTPA is used to determine if a new teacher is "ready for the job." More information on SOE benchmark assessments can be found here: www.uwlax.edu/soe/undergrad/benchmark-assessments.

Students complete two integrated field experiences, working in a local school prior to student teaching. In the first field experience, students are placed with a mentor teacher in a middle school classroom, and in the second field experience, students are placed with a mentor teacher in a high school classroom.  


The semester prior to enrolling in your field experience coursework, students must apply for field experience prior to the close of the field experience application. Students who do not complete the field experience application by the due date may not receive a placement in the following semester. All STEP teacher candidates are also required to attend Field Experience Orientation Sessions. 


In the context of a real classroom, teacher candidates will learn how to plan for and assess student learning. The integrated field experience means that students meet on campus as part of a traditional course and complete a minimum of ~50 hours in a school setting as part of that course. As part of the required 50 hours, students may tutor, observe classes and/or engage in class instruction.

After completing these two field experiences, professional education requirements, and all other degree requirements, STEP students may apply to student teach. 

Students apply to student teach one year in advance of the student teaching semester . They must apply to student teach prior to the close of the student teaching application. Students must be approved to student teach by the SOE Teacher Certification Officer by the specified deadline, based on completion of all pre-student teaching requirements. Additional information is available on the Office of Field Experience website

Student teaching is a full semester, full day following the daily schedule and semester calendar of the cooperating school (s. 118.19(3)(a) Stats.); a student teaching seminar (EDS 492) is also required. Students may not take any other course work while student teaching. During the student teaching semester, students take on whole class instruction, assessment and other professional duties.

Yes, it is possible to study abroad and not increase time to graduation. Students may earn credits in their content major or in the professional education requirements if the courses are evaluated to have content appropriate for the requirements. It is very important that students who want to study abroad work closely with their academic advisor and SOE Teacher Certification Officer.


In addition, School of Education students may be eligible to student teach abroad through Educators Abroad. Students should contact the Office of Field Experience (soefieldexp@uwlax.edu) for more information.

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