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 Kenneth Shonk STEP Coordinator, at

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? expanding section

STEP Majors:

  • Biology Education
  • Broadfield Science (Second major only; students must declare a first major in Biology Education, Chemistry Education , or Physics Education)
  • Broadfield Social Studies A
  • Broadfield Social Studies B
  • Chemistry Education
  • Computer Science Education
  • English Education
  • History Education
  • Geography Education
  • Mathematics Education
  • Physics Education
  • Political Science Education
  • Sociology Education

STEP Minors:

  • Biology Education
  • Chemistry Education
  • Computer Science Education
  • Earth Science Education
  • Economics Education
  • English Education
  • History Education
  • Geography Education
  • Mathematics Education
  • Modern Languages (French, German, Spanish) Education
  • Teaching English to Speakers Other than English (TESOL)
  • Physics Education
  • Political Science Education
  • Psychology Education
  • School Health Education
  • Sociology Education
  • Special Education


What are the STEP requirements? expanding section

General Education Requirements 48 credits. To ensure that teacher candidates meet state performance competencies, candidates will select general education requirements from the list applicable to teaching certification programs.

Secondary Professional Education Requirements 35 credits. To ensure the teacher candidates meet the goals and objectives of the 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 40-44 credits. To ensure the teacher candidates have a deep understanding of the central concepts, tools of inquiry, and structure of their discipline, teacher candidates will complete program requirements outlined by their respective content department(s). Required Content Major courses will include the four credit course, Teaching and Learning (Content) in the Secondary School.

Advising worksheets for faculty and students are also available.

What is the DPI? expanding section

The DPI is the Department of Public Instruction. Students in STEP earn a degree from UWL and may apply for a license to teach from the DPI, therefore all teacher education students must meet certain state requirements in order to be licensed to teach in Wisconsin.

What is EA-A? expanding section

EA-A or Early Adolescence-Adolescence is a licensure range (approximate ages 10 - 21) available in Wisconsin license rule administered by the Department of Public InstructionSTEP students will receive a content area license or licenses at the EA-A developmental range.

Do I have to apply for Admission to STEP? expanding section

Yes, all education students must apply to the School of Education. Some students assume that admission into the University equates to admission into the School of Education. The pre-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-education 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. STEP students typically apply during their sophomore year and must meet the pre-application criteria below before applying to the School of Education:

  • Complete ENG 110 or 112 with a grade of "C" or higher.
  • Complete a minimum of 40 earned credits (including transfer credits) with a 2.75 combined cumulative grade point average (Note: the GPA listed on your current academic transcript must be used to satisfy the GPA requirement for admission purposes).
  • Complete or be concurrently enrolled in EDS 203 or EDS 206.
  • Students should contact their academic advisor with any questions regarding these pre-admission benchmarks.

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. Application materials include the submission of a current resume, unofficial transcripts, and a two-page educational experience reflection essay.

What tests do I have to take? expanding section

Prior to student teaching, STEP students must pass the Praxis II: Subject Assessment exam(s) or have a 3.0 GPA in their certifiable major and minor(s). During student teaching, STEP students must receive a passing score on the edTPA, a teacher performance assessment. The edTPA is used to determine if a new teacher is "ready for the job." More information on benchmark assessments can be found here:

What field experiences are required as part of the STEP Program? expanding section

Students complete two integrated field experiences, working in a local school prior to student teaching. EDS 351: Language, Literacy and Culture in the Secondary Classroom (4 credits) and Teaching and Learning (Content) in the Secondary School (4 credits). The second field experience is housed in content departments.

The semester prior to enrolling in your field experience coursework, all STEP teacher candidates are required to attend a Field Experience Orientation Sessions. The dates and times of these mandatory sessions will be posted on the STEP and School of Education Website.

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, major, minor (if completed), professional education requirements, and all other degree requirements, STEP students may apply to student teach. 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 is also required. Students do 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.

When do I student teach? expanding section

Students apply to student teach the last semester of course work. They must apply to student teach. Student teaching is a full semester, full day following the daily schedule and semester calendar of the cooperating school. Application forms for student teaching are completed one year prior to the student teaching placement semester - in October for a fall semester placement and March for a spring semester placement. Application material and student teaching information can be found on the School of Education Office of Field Experience - For Teacher Candidates website.

To be eligible for student teaching, students must complete requirements in their major(s), minor(s), and professional education coursework with at least a 2.75 combined cumulative grade point average and a 2.75 grade point average in the major, minor, concentrations and professional course work and an official passing Praxis II content test score report or 3.0 GPA in their certifiable major and minor(s) in the appropriate certification area(s)/discipline(s).

Can I study abroad? expanding section

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 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 ( for more information.

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