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DirecTrack to Teaching


Get on the path to teaching licensure as an undergraduate through DirecTrack to Teaching. The program gives undergraduates early exposure to the culture of teaching and schools. Enter the profession with confidence and competence.

  • Learn as part of a select group of future teachers from multiple disciplines.
  • Participate in guided experiences (volunteering, observing, tutoring) with youth and in classroom settings.
  • Focus on the subject area you want to teach.
  • Earn preferred admission status into the M.Ed/initial licensure program when certain benchmarks are met (but admission is not guaranteed).
  • DirecTrack to Teaching encourages applications from all students interested in meeting the diverse needs of students in our schools, including applicants who demonstrate the following criteria:

    • Racial or ethnic diversity
    • Multilingual
    • First-generation college student
    • Interested in teaching in high-need areas (ESL, Spanish, math, science, special education)
    • Interested in teaching for social justice (encompassing race, economics, gender, sexual orientation, religion, power, and privilege)

    Application Information

    Who is eligible?

    Currently enrolled University of Minnesota-Twin Cities undergraduate students with either second-term freshman status or second-term sophomore status may apply. We're looking for exceptional students who hold promise as future educators. We want to see the following:

    • A minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.8 overall (3.0 is preferred). A minimum 3.0 overall GPA is required for maintaining your status in the program.
    • Volunteer activities that show an interest in education. We look for candidates who have demonstrated their interest in teaching with activities and volunteer experiences related to children and youth.

    Undergraduate transfer students from outside the University of Minnesota system who meet the above criteria are also eligible to apply. Candidates must have at least two years of studies remaining at the University of Minnesota after transfer.

    How to Apply

    1. Step one: Complete the online application
    2. Step two: Essay

      The application requires you to complete the essay prompt below. Before starting the application, we suggest you draft your essay.

      Essay topic: What do you see as the most important job of being a teacher? Recognizing that there are many “right” answers, please RANK the items below:

      • Providing equity and opportunity to all students.
      • Building resilience in young people through interactions with a caring adult.
      • Strengthening the foundations of democracy by helping students become critical and active citizens in their classrooms, schools, and communities.
      • Helping every student reach their intellectual potential.

      In your essay, please explain why you chose your first and last ranking. Explain your choices by reflecting on your own educational experiences in and outside of school.

      The essay should be between 500-750 words (approximately 2-3 pages, double spaced).

    Teaching Subject Areas

    You'll find it easiest to fulfill all your major and DirecTrack to Teaching requirements if you choose an undergraduate major that is directly related to your desired teaching field. Review the content-area prerequisites linked below, and consult with your current college advisor, as well as with the initial licensure program advisor for your desired teaching area.

    Note: DirecTrack to Teaching is not a stand-alone undergraduate major, and it does not lead to any particular baccalaureate degree. You will maintain your current University of Minnesota undergraduate college and major status (e.g., CLA, history major) while pursuing the DirecTrack to Teaching program.

    • Art education (licensure in visual arts education)
      Recommended majors: art, art history, studio art
    • Dance education
      Recommended major: dance
    • English education (licensure in communication arts and literature)
      Recommended major: English
    • Mathematics education
      Recommended major: math
    • Science education
      Recommended majors: astrophysics, biology, chemistry, engineering, environmental sciences, fisheries and wildlife, genetics and cell biology, geology, neuroscience, physics
    • Second Language education (licensure in world languages and English as a second language)
      Recommended majors: language studies (French, German, Japanese, etc.), international relations, linguistics, speech-language-hearing sciences
    • Social Studies education
      Recommended majors: American studies, anthropology, economics, geography, history, philosophy, political science, psychology, sociology
    • Theatre education
      Recommended major: theatre arts


    Exploring the Teaching Profession: CI 3901 (2 cr) and CI 3902 (2 cr). At least one education course is required per year.

    Dates and deadlines

    The DirecTrack to Teaching Program admits students Fall term of each academic year only. Applications are accepting from October 15 through February 1st for the following academic year. Acceptance decisions will be communicated to applicants by March 15th.

    Next Steps

    After you've been accepted

    After acceptance into the DirecTrack to Teaching program, you will attend a spring orientation. DirecTrack to Teaching advisors in the College of Education and Human Development will work closely with you to help you choose the proper coursework to meet DirecTrack to Teaching requirements.

    Benchmark Minimums

    You will be required to meet the following benchmarks to continue participating in the DirecTrack to Teaching program:

    • Achieve and maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 throughout the program
    • Maintain full-time status and good academic standing in the major, and adequate progress towards graduation.
    • Take at least one course in the DirecTrack to Teaching sequence per academic year after admission to DirecTrack to Teaching.
    • Earn grades in DirecTrack to Teaching courses of B or higher.
    • Stay on track toward successful completion of area prerequisite courses for the M.Ed./initial licensure program.
    • Participate in at least two DirecTrack to Teaching professional development events per semester (when not enrolled in a DirecTrack to Teaching course).
    • Participate in the DirecTrack to Teaching learning community via the online networking site.
    • Complete at least 100 hours of practicum/service-learning experience through enrollment in Exploring the Teaching Profession coursework: CI 3901 and CI 3902 (two 2-credit course sequence: 4-credit total).
    • Other benchmarks may be required by specific programs.

    After completing DirecTrack to Teaching

    After you've completed your undergraduate degree and met all DirecTrack to Teaching benchmarks, you will be eligible to begin the graduate-level initial licensure program in your field. If you graduate and complete DirecTrack to Teaching in the spring semester, you will begin your initial licensure program that summer.

    Contact Us

    Email the program coordinator Jehanne Beaton.

Quynh Van

"Through DirecTrack, I have had several meaningful service-learning experiences, made great friends who are as dedicated about teaching as I am, and have found a community I feel I belong in."
Quynh Van, B.A. 2018