Frequently Asked Questions

Questions about the Education Program

Questions about Graduation

Questions about the Education Program

Are teaching jobs available?

Yes, teaching jobs do exist. In fact, in many areas there is a teacher shortage. There is a demand for well-educated teachers with strong liberal arts backgrounds, and there is a national shortage of qualified secondary school mathematics, science, and bilingual teachers. A few forgivable loans and scholarships are available for students majoring in these fields who later plan to teach. All Barnard Education Program students who have sought teaching jobs after graduation have successfully found them.

What does the Education Program offer?

Required education courses give students the opportunity to work in urban schools and exciting classrooms. Students interested in social service, public policy, or educationally related fields can through student teaching, gain direct experience in working with teachers and children in a school environment.

Who does the Barnard Education Program serve?

The Barnard Education Program serves all Columbia undergraduate students from Barnard College, Columbia College, the Fu School of Engineering and General Studies.

In what areas can I be certified to teach?

Students who complete the program receive initial New York State certification in either Childhood Education (grades 1-6) or Adolescence Education (grades 7-12) in the fields of English, Foreign and Ancient Languages, Mathematics, the Sciences, and Social Studies

What if I am interested in education but don't plan to teach?

The Education Program has always been open to students whose career goals may not be classroom teaching but who desire the challenge of working with young people in a classroom setting. College students with varied liberal arts backgrounds report that student teaching is an intellectually challenging and enriching experience.

What if I plan to go abroad my junior year?

Those planning to be abroad during the junior year must take the Methods Course and Practicum during the spring semester of their sophomore year.

What is required for the pre-student teaching experience?

The practicum provides 60 of the 100 required hours of pre-student teaching experience. The additional 40 hours can be taken through additional work with children under the supervision of a certified teacher. Forms for documentation of pre-practicum field experience are available in the Education Program office.

What do I do to apply for the Urban Teaching minor/special concentration?

To apply, acquire an information packet and application in 335-336 Milbank, or print an application. Students who plan to study abroad during their junior year should apply by the end of their sophomore year. Admission criteria include: good academic standing, evidence of interest in the field of education, and capacity for growth in areas vital to the teaching-learning experience. Enrollment is limited.

When is the application deadline?

Students may apply for admission during the sophomore year and no later than the first Monday in October in the autumn term of the junior year.

Will I be able to teach in other states?

Graduates of the program are eligible for membership in the Interstate Certification Agreement, a reciprocal certification among more than thirty-one states.

How does the program help graduates find jobs?

The Barnard Education Program belongs to the Consortium for Excellence in Teacher Education (CETE), a group of 17 selected liberal arts colleges with similar education programs. CETE has a job clearinghouse to assist graduates of the colleges with teaching placements in public schools in many regions of the country.

Can I Pass/Fail a class that I am taking for the program?

Students cannot take a required course for the certification Pass/Fail. A Foundations or Psychology course could be Pass/Fail.

If a student graduated in the Education Program and followed a career other than education, and wants to return to the Education field, how do they go about getting their NYS certificate re-instated?

Contact the NYSED.

Do you need a teaching certificate for a Private School?

This depends on the school.

Is BC 3032 Contemporary Issues available for students not enrolled in the program and if so, how do I go about signing up from abroad?

There is limited availability, and preference is given to students within the program. Contact Professor Maria Rivera Maulucci at

Does my fieldwork supervisor have to be a certified teacher?

Someone on site should be a Certified Teacher.


Questions about Graduation

What majors are accepted for certification?

Students with any major may attain the Childhood Education certification. For Adolescent Education certification, students are required to have a 36 credit major in the subject they would teach (English, Social Studies, Mathematics, Foreign Languages, or Science). For specific courses and requirements please refer to the Barnard or Columbia College catalogues or call the office for an appointment with an advisor.

Does the Education Program count as a minor?

Courses for the Education Program may constitute a minor for Barnard students and a special concentration for CC, GS, and SEAS students. The minor/special concentration requires a minimum of six courses: EDUC BC 3063 or BC 3065, EDUC BC 3064, a methods course, the practicum course, and two others from those courses listed that are not counted toward the major.

What does certification entail?

Certification is based on demonstration of competency in both academic and field settings. Students will gain 100 hours of pre-student teaching experience and complete 200 hours of student teaching at two grade levels. As part of the certification process, students must pass the New York State Teacher Certification Examinations, the edTPA, and seminar sessions in Identifying and Reporting Child Abuse, Prevention of School Violence, the Dignity for All Students Act (DASA), Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention, and Inclusion of Students with Special Needs.

Graduates of Barnard College and Columbia University have a 100 percent pass rate for the New York State Teacher Certification Examinations.

How many credits are required for the Barnard Education Program and certification?

For the New York State Initial Certificate in Childhood Education (grades 1- 6) students must complete a total of 24 credits. For the New York State Initial Certificate in Adolescence Education (grades 7-12) students must complete a total of 20 credits. (See course catalogue for details.)

I have a certification for teaching 1-6, how do I go about extending my certification for Pre K-2?

Contact the NYSED.