Elementary Graduate Teacher Certification (GTC) Program

Program Overview

The Elementary Graduate Teacher Certification (GTC) program is an accelerated, traditional, full-time preparation program for individuals interested in earning their initial teaching certificate at the elementary level (Prekindergarten through 6th grade). With cohorts beginning each May, candidates engage in a combination of coursework and fieldwork for a total of three semesters (spring/summer, fall, and winter). Candidates will, however, need to successfully complete two prerequisite courses prior to beginning the Elementary GTC Cohort in May. The hybrid format of the Elementary GTC program requires individuals to attend both in-person courses (at our Grand Rapids campus) and online courses. During the fall and winter semesters, individuals will participate in fieldwork to gain experience leading a classroom under the supervision and guidance of an experienced mentor teacher. Upon completion of the Elementary GTC program, individuals will apply for their initial teaching certificate through the Michigan Department of Education at the elementary level. Additionally, participation in the GTC program will provide candidates with graduate credit toward a master's degree.

Eligibility Requirements

In order to participate in the Elementary GTC program, candidates:

  • must be seeking initial PK-6th grade certification.
  • must have an awarded bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution.
  • must be at least a year out from earning their bachelor's degree.
  • must have a 3.0 GPA or higher for the final 60 undergraduate credits (waived if applicant holds a master's degree).
  • must successfully complete two prerequisite courses.
  • must have 30 hours of paid or unpaid experience working with the PK-6th grade age group.

GVSU Pew Campus

Tentative Course Schedule

Spring/Summer Semester (May - August)

Fall Semester (August - December)

Winter Semester (January - April)

EDI 631: Teaching Science: PK-6
EDI 633: Teaching Social Studies and Diversity
EDI 635: Development and Needs of Students
EDR 621: Foundations of Literacy

Total Credits: 12

EDI 685 1A: 1st Practicum/Graduate Field Experience
EDI 638: Facilitating School Environments
EDI 630: Teaching Mathematics: PK-6
EDR 628: Literacy Instruction Across Disciplines

Total Credits: 12

EDI 685 2A: 2nd Practicum/Graduate Field Experience
EDS 652: Foundations of Special Education



Total Credits: 9

Admission Process

Step One: Watch Informational Recording

If you have not done so already, please watch the Informational Recording for the Elementary GTC Program. This recording provides valuable insight about the program itself, eligibility requirements, and the specific process for how to apply. We are not offering Informational Sessions for the Elementary GTC Program at this time.

The PowerPoint presentation used in the Informational Recording is made accessible for candidates using Google Drive. You can access the copy of the presentation using this link.

Informational Recording - Elementary GTC

Step Two: Graduate School Application

Candidates will first apply to GVSU's Graduate School. Candidates will apply for the semester they plan to take their first prerequisite course. As a reminder, the prerequisite coursework must be completed prior to joining the May Cohort. Within the Graduate School application, all candidates will:

  • upload a Personal Statement/Essay - see prompt
  • upload an Educator Resume - see example
  • send all official transcripts to GVSU

Please use the Graduate School Application Guide - Elementary GTC for a step by step guide on how to apply and have official transcripts sent to GVSU.

Once admitted to the Graduate School, candidates will receive their GVSU Network Credentials (User Name and G-Number) within 2-5 business days. Candidates will need to follow the instructions in that email to set up their Network Account and change their password.

Step Three: Register for Prerequisites

Once candidates have set up their Network Account, they can log in to MyBanner and register for the two required prerequisite courses. This Banner Registration website provides step by step instructions for accessing the Registration Page, as well as a Course Registration tutorial video.

EDT 619: Introduction to Learning, Design, and Technology
HPE 267: Health and Movement Education for Elementary Teachers

Please note: degree-seeking students must enroll in at least 6 credits (2 courses) each semester to be eligible for Financial Aid.

Step Four: Elementary GTC Program Application

Individuals will complete the program-specific application to confirm their participation in the upcoming May cohort. Within this application, candidates will:

  • provide their GVSU email address and G#
  • list the semesters they are registered for the prerequisite courses
  • indicate their anticipated May Cohort year
  • disclose if they have a felony or misdemeanor
  • provide consent to share educational records
  • upload their Verification of Experience form

Application Window: August 1st through November 1st
Application Deadline: November 1st

*Late applicants should contact our Graduate Education Program Specialist (see contact information in the Questions/Concerns section)

Questions or Concerns?
If you have any questions or concerns regarding the program or admission process after watching the Informational Recording, please contact our Graduate Education Program Specialist.

Jade Bowman
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (616)331-6122

Pathway to Master's Degree

Upon completion of the Graduate Teacher Certification (GTC) program, students may continue coursework toward the master's degree in Elementary or another approved master's degree program. Interested students should contact the Office of Certification and Accreditation at [email protected] or (616) 331-6650 to meet with an advisor.

Visit the online catalog for a list of the Masters of Education Degree in Instruction and Curriculum, Elementary Education Courses and degree requirements.


Page last modified April 15, 2024