Bachelor of Science in Education, B.S.E.

Students engage in a classroom discussion.

Shape futures with a teaching degree from Westfield State University—where passion meets purpose.

Inspire, empower, and guide future generations when you earn your teaching degree at Westfield State University. Founded in 1839 as a teacher preparation school, our mission is—and always has been—to prepare future educators for teaching within a democratic society. You’ll benefit from our legacy of experience and dedication as well as robust and rigorous programming designed to prepare you to embrace diversity, build inclusive learning communities, teach for social justice, and engage in scholarship and reflection.

Discover our transfer agreements with local community colleges, providing a smooth entry into our undergraduate Early Childhood, Elementary, and Special Education programs, ensuring a convenient path to completing your degree.

Available majors:

Early Childhood Education (PreK-2)
Elementary Education (1-6)
Middle (grades 5-8) and Secondary (8-12) Subject Specialist
Special Education: Moderate Disabilities (PreK-8)
Special Education: Moderate Disabilities (5-12)
Vocational Technical Education

Areas of Focus (9 to 12 credits) within the Early Childhood, Elementary, and Special Education programs are also available:

  • Language and Literacy
  • Self-Designed
  • Equity and Justice in Education
  • Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)
  • Learner Variability in Education
  • Arts Integration
  • Early Education and Care
  • Child, Family and Community Studies

Program Highlights

  • History of educating teachers since 1839
  • State and national accreditation
  • Out in the field early with close partner schools
  • Accelerated Dual Degree program for Elementary Education majors

Inspire future generations to build a better tomorrow.

Grow into an educator in a program that puts your students and culturally sustaining practices at the center. 

Empower Tomorrow: Your Teaching Degree Awaits.

  • Exterior of Parenzo Hall with two flags flying in front and blue skies in the background.

    Approved and accredited educator preparation

    All our education programs have earned national Assocation for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP) accreditation that includes a special 2020 commendation for excellence in antiracist education, as well as approval by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).

  • Education student assisting an elementary student with a project. Crayons on desk with paper.

    Real-world experience 

    Gain hands-on practice through internships and field placements in a variety of school settings, as well as a full-year placement in your senior year, which provides a view of the teaching year from start to finish. Field-based methods courses in math, science, reading, and social studies help you develop your skills for the real-world classroom.

  • Teacher at the head of classroom in front of students

    Confidence to build your career

    Get the depth and breadth of preparation necessary for teaching effectively on day one of your first position in Westfield State University’s cohesive, mission-driven education program. You’ll receive preparation support for your Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL), and have access to tutors, student resources, and more to ensure your success.

Program Details

Program Mission

Five Pillars 

The educator preparation programs at WSU are built on a conceptual framework supported by five pillars. Each of your pedagogy courses, as well as your practicum experience, are also supported by one or more of these pillars. 

  1. Critical Engagement with Diversity: Our faculty understands that diversity means more than just acknowledging and/or tolerating difference. Critical engagement with diversity means knowing how to validate and include members of social groups that have traditionally been marginalized in education. These include, but are not limited to, differences based on race, class, gender, physical and developmental abilities, sexual orientation, religion, and gender expression. It is likely that, as a teacher, you will be responsible for educating students from an increasingly broad range of racial, economic, and language backgrounds as well as a wide and diverse range of learning needs. We begin to help you engage with diversity by inviting you to critically examine your own background and social position and to reflect upon the ways in which cultural assumptions, beliefs, and value systems may limit understandings of and interactions with students and families of different backgrounds and social positions.
  2. Social Justice: Our faculty takes a critical approach to social justice and recognizes that society is stratified (divided and unequal) in significant and far-reaching ways along social group lines that include race, class, gender, sexual orientation, and ability. Schools play a primary role in this stratification, and thus are also a potential site for transformation. Therefore, we seek to enable our candidates: to recognize that all people are individuals, but they are also members of social groups and these social groups are valued unequally in society; to critically analyze education as a socio-political institution; to practice mutual respect and compassion for identities and experiences that are different from their own; to understand that diversity includes not only ways of being but also ways of knowing; and to build alliances across group differences so that we can work together to eradicate inequality between social groups within our classrooms and schools.
  3. Reflective Practice: Our faculty believes in reflective practice as the key to continuing intellectual and professional growth. This expectation of our graduates is expressed in our learning outcomes as well as in the design of our programs and assessments. We believe that all good teaching involves a recursive process of reflective practice. Before, during, and after we teach, we ask ourselves “what are our students learning?”, “how do we know?”, and “how can we improve our assessment and instructional practices to improve learning?” At WSU, you will be required to begin and sustain a practice of reflecting on your learners, on your lessons and units, and on your classroom community as a whole. This process will carry you forward into your career as a professional teacher.
  4. Community Building: It is our intent that the understanding of teaching and learning of candidates in our programs is informed by the belief that all education is fundamentally and inherently socio-political, and that education must enable students to critically engage in ways that bring about a more socially just society. Classrooms are small societies where students reside for one year of their lives. Classrooms can be places where everyone feels valued, where there is excitement for learning, and where learners can safely take risks. Students need to feel both supported and challenged on a daily basis. Classrooms, conversely, can also be places where some students are ostracized, misunderstood, and in the worst cases, mistreated. Teachers are powerful and are more successful when they recognize that classrooms can be positive or negative spaces and when they seek to build a classroom community in which all learners and critical thinking are valued.
  5. Scholarship, Inquiry, and an Excitement for Learning: Teaching is intellectual work. Our faculty believes that thinking deeply about ideas and experiences within and across disciplines is central to effective and dynamic teaching and learning. We expect our candidates to be continuous learners engaged in active inquiry and scholarship. We believe that effective teachers facilitate critical conversations using diverse lenses and multiple literacies. We expect our candidates to bring to their students a passion for learning, a questioning stance, and a deep understanding of powerful teaching practices. Candidates must be able to use the essential concepts of their disciplines to create a powerful, flexible curriculum that is responsive to the individual student, using diverse pedagogical approaches. It is never enough to simply love working with children to become a good teacher. At WSU, we help you learn to not only teach to the Common Core of State Standards, but to build powerful, interesting, and student-centered lessons and units of study that help students learn to think, to question, and to love learning.
Program Vision

The shared vision of the WSU Education programs is “Educators as Leaders Building Learning Communities.” This shared vision is an outgrowth of community discussions among education faculty of both initial and advanced programs, liberal arts and science faculty, candidates, P-12 teachers, and administrators. The vision represents the joining of two key concepts: leadership and learning community.

Leadership: Candidates and graduates will view themselves as leaders, as advocates for children and adolescents, and as professionals who work effectively with colleagues, administrators, and parents to create a supportive and stimulating environment for learners. Also, candidates and graduates will recognize the value of scholarship and professional development as an important tool in the further development of their capacities as advocates and leaders.

Learning Community. Candidates and graduates will belong to learning communities, which are vibrant social systems characterized by high levels of member dialogue and interaction, and by a shared commitment to the creation of knowledge. These learning communities will be motivated by shared goals, values, and responsibilities and will be respectful of the contributions of all community members. These learning communities will encourage the development of leadership qualities and participants who can participate effectively in collaborative settings specifically and more generally in democratic society.

Based on the Leaders Building Learning Communities focus of the conceptual framework, and the subthemes of community building, social justice, reflective practice, and diversity, the WSU education community developed a series of outcomes for all the education programs to possess and that undergird the assessment system.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the program, the candidate will have the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to: 

  • Describe/explain the central concepts, tools of inquiry, and structures of his or her discipline(s) and create learning experiences that make the aspects of any subject matter meaningful for students.
  • Describe and discuss how children learn and develop and provide learning opportunities or environments that support their intellectual, social, and personal development.  
  • Describe/explain how students differ in their approaches to learning and create instructional opportunities that are adapted to diverse learners.
  • Use a variety of instructional strategies to encourage students' development of critical thinking, problem solving, and performance skills.
  • Create a learning environment that encourages positive social interaction, active engagement in learning, and self-motivation.  
  • Use a variety of instructional media to foster student learning and collaboration.
  • Plan instruction based upon knowledge of subject matter, students, the community, and curriculum goals.  
  • Use formal and informal assessment strategies to evaluate and ensure the continuous intellectual, social, and physical development of the learner.
  • Be a reflective practitioner who continually evaluates the effects of their choices and actions on others (students, parents, and other professionals in the learning community) and who actively seeks out opportunities to grow professionally.  
  • Foster relationships with school colleagues, parents, and agencies in the larger community to support students' learning and well-being.

What can I do with an education degree?

Our education program alumni work in districts across the state in positions such as:

  • Early childhood educator
  • Elementary school educator
  • High school educator
  • Special education educator
  • Early education and care professional
  • Early intervention professional
  • Before/after school program professional
  • Youth/community program professional
Education student in Parenzo Hall smiling wearing glasses and beige shirt.

Ready to learn more?

Education Accelerated Dual Degree Program

Fast-track your teaching career! Our Accelerated Dual Degree Program for Elementary Education majors lets you start graduate-level coursework as an undergraduate, complete your bachelor's in 4 years, and earn an M.Ed. in just one additional year!

When completed, you will be eligible for:

  • Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education
  • Initial licensure in Elementary Education grades 1-6
  • Master of Education in Moderate Disabilities
  • Initial licensure in Moderate Disabilities, grades PreK-8

Get big school features with small school advantages.  

We offer high-quality academics, unique learning opportunities, and a gorgeous campus—and we have small classes, accessible faculty, and one-on-one support. 

You'll join fellow motivated students ready to make the most of the college experience through active participation. Become part of a caring and committed community that understands and embraces the bridge between academic study and civic responsibility.

  • 15:1

    student-faculty ratio

  • 92%+

    of faculty hold doctorates

  • 84%

    of grads are employed in their field

Learn from experienced faculty in small classes

Westfield State University’s education programs are led by 10 dedicated full-time, expert faculty with extensive P-12 and higher education teaching experience. Adjunct faculty and practicum program supervisors are also dedicated educators who have served as teachers, principals, and administrators throughout the Commonwealth. An additional 16 full-time faculty from other academic departments teach pedagogy courses in their disciplines supporting your secondary and specialist licensure tracks. 

Class sizes range from 15 to 25 students, allowing for meaningful one-on-one attention from your professors as well as collaboration and networking opportunities with your classmates.

Education faculty member wearing black shirt pointing at screen.

Award Winning Degree.

Colleges of Distinction, an esteemed organization celebrating colleges and universities that provide exceptional undergraduate experiences, has honored Westfield State University for its outstanding programming in the field of Education.

As a recognized College of Distinction, Westfield State has already earned acclaim for its commitment to well-rounded education. This latest recognition specifically highlights the institution's excellence in Education, emphasizing its effectiveness in preparing students for the demands of the field.

Colleges of Distinction Education Best Colleges 2024-2025

Frequently Asked Questions

How does the Westfield State University education program compare to other schools?

Westfield State University’s education programs have received multiple awards and consistently appear in multiple rankings. 

#12 in Best Colleges for Elementary Education by 

#4 for Special Education by 

#1 for Early Childhood Education by 

#6 for Elementary Education by 

You can learn more about our rankings, awards, and distinctions here.

Are there scholarships available?

Tomorrow’s Teachers Scholarship Program 

This scholarship program, offered by the Department of Higher Education’s Office of Student Financial Assistance, attempts to address the teacher shortage in Massachusetts and support individuals with up to $25,000 per year toward their college education. This scholarship makes it more affordable for those enrolling in a baccalaureate program or post-baccalaureate coursework, who intend to obtain their teaching license to pursue a career in a Massachusetts K-12 public school. 

Learn more about this opportunity

Is Westfield State University accredited?

Westfield State University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).  

Our educator preparation programs are also approved by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and accredited by the Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP). The Accreditation Commission commends Westfield State University’s education programs for their concerted and deepening work in anti-racist education. These efforts permeate the preparation of educators, are both embedded in and impact the wider campus culture and reach into the community through campus- and program-based partnerships. The Westfield State University program for licensure for teachers of history has been recognized by the National Council for the Social Studies. 

Visit our AAQEP Accreditation page to learn more. 

Additional links: 

Do I have to submit SAT/ACT scores or an essay when I apply?

Westfield State University does not require an application essay, SAT and/or ACT scores, or letters of recommendation (except for special program admissions).     

All first-year applicants are reviewed for admission based on their high school record. First-year applicants must meet the minimum eligibility requirements established by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education (DHE) in order to qualify for admission to a state university.   

Learn more about the application process and admissions here.

How much does Westfield State University cost?

Westfield State University offers a comprehensive university experience at an affordable cost—with many options for financial aid. Visit our Cost and Aid page to learn more. 

Will I receive academic support?

We’re invested in your success. Whether you need a little help adjusting to college, study strategies, tutoring, or disability services, the team at the Academic Achievement Department is ready to help. Our mission is to provide you with the tools to explore academic opportunities as well as to plot strategies for continued growth. 

Learn more about our student support services here.

What are the Massachusetts Department of Education requirements for teacher licensure?

Please visit our Teacher Licensure Requirements page for details on the Massachusetts Department of Education requirements for teacher licensure.

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Bachelor of Science in Education, B.S.E.