In the School of Science, we believe the best teachers bring the passions and perspectives of the scientist and the mathematician to the classroom. Our aspiring teachers learn science and mathematics by doing science and mathematics: asking questions, conducting research, sharing new knowledge. Explored in the lab and in the field, science is revealed as a quest for the unknown rather than a course in the known, a lesson that our graduates pass on to their own students, in their own classrooms.
By designing our curriculum around hands-on engagement, we educate scientists and mathematicians who are also expert teachers. Our nationally recognized approach builds on TCNJ’s 150-year track record, as the first-ever teacher training school in New Jersey, of preparing exemplary teachers for the classroom.
Teacher candidates at TCNJ fulfill a dual major in education and a content area recognized for state teaching certification. Students planning to teach in middle or high schools matriculate into the School of Science to pursue a secondary education program. Those focused on primary or special education matriculate into the School of Education for an education major while also pursuing a content area in biology or mathematics through the School of Science.
Secondary Education Programs
The data are conclusive: the stronger and deeper the science or mathematics background, the more effective the teacher. Yet only 35% of high school physics and chemistry teachers nationwide hold degrees in the subjects they teach. Trained first as scientists and mathematicians, TCNJ-educated teachers turn their comprehensive knowledge into a competitive advantage. Our graduates are sought-after hires across the state’s and region’s school districts, ready to teach in middle and high school classrooms.
In their dual major programs, students complete a primary major in biology, chemistry, mathematics, or physics as a graduation requirement while also pursuing secondary education certification. Across all four majors, our programs are distinctive for:
- Science-first curricula. From content knowledge to teaching methods, the science or math major is the central, unifying component of our teacher education programs. Our teachers train as scientists and mathematicians, then integrate that knowledge with a mastery of the most effective ways to teach their discipline.
- Research-based scholarship. Working side by side with science and math professors, students conduct original research and pursue scholarly projects. Our graduates understand their subject—and teach it—as an exciting process of discovery rather than a dry collection of facts.
- Extensive fieldwork. Classroom experiences start in the sophomore year and culminate in a senior-year placement in a middle school or high school as the lead teacher of a class aligned with your major. Our graduates aren’t just exposed to classrooms—they are experienced at leading classrooms.
Our secondary education programs are complemented by a teacher-preparation sequence offered through a partnership with the School of Education. Graduates are qualified to teach grades 6–12 with state teaching certification at the secondary level in their chosen content area.
Our graduating classes routinely achieve perfect 100% pass rates on the Praxis examinations. Many of our teacher candidates receive multiple job offers.
Biology Secondary Education Major
Gain a broad understanding of the full biological spectrum—from cells to ecosystems—while learning firsthand to perform the work of a biological scientist. Students develop a spirit of inquiry and a capacity for analytical thinking as they learn to conduct both classic experiments and cutting-edge research. Through a curriculum in which biology and education are fully integrated, students develop the mindset and methods of a highly effective biology teacher.
Chemistry Secondary Education Major
Explore new frontiers in chemistry—and learn to incorporate this exploration into your own classroom—in our hands-on, lab-based program. In courses and through their own research, students have full access to sophisticated instrumentation and state-of-the-art lab facilities. This deep knowledge of chemistry and the scientific process becomes the foundation for inspired classroom teaching.
Mathematics Secondary Education Major
Central to our program is a comprehensive immersion in mathematics. The curriculum is guided by math content. The instructors are math professors and math education specialists. Our methods courses (two, not just one) focus specifically on teaching math content. And fieldwork is performed in math classrooms under a math supervisor. The result? Our graduates are mathematicians who specialize in teaching, a distinction that sets us apart.
While the majority of our students plan to teach in middle or high schools, the state teaching certification is in K-12 mathematics, opening up additional career options.
Physics Secondary Education Major
The demand for qualified high school physics teachers has never been higher—or the shortage more acute. New physics teachers field multiple job offers, making this career field doubly rewarding. TCNJ is recognized nationally for both high quality and quantity in physics education, ranking as the country’s #2 producer of physics teachers. Trained in world-class labs equipped with custom instrumentation, our physics teachers are also first-rate physicists.
Primary or Special Education Programs
Eager to share the wonder of science or mathematics with younger learners? Students who wish to teach at levels earlier than middle school or to focus on special education matriculate at TCNJ through the School of Education. These dual major programs provide an undergraduate degree in an education major and significant coursework in a content area that is recognized for state teaching certification. The School of Science offers content area majors in either biology or mathematics.
Aspiring teachers in biology or mathematics are fully integrated members of our scientific community. They share equally in the process of discovery, working in lab settings, conducting mentored research, and collaborating with peers and professors across our science disciplines. Our science teachers bring the excitement of scientific inquiry into the classrooms of all learners.
- Early Childhood Education
- Elementary Education
- Deaf or Hard of Hearing Education
- Special Education
- Urban Education