Secondary Education

What Is It?:

Secondary Education prepares students to teach grades 6-12 in a specific discipline.  Students must select the major related to their chosen content area.  Available content areas include:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Chinese: choose major in East Asian Language and Culture
  • Earth Science: choose major in Geology
  • English
  • French
  • German
  • Japanese: choose major in East Asian Language and Culture
  • Latin
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Russian
  • Social Sciences/History: choose major in History
  • Spanish

Students must complete specific content and education prerequisite courses before being considered for education. Interested students should see the academic advisors in their major or the LAS Director of Secondary Education Programs for information on prerequisite courses. After completing the required prerequisites, students apply for admission to the education curriculum as follows:

  • Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science, English, Mathematics, Physics and Social Science: apply for admission to the secondary education minor. Once approved, students must also transfer to the the appropriate teaching concentration.
  • French, German, Latin, Russian and Spanish: apply for admission to the Bachelor of Arts in Teaching (BAT)
  • Chinese or Japanese: apply for admission to the teaching concentration

Approval for admission is gained by successful application to the Department of Curriculum and Instruction in the College of Education, upon recommendation by the joint Education/LAS content area admissions committees. Illinois law and Council on Teacher Education policy require that all candidates for admission to a teacher preparation program pass the Illinois Certification Testing System Test of Academic Proficiency (TAP) prior to admission.  

For more information, please visit the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Courses That Introduce the Major:

All Concentrations

  • ESPY 201Educational Psychology
  • EPS 201Foundations of Education


  • MATH 220Calculus
  • CHEM 102/103General Chemistry I/Lab
  • IB 150Organismal & Evolutionary Biology
  • MCB 150Molecular & Cellular Basis of Life


  • MATH 220Calculus
  • CHEM 102/103General Chemistry I/Lab
  • CHEM 104/105General Chemistry II/Lab


  • CHIN 201Elementary Chinese I
  • CHIN 202Elementary Chinese II
  • CHIN 203Intermediate Chinese I
  • CHIN 204Intermediate Chinese II

Earth Science

  • MATH 220Calculus
  • CHEM 102/103General Chemistry I/Lab
  • GEOL- 107Physical Geology


  • ENGL 200Intro to Lit Study for Majors


  • FR 101Elementary French I
  • FR 102Elementary French II
  • FR 103Intermediate French I
  • FR 104Intermediate French II


  • GER 101—Beginning German I
  • GER 102—Beginning German II
  • GER 103—Intermediate German I
  • GER 104—Intermediate German II


  • JAPN 201–Elementary Japanese I
  • JAPN 202Elementary Japanese II
  • JAPN 203–Intermediate Japanese I
  • JAPN 204–Intermediate Japanese II


  • MATH 220Calculus
  • MATH 231Calculus II


  • LAT 101–Elementary Latin I
  • LAT 102–Elementary Latin II


  • MATH 220Calculus
  • CHEM 102/103General Chemistry I/Lab
  • PHYS 211 University Physics: Mechanics
  • PHYS 212University Physics: Elec & Mag


  • RUSS 101–First-Year Russian I
  • RUSS 102–First-Year Russian II
  • RUSS 201–Second-Year Russian I

Social Science: History

  • HIST 141Western Civ to 1660
  • HIST 142Western Civ since 1660
  • HIST 171US History to 1877
  • HIST 172US History since 1877


  • SPAN 103–Intermediate Spanish
  • SPAN 122Intensive Elementary Spanish
  • SPAN 141–Intro to Spanish Grammar

Students should consult with an academic advisor regarding course selection prior to the advanced registration period.

Possible Career Opportunities:

  • Adult and Continuing Education
  • Curriculum Supervision
  • Evaluation
  • Fundraising
  • In-service Education
  • Lobbyist
  • Principal
  • Research
  • School Administration
  • Staff Development
  • Teaching
  • Tutoring

Common Career Titles Related to this Major:
(Some careers may require education beyond an undergraduate degree)

  • Adult Education Teacher
  • Alumni Relations Coordinator
  • Athletic Coach
  • Athletic Director
  • Day Care Administrator
  • Curriculum Specialist
  • Education Management
  • Education Materials Sales
  • Educational Resource
  • Educational Therapist
  • Employee Trainer
  • Financial Aid Counselor
  • Grant Writer
  • Guidance Counselor
  • Historic Site Administrator
  • Missionary Worker
  • Registrar or Admissions Director
  • Resource Teacher
  • School Psychologist
  • Social Services Volunteer
  • Speech Pathologist
  • Student Admissions Admin
  • Training Specialist
  • Tutor
  • Teacher
  • Vocational Rehab Counselor

Enhancing Your Academic Experience:

  • Participating in undergraduate research
  • Applying for a study abroad experience
  • Utilizing resources of The Career Center
  • Joining a Registered Student Organization (RSOrelated to this major, such as:
    • Illini Educational Presentations: encourages middle school and high school students to consider a college level education in order to meet these goals. We provide presenations given by highly successful college students to younger students in order to help them develop a genuine interest in their studies
    • Minority Association of Future Educatorsprovides a support network for underrepresented students seeking to become professional educators and addresses the educational needs of children, with an emphasis on children from underrepresented groups
    • National Science Teachers Association: supports and encourages students in science education by providing professional development, community service opportunities, and social functions while upholding the mission of the National Science Teacher Association
    • Student Education Association: offers pre-professional educational development for future teachers

Related Skills:

  • Creativity
  • Decision-making
  • Effective communication, both verbal and written
  • Motivational skills
  • Organization and record keeping
  • Problem solving
  • Program planning
  • Research skills
  • Teaching and instruction
  • Working autonomously
  • Working under pressure and meeting deadlines 

Further Information:

For more information on what you can do with a major in Secondary Education, visit The Career Center’s webpage: What Can I Do With This Major.

There are several professional organizations dedicated to Secondary Education.  Their websites might be able to provide a glimpse in the world of Secondary Education.  These organizations include American Federation of Teachers and National Education Association.

For more information on the classes needed for a degree in Secondary Education, visit Undergraduate Programs.