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Top Schools for Education and Teaching

Find out which top schools offer programs in education and teaching. Read brief summaries of program options at four leading universities, and find a list of other schools in the U.S. that provide training for educators and teachers.

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To become a primary or secondary teacher, a student must earn at least a 4-year college degree. Preview several top schools in education to ensure you choose the right one for your ideal education plan.

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School Information

A bachelor's degree is the minimum educational requirement for obtaining a job as an elementary, middle, or high school teacher at a public school, though some positions require a master's degree. Additional requirements for public school teachers include completion of a teacher training program and a satisfactory score on a state licensing exam. Relevant programs ranging from the bachelor's to the doctoral levels can be found at the four universities highlighted below. All have been recognized by U.S. News & World Report for the excellence of their programs.

Michigan State University in East Lansing

School Highlight: Urban cohort programs train teachers to work in under-resourced and under-served areas.

In 2016, Michigan State University's graduate teacher preparation programs placed first on U.S. News & World Report's survey of elementary and secondary education programs; U.S. News also ranked the university 15th among best education schools for the same year. Additionally, Michigan State was named a 'Best Midwestern College' by The Princeton Review in 2016.

Michigan State University offers undergraduate teacher preparation programs in special, elementary and secondary education. The programs take five years to complete and include a 1-year internship. Graduate students can pursue master's degree programs in teaching and curriculum, special education and educational technology. Doctoral programs are available in curriculum and instruction, mathematics education and special education.

Stanford University in California

School Highlight: Individualized master's degree programs in education allow Ph.D. candidates in another discipline to meet their career goals.

In 2016, Stanford University ranked first on U.S. News & World Report's list of 'Best Education Schools', as well as fifth for its secondary education program and eighth among elementary education programs. In 2016, the university placed tied for fifth on the U.S. News rankings of national universities and made The Princeton Review's survey of 'Best Western Colleges'.

At Stanford, undergraduates can pursue an honors education program or a minor in education. Through the Stanford Teacher Education Program (STEP), graduates can become certified in elementary or secondary education by earning a master's degree in education. A master's degree program in curriculum and teacher education is available for experienced teachers. Doctoral programs can lead to a degree in elementary or teacher education, as well as a specialized subject area like English, math, science, or social science.

University of Washington in Seattle

School Highlight: UW offers leadership programs for experienced teachers who want to become a principal or district leader.

The University of Washington tied for eighth on U.S. News & World Report's survey of 'Best Education Schools' in 2016, as well as seventh and eighth, respectively, for its elementary and secondary education programs. In addition, U.S. News ranked the university seventh for its special education program in 2016 and tied for 54th among national universities that same year. The Princeton Review also designated the University of Washington as a 'Best Western College' in the same year.

At the university's College of Education, students can earn a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood and Family Studies or pursue master's and doctoral programs in education and teaching. Students enrolled in the secondary education program can specialize in mathematics, language arts, social studies, sciences, or world languages.

Harvard University in Cambridge

School Highlight: Ranked second on U.S. News & World Report's list of national universities for 2016.

Harvard University is one of the most prestigious colleges in the country, with many awards and accolades to show for it. In 2016, Harvard was ranked as the second best graduate education program by U.S. News & World Report, as well as a 'Best Northeastern College' by The Princeton Review.

Harvard's Graduate School of Education offers thirteen different master's programs to students, including areas such as counseling, language and literacy, and several specialized fields. Two doctorate degree options are also available. Students can choose from a Doctor of Education Leadership (Ed.L.D.) or a Doctor of Education in Philosophy (Ph.D.).

Top Education and Teaching Programs

Additionally, several more schools are also home to exceptional and highly rated education programs, such as:

  • The University of Georgia in Athens features the COST program, which allows students to teach abroad.
  • The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ranked tenth on U.S. News & World Report's survey of special education programs in 2016.
  • The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor's Urban Pedagogy program offers large scholarships for students.
  • Philadelphia's University of Pennsylvania GSE is home to 11 research centers for global issues in education.
  • The University of Virginia's Curry School of Education in Charlottesville ranked 21st by U.S. News & World Report in 2016.
  • The University of Wisconsin at Madison ranked fourth on U.S. News & World Report's survey of elementary education programs in 2016.

There are many top schools with programs in education and teaching, including Michigan State University, Stanford University, the University of Washington, and Harvard University. Each one is highly rated by U.S. News & World Report, as well as The Princeton Review.

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