About the College of Education

Grand Canyon University’s (GCU) College of Education provides you with essential knowledge and in-demand skills required for the challenging, diverse classrooms and district initiatives of 21stcentury education. All teaching and education degrees align with national and Arizona Department of Education accrediting standards. Whether you dream of earning a teaching degree in early childhood education, special education or secondary education, you can gain the knowledge, skills and confidence needed to achieve excellence as a teacher or administrator. Learn more about our college, including available degrees and program locations.

The College of Education


College of Education Mission

The College of Education (COE) inspires excellence in pedagogy and scholarship; advances reflective, innovative and collaborative teaching practices to maximize student learning and achievement; promotes servant leadership in educational communities; and engages a diverse and global community of learners with purpose and passion.

As a Christian university, GCU and the College of Education take a proactive approach to developing students’ servant leadership skills and ensuring the success of our alumni in educational settings. While the college’s accredited programs are designed to prepare and equip students for a career in the field of education, we (faculty, staff and college leaders) understand the unique opportunities and challenges a career in education might present. We promise to assist all COE graduates who need additional support or who are experiencing challenges in an educational setting; and since 1984, we have upheld this promise. Support might include content-area teaching materials, certification testing resources, course curriculum assistance or faculty mentoring. Email the COE at [email protected]. To honor this promise, the College of Education asks graduates to pledge to uphold a high level of excellence in their educational setting.

GCU College of Education Learning Wheel

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Cultivating Opportunities for Equity

As educators dedicated to learning, leading and serving, we are committed to promoting opportunities for equity. Join us in our effort to find practical and tangible ways to affirm and advocate for equity for all our students and families.


Celebrating equity and inclusion for all.


To promote equity and inclusion in teaching and learning.

Resources for Diversity

Clicking on any of the links below will provide a new resource guide to promote diversity and inclusivity in the classroom. Below are resources to enhance your curriculum, teaching style and professional development advocate equity for your classroom.

  • This is what the Lord Almighty said: “Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor. In your hearts do not think evil of each other.” - Zechariah 7:9-10
  • “The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their cry; the face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth. The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” - Psalms 34:15-18
  • “He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.” - Proverbs 14:31
  • “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” - Luke 4:18-19
  • This is what the Lord says: “Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of the oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place.” - Jeremiah 22:3
  • “Truly, I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” - Matthew 25:40
  • “Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.” - Isaiah 1:17
  • “If you spend yourselves on behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness and your night will become like the noonday.” - Isaiah 58:10
  • “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” - Proverbs 22:6
  • “A righteous man knows the rights of the poor; a wicked man does not understand such knowledge.” - Proverbs 29:7
  • “My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, must not show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, ‘Here’s a good seat for you,’ but say to the poor man, ‘You stand there’ or ‘Sit on the floor by my feet,’ have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?” - James 2:1-4, NIV
  • “We love because He first loved us. If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.” - 1 John 4:19-21

A place of thoughtfulness and creativity to bring awareness and appreciation of diversity, by the COE Diversity Task Force.

Mindful Monday Padlet

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Arizona Teaching Intern Program

The Arizona Teaching Intern Program is an alternative pathway to teacher licensure that is designed for students who have secured a contract with a district in a high-needs area and who are currently enrolled in one of the following master's degree (IR) programs:

To be eligible, you must have:

  • An official transcript showing a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution
  • Official passing AEPA/NES subject knowledge exam scores
  • A current AZ IVP Fingerprint Clearance Card
  • A full-time contracted teaching position in an area that meets the requirements for the Arizona Teaching Intern program
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If you would like to request additional information or determine eligibility, or if you have questions regarding this program, contact us at [email protected]. For resources and more information, please visit the Student Success Center.

Educational Resources

Knowledge in the field of education is expanded when we have information at our fingertips. Clicking on any of the links below will open up the world of education to you. Here, you can probe state and federal departments of education; investigate education career prospects; quick link to professional and content standard organizations; and discover professional development opportunities. Happy exploring!

Program Essentials

The following information provides you with College of Education essentials that will be important throughout the course of your program. It is important to become familiar with the following topics so that you can properly prepare for your education courses.

The College of Education embraces standards and principles set forth by the Arizona Department of Education, national accreditors and many educational organizations. Students in the College of Education who are seeking Institutional Recommendation (IR) complete a benchmark assessment. In the non-IR track, students complete a signature assignment to better understand specific professional standards that are applied within their coursework.

In IR programs, the benchmark assessment identifies several critical components:

  • Targeted Essential Learning: Understand the applicable standards
  • Assessment Tool Selection: Identifies work expectations
  • Specific Performance Criteria: Determines applicable benchmark skills
  • Relevancy of Task: Determines how the task relates to real life concerns
  • Assessment: Outlines specific directions to complete the general practicum experience and the assignment itself
  • Scoring Rubric: Identifies grading criteria, product standards and functions; specific criteria; and presentation of the work product
  • Applied Learning Assessment: Follows a candidate's progress from admission through student teaching or internships to meet educator standards; identifies the requisite hours of practicum or field experience completed

College of Education students who are in pursuit of IR must pass their state-specified basic skills and content area exams before the start of their student teaching assignment. The three-part test involves reading, writing and math.

Most states, including Arizona, also require you to take a professional knowledge exam to achieve certification. You may sit for this exam at any time in the program and even during your student teaching assignment. It is a requirement for IR, so please visit your state's department of education website for more information. Contact your field experience counselor for more information on state testing and certification.

Browse through our exam resources by visiting the Student Success Center.

GCU provides you with the opportunity to be involved in a student teaching/credentialing program, but it does not guarantee certification. Because the programs are accredited in the state of Arizona, the College of Education follows its IR verification process for successful program completion.

View State Requirements

Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, Secondary Education, Special Education, Early Childhood Special Education

Having completed coursework and its related practicum/field experiences as well as passed state-mandated exams, you are now ready to move to the next progression point in your program: student teaching. At this point, you acquire the designation “teacher candidate.” The capstone experience for the education programs consists of a 15- or 16-week guided student teaching experience (dependent on program of study). The capstone experience is designed to provide opportunities for you to apply your knowledge and skills as identified in national standards and research.

Student teaching is the culminating experience in your academic program of study. It is an exciting, yet challenging, learning experience that places you in unfamiliar situations, affords intellectually stimulating activities and allows for empirical application of concepts and skills learned. These experiences are offered through scaffolding that includes observation, participating and actually leading activities. During student teaching, introspection, personal change, professional growth and self-assessment empower your sense of development as a professional. The opportunity to work as an independent practitioner within the field coupled with supportive mentoring from the mentor teacher and faculty instructor provide a strong sense of the exciting opportunities that await you in the coming years.

For resources related to your practicum/field experience, visit the Student Success Center.

Prior to your participation in any practicum or field experience at GCU, you must submit a copy of an official Arizona Fingerprint Clearance Card or the official results of your federal fingerprint background clearance from the Department of Public Safety or a comparable agency in your state of residence.

This documentation should be sent to a field experience counselor for your state. If you are seeking Institutional Recommendation in Arizona for a teaching or administrative credential, you must have both an Arizona Fingerprint Clearance Card and fingerprint or background clearance documentation from your state of residence.

A practicum or field experience is an exciting learning opportunity that affords you the chance to observe and participate in diverse educational settings, and to apply the theories and concepts learned in program coursework. Faced with the challenge to meet the needs of K-12 students in low performing schools and the national movement toward 21st century learning built around standards, a practicum or field experience affords you the unique opportunity for introspection, personal change, professional growth and self-assessment, all of which empower a sense of development as a professional. The opportunity to work in a practical setting within the field, coupled with supportive guidance from a GCU instructor, provides you with a strong sense of professional self-reflection.

For resources related to your practicum/field experience, visit the Student Success Center.

Next to the teacher in the classroom, there is no person more important to the success of a school and the students enrolled at that school than the principal or school leader. Research and literature continue to show that the principal is critical to creating and sustaining a school climate and culture that is conducive to both student learning and quality teaching.

This program of study has been designed to present you with a comprehensive continuum of learning opportunities based on current research findings, expert literature and proven best-practices that are based on the ISLLC 2008 Leadership Standards and Functions. The need to prepare school leadership capable of bringing about change designed to improve student achievement is paramount to the continued success of the American educational system in the 21st century.

For resources related to your practicum/field experience, visit the Student Success Center.

California State Submission Documents and Requirements

Grand Canyon University is seeking initial institutional approval from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) for California-specific versions of the Elementary and Special Education programs currently being designed by the College of Education. Interested parties are invited to submit comments that may help to inform the Commission of substantive issues regarding Grand Canyon University. Comments should be submitted to the Commission at [email protected]. Please note that comments should specify that party's relationship to the institution (i.e., graduation, present or former faculty member, etc.). All identifying information will remain confidential.

Educator Preparedness

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