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Master's Programs

Teacher Education Program

In the Teacher Education Program (TEP), we believe in the power of teacher to take leadership of organizational and social change, transforming urban public schools, and improving lives.

What is a teacher-leader? A teacher-leader is a high school math teacher who trains her colleagues in data analysis so they can identify trends in test scores and use their understanding to strengthen student learning. It is a middle school social studies teacher who partners with organizations to design an immersive schoolwide curriculum on civil rights. It is a biology teacher with the vision and leadership skills to influence the success of the entire school from his classroom. It is an English teacher who understands the power of language to help students traverse cultures within the classroom and beyond unseen walls.

America's urban public middle schools and high schools need teachers who know how to adapt a lesson plan for students for whom English is a new language; who recognize the relationships among race, class, and power in the urban classroom; who incorporate research-based methodologies into their teaching practice; and who are reflective and purposeful in their teaching, continually adjusting their practice to reach all learners – including the most marginalized students.

In TEP, you will learn how to become a professional practitioner: the kind of teacher who makes a real and lasting impact in the lives of your students. 

Faculty Director Vicki Jacobs on the TEP Program:

Message from the Director

Harvard’s Teacher Education Program (TEP) offers its candidates a carefully crafted curriculum grounded in fieldwork and coursework, practice and reflection, and attention to the teaching skills needed to provide students attending urban schools with the best education possible. 

Teaching is a practicing profession, and professional growth requires substantive reflection and inquiry into teaching and student learning. As a result, our candidates complete extensive fieldwork that begins immediately during the program’s summer component (at the Cambridge-Harvard Summer Academy) and continues throughout the academic year (at partnership schools located in Boston, Cambridge, and adjacent cities). At the same time, TEP provides its candidates with means to reflect, analyze, and strengthen their practice and their students’ learning on an on-going basis in a bi-weekly advisory.

Students learn how theory and practice inform each other through coursework that investigates adolescent development; race and power in urban classrooms; social-emotional learning; and methods of teaching particular subject matter, special education students, and English-language learners. In addition, candidates have the opportunity to enrich their TEP experience through electives offered across Harvard University. 

TEP interns receive extraordinary support throughout their 11 months of practice and study by working with field advisers, carefully chosen mentor teachers, HGSE academic advisers, TEP faculty and administrators, and, most importantly, their colleagues who together comprise a close-knit cohort and open learning community. 

If you are dedicated to and excited about working with today’s diverse adolescent population; committed to pursuing equity and excellence in urban classrooms; and deeply curious about curriculum, teaching, and learning, then we hope you will join us as you prepare to enter one of today’s most critically important professions.

Vicki A. Jacobs

Faculty Director, Teacher Education Program
Director, Field Experience Program
Lecturer on Education

Program Highlights

The Teacher Education Program at HGSE is an 11-month immersion experience in the guiding principles and hands-on practices of effective teaching in urban contexts. Some of the greatest benefits of pursuing your teacher training and licensure through HGSE include:

An urban, public school focus – Every component of TEP is designed to prepare you for success teaching in urban settings. The core curriculum addresses topics like the development of adolescents living in urban contexts; classroom dynamics of race and class; and strategies for teaching students with diverse academic and social-emotional needs. To gain practical classroom experience, TEP students complete extensive fieldwork under the mentorship of experienced practitioners teaching in schools located in Boston, Cambridge, Chelsea, and Somerville.

Progressive classroom responsibility – TEP is designed to support the development of your practice gradually and progressively. During the Program's summer component, you team-teach alongside an experienced mentor teacher at the Cambridge-Harvard Summer Academy. In the fall, you ramp up your classroom responsibilities and leadership at a carefully selected school site, under the guidance of a mentor teacher and HGSE field advisor. During the spring term, you are at your school site on a full-time basis, assuming lead responsibility for teaching one or two classes daily while continuing to receive support and feedback from your mentor and HGSE field advisor. 

Advising and support – A unique component of TEP is our advisory system. Every TEP student is matched with an experienced HGSE advisor who provides small-group support to three or four students who are interning in the same content area. At the beginning of the internship, advisors help students investigate the unique ethnography and dynamics of the school, and explore teaching and learning from different perspectives within the school (e.g., through the lenses of students, teachers, and parents). As interns' responsibilities deepen, advisors act as coaches, observing and providing constructive feedback while developing interns' ability to reflect on their practice. The members of each advisory also support each other by sharing observations, experiences, and ideas that improve everyone’s classroom performance.

Cohort and community – Every TEP cohort consists of 20-25 remarkable individuals with a rich diversity of experience and a shared commitment to social justice. Their perspectives and friendships will greatly enrich your TEP experience. The same is true for the wider HGSE community. Your development as a teacher will be guided and influenced by conversations and inquiry with colleagues studying adolescent development, language and literacy, technology in education, school leadership, and more. Your colleagues will enrich your professional network after graduation.

Harvard resources – By training to teach at Harvard, you have access to unrivaled academic resources across the University. We encourage you to cross-register for electives at the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the Harvard Kennedy School, the Harvard Law School, and the Harvard Business School, and also to attend lectures, seminars, and conferences that relate to your content area or simply spark your imagination.


HGSE's Teacher Education Program offers graduate students two paths to teacher licensure:

  • Teaching and Curriculum (TAC) is designed for both recent college graduates in the humanities, math, and science, and experienced professionals in the humanities, who are committed to teaching in public middle and high schools in urban environments.
  • Mid-Career Math and Science (MCMS) is designed exclusively for mid-career professionals in math- and science-related professions who want to teach math and/or science in public middle and high schools in urban contexts.

The TEP curriculum is carefully designed to balance both theory and practice. Beginning in early-to-mid June, the coursework and field experiences work together over 11 months to build your confidence and skills as a teacher.

Requirements, 2017-2018

You will complete 36 total credits in the following categories and roughly 675 hours of classroom teaching.

  • Nine required courses, as outlined below
  • Three electives (or a combination of courses and modules totaling 12 credits), including one to two electives that relate to the student’s content area from any school at Harvard, MIT, the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, or the Episcopal Divinity School

Required courses include the following:

  • Introduction to Teaching (English, history, mathematics, or science)
  • Methods (Teaching English, history, mathematics, or science)
  • Inquiries into Adolescence: Understanding and Supporting the Development of Urban Youth
  • Race and Power in Urban Classrooms
  • Elements of Diversity: Special Education
  • Dimensions of Diversity: English Language Learners
  • Pre-practicum in Secondary Education (and Advisory)
  • Practicum in Secondary Education (and Advisory)

View all courses in the Academic Catalogue.


TEP students who pass the Massachusetts Tests for Education Licensure (MTEL) in their specific content area (biology, English, mathematics, etc.) and in Communication and Literacy Skills, and who successfully complete the Program's coursework and fieldwork requirements receive a Massachusetts teaching license (valid for five years). Massachusetts has reciprocal licensure with 46 other states. Learn more about licensure requirements at the HGSE Licensure Unit Resource Center.


TEP faculty members are experienced classroom teachers whose diverse research interests span teaching, learning, and teacher leadership. Some TEP instructors explore issues of inclusivity, while others have received federal funding to research technology-based strategies for increasing student interest in STEM topics. Their personal experiences as teachers and scholars will enrich classroom discussions and arm you with techniques and methodologies that really work.


TEP students come to HGSE from every imaginable academic and professional background. Some have formal teaching experience through Teach For America or the Peace Corps. Others are engineers, lawyers, and journalists who feel called to teaching after transformative personal experiences as tutors, mentors, or coaches. Many of our students see teaching as their lifelong career choice, while some are committed to four or five years in the classroom before pursuing other academic and professional goals.

Something all TEP students share is a deeply held belief in social justice. Whether in their formal careers or through campus and community organizations, TEP students demonstrate a passion for balancing the scales of inequality. These students are drawn to TEP for its focus on urban public education and its commitment to creating a more just and equitable society through better teachers and better schools.

TAC Student Profile
Teaching and Curriculum (TAC) students are typically in their mid-to-late twenties, but the age range spans 21-50. TAC students demonstrate academic excellence and a deep knowledge of their content area plus a strong commitment to urban education.

MCMS Student Profile
Students in the Mid-Career Math and Science (MCMS) track at TEP have worked for five or more years in a math- or science-related field. Their decision to become a math or science teacher represents a significant career shift. The MCMS program is designed to ease the transition into the classroom and fully equip graduates for success in their new calling.


TEP alumni are working in urban public middle schools and high schools in cities across America. Through their hard work as teacher-leaders, they reflect the core values of TEP and make an impact in the lives of their students, their schools, and their communities.


At TEP, we are looking for individuals with strong academic backgrounds who are deeply committed to urban public education. Tell us your story and how you hope to make an impact as a teacher-leader. Visit HGSE admissions to learn more about Ed.M. application requirements and deadlines, and get information about financial aid. Applications are due in January of the academic year you plan to enroll.


If you have questions about the admissions process or want to learn more about the benefits of TEP, please contact our admissions liaison Margaret Okada-Scheck at or 617-495-3414. If you have specific questions about TEP program requirements, please contact program administrator Susan Kandel at or 617-495-8854.