Graduate certificate in pedagogy for individuals who plan to teach in a college or university.

College Teaching Certificate

The  College Teaching Certificate (CTC) is a three-semester (9-credit) graduate certificate in pedagogy. Students study contemporary education research and gain experience in the teaching and learning process through microteaching modules, field experience, peer observations, and a structured practicum.

Current graduate students may apply to the program by submitting College Teaching Certificate Application and paying the $35 application fee. 

Students not currently in a graduate program must:

  1. Hold a baccalaureate degree from an educational institution of recognized standing.
  2. At the baccalaureate level, have earned a cumulative grade point average (GPA) in all courses of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. 
  3. Submit a completed application to the Graduate School. If you are an NDSU employee and not currently a graduate student, you must complete a non-degree admission application
  4. Submit a completed College Teaching Certificate Application to the Graduate School.

The deadline to apply is one month before the beginning of the semester you choose to begin. 

  • Fall Semester = Begins the fourth week in August.
  • Spring Semester = Begins the second week in January.
  • Summer Semester = Begins the third week in May.


College Teaching Certificate Postcard
View in PDF  |  Audio (MP3)

Distribute this card at your next faculty, staff, or graduate student meeting.



Sample Plan of Study

This sample plan of study is a guide to show you what your courses might look like. Your actual plan of study for this program may vary. Discuss your course plan with your advisor to ensure these courses are still available and that your selected courses are the best choice for your specific needs.

While it is recommended students complete the program in three semesters, it may be possible to complete the program in two semesters, depending on course availability.

Students must either complete the foundational course and elective course prior to the start of the practicum OR complete one of the courses and be co-enrolled in the practicum and remaining course.


Foundation Courses (Choose 1):

COMM 702 Introduction to College Teaching in the Humanities and Social Sciences  |  3 Credits
ENGL 764  Classroom Strategies for TAs  |  3 Credits
HDFS 802  Teaching Developmental Science  |  3 Credits
STEM 810 Teaching College Science  |  3 Credits


Electives (Choose 1):

COMM 712Emerging Trends in Teaching and Learning Online  |  3 Credits
EDUC 728 Instructional Technology for Teaching and Learning  |  3 Credits
EDUC 753 Managing and Monitoring Learning  |  3 Credits
EDUC 853 Instructional Methods for Adult Learners  |  3 Credits​​​​​​​
H&CE 743 Experiential and Learner Centered Teaching  |  3 Credits​​​​​​​
STEM 820 STEM Curriculum and Instruction  |  3 Credits​​​​​​​
STEM 840 Designing Technology-Infused Learning Environments in Higher Education |  3 Credits

Required Teaching Practicum and Porfolio (Choose 1):

EDUC 792 Specialized Studies for K-12 Teachers*  |  3 Credits
XXXX 892 Graduate Teaching Experience  |  3 Credits

Total Credits:  9

* For their practicum, students should sign up for 792 or 892 in their major field of study. For example, an HDFS major would take HDFS 892 with their practicum supervisor listed as the instructor of record. 

This experience requires a minimum of 15 teaching hours, with the remaining credit hours to be dedicated to preparing lesson plans, evaluating student data, and developing assessments. The field experience will be designed in consultation with a faculty teaching mentor.


  1. This schedule is subject to change.
  2. Every course has an enrollment cap. Please check with the course instructor.




"What I appreciated most about the College Teaching Certificate was the excuse to focus on teaching in an environment centered on research. We discussed trends and issues related to education, new pedagogical techniques, and the struggles of connecting with an audience zoned in on technology. The certificate didn't feel like extra work; rather, it felt like mentorship, with a shared goal to create better learning for all students - regardless if they were in the classroom today or would be tomorrow."
- Dr. Kyle Vareberg, former College Teaching Certificate student



Courses Offered

The following courses are offered in the semesters listed, assuming there are enough students registered. Be sure to register early for these courses.

  • EDUC 753 (online) will be offered in Spring Semester 2024.
  • EDUC 853 (hyflex) will be offered in Spring Semester 2024.
  • SOC 676 (special topics course; on-site) will be offered in Spring Semester 2024.
  • HDFS 802 (on-site) will be offered in Spring Semester 2024.
  • H&CE 743 (online) will be offered in Summer Semester 2024.
  • COMM 702 (online) will be offered in Fall Semester 2024.
  • ENGL 764 (on-site) will be offered in Fall Semester 2024.
  • STEM 810 (hyflex) will be offered in Fall Semester 2024.
  • COMM 712 (online) will be offered in Summer Semester 2025. 




Teaching Portfolio

To earn the College Teaching Certificate, you will create a teaching portfolio the semester in which you complete your practicum. A teaching portfolio is a living document and should change as you practice and grow professionally. It is for your current and future use. It is, more than anything else, a record of who you are and what you are about as a teacher.

Required Portfolio Elements
College Teaching Certficate Portfolio Rubric
Assessed ItemProficiency
Reflective essay

The reflective essay:

  • previews the teaching portfolio elements,
  • explains how the components of the College Teaching Certificate program have influenced their development as a teacher,
  • describes and reflects on their growth as a teacher, situating their thinking in evidence-based practices.
Teaching philosophy

The teaching philosophy:

  • explains how teaching objectives, methodologies, and assessments are evidence-based,
  • is appropriate to their discipline, and
  • supported by evidence-based practices.
Teaching materials

Teaching materials:

  • are grounded in the evidence-based practices outlined in the reflective essay and/or teaching philosophy and promote student engagement.

The assessment section:

  • includes a description of when and how diagnostic, formative, and summative assessments are used.

Additionally, this section should include:

  • a sample assessment,
  • how the guidelines for this assessment were provided to students,
  • an explanation as to why this assessment is a valid and useful measure of students' achievement of the learning outcomes,
  • a summary of assessment results, and how these results support pedagogical and curricular revisions.
Application of Scholarship

The application of scholarship section:

  • includes an annotated lesson plan that is based on a scholarship of teaching and learning journal article (evidence-based),
  • explains how the lesson objectives, activities, and assessments are aligned, and reflects on the lesson effectiveness.
Evaluations of teaching by supervisors, peers, and/or students.


Materials from your coursework and practicum can be used in your portfolio. To help you identify what materials to keep, please view the Preparing for Your Practicum and Portfolio checklist:PDF  | Audio (MP3)

Evaluation Process
  1. When you are finished with your portfolio, ask your field expereince supervisor to review it using the CTC rubric
  2. After your field experience supervisor has reviewed your portfolio, please submit a copy to Dr. Melissa Vosen Callens. She will distribute your portfolio to the CTC Board. Please keep in mind your portfolio is a collection of work and should be organized as such; do not submit individual files for each portfolio element. Candidates should organize their work in one PDF or a Google or OneDrive folder.
  3. Finally, when you submit your portfolio, please also fill out the Graduation Application, and list Dr. Melissa Vosen Callens as the Graduate Program Director. When the CTC Board approves your portfolio, Dr. Vosen Callens will approve your graduation application. 
Portfolio Submission Deadlines

Students are expected to adhere to dates and deadlines established by the Graduate School; in order to be considered for certificate completion, portfolios need to be turned in by the initial submission deadline (first draft disquisition). This ensures CTC Board Members have adequate time to review the portfolio.

Additionally, CTC Board members often ask students to complete portfolio revisions. If revisions are requested, they need to be submitted by the final submission deadline (final disquisition). See NDSU dates and deadlines for more information.

If students do not meet these deadlines, or need to complete additional revisions the following semester, university policy requires all students to be enrolled. The enrolled credit could be in students’ home department (disquisition credit, for example), OR, if all credits are completed in their primary program, students can register for COMM 793 / 893 (see Dr. Vosen Callens for permission).



Teaching Practicum and Teaching Observations

Prior to the start of the semester in which you plan to complete your teaching practicum, make sure you have turned in your application and Practicum Proposal Form.  In order to fill out the Practicum Proposal Form, you will need to have a conversation with your field experience supervisor about your practicum, including what class(es) you will teach and when you will be observed.

During your practicum, your field experience supervisor will observe you a minimum of three times and provide feedback on your teaching portfolio. Your practicum and associated teaching observations are critical components of the College Teaching Certificate program. During the semester, you should meet regularly with your field experience supervisor to focus on and discuss key dimensions of teaching college courses: 

  • Planning: Detailed syllabus and lesson plans including a reflective statement about the goals and objectives of the course and lessons in that context.
  • Learner and Learning: Reflective statements about how instructional practices are intended to promote student engagement and learning, and the assessment practices that are used to monitor learning.
  • Content: Describe the core ideas of the course and lesson, why they are important, and some distinction between critical ideas that all students should gain and enrichment or extension ideas that may not be fully learned by all.
  • Instructional Practices: Describe and demonstrate instructional practices that promote student engagement and learning along with rationale for the selection of these strategies that goes beyond anecdotes and folk wisdom.
  • Professionalism: Demonstrate the responsibility and independence that is necessary for an instructor to be a critical reflective practitioner.
  • Reflection: Demonstrate the ability to honestly reflect on the accomplishments and shortcomings of the candidate’s teaching in relation to evidence of student learning.

Early formative observations from your field experience supervisor provide opportunities to identify your strengths and weaknesses as a teacher while there is still plenty of time to make and evaluate changed practices. Final summative visits and evaluations from your field experience supervisor document the quality of teaching and learning that has taken place during the semester.

Each class observation should include:

  1. a preliminary meeting to discuss instructional plans for the lesson in the context of the course and to identify things to observe;
  2. attendance of a full lesson and systematic collection of observational data;
  3. a written summary of the observation including instances of successful instruction and suggestions for changes; and
  4. a follow up meeting to discuss the observation report and to make plans for the next observation. After the final observation of the semester (at least three observations should take place during the semester) the faculty mentor should provide a letter summarizing the observations and development that has taken place.




"I am very grateful for the knowledge I gained from participating in the college teaching certificate program.  Being that I had a background in teaching with my work at my previous university, I found an immense amount of knowledge from this program that greatly impacted my methods of teaching.  I learned a vast amount of assessment techniques that I can use on a regular basis on myself and my students.  The in-depth understanding of various assessment practices further enhanced my teaching philosophy and made me a better teacher in and out of the classroom."
- Lukus Klawitter, former College Teaching Certificate student



Contact Information

NDSU Office of Teaching and Learning
Phone: 701-231-7015
Email: Melissa Vosen Callens

NDSU Graduate School
Phone: 701-231-7981


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