Teaching Certificate in World and Heritage Language Education Instructional I

** This program is no longer accepting applications. Interested students should apply for our Master of Arts (MAT) in Teaching - World and Heritage Language program. For questions, please contact soeinfo@pitt.edu**

Prepare for a rewarding career as a teacher with the Pitt School of Education's Instructional I Certification program in World and Heritage Language Education. Our program pairs intensive coursework with student teaching opportunities to ready the next generation of foreign language education teachers.

Quick Facts

  • Program Duration: Eight months over two terms (Fall and Spring)
  • Time Commitment: Full time
  • Term of Enrollment: Fall 
  • Course Requirements: 30-credit program combined with an internship in a local school district from September through June (10 hours in the fall, full time in the spring). 
  • Application Deadline: January 15. Late applicants are encouraged to apply and will be considered based on available space in the program.
  • Admissions Requirements: GRE Exam Not Required

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Program Details

The Instructional I Teaching Certification Program in World and Heritage Language Education offers students a rigorous course of instruction in teaching specific foreign language areas in grades PK-12. The program satisfies the requirements for earning a Pennsylvania Instructional I Certificate and provides students with the necessary experience.

Certification studies are available in French, German, Italian, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, or Latin. 

Applicants who are native and non-native speakers of the language of certification are ideally required to achieve at least an Advanced-Low rating on the OPI (an Oral Proficiency Interview by an individual certified by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages). However, a rating of Intermediate-High will also be accepted as this is the minimum rating required by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Native speakers of the language of certification are not exempt from the OPI or the prerequisite course work in the culture, civilization literature, and structure of their language


Degree Requirements

Student Teaching: During the school year, students complete their student teaching in a local school. Students are placed for an entire school year under the supervision of a mentor. In the fall, students spend approximately 10 hours working with their mentor teacher. In the spring semester, students in the Instruction I program are full-time in their school sites, culminating in a full take-over of teacher responsibilities for two weeks in the late spring. Students observe, analyze, and practice basic teaching skills in different grade levels and subject fields. 

Placements occur in a number of districts around the University of Pittsburgh, including Pittsburgh Public Schools and many local suburban districts. Placements are made by the University, based on student interests and commuting information. During the time in the placement, a Pitt supervisor will visit a minimum of five times per semester; these observations provide direct and specific feedback for improvement and make sure all students are on track to successfully graduate the program and obtain their certification. 


The Instructional I program satisfies the requirements for a Pennsylvania Instructional I Certificate, pending:

  • earning a passing score on the national PRAXIS II Exam;
  • scoring a minimum of Intermediate-high on the OPI and WPT
  • completing the PA Statewide Evaluation Form for Student Professional Knowledge and Practice (PDE 430); and
  • demonstrating satisfactory performance in courses and the student internship

Student teachers in all languages but Latin must take and pass the Written Proficiency Test (WPT) in the language of certification and the Praxis II Fundamental Subjects: Content Knowledge (5511) Exam to fulfill state requirements for certification. Latin certification students will take the Praxis II in Latin (#5601) instead of the WPT as well as the Fundamental Subjects: Content Knowledge (5511) Exam.

For more information, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Education certification website.


For all students

  • In addition, applicants to the program are expected to provide documentation of 30 hours of experience working with K–12 children. These hours can be fulfilled by obtaining experiences with children through: summer camp; Sunday school; Hebrew school; tutoring; or other volunteer or paid work with children. **Due to the challenges associated with COVID-19, the admissions committee will consider this requirement on a case-by-case basis. Please speak to your Admissions and Enrollment contact with any concerns you may have in meeting this requirement.** 
  • All applicants are also required to take the course Foundations of Special Education (3 credits)

All applicants are encouraged to use the program’s online transcript review to track your progress online.

For Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, or Spanish language students:

A total of 30 credits are necessary to be distributed across Area 1 and Area 2. For example, if you report 12 credits in Area I then Area II must be 18 credits to total 30 credits across these two areas.

Area 1: Languages and Linguistics (12-18 credits)

  • Conversation and Advanced Conversation (3 credits)
  • Composition/Writing (3 credits)
  • Stylistics (3 credits)
  • Phonetics (3 credits)
  • Grammar (3 credits)
  • Syntax (3 credits)
  • Structure of the Language (3 credits)
  • Dialects (3 credits)
  • Morphology (3 credits)
  • Listening Comprehension (3 credits)
  • Advanced Reading (not a literature course) (3 credits)
  • Professional Translation (3 credits)
  • History of the Language (3 credits)
  • Introduction to Linguistics (may be taught in English) (3 credits)

Area 2: Literature and Culture (12-18 credits)

  • Civilization I (3 credits)
  • Civilization II (3 credits)
  • Major Cultural Periods (3 credits)
  • Cultural Heritage Courses (3 credits)
  • Literature Surveys (3 credits)
  • Author Courses (3 credits)
  • Genre Courses (3 credits)
  • Literary Period Courses (3 credits)
  • Cultural Period Courses (3 credits)
  • Thematically-based Literature Courses (3 credits)
For Latin language students only

The following prerequisites must be fulfilled by all applicants of Latin only. A total of 30 credits are necessary, with 6 credits in Latin Area 1 and 24 credits in Latin Area 2.

Latin Area 1

  • Roman Civilization (3 credits)
  • Latin Prose Composition (3 credits)

Latin Area 2

  • At least 24 credits in Latin with a maximum of 144 credits

Career Pathways

The majority of our graduates go on to become World and Heritage Language Education teachers in elementary and secondary settings (in Pennsylvania, World Language certification is PreK-12).

Some of our graduates obtain Fulbright Grants and teach abroad prior to teaching in a PreK-12 setting in the United States.

Some of our graduates ultimately decide to return to school and obtain either their Ph.D. or Ed.D, focused in various areas of educational research.