Your legacy starts here

Teaching is a passion, a calling. And, for University of Northern Iowa, a legacy. 

If you’re interested in leading and guiding early childhood education, elementary education or pairing your teaching major with middle level education, no other department prepares as many future teachers for Iowa as UNI’s Curriculum & Instruction (C&I). 

Here you build the foundation to become both a caring and professional educator. You will link theory with culturally sustaining practices. You’ll learn from professors with recent classroom experience and a vision for the future of education. You'll become a world class educator. A UNI teacher.

1 in 10

Leading UNI Major 

Elementary education is the leading major at UNI. 


Iowa's Teacher Librarians  

More than half of Iowa's teacher librarians received their preparation at UNI. 

#1 Choice

A Literacy Champion  

More than 250 students choose the literacy education minor, making it the #1 minor at UNI. 

Undergraduate Programs

An early start to learning

Prepare to teach young children from birth to third grade in both general and special education. Learn from faculty who focus on everything from STEM learning in infants to social emotional development and inclusivity in learning and teaching. 

Learn in settings like our very own Child Development Center directed by Curriculum and Instruction's Allison Pattee. Prepare to make a lasting impact within this growing career path.

Student with child at child development center

Iowa's largest elementary education undergrad program

It’s true: this is the leading major at UNI with about 1 in 10 (or more) students studying elementary education. Our faculty help bring to life an understanding of social-emotional learning, the importance of arts integration, the essential skills for teaching and managing in today’s inclusive classrooms.

And with options like a professional development school setting, online 2+2 options including an accelerated program for paraeducators, and minors galore, you’re well on your way. 

Mari H at elementary student teaching

Gaining focus 'in the middle' 

Some say middle level education is the toughest (others disagree!). But as one of the oldest teacher education programs focused on young adolescents, we know middle level education.

This dual major option — paired with elementary education or a secondary education teaching major — is that extra emphasis that school districts are looking for. Add a concentration in two subject areas and you’re prepared for a great future. 

Middle level student teaching

The first grade student I tutored at a local school drew a picture of us reading a book together and wrote, 'Thanks for being such a good reading buddy.' That picture hangs above my desk to remind me of why I want to be a teacher.

Different Roads to A Degree

Special Initiatives

Teach Waterloo

One student at a time, Teach Waterloo is increasing diversity in the elementary education workforce in partnership with the Waterloo Community School District, the Waterloo Schools Foundation, John Deere Waterloo Operations and the McElroy Charitable Trust. By continuing to streamline and refine a program that works for our students and our partners, we’re all working together to provide a pathway for WCSD paraeducators and other specialists to achieve their dreams. . 

Teach Waterloo
Online Option


The 2+2 program provides a flexible, coordinated path to earn your associate's degree and then complete your bachelor's degree online. Offered for more than 25 years by UNI Online and Distance Education, the college and Des Moines Area Community College, the program now accepts students annually from Iowa community colleges. The new Purple Pathway for Paraeducators beginning fall 2022 is a fully online, accelerated pathway specifically designed for employed paraeducators.

2+2 Options