TEP Admission Requirements and Procedures

Admission to the Teacher Education Program is required for junior level field experience and related courses that are part of the teacher certification major. When admitted to the University, all students who intend to pursue a teacher preparation program are identified by major and the certification area in which they are interested.  However, they are not yet admitted to the Teacher Education Program (TEP). All students with at least sophomore status who plan to pursue teacher certification should apply to the Teacher Education Program when they have met the requirements for admission.

Sophomore teacher certification students should receive an email directing them to the online Application for Admission to the Teacher Education Program in January of the sophomore year. Students who have not received the application instructions can request an application by sending an email to the Teacher Education Program.

Admission requirements are established by the Teacher Education Committee in compliance with regulations from the Commonwealth of PA and the Messiah University Teacher Education Program.

Four major criteria are reviewed when a student applies for admission to the Teacher Education Program:

1. Character Clearances
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania requires that students who are preparing to become teachers must be "persons of good moral character." By Pennsylvania law, Act 114, students preparing to become teachers must provide the following clearances:
  • PA Act 34 (PA Criminal Record Check)
  • PA Act 33/151 (PA Child Abuse Check)
  • FBI Background Check processed as directed by the  Pennsylvania Department of Education

All of these clearances have processing fees which are the responsibility of the teacher certification student. Results of all three clearances must be submitted as part of the student's application for admission to the Teacher Education Program and must be dated within a year of making application. Most students will have already processed clearances to participate in sophomore field experience. The same clearances can be used if they are within a year of the date of application to TEP.

Step-by-step instructions and links to register for the three clearances

Applicants are also screened by the University Student Affairs and Registrar's Offices to ascertain that individuals are considered to be in good standing with each office and are in compliance with campus guidelines for personal behavior and academic integrity.

2. Basic Skills Test

Students must submit evidence of having met the Basic Skills Test required by Pennsylvania Department of Education. Students can meet this requirement with qualifying scores on the SAT/ACT, PAPA, or the ETS Core Assessment. Testing Criteria  Basic Skills Test, typically required for admission to the Teacher Education Program, is waived for all students entering a teacher preparation program or applying for licensure between 7/8/2022 and 7/8/2025.


3. Course Completion


Students must complete and earn at least a "C-" in:
  • For students who enrolled at Messiah prior to Fall 2024, First year seminar. For students who enrolled in Fall 2024 or later, ENGL 110 or equivalent writing course
  • COMM 105 Fundamentals of Oral Communication (or equivalent course)
  • Two college level math courses
  • English literature course. 
  • All courses required for the major or teacher certification program
Any course listed above in which students earn a grade lower than "C-" must be repeated.

4. GPA/Academic Performance

Minimum GPA of 3.0 overall after 48 completed credits is required for admission. Students can check GPA on their own degree audit.

Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) and Messiah University Teacher Education Program (TEP) policies currently allow students to be fully admitted to the Teacher Education Program with a GPA of at least 2.8 AND higher qualifying scores on all content knowledge exams required for your certification. The qualifying scores are higher than scores needed to pass, and the actual scores necessary to use this provision vary by test and can be found on the PDE website.  This option is available for students who have scored well on content knowledge exams, but have not met the GPA requirement by the time they are ready to student teach. In order to use this option in lieu of the 3.0 GPA, the student must earn the higher score by the summer prior to the year in which you plan to student teach. While this option may help a small number of students to earn teaching certification, we strongly encourage students to meet with their advisors to plan strategies to earn a 3.0 GPA, since content knowledge exams will be taken closer to graduation, and not all students will be able to earn the higher score(s).

Provisional Admission

Provisional admission can be offered to students who are eligible to use the 2.8 GPA exception or the concurrent course exception.


  • 2.8 Exception: If overall GPA is between 2.8 and 2.99, and it is mathematically possible to attain 3.0 in the next semester, a student may use the 2.8 exception to enroll in courses that require TEP admittance for one semester while working to raise GPA. Eligible students will be sent a contract to use this exception.
  • Concurrent course exception: The concurrent course exception allows a student to enroll in courses that require TEP admittance, while concurrently enrolled in a course required for admission that has not yet been completed or a major course in which the student has received a grade lower than C-. Eligible students will receive a contract to use this exception.


Students should meet with their academic advisor to determine whether to use an exception or to delay courses. Students are considered eligible to use the policy when the petition has been completed, returned and approved.


A student may appeal decisions regarding his/her status for Program admission and/or continuation or Professional Semester admission and/or continuation as determined by the Teacher Education Program.  Any appeal should be articulated in writing to the Chair of the Teacher Education Committee, clearly stating the nature for the appeal and supporting rationale for consideration of the requested change.  Appeals will be processed through the Teacher Education Committee by the committee chair.  Decisions of the Teacher Education Committee regarding the appeal are final and will be relayed to the student in writing.