Elementary Education (K-8)

IDLS ranked #1 in West and #4 in Nation by bestcolleges.com More here.

The B.A. in Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies (IDLS) is interdisciplinary studies in a Jesuit educational context. It equips you to think both deeply and broadly, providing an excellent foundation for being an elementary teacher. (Junior transfers entering Fall 2018 can expect two years to graduation with appropriate preparation.)

The Elementary Education (K-8) Specialization within the B.A. in  IDLS enables you to be certified to teach.

  • Earn a Washington State Elementary (K-8) Teaching Credential
  • Earn an English Language Learner (ELL) endorsement, a significant advantage in the job market
  • Persistent, developing and accumulated field experience culminates in a clinical internship
  • Over 700 hours of field work in classrooms included.

Unique features

Field-Based coursework

  • Begin your time in schools in the first year. The best preparation to teach includes significant experiences in classrooms
  • Carefully planned time in schools means you steadily increase your understanding, confidence and responsibility in classrooms

Interdisciplinary degree

  • This specialization integrates the expertise of the College of Education and Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies in a powerful partnership for SU students.
  • There is a clear connection between a teacher’s content knowledge and ability to teach. The nationally top-ranked IDLS program provides that knowledge.

Teaching careers

Recent IDLS graduates are teaching in Public Schools such as Seattle Public Schools and Highline School District, Private Schools in the Northwest, as well as schools in Europe and Asia.

Some have chosen to put their skills to work for the State of Washington, AmeriCorps, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, YMCA, and other organizations. See more employment listings on this page.

Declaring the major with specialization is simple.

Apply online or come to the Program offices (Casey Building). You will be assigned an advisor right away, and be encouraged to meet Dr. Sven Arvidson, Director, just to chat about you, the degree and your future.

Specialization requirements

Major: Students complete major requirements (IDLS), College of Education courses (EDLS), and prerequisite courses for a total of 180 credits, like most other SU majors.

Strategic Core: All majors develop interdisciplinary scholarship, community engagement, and metacognition (reflective thinking) through five strategic courses.

IDLS 2300 - Interdisciplinary Inquiry and Liberal Studies
IDLS 3000 - Leadership for Community Engagement
IDLS 3200 - Special Topics: Interdisciplinary Project
IDLS 3300 - Methods of Interdisciplinary Research
IDLS 4900 - Senior Synthesis

Education Courses: All EDLS courses are field-based.

EDLS 2400 - The Arts, Health and Fitness in Learning
EDLS 3100 - Principles of Effective Teaching in Diverse Schools
EDLS 3400 - Literacy Instruction and Assessment in Schools
EDLS 3600 - Social Studies Instruction and Assessment in Schools
EDLS 3800 - Mathematics/Science Instruction and Assessment I
EDLS 3820 - Mathematics/Science Instruction and Assessment II
EDLS 4000 - Start of School Year Field Experience
EDLS 4200 - Impact of Trauma on Learners
EDLS 4700 - Clinical Internship
EDLS 4710 - Clinical Internship Seminar
EDLS 4800 - Issues and Advocacy in Education
MATH 2080 - Mathematics for K-8 Teachers
PSYC 3220 - Growth and Development
IDLS 2020 - Teaching Diverse Classrooms

Other Major Requirements
University Core and College Core courses
Any Humanities Elective  3000-4000 level
Any Social Sciences Elective  3000-4000 level
PSYC 1200 - Introduction to Psychology
BIOL 1610/1611 - Biology I: Molecular and Cellular Biology /Lab


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Program Director Sven Arvidson, PhD; College of Education Assistant Clinical Professor Patricia Venegas-Weber, PhD; and alumnus and teacher Nathan Wheeler talk about the degree.

Declaring a Major in
Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies

It’s simple! Come to the Program offices (Casey 4th Floor). You will be assigned an advisor right away. And you will be encouraged to meet Dr. Sven Arvidson, Director.

Some Program Alumni

Kayce Callen, 4th Grade Teacher, Highline S. D.
Stephanie Faddis, 1st Grade Teacher, Portland Jewish Academy
Rhiannon Cadelinia, 3rd Grade Teacher, San Francisco
Ali Fragoso, 4th-5th Grade Teacher, Spruce Street School, Seattle
Francesca Smythies, ELL Teacher, Korea (Songdo, Incheon).
Nathan Wheeler, 4th Grade Teacher, Lowell Elementary, Seattle
Mariko Fitzpatrick, Kindergarten Teacher, St. Benedicts School, Seattle
Sahnica Washington, Principal, Roxhill Elementary, Seattle
Kim Chun-Hoi, 3rd Grade Teacher, Holy Nativity, Hawaii
Shaniah Bivens, Masters in Teaching, UW Seattle Teacher Residence Program
Robin Curry, Masters in Teaching, Seattle University
Shaun Burl, Athletic Director, Seattle Academy
Sage Alderson-Gamble, Head English Teacher, Bavaria, Germany
Lauren Leiker, Center Director for KinderCare, Mill Creek
Anna Roberds, Teacher Resident, Visitacion Valley Middle School, San Francisco
Nathan Ward, YMCA Site Supervisor, Bailey Gatzert Elementary, Seattle
Jennifer Engel, ESL Instructor, Bellevue College


Contact Us

P. Sven Arvidson, Ph.D.
Program Director
Casey 4E

Kate Reynolds
Administrative Assistant
Casey 4E