A teacher education program with a focus on urban education, student-centered learning, and innovative teaching tools. 

The Urban Teaching Apprenticeship program develops members of a network of transformational educators advocating for educational justice in urban contexts. UTAP educators center the voices and agency of students and their communities, combining reflective practice with a deep understanding of content knowledge and culturally responsive pedagogy.

Compare our three teacher education programs to find the best fit for you.

What Sets Us Apart

800+ 800+ hours of field experience: More than 2x the average program
1 Year Expert instructional coaching during a year-long apprenticeship in an urban school community
  A focus on innovative, student-centered teaching strategies that promote active learning

About the Program

In the Urban Teaching Apprenticeship program, students develop their practice through a complex interaction of coursework, classroom experiences, feedback from mentors, consultations with instructional coaches, and shared dialogue with cohort members and faculty.

Application deadline
Rolling admission
Entry term(s)
Course requirements
11-12 courses

Research apprenticeship10-month student teaching apprenticeship

Culminating experienceWeb-based inquiry portfolio

Certificate/Licensure offeredFaculty recommendation for Pennsylvania Instructional I certification

Duration of master’s program10 months

OrientationOrientation for accepted students is required and takes place in early July. Contact the program for more information.

  • Full-Time
Teacher Programs & Certifications

Unlike most pre-service teacher programs, this program starts in July. Apprentices spend the summer months working with Philadelphia students in a summer learning program where they build relationships with young people and experience learning in informal contexts, which are important aspects of student life in urban centers. By late summer, apprentices begin their teaching placements in a Philadelphia public or charter school, giving them nearly an entire year in the classroom. Throughout the year, apprentices develop their student-centered practice as they learn at the side of an experienced classroom teacher and receive input from instructional coaches and mentors. When our graduates seek employment, they already have a full year of teaching experience on their résumés.

Degrees and certifications offered

  • Elementary education M.S.Ed. (Grades PreK-4)
  • Middle level education M.S.Ed. (Grades 4-8)
  • Secondary education M.S.Ed. (Grades 7-12)
  • Urban education minor for Penn undergrads
  • Submatriculation for Penn undergrads and Quaker Consortium undergrads
  • Teacher Certification in Pennsylvania

Program Highlights

The Urban Teaching Apprenticeship Program is a unique teacher education program committed to a student-centered approach to teaching and our belief that young people are curious, creative, and competent. 

Year-long apprenticeship in urban classroom

The year-long UTAP apprenticeship differs from traditional teacher education programs where students might spend only a short period—perhaps as little as 12 weeks—student teaching. Our apprenticeships begin in the summer and span 10 months, with over 800 hours of fieldwork, immersing our apprentices in the teaching environment. 

Purposeful mentorship and instructional coaching

Mentored field experiences are the core of UTAP’s practice-based approach to teacher preparation.

  • Classroom Mentors are highly-skilled, practicing teachers who share their classrooms and knowledge with apprentices every day.
  • Instructional Coaches are key members of our clinical faculty who co-teach courses and facilitate school-based studio days with partner schools to model practices in real-time with real students.
  • Penn Mentors work with apprentices at the school site weekly to provide ongoing support and help bridge university coursework to the field. Most Penn Mentors have 10 to 30 years of teaching experience in urban classrooms. 

A diverse and committed cohort

The UTAP program is cohort-based: all apprentices begin and move through the program together, sharing classes and experiences in their schools. Grade level and content area specializations allow for smaller cohorts with a shared focus. We seek to build a diverse cohort of students who have demonstrated commitment to urban education and student-centered teaching. 

Advocacy & leadership: equity in education

UTAP prepares graduates to take on leadership roles, particularly those that position teachers as advocates for all students, effectively advocating for students within marginalized communities. 

Practitioner research to develop rigorous content teaching

UTAP models an inquiry stance, in which our apprentices see themselves not only as consumers of research but generators of it, using their own classrooms as sites for ongoing research and self-reflection to support deep student learning of content. View selections of Inquiry Portfolios developed by our students:

Curriculum and Certification Requirements

Master’s degree options

The Urban Teaching Apprenticeship Program offers three M.S.Ed. options which align with the Pennsylvania Department of Education certification bands: elementary (grades PreK-4), middle level (grades 4-8), and secondary (grades 7-12) education.  

For more information on courses, program requirements, and certification requirements, visit the Urban Teaching Apprenticeship M.S.Ed. program in the University Catalog

Options for Undergrads

Our program also offers also offers multiple ways for undergraduates at Penn to engage with GSE. Learn more about our education opportunities for undergraduate students.

Funding Opportunities

In addition to the funding opportunities available to students applying to any of our master’s degree programs, the following opportunities are available specifically for students applying to the Urban Teaching Apprenticeship program.

Humanities Teaching Fellowship

The Humanities Teaching Fellowship is intended to support the preparation of teachers in high school English and/or history who are interested in teaching in schools that support students through student-centered approaches and use innovative approaches and tools for learning. Humanities Teaching Fellows must be admitted to the Urban Teaching Apprenticeship Program, M.S.Ed. in the Secondary English or Social Studies program. Fellows will be awarded a scholarship of $32,000. Applicants who apply for the high school English or social studies program are automatically considered for this Fellowship at the time of faculty review for admission. Faculty may reach out to request more information regarding your interest in the Fellowship.  Fellowship recipients must commit to completing the Project-Based Learning Certificate (at no additional cost) after finishing the 10-month UTAP program. This certificate does not require you to remain in the Philadelphia area, as the content is offered in a predominately virtual mode.

Penn GSE Empowerment Through Education Scholarship Program

This scholarship supports Penn GSE’s commitment to expanding access and ensuring that the Penn GSE community is inclusive in serving all people.  UTAP applicants will be automatically considered for these awards at the time of application review and will be notified of award receipt at the time of admission notification. Note that consideration for this scholarship is independent of other merit-based and need-based awards and can be combined with other awards up to the cost of tuition.

PA Student Teacher Support Program

The PA Student Teacher Support Program encourages committed individuals to prepare for and pursue teaching positions in Pennsylvania’s urban, charter, independent, and private schools. It provides financial assistance to students enrolled in a Pennsylvania Department of Education-approved teacher preparation program, such as UTAP, who are completing their student teaching requirements. Funding for this support is provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Education/PHEAA and is not administered by the University of Pennsylvania.

Our Partners

School District of Philadelphia

The Urban Teaching Apprenticeship Program partners with the School District of Philadelphia, working together in over 25 schools throughout the district. 

Our Partners

Our partner schools vary from year to year, so we cannot guarantee any specific school placement. However, during the past year, our partner schools have included:

Guiding Principles

Our program prepares ethical, reflective, collaborative, and visionary educational leaders. Our prospective teachers leave the program prepared to use the power of teaching to deepen student learning, transform schools, increase educational equity, and move into leadership roles. We are guided by the following commitments:

Commitment to Diversity & Equity

The Urban Teaching Apprenticeship program asserts that: 1) diversity is a strength; 2) we have a role in preparing participants in a diverse, democratic society; 3) by preparing the next generation of teachers, we can contribute to disrupting cycles of injustice in today’s culture and society. 

Commitment to Inquiry

We cultivate teacher capacity to engage in inquiry about their teaching practice and the systems that support and hinder student achievement. Apprentices conduct research in their classrooms, becoming not only consumers of research but also generators of it.

Commitment to Practice

Teacher education and development need to focus on the practice of teaching—not just building teacher knowledge. Penn GSE as a research university is uniquely positioned to generate research to identify core teaching practices that apprentices learn and adapt to a range of classroom and school contexts. 

Commitment to Partnership

Cross-institutional partnerships are essential to the growth of new teachers and the schools and communities they serve. Our program collaborates with key stakeholders, community organizations, and schools to provide professional development, develop curricula, and place apprentices to support student learning. Learn more about our school partners in the Penn GSE in Philadelphia map

Commitment to Research-informed Work

Too many reform efforts in teacher education are insufficiently studied to determine quality and impact on student learning. Through a partnership with the Penn GSE Collaboratory for Teacher Education, our program is committed to drawing on research to inform practice and conducting the rigorous research necessary to determine the impact of our teacher preparation program on student learning.

Our Faculty

The Urban Teaching Apprenticeship program faculty members have—and value—K-12 teaching experience. Our faculty members are all engaged in research that brings them into the schools and communities with which we partner, and they are exceptionally accessible and welcoming to students. They are deeply invested in teacher education and preparing teachers who will represent the values of the Urban Teaching Apprenticeship program.

Penn GSE Faculty Ed Brockenbrough
Associate Professor
Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania
Penn GSE Faculty Caroline Brayer Ebby
Adjunct Professor
Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania
Penn GSE Faculty Zachary Herrmann
Adjunct Assistant Professor
Ed.L.D., Harvard University
Penn GSE Faculty Tawanna Jones
Associate Director, Urban Teaching Apprenticeship Program, Elementary and Middle Years Cohort
Ed.D., Widener University
Penn GSE Faculty Christopher Pupik Dean
Senior Fellow
Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania
Penn GSE Faculty Abby Reisman
Associate Professor
Ph.D., Stanford University
Penn GSE Faculty Janine Remillard
Ph.D., Michigan State University

Program Leadership and Affiliated Partners

Program Leadership and Staff

Christopher Pupik Dean

Tawanna Jones Morrison
Associate Director

Patrick Sexton
Executive Director, Teacher Education Programs

Maureen Cotterill
Program Manager

Pat Friess
Administrative Coordinator

Affiliated Program Faculty

Melissa Donner
Instructional Coach, English

Gillian Maimon
Literacy Instructor P-8

Stephanie Tisdale
Instructional Coach, Elementary-Middle Level Program

Kristian Ogungbemi

"The biggest benefit of the Penn GSE program was spending almost a year in front of a classroom. I learned how to build relationships with students and be responsive to their needs."

Kristian Ogungbemi

Urban Teaching Apprenticeship Program M.S.Ed., 2018

Our Graduates

Our alumni work in public service as teachers, principals, superintendents, foundation program officers, school board members, community leaders, and international educators to advocate for curricula, resources, and policies that provide access to quality education for communities that are underserved or marginalized.

Alumni Careers

  • Biology Teacher, South Lakes High School
  • Chemistry Teacher, School District of Philadelphia
  • Founding Teacher, The Launch School
  • Fourth Grade Teacher, Russell Byers Charter School
  • History Teacher, Berlin Bilingual School
  • Language Specialist, University of Pennsylvania English Language Programs
  • Principal, School District of Philadelphia
  • Science Curriculum Specialist, School District of Philadelphia
  • Secondary Mathematics Teacher, Hill-Freedman World Academy
  • Third Grade Math/Science Teacher, Houston Independent School District

Admissions & Financial Aid

Please visit our Admissions and Financial Aid pages for specific information on the application requirements, as well as information on tuition, fees, financial aid, scholarships, and fellowships.

Contact Information

Contact us if you have any questions about the program.

Office of Admissions and
Financial Aid

Graduate School of Education
University of Pennsylvania
3700 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
(215) 898-6415

Program Contact

Maureen Cotterill
Program Manager
(215) 898-7364

Pat Friess
Administrative Coordinator

Please view information from our Admissions and Financial Aid Office for specific information on the cost of this program.

Penn GSE is committed to making your graduate education affordable, and we offer generous scholarships, fellowships, and assistantships.

Your Future Starts Here: Teacher Education in Penn GSE’s Urban Teaching Apprenticeship Program

The Penn GSE Urban Teaching Apprenticeship Program prepares you to be an ethical, reflective, collaborative, and visionary educational leader. You will graduate from our program prepared to use the power of teaching to deepen student learning, transform schools, increase educational equity, and move into leadership roles.