Professional Development Program (PDP)

Admissions Requirements

Minimum Requirements

Entrance into the Professional Development Program is competitive. Most years, about 50% of applicants eventually enrol in the program for the start date to which they applied. For applications to be considered, they must meet the following minimum requirements:

PDP Admission Minimum Requirements Elementary Applicants Secondary Applicants Complete:
By Time of Application
Complete: 1 Full Semester Before Starting PDP Complete: Before Starting PDP
A bachelor degree    
GPA of 2.5 or higher    
Two English courses, which include a minimum of 3 units of English Literature    
SFU literacy requirement
SFU quantitative requirement (B.Ed. 2nd degree only)    
1 Canadian history course      
1 Canadian geography course      
Math 190 (principles of mathematics for teachers) or equivalent      
1 laboratory science      
A major in a teachable subject or a minor in two teachable subjects      
French Language Appraisal (French module only)    

Chart of Acceptable Courses

To help you with your selection, we have provided a chart of acceptable courses offered by Simon Fraser University and other B.C. post-secondary level institutions, that will satisfy our prerequisites.  

Recommended Courses and Experiences Prior to Applying

# Recommended Course/Experience Elementary Applicants Secondary Applicants
1 4–6 hours observing K–12 classroom(s) and speaking with the teacher afterwards

1–2 courses in education

3 Experience working with children or youth
4 Experience helping others learn (e.g. tutoring, coaching, camp counselor, running workshops for other undergraduates, etc.).
5 2 undergraduate courses (6 unit hours) in kinesiology or physical education (or equivalent experience)  
6 2 undergraduate courses (6 unit hours) in fine arts (or equivalent experience)  

Reason for recommended course or experience 1–4: We’ve all watched teachers as students. Being one is a very different experience. These experiences will help you decide whether teaching is the right career for you and make your application stronger.

Reason for recommended course or experience 5–6: Because elementary teachers often teach art, music and physical education to their students, related course work or experience is a good idea.

Teacher Certification Requirements

To teach in K–12 schools in British Columbia, individuals must meet the teacher certification requirements set out by the Teacher Regulation Branch of the BC Ministry of Education. In some cases PDP’s requirements are somewhat higher than TRB’s. SFU’s requirements are meant to prepare teachers for the challenges of K–12 schooling in British Columbia, while TRB’s must also foster inter-provincial certification.

TRB Requirement Pre-PDP Integration Semester Teaching Semester Coursework Semester
Undergraduate Degree      
6 units of English      
48 unit hours in teacher preparation   15 15 15–18*

3 units on teaching special needs students


3 units in First Nations pedagogy


10 week teaching practicum


6 units of Canadian Studies (Canadian Geography and History)


3 units of mathematics


3 units of science


A single teaching area of 24 units


*Applicants with an acceptable three unit undergraduate course in education need only take 15 units during the coursework semester.

French Language Appraisal (FLA)

The French Language Appraisal (FLA) is a written and oral test in French, scheduled through the Office of Francophone and Francophile Affairs (OFFA). Applicants should contact that office to arrange the FLA at the time they are submitting their application and complete it one semester before their enrolment in PDP. OFFA will directly forward the completed FLA results to the PDP admissions office.

Secondary Applicants Teachable Subjects and Areas

To teach in secondary schools, you must have completed one major or two minors in teachable subjects. The exact requirements for majors and minors in various disciplines (mathematics, English, etc.) differs by faculty and department.  However,

  • a major is approximately 15 to 18 units of lower division coursework (100 & 200 level courses), plus approximately 30 units of upper division coursework (300 & 400 level courses), all in one subject; while
  • a minor is approximately 12 to 15 units of lower level coursework, plus approximately 18 units of upper division coursework in one subject.  

Please refer to the Simon Fraser University Calendar for specific major/minor requirements of a particular faculty or department.

Not all university majors and minors will translate into teachable subjects in British Columbian Secondary Schools.  See the lists below for teachable subjects.


  • English
  • World Literature
  • Mathematics
  • Biological Sciences
  • Earth Science
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • French
  • Music (Program starting in September only)
  • Visual Arts (Program starting in September only)
  • Social Studies (has very specific requirements, see LINK)

Additional Teachable Areas (must be combined with another teachable area)

  • Theatre (Program starting in September only)
  • Dance (Program starting in September only)
  • Computing Science
  • Social Studies minors (has very specific requirements, see LINK)
  • Physical Education (Kinesiology)

SFU Literacy Requirement

To be eligible to enrol in the first semester of PDP, Integration of Theory and Practice, students must meet SFU’s literacy requirements. Students who have completed a post-secondary English course transferable to SFU with a C- or better automatically meet this requirement. There are other ways to meet it as well. For details see SFU's webpage on the literacy requirement.

The Integration of Theory and Practice semester for PDP consists of two courses (EDUC 401W, and EDUC 402W), both of which are “writing intensive” (or “W”) courses. Writing intensive courses at SFU are designed to improve student writing by including a significant amount of coursework and feedback related to discipline-specific forms of writing. To be eligible to enrol in a W course, students must meet SFU’s literacy requirements.

Successful PDP applicants must meet SFU’s literacy requirement by the time they need to enrol in 401W/402W. See the application checklist for dates.

SFU Quantitative Requirement

In order to declare and complete a B.Ed. as a 2nd degree students must be eligible to enroll in a Q course. Students must meet SFU's quantitative requirements. There is more than one way to meet this requirement. For details see SFU's webpage on the quantitative requirement

Social Studies Requirements

Qualifications for Social Studies Majors and Minors

To qualify to teach social studies at the secondary level, applicants must meet two conditions:

  1. possess an acceptable social science major or minor(s)
  2. satisfy specified Geography (minimum 6 units) and History requirements (minimum 18 units)

You must meet the academic requirements to be eligible to apply to PDP at the Secondary level. The specific courses to meet the Social Studies requirements do not have to be completed prior to application to PDP. If admitted to the Program to teach Social Studies you will not be recommended for a Teaching Certificate until PDP and the Social Studies requirements are complete.

Acceptable social science majors/minors

Students may qualify for a teachable major in social studies if they have a designated (or equivalent) major or two minors in a social science area(s). Students may qualify for a teachable minor in social studies if they have a designated (or equivalent) minor in a social science area. A major is approximately 15 to 18 units of lower level coursework (100 & 200 level courses), plus approximately 30 units of upper level coursework (300 & 400 level courses) in one subject. A minor is approximately 12 to 15 units of lower level coursework and approximately 18 units of upper level coursework in one subject. A completed Masters degree in a social science area may count as the equivalent of a minor.

Majors or minors listed below will qualify provided they have a predominately social scientific focus (and not, for example, a linguistic, literary or artistic emphasis). Other majors or minors may qualify provided they meet three criteria for a social studies designation:

  1. the program teaches a methodology for conducting social science inquiry;
  2. the coursework addresses a number of topics specifically mentioned in the secondary social studies curriculum;
  3. the program provides a broadly applicable perspective or orientation to the teaching of the secondary social studies curriculum.
  • Anthropology
  • Archaeology
  • Asia/Pacific Studies
  • Canadian Studies
  • Classics/Greek & Roman Studies
  • Criminology
  • Economics
  • First Nations Studies
  • Geography
  • Germanic Studies
  • History
  • Humanities (counts as minor only)
  • International Relations/Studies
  • Law
  • Political Science
  • Slavic Studies
  • Sociology
  • Spanish & Latin American Studies
  • Urban & Community Studies
  • Women's Studies

Additional Geography and History Components

In addition to a major/minor(s) in acceptable social science areas, students require the following Geography and History components to qualify for a teachable major or minor in social studies

The following SFU courses are acceptable to meet the Geography and History components of the secondary level Social Studies requirements.  For acceptable courses at other institutions, please refer to the BC Online Transfer Guide on course transferability. There may be courses not listed, such as Special Topics courses, which satisfy one of the required areas; a detailed course outline may be submitted to PDP Admissions for evaluation.

Geography Component

  • A minimum of 6 units in Geography including 3 units of Canadian Geography.

Canadian Geography

  • GEOG 162-3: Canada
  • GEOG 264-3: Canadian Cities
  • GEOG 265-3: Geography of British Columbia
  • GEOG 469-4: Canadian North and Middle North
  • GEOG 470-4: Geography of Western Canada

History Component

All three History components must be completed.

1. Canadian History A minimum of 6 units covering both pre- and post-Confederation periods.

Canada: Pre-Confederation

  • HIST 101-3: Canada to Confederation
  • HIST 201-3: History of Western Canada
  • HIST 204-3: Social History of Canada
  • HIST 325-4: History of Aboriginal Peoples of North America to 1850
  • HIST 329-4: Canadian Family History
  • HIST 430-4: New France
  • HIST 431-4: Problems in the History of British North America: 1760-1850
  • HIST 436-4: British Columbia 

Canada: Post-Confederation

  • ASC 301-3: Asia-Canada Identities: Experiences and Perspectives
  • HIST 102-3: Canada since Confederation
  • HIST 201-3: History of Western Canada
  • HIST 204-3: Social History of Canada
  • HIST 326-4: History of Aboriginal Peoples of North America since 1850
  • HIST 327-4: Canadian Labour and Working Class History
  • HIST 328-4: Province of Quebec from Confederation
  • HIST 329-4: Canadian Family History
  • HIST 424-4: Problems in the Cultural History of Canada
  • HIST 428-4: Problems in the Social and Economic History of Canada
  • HIST 436-4: British Columbia

2. European History A minimum of 9 units covering three periods: 500-1600, 1500-1815 and 19th/20th Century.

Europe: 500-1600

  • HIST/HUM 105-3: Western Civilization from the Ancient World to the Reformation Era
  • HIST 215-3: The Making of the British Isles
  • HIST/HUM 216-3: The Ancient World
  • HIST/HUM 219-3: The Early Middle Ages
  • HIST 220-3: The Later Middle Ages
  • HIST 277-3: History of Greek Civilization
  • HIST 308-4: Byzantium from Constantine to the end of the Dark Ages: 4th to the 9th Centuries

Europe: 1500-1815

  • HIST 106-3: The Making of Modern Europe
  • HIST 215-3: The Making of the British Isles
  • HIST 223-3: Early Modern Europe, 1500-1789
  • HIST 309-4: Early Modern Greek History: 1453-1821
  • HIST 310-4: Women and the Family in Modern Europe
  • HIST 311-4: Education and Childhood in European History
  • HIST 312-4: Poverty, Crime and Madness: Society and the Outcast
  • HIST 315-4: Politics and Society in England: 1500-1702
  • HIST 316-4: English Society in the mid-18th Century
  • HIST 318-4: Early Modern France
  • HIST 322-4: Atlantic Migration
  • HIST 331-4: Germany from the Reformation to 1815
  • HIST 334-4: Russia to 1900
  • HIST 336-4: Absolutism and Enlightenment in Europe
  • HIST 339-4: British Empire and Commonwealth
  • HIST 360-4: The History of Science: 1100-1725
  • HIST 362-4: Ireland from Penal Era to Patition
  • HIST 402-4: Renaissance Italy
  • HIST 403-4: The European Reformation
  • HIST 404-4: Religion, Society and Politics in England: 1530-1640
  • HIST 416-4: The French Revolution

Europe: 19th/20th Century

  • HIST 215-3: The Making of the British Isles
  • HIST 224-3: Europe from the French Revolution to the 1st World War
  • HIST 225-3: 20th Century Europe
  • HIST 316-4: English Society since the mid-18th Century
  • HIST 319-4: France since 1800
  • HIST 322-4: Atlantic Migration
  • HIST 332-4: Germany since 1815
  • HIST 335-4: 20th Century Russia
  • HIST 337-4: The Balance of Power in Europe
  • HIST 338-4: World War II
  • HIST 339-4: The British Empire and Commonwealth
  • HIST 405-4: Early Modern English Society
  • HIST 413-4: Britain and Europe in the 20th Century
  • HIST 414-4: Impact of the Great War
  • HIST 415-4: Victorian Britain
  • HIST 417-4: Modern French Social History
  • HIST 419-4: Late Imperial and Revolutionary Russia
  • HIST 420-4: The History of Russian Foreign Policy from Catherine the Great to Stalin
  • HIST 421-4: Modern Greece: 1864-1925
  • HIST 422-4: Greece, 1935-1944: Occupation and Resistance

3. African/Asian/Latin American History A minimum of 3 units covering at least one region.

Asia & Asia Minor

  • ASC 102-3: Introduction to Asia-Canada Studies II
  • ASC 200-3: Introduction to Chinese Culture
  • ASC 201-3: Introduction to Japanese Culture and History
  • ASC 202-3: Studies in Chinese Culture
  • HIST 151-3: The Modern Middle East
  • HIST 205-3: Premodern Japan
  • HIST 206-3: Modern Japan
  • HIST 249-3: Classical Islamic Civilization
  • HIST 252-3: Islamic India
  • HIST 254-3: China to 1800
  • HIST 255-3: China since 1800
  • HIST 304-4: Alexander the Great and the Quest for World Empire
  • HIST 308-4: Byzantium from Constantine to the end of the Dark Ages: 4th to the 9th Centuries
  • HIST 350-4: The Ottoman Empire and Turkey
  • HIST 352-4: Religion and Politics in Modern Iran
  • HIST 355-4: The Arab Middle East in the 20th Century
  • HIST 365-4: Self and Society in Imperial China
  • HIST 371-4: The Asia-Pacific War in Modern Japanese History
  • HIST 465-4: The Palestinian-Israeli Conflict
  • HIST 469-4: Islamic Social and Intellectual History
  • HIST 471-4: Women in Modern Japanese History
  • HIST 474-4: Modern Chinese Identities
  • HIST 481-4: British India


  • HIST 146-3: Africa in Recent History
  • HIST 231-3: The Origins of Modern Africa: Conquest, Resistance and Resurgence
  • HIST 251-3: The Western Imperial Presence in the Middle East and North Africa
  • HIST 343-4: Africa and the Slave Trade
  • HIST 344-4: East Africa
  • HIST 348-4: A History of 20th Century South Africa
  • HIST 473-4: The Making of South African Society
  • HIST 483-4: The Struggle for Identity in Sub-Saharan Africa

Latin America

  • HIST 208-3: Latin America: The Colonial Period
  • HIST 209-3: Latin America: The National Period
  • HIST 324-4: Slavery in the Americas
  • HIST 458-4: Problems in Latin American Regional History
  • HIST 459-4: Problems in the Political and Social History of Latin America

Criminal Record Check

Once you have been accepted to the PDP, you must clear a Criminal Records Check for working with children and vulnerable adults through SFU Student Services. Persons convicted of a criminal offence and considering a teaching career should write to the Teacher Regulation Branch of the Ministry of Education for clarification of their status before undertaking a teacher education program. The List of Offences can be reviewed on the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General website.