About the School of Education

Doug Ohmer

Welcome! Northern State University’s Millicent Atkins School of Education is the choice for your primary and secondary teacher education, counseling and psychology, and sport sciences education and preparation for a successful career. We - the faculty, staff, and I - hope you will come to visit the campus and meet with us and our students!

I am excited that you are considering becoming part of the Northern State University School of Education family. Moving on from high school and choosing a college is an exciting time in your life, and is an important decision. Allow me to share a little about what makes Northern and the School of Education an awesome place.

Students are the number one priority at Northern and the School of Education. Our campus is full of friendly and caring people, professors who genuinely care about you, and a staff who will go out of their way to help you.

Northern is located on a beautiful campus with lots of new facilities, including residence halls, the new Jewett Regional Science Center, the new practice and soccer fields, and a soon-to-come stadium. The School of Education is located in Gerber Hall on the corner of the campus green, where you’ll often find students engaged in a Frisbee game, studying, or just enjoying the sunshine.

Our faculty are dedicated professionals who excel in connecting with you and providing an educational experience equal to that of any university. At Northern, you’ll not only get the latest materials in the classroom, but you’ll also have opportunities to learn outside the classroom with internships, practicums and the greatest amount of in-classroom student teaching experience in the state, and not to forget, study abroad. By the way, the world also comes to study here: students from over 40 countries study at Northern!

As you consider and make your final decisions about college, remember that students at Northern value the support they receive from faculty, the relationships they establish with their classmates, and the extensive opportunities to develop and grow in all facets of life. Longer range, the School of Education also helps you to prepare for your first professional position and career. Northern's graduates work in a broad range of professional careers all over the world.

If you seek a world-class education in a safe and friendly environment, you will find it at Northern. I hope you will come to campus for a visit and see for yourself how a Northern education can prepare you for your future!

Dr. Doug Ohmer

Dean, College of Professional Studies


If your dream is to be an elementary or secondary school teacher, you aren't alone. The teacher education program is the largest education program at NSU. All NSU education students learn to address classroom diversity encompassing a wide range of learning styles and needs. You will also gain extensive field experience in classrooms and integrate the use of technology in instruction through hands-on experiences.

Elementary Education: The elementary education program is the largest education program at NSU. Elementary education students are encouraged to complete additional endorsements or minors in specialties such as early childhood, world languages or special education.

Secondary Education: If your goal is to teach at the high school level, you will major in a content area, such as biology, English, history or mathematics. You will also be encouraged to seek endorsements to better prepare you for your future career.

Special Education: The program provides a variety of practical experiences and interactions. You'll examine all aspects of special education, including methods of inclusion, resource rooms, collaboration and individualized programming.

Early Childhood Education: NSU offers an early childhood education minor to pair with either an elementary or secondary teaching degree.

Certificates and Teaching Endorsements: NSU offers several certificate program and teaching endorsements.

Graduate Programs​


sport sciences DEPARTMENT

Be an advocate for lifelong health! Our exceptional and rigorous programs prepare you to participate in and effectively promote active and healthy lifestyles for all. As a student in Northern's sport sciences department, you can prepare for a career in education, community wellness, coaching, corporate fitness, sport management, and/or other exercise- and health-related fields. Emphases are also available in personal training, strength and conditioning and fitness administration. In addition, we offer a sports performance and leadership master's degree (see below) focusing on coaching and coaching-related occupations.


NSU offers outstanding instruction in psychology and the undergraduate level and counseling at the graduate level. Our professors' research interests span myriad topics, including:
  • Music cognition
  • Usability and software design
  • Student perception of learning environments
  • Multicultural/cross cultural counseling
  • Counselor education and supervision
  • Comprehensive school counseling models
  • Mindfulness and psychological well-being
  • Substance abuse
We provide you with a strong general foundation in psychology, preparing you for careers in human services and business, as well as graduate programs in counseling and research psychology.


Our undergraduate psychology program prepares you for a career in various entry-level human service positions. In Northern's psychology program, you'll learn to better understand your own behavior and the behavior of those around you. Psychology degrees have become one of the most popular options at colleges and universities throughout the world. In addition to offering limitless opportunity for personal growth, majoring in psychology opens up a range of career opportunities. Psychology majors are exposed to scientific theory as well as areas of psychological research with practical applications.


Our counseling program emphasizes the development of counseling professionals who are competent in their counseling knowledge, skills, and practice. Utilizing a creative, strength-based approach, the program endorses self-reflective, theory-based, intentional counseling. The pillars of Northern's program include the celebration of human diversity, a belief in the dignity and inherent worth of others, and a commitment to fostering students' identities as professional counselors.

Counseling students will graduate with a thorough understanding of:

  • Self
  • Content
  • The individual
  • The approaches, methods and techniques of counseling theory 
  • The self as counselor and member of a learning community

School or Clinical Mental Health Counseling (MSEd): Northern State University's graduate program in counseling has been preparing clinical mental health and school counseling professionals for over 50 years.  In Northern's intensive graduate counseling program, you'll be challenged to develop clinical skills preparing you to work with a diverse range of clients. This program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs.


Vital Statistics (Program/Student Outcomes) 2018-2019

Millicent Atkins Statue
Millicent Atkins


NSU received $15 million — the largest donation in the university’s history – from the estate of Atkins, a Northern graduate. The money is being used to benefit the School of Education.

Atkins, who attended high school in Columbia, S.D., received a teaching degree from Northern in 1940. She taught school for a few years, but later moved on to tend to her greater passion in life - farming.

The school was renamed the Millicent Atkins School of Education to honor her generous gift.


Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation

1140 19th St. NW, Suite 400

Washington, DC 20036 

The Millicent Atkins School of Education at Northern State University is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), www.ncate.org. This accreditation covers initial teacher preparation programs at Northern State University. However, the accreditation does not include individual education courses that the institution offers to P-12 educators for professional development, re-licensure, or other purposes.