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Program Outline: Master of Arts in Teaching

Completion of the program fulfills requirements for a Master of Arts in Teaching degree and Washington state Residency Teacher Certification. After completing program requirements, the Certification Office in the School of Education at SPU recommends candidates for teacher licensure to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. Completion of five additional graduate-level classes throughout the program fulfills requirements for the MAT degree.

Program Schedule

A new cohort begins each autumn. During the academic year, candidates attend classes one or two nights a week, either from 4:30-7:00 or 5:00-7:30.

Program Components


Candidates in the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program are recommended for certification by

Demonstrating effective teaching practices

Centering instruction on high expectations for student achievement

Recognizing and responding to individual student learning needs

Providing clear and intentional focus on subject matter content and curriculum

Fostering and managing a safe, positive learning environment

Using multiple student data elements to modify instruction and improve student learning

Communicating and collaborating with parents and the school community

Exhibiting collaborative and collegial practices focused on improving instruction and learning

Certification is earned in seven academic quarters or two years. The MAT degree is earned concurrently with certification requirements or in subsequent quarters. The certification component of the MAT program is 45 to 50 credits depending on endorsement area. Approximately one-quarter of these credits are allocated for a 70-day (14-week) internship. Completion of certification courses, internship requirements, and passing program assessments qualifies candidates for a Washington state Residency Teacher Certificate. This certificate enables candidates to teach in public and private schools in Washington.

Coursework and Internship

Coursework begins in the autumn with online and on-campus classes in learning theory, general teaching methods, education reform, and educational technology. Coursework varies depending on endorsement area to provide discipline-specific emphasis. Candidates typically enroll in classes with peers who are earning the same primary endorsement to promote collegial interdependence.

Internship begins mid-winter during the second year. Candidates are paired with a mentor teacher and university coordinator in a supervised school setting. Internship is 70 days, or 14 weeks (the 14 week requirement does not include days off for mid-winter or spring vacation). Candidates continue with coursework during internship. Additional school-based field experiences include a 40-hour spring practicum requirement in the first year of the program and a 20-hour autumn field experience in the second year.

Candidates and mentor teachers follow a co-teaching model during internship where responsibility for planning, instruction, management, and assessment is shared. Candidates begin internship with focused observations and progress to independent teaching. Across internship, candidates complete assignments designed to maximize field experiences, such as portfolio reflections, lesson plans, and program assessments. Internship concludes with candidates returning control of classroom responsibilities to their mentor teachers.

Additional Experience with Youth

While internship provides candidates with sufficient opportunity to master program standards and earn certification, additional work with youth is strongly recommended. Candidates enrolled in the MAT program complete coursework in theory and practice which is augmented through work in educational settings, whether as employees or volunteers. Educational settings vary, but may include private school teacher, substitute teacher, preschool teacher, public school paraeducator, instructional assistant, and tutor. Candidates enrolled in the MAT program can access employment and volunteer opportunities through SPULink.

Completion of the MAT Degree

Candidates earn the MAT degree by completing five graduate-level courses, totaling 15 credits. Classes required for the MAT degree are not needed for certification. However, most candidates complete degree requirements along with certification to increase their base salary. Candidates may delay completion of degree requirements for five years following the quarter of admission, as long as active enrollment status is maintained by completing one class every four quarters. Students admitted to the MAT program with a master’s degree may complete EDU 6085 Moral Issues in Education to receive the MAT degree.

Find information about this Program Overview, Program Outline, Course Sequence, and Admission Information.

Did You Know?

Help IconThe SPU School of Education offers one-year alternative route teaching programs, including ARC and MTMS.