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Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT)


About the program

The Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) combines a Washington state Residency Teaching Certificate with an Master of Arts in Teaching degree. Candidates in the MAT program become effective teachers 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 a variable credit program (generally between 45 and 50 credits), depending on endorsement area. Approximately one-third of these credits are allocated for a 14-week internship. Completion of certification courses, internship requirements, and passing program assessments qualifies you for a Washington state Residency Certificate. This certificate enables you to teach in public and private schools in Washington state.

Coursework and internship

Coursework begins in the autumn with online and on-campus classes in history of education, diversity, and learning theory. 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.
  • The number of on-campus meetings for coursework varies by endorsement area.
  • However, you may anticipate meeting on-campus once or twice a week, beginning at 4:30 p.m. and ending at 7:05 p.m. or 9 p.m. depending on the class and quarter.

Internship will begin mid-winter during the second year. You will be paired with a mentor teacher and field supervisor in a supervised school setting. Internship is five days a week, for 14 weeks (the 14-week requirement does not include days off for mid-winter or spring vacations). You will continue with coursework during internship. Additional school-based experiences include a 40-hour spring practicum requirement in the first year of the program and a 20-hour autumn experience in the second year.

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

Completion of the MAT program

You will 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 as they complete certification to increase their base salary.

You may delay completion of degree requirements for five years from 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 to receive the MAT degree.

Admission requirements

Applicants must submit the following items to the Graduate Admissions.

  • Application and $50 application processing fee.
  • Official transcript(s) from each college or university attended.
    • If your degree is not from a U.S. college or university, please arrange for your transcript to be evaluated by an accredited transcript evaluation company such as WES. Have the report forwarded directly to Graduate Admissions.
  • Personal statement (1–2 pages).
  • Résumé.
  • GRE (Graduate Record Exam) or MAT (Miller Analogies Test) scores taken within five years of application.
    • On the former GRE exam, preferred minimum combined Verbal and Quantitative score of 950.
    • On the revised GRE exam, preferred minimum scores of Verbal: 148 and Quantitative: 147.
    • On the MAT, preferred minimum scaled score of 400*.
  • Two to four letters of recommendation.
  • Passing>WEST-B scores including 240 on each sub-test: reading, writing, and mathematics.
    • Applicants may use a combination of SAT, ACT, and WEST-B scores to meet the WEST-B requirement (reading writing, mathematics). Please contact Graduate Admissions if you have questions.
    • Minimum SAT scores required: Math: 515, Reading: 500, Writing: 490.
    • Minimum ACT scores required: Math: 22, Reading: 22, Writing: 8.
  • Passing state endorsement test.
    • WEST-E or NES must be passed January 1 of the first year of the program, except for those endorsing in special education, designated world languages, and English language learners, which must be passed September 1 of the second year of the program.
    • Those endorsing in designated world languages or bilingual education must also pass oral and writing proficiency tests (OPI and WPT) in their language area.
    • Several NES study guides are located on the main floor Reference section of SPU’s Ames Library.
  • Endorsement Verification form.
    • Endorsements are the content and grade levels a teacher is prepared to teach. The Professional Education Standards Board (PESB) provides a comprehensive list of all endorsements offered at SPU.
    • If your college major matches your intended endorsement, complete the Endorsement Verification form in the application.
    • If your major does not match your intended endorsement, please contact Kristi Kanehen, certification officer. Complete the Endorsement Verification form only after contacting Kristi Kanehen. On the form, indicate that you have been in contact with her and list your "Approved Plan of Study" if one has been developed.
  • Moral Character and Personal Fitness Policy form (found in the online application).

*The GRE or MAT will be waived for students who achieved at least a 3.0 cumulative undergraduate GPA or a 3.0 in the last 45 quarter credits.

Applicants with complete files submitted by the deadline are screened for interviews, held on the SPU campus in April. Invitations to interview are sent by email. Applicants are advised to add these email addresses as contacts to avoid inadvertent delivery of correspondence to spam or junk folders.

Program prerequisites

In order to be approved for full admission into the MAT program, applicants must pass all three sections (reading, writing, and mathematics) of the Washington Educator Skills Test – Basic (WEST-B), or equivalent using SAT and ACT scores as shown above. In addition, applicants must pass the Washington Educator Skills Test – Endorsements (WEST-E or NES) in their preferred endorsement area(s) according to the schedule shown above.

Enrollment policy

  • You must be continuously enrolled in required SPU courses to earn this master’s degree, or until you officially withdraw from the program. Exceptions to continuous enrollment must be approved by the program chair.
  • You may be granted a leave of absence for up to four quarters by the program chair. Once the leave of absence has expired, you will either enroll in graduate coursework or be dropped from the program.
  • SPU’s Student Academic Services requires continuous enrollment to remain admitted in a graduate program. After four quarters of non-enrollment, students will be placed in “inactive status” and will need to reapply for admission.
  • If you decide to no longer pursue a master’s degree, you may officially withdraw from the program and SPU by notifying the program chair and the graduate programs manager.


Admissions materials should be directed to Graduate Admissions. If you have questions about graduate education or certification programs:


School of Education Graduate Programs

SPU campus

Alternative Routes to Certification

An ARC program based on the MAT degree is also available. Contact the Graduate Admissions for program comparison.