Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT)


About the program

The Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) combines Washington Residency Teaching Certification with a Master of Arts in Teaching degree. Candidates in the MAT program become effective teachers by:

  • Demonstrating effective and equitable teaching practices.
  • Centering instruction on high expectations for student achievement, including culturally responsive teaching practices.
  • 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, and inclusive 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.
  • Developing professional wellness habits in order to persist and thrive in the teaching profession.

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 internship.

Completion of certification courses, internship requirements, and passing program assessments qualifies candidates for a Washington Residency Teacher Certificate. This certificate enables candidates 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 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.

The MAT hybrid program uses a blend of online and on-campus coursework. The MAT-Online program uses entirely online coursework, though it still requires some scheduled/synchronous online course participation. The courses are not self-paced but generally follow one learning topic/module per week to maximize cohort interaction.

Full-time, supervised internship begins in February during the second year. Candidates are paired with a mentor teacher and university field supervisor in a school setting. Additional field-based work includes a 40-hour spring field experience in the first year of the program and a 20-hour autumn field experience beginning the second year of the program.

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, you will complete assignments designed to maximize learning from field experiences, such as a classroom management plan, internship reflections, lesson plans, a family engagement plan, and program assessments. Internship concludes with you returning control of classroom responsibilities to your mentor teacher.

Completion of the MAT program

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 and Theological Issues in Education to receive the MAT degree.

Students are required to earn their Residency Teaching Certificate in order to be eligible to earn the Master of Arts in Teaching degree. 

Admission requirements

Applicants must submit the following items to the Graduate Admissions.

  • Online application and $50 application processing fee.
  • Official transcript(s) from each college or university attended.
  • Personal statement (1–2 pages).
  • Résumé.
  • Two to four letters of recommendation.
  • Preferred 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.
  • Taking the State Endorsement Tests
    • You must take the endorsement test(s) for your intended endorsement area(s). Tests should be passed prior to the start of the graduate teacher education program. 
      • Those endorsing in special education, designated world languages, and English language learners, must pass those specific exams by 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. If admitted, you may use your SPU account to check out online study guides from the library.
  • Verify endorsement readiness.
    • 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 The Certification Office. Complete the Endorsement Verification form only after contacting the Certification Office. On the form, indicate that you have been in contact with the Certification Office and list your "Approved Plan of Study" if one has been developed.
  • Moral Character and Personal Fitness Policy form (found in the online application).

Applicants with complete files submitted by the deadline are screened for interviews held in April. Invitations to interview are sent by email.

Enrollment policy

  • Students must be continuously enrolled in required SPU courses to earn this master’s degree, or until officially withdrawing from the program. Exceptions to continuous enrollment must be approved by the program director.
  • Students may be granted a leave of absence for up to four quarters by the program director. Once the leave of absence has expired, the student will either enroll in graduate coursework or be dropped from the program.
  • University academic policy 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 a student decides to no longer pursue a master’s degree, the student may officially withdraw from the program and SPU by notifying the program director and the associate director of graduate programs.


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