Master of Arts in Teaching Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Master of Arts in Teaching?

A Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) typically is a graduate degree that prepares individuals for initial licensure (also called certification) as a public school classroom teacher.

UMUC's MAT is a 30-credit graduate degree program approved by the Maryland State Department of Education and the Maryland Higher Education Commission. UMUC's MAT degree prepares candidates for Maryland certification as a secondary school teacher (grades 7–12) in one of several content areas.

Subject Content Areas:

Secondary: biology, chemistry, Chinese (Mandarin), computer science, earth/space science, English, French, German, history, mathematics, physics, social studies, Spanish

What is special about UMUC's MAT and its graduates?

UMUC's MAT graduates will:

  • Be prepared to become outstanding teachers and leaders in the 21st century classroom
  • Demonstrate research-based and practice-validated strategies for teaching and learning
  • Be prepared to teach their subject matter to a diverse student body
  • Reflect upon and analyze their own practice for its effectiveness in promoting student learning
  • Integrate technology in their own and their students' growth

UMUC's MAT allows its students to complete a majority of coursework online, prior to the on-site internship.

How does Maryland teacher certification work?

By completing UMUC's Maryland State-approved program, the candidate becomes eligible to apply to the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) for certification to teach the chosen content area.

The Maryland Standard Professional Certificate (SPC I) enables the certificate holder to teach in the state of Maryland.

Some states abide by the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement, which helps to facilitate the movement of educators among states. "The agreement makes it possible for an educator who completed an approved program to earn a certificate or license in another state or jurisdiction" (NASDTEC Web site). View an overview of existing interstate agreements.

Please note: Each state has an office that oversees certification of new and existing teachers, so you also may wish to research the certification areas in the state in which you seek to become employed.

Who can apply?

If you have the following three, and are interested in teaching grades 7–12, you may be eligible:

  1. A bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university
  2. At least a 2.75 grade point average in the content area in which you wish to teach
  3. Qualifying scores on one of the following: Praxis CORE, Praxis I, ACT, GRE or SAT exams and, for foreign language candidates, also the ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) and Written Proficiency Test (WPT)

View a complete list of admission requirements.

There are additional requirements dependent upon what particular content area you would like to teach. For example, if you want to teach English, your bachelor's degree transcript will need to show a major in this area or evidence that you have taken sufficient English courses. If you want to teach computer science, then your bachelor's degree transcript will need to show a major in this area or evidence that you have taken sufficient computer courses. Some applicants may need to take one or more additional courses and reapply if their transcripts do not display adequate content area background.

What if I am interested in teaching elementary school or the earlier middle school grades?

If you wish to teach grades PreK–6, you will need to become certified in Elementary Childhood Education or Elementary Education. See the Maryland State Department of Education Web site.

What are the MAT admission requirements?

The MAT program follows the general admission requirements of the UMUC Graduate School. Since the program is approved by the Maryland State Department of Education as a degree leading to eligibility for licensure as a Maryland teacher, the MAT is subject to specific regulations and standards. These include admissions requirements as well as program requirements.*

Therefore you will also need to fulfill the following MAT admission requirements:

  • An official transcript (or transcripts) of previous coursework that demonstrates a major in the content area for which certification will be sought. Alternatively, and subject to UMUC approval, 30 credits in content-related courses may be acceptable.
  • A minimum grade point average of 2.75 in the major or in the 30 credits in the content-related courses.
  • Maryland-specified qualifying scores on the Praxis I, ACT, GRE or SAT examinations. Tests and qualifying scores are identified on the Maryland State Department of Education Web site. Foreign language candidates must also take the ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) and the Written Proficiency Test (WPT).
  • * Additional materials may be required of international applicants. Please check Graduate Admission Requirements for International Students. F1 students are not eligible for this program.

Can you be more specific about the requirement for the major or coursework?

As a classroom teacher, you will be teaching your own students biology, chemistry, computer science, earth/space science, English, French, German, history, Mandarin Chinese, mathematics, physics, social studies, or Spanish.

Applicants to the MAT must demonstrate that they know their content area.

Achieving a 2.75 or greater and a major (or sufficient coursework in the content area and areas that are specifically related to the content area) provides evidence that you are ready to deepen and expand your knowledge and apply your existing knowledge to teaching others.

What if I don't have a major in exactly the same area in which I'm seeking teaching certification?

You may have completed a major that provided the requisite 30 credit hours of coursework that are applicable to your selected certification area. Please see "Before I apply, is there a way to informally assess my own transcript to determine whether my major or courses may be related to those required for the MAT."

Before I apply, is there a way I can informally assess my own transcript to determine whether my major or courses may be related to those required for admission to the MAT?

Although UMUC's transcript review specialists make the final determination, you should review your own transcript prior to making the decision to apply. View the required application documents.

Follow these links if you are seeking to become eligible for certification. If the link you choose is not working, then check back; it will be ready soon.

My university background doesn't reveal my experience and expertise in the content area—but I've been a successful practitioner. Could I use this in my application?

Individuals who have practiced in the professional area in which they seek to teach may be able to earn credit for prior professional experience. This can be done in two ways:

  1. Earned credit through UMUC's Prior Learning programs
  2. Earned credit as verified through the American Council on Education, which may also apply to MAT admissions, at the discretion of the UMUC Department of Education

What are the steps in the application process?

  1. Review the admissions requirements to the UMUC Graduate School and MAT.
  2. Complete the online application. Your application will not be complete until all documents (graduate school application; transcripts; and official report of qualifying scores on Praxis CORE, Praxis I, ACT, GRE or SAT examinations) are received. Foreign language applications need to also submit ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) and Written proficiency Test (WPT) scores.
  3. Review the application checklist to assure you have submitted all application materials.

Once UMUC Admissions has received these materials, your file will be forwarded for review to the UMUC Department of Education.

Need help? You may contact an enrollment specialist at 1-855-655-UMUC (8682) or email

What if I have submitted everything but the qualifying scores on the Praxis CORE Praxis I, ACT, GRE or SAT?

UMUC will not admit you until the qualifying scores are in your application package.

Note: Scoring of Praxis CORE tests takes approximately 20 business days. If you are relying on a qualifying score on this test (versus the other options) in order to gain full admission, you should take the Praxis CORE at least three weeks prior to the application deadline.

When should I apply to the program?

It is best to apply to the program as early as possible before the semester in which you'd like to be enrolled. This will give you enough time to send your transcript and carefully fill out the forms. It will also give the Graduate School enough time to review your application materials and answer all of your questions.

Note: Scoring of Praxis CORE tests takes approximately 20 business days. If you are relying on a qualifying score on this test (versus the other options) in order to gain full admission, you should take the Praxis CORE at least three weeks prior to the application deadline.

How long does it take to complete the program?

Depending upon how many courses are taken each semester (Fall, Spring, Summer), candidates are able to complete the degree within two years. All requirements established for the completion of the MAT program must be fulfilled within seven consecutive years from the date of acceptance into the program.

What is the cost of the program?

Tuition and fees for the MAT program are based on UMUC's graduate tuition for standard master's degree program. Please visit Tuition and Payments for more information.

Are there scholarship opportunities and financial aid opportunities?

UMUC is committed to providing you with a quality education that fits your budget. We offer many financial programs to assist you, as well as advisors to help you through the process. Learn more about payment options.

What are the coursework components of the program?

All new UMUC graduate students are required to take UCSP 615 Orientation to Graduate Studies at UMUC (a $75 five-week, non-credit course) within the first six credits.All new students in the MAT program are expected to begin with EDTP 600: Professional Fundamentals of Teaching and Learning (6 credits). The remaining six-credit courses should be taken in order (see the next question and answer).

Are the MAT Courses Online?

All of the MAT courses are offered online. However, all courses require field experiences, and the last course includes a full-time 16 week internship in a school. MAT courses frequently include assignments that require access to a classroom in which secondary-age students are being taught the content area you wish to teach.

  • EDTP 600: Foundations of Teaching for Learning (6)
  • EDTP 635: Adolescent Development and Learning Needs (6)
  • EDTP 639: Reading and Multiple Literacies (6)
  • EDTP 645: Subject Methods and Assessment (6)
  • EDTP 650: Professional Internship and Seminar (6)
    This course requires a full-time presence in an approved secondary school for a minimum of 80 in-school days over the semester and is offered only in the fall and spring semesters.
  • TOTAL CREDITS for the MAT Program = 30 credits

**EDTC 615: Using Technology for Instructional Improvement: Research, Data, and Best Practices (3) is also required for students who began the program before summer 2011.

What else will be required for me to successfully complete the program?

In order to graduate, MAT program candidates will have:

  • Completed all MAT courses, with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0
  • Achieved a passing score on the appropriate university-required content exam.
  • Will have registered for, or taken, the Praxis II pedagogy exam.
  • Completed a Teaching Portfolio, based upon the national and state principles and standards, and a Student Learning Objectives (SLO) project
  • Successfully completed a secondary school teaching internship and earned appropriate performance evaluations from University Field Supervisor, Cooperating/Mentor teacher and, as appropriate, other school supervisory personnel

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