There are several models for the Master of Arts in Teaching degree which vary from school to school. Some are meant to be credentialing programs, in effect a "fifth year" option for undergraduates majoring in education who want to complete the required schooling to apply for a teaching credential. Others are meant to bring people who already hold a degree in an academic discipline other than education into the teaching profession. Some MAT degrees may perform both functions; some are designed as a compromise between a teaching program and a Masters in Education that is research or management oriented. The academic requirements for these various programs vary considerably.
Duke University limits its MAT program to applicants who are not practicing teachers and have no teaching background. It prepares students for teacher certification solely for secondary schools, with no option for elementary school teaching. Students may specialize in teaching English, Math/Physics, Science or Social Studies. The program is just one year, so the basic curriculum is focused on the art and psychology of teaching. The courses in the specific area of focus are in some cases provided by a separate graduate school.
University of Southern California makes their online MAT program available to students with a baccalaureate and no background in teaching. The curriculum takes one year to complete full time, but may take up to three years if pursued part time. Included in the curriculum is thirty credits of classroom work and internship hours that the student works out with the University and a local school. The curriculum varies with specialization, which might be social studies, English, math, or science.
The University of Pittsburgh offers the MAT with the standard academic variations of social studies, math, English and science. There are two versions of the degree, the MAT for students without significant teaching experience, and the Professional Year (PY) program, offered as a graduate certificate, that leads to certification for teaching the academic specialization in a secondary school. The PY option has a narrower curriculum focus, requiring the completion of two 15 credit semesters and a substantial student internship program.
Johns Hopkins University offers a similar program, which is called the ProMAT-the Professional Immersion Master of Arts in Teaching. It is taught in conjunction with a group of schools in Montgomery County, MD where participants are assigned as teachers of record while working on their new area of concentration. Programs for certification include math and science for both elementary level and secondary school teaching. There is also certification in Spanish at the elementary level and in teaching with Spanish as a secondary foreign language. It is a thirty nine credit program, requiring substantial classroom attendance along with the teaching hours.
The Master of Arts in Teaching developed as the result of the teacher shortage that this nation faced for years. An intense years' curriculum can result in a teaching credential for someone who didn't study education as an undergraduate. It can also provide a master's degree to working teachers who wish to move into secondary school teaching or who would like the increased salaries that generally accompany the difficult-to-fill positions for math and science teachers.
There are several models for the Master of Arts in Teaching degree which vary from school to school. Some are meant to be credentialing programs, in effect a "fifth year" option for undergraduates majoring in education who want to complete the required schooling to apply for a teaching credential. Others are meant to bring people who already hold a degree in an academic discipline other than education into the teaching profession.
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