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Postbaccalaureate Teacher Certification in Secondary English

 M.Ed. with certification in 7-12 English 

PROGRAM OVERVIEW 

The Secondary English M.Ed. is a one-year, full-time immersive program enabling students to earn their teaching certification. With intensive support from faculty who are national leaders in English teacher education, students in this program complete the 30-credit Master of Education (M.Ed.) degree in Curriculum and Instruction as well as 20-22 additional credits required to be recommended for a Pennsylvania Instructional I teaching certification in English, grades 7-12—all in one year. 

Graduates of the program go on to teach English language arts in U.S. secondary school settings. (Students seeking a program in teaching English language in the USA or abroad may be interested in checking out the MA TESL program in the Penn State Department of Applied Linguistics or the Department of Curriculum and Instruction’s ESL Certificate Program

WHY CHOOSE PENN STATE? ABOUT OUR PROGRAM: 

We see the teaching of English as more than just a school subject. Our vision of English education involves young people reading and writing not only to develop school or workplace skills, but also to understand and change their own lives and the world they (and we) live in. In this vision, literacy is a powerful tool for learning and action, and the English classroom is a site of authentic encounters with important ideas-- both in the texts young people read and in the ones they create. 

Our program expresses our priorities in several concrete ways: 

  • First, equity is at the heart of everything we do. The program begins with a dedicated equity course, and all program courses are designed with equity and justice in mind, engaging students in not only talking about the issues, but also forming concrete strategies to take action
  • Second, immersive, in-school experiences are never separated from learning on the university campus. We share meaningful, living partnerships with local school districts. These enable our students to spend time teaching in classrooms right away and throughout the school year rather than waiting for limited field experience at the end of a program. 
  • Third, we don’t cut corners with respect to preparing teachers with challenging content. There are programs out there promising quick-and-easy paths to certification, but how do their candidates fare when they encounter the real difficulty of working as a beginning teacher? Rather than promising easy strategies and superficial preparation, our program encompasses up to 52 graduate credits and six different English-specific courses addressing different aspects of English education along with additional courses in special education, educational inquiry, and field experiences. This stands in contrast to programs in which the teaching of reading, literature, writing, digital media, assessment, and more are all lumped into one “methods course” near the end of a program. 
  • Fourth, inquiry guides students as they progress through our program. Of course we teach students what we know. But for deeper learning, we also help students dig into what they want to know, through a series of experiences in which students learn to conduct research within their own classrooms as well as draw from published research to better serve students. This is in keeping with our own roles as faculty at a large research university: in addition to being teacher educators, we are scholars who not only have spent real time in K-12 classrooms but who also produce the research and critical lenses that push the field of education forward. We guide students through a yearlong inquiry project that serves as the culminating Master’s Paper/Project for the degree. 
  • Finally our program is coherently linked to frameworks and standards agreed upon by our field: The NCTE/ELATE Standards for the Preparation of Teachers of Language Arts, the Penn State Framework for Teacher Education, the Penn State Values, and the PDE standards for teacher preparation programs. 

WHO CAN ENROLL IN THE PROGRAM? 

Students holding a bachelor’s degree in English with GPAs of 3.0 or higher in their English courses are eligible to apply to the program. Students with other degrees or with inconsistencies in their academic record are also encouraged, usually after additional prequalifying coursework in literature and related content; such students can request a preliminary transcript review before applying. 

International students: This degree program welcomes students from any national background, and anyone completing the program successfully will have earned our Master’s degree. However, Pennsylvania requires that the teachers it certifies be U.S. citizens. Pennsylvania will also issue certificates to teacher candidates holding a resident alien (green card) visa if they have filed a “declaration of intent” to become citizens. Some candidates also have been able to obtain dual citizenship with the United States and their home country. Some other U.S. states do not have a U.S. citizenship requirement for teachers, so Penn State can provide "non-citizen" completers of PSU teacher preparation programs with formal letters verifying their professional preparation, with which graduates can then use to seek certification in another state, often with some additional requirements. 

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE? 

The program runs from June to the following June, with graduation in August. 

WHERE WILL I BE LEARNING AND TEACHING? 

The program is a residential program based on the University Park campus, located in State College Pennsylvania. All partner schools are guaranteed to be located within fifty miles of campus. 

State College is a vibrant college town. Suburban in character, yet located in a rural valley in central Pennsylvania among farms and forests, State College has the feel of a small town but with cultural amenities drawn by the university.

M.Ed. with certification in 7-12 English 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS 

How do I apply? 

There are two channels for our application process, and you need to complete both. One application is reviewed by a group of program faculty as well as 7-12 teachers in our field sites. The other application is made to the Penn State Graduate School and is reviewed by program faculty and our literacy education colleagues; be sure to select M.Ed.-Curriculum and Instruction and to mention in the application that you are seeking English certification with your degree. 

Preference is given to applications received before October 1 for the following year; another round of applications is reviewed on a space-available basis if received by February 1. 

What is the program timeline? 

  • Applications are made in the fall and winter, for admission in the following summer. 
  • Admitted students begin in May with interviews so that we can get to know you and begin finding an appropriate internship site for you. Coursework begins online in June and shifts to in-person in August. Students should plan on being in State College by one week before the start of Fall classes at the latest. 
  • Throughout the fall and spring semesters, students participate in coursework on the Penn State campus and engage in field experiences in local schools. 
  • In the final summer, students complete M.Ed. culminating projects in June. They receive their degrees at the August commencement ceremony. 

What special opportunities are available for travel and other experiences beyond the high school classroom placement (some will extend time to degree)? 

  • Rural seminar 
  • Urban seminar 
  • Summer Young Writers’ Camp
  • College of Education Office of Educational Equity 
  • Dual title degrees with Comparative and International Education and with Women’s Studies 
  • Add-on of ESL or Reading Specialist certifications 

What does the program cost? 

The program consists of graduate tuition at the current rate for each semester, for these credit hour loads: 

  • First summer: 9-12 credits 
  • Fall: full-time 
  • Spring: full-time 
  • Second summer: 3 credits 
  • Second Summer: Completion and Approval of Master’s Project 

Is financial support available? 

There are two main ways to get funding for this program. One is through the university Office of Student Aid. The other is through donor scholarships in the College of Education. In addition to scholarships to which anyone can apply, the College also has funding opportunities designed specifically. 

What supplies or resources will I need? 

There are three main ones. First, time. It is not possible to work while in this intensive program. This is because you can expect to be in schools full-time for most of the year, and in classes and other meetings many evenings. Second, you need your own transportation. Many of our school sites are unfortunately inaccessible by public transportation, and they can be located up to 50 miles away from campus. Third, you need a laptop computer that you can take with you into schools as well as to Penn State classes. 

What exams do I need, and when do I take them? 

You do NOT need a GRE or MAT for admission to this program. In order to be certified for teaching, you will need to pass the PRAXIS II exam in our subject area. Students interested in teaching English Language Arts should take the “English Language, Literature, and Composition: Content Knowledge” test. You can get more information about the test and register to take it by visiting the PRAXIS website (http://www.ets.org/praxis). We recommend taking the PRAXIS II test at the end of the Fall or beginning of the spring semester in your program, 

What states will accept my Pennsylvania certificate? 

Each state issues its own teacher certificates/licenses. However, many states have “reciprocity agreements” with other states to accept each other’s certificates, usually with certain additional requirements or steps you must go through. You can find contact info for state departments at this website (http://www.alleducationschools.com/faqs/statedepartment.php).. While you may need to go through an additional application process to have your license converted to that state’s license, a PA certificate would be considered valid in many states. You can get more information about reciprocity agreements with various states here. Ultimately, you would need to check with the department of education in the states you’re interested in moving to about their process for transferring a license. 

How does Penn State ensure the safety of children in its programs? 

All of our students undergo background screening for upcoming classroom placements. Four of these are helpful to seek before arrival on campus: PA Criminal Background Check (Act 34), Child Abuse History, FBI Federal Criminal History, and a tuberculosis test. Once students arrive on campus, they also undergo a Penn State program of child safety education.