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Master of Arts in Teaching Program
MAT Overview
The UMBC Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program is a NCATE and Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) approved graduate program for career changers and recent graduates with at least a bachelor’s degree seeking initial teaching certification. Students are introduced to pedagogy, including curriculum planning, instructional design, assessment and human development as well as a subject-specific methods course. In keeping with Maryland’s Redesign of Teacher Education (1996), the MAT incorporates competency-based course work and a Professional Development School internship program for every student in the program. The course work integrates content and pedagogy as recommended by the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future (NCTAF) (1996), the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS), and the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). All MAT candidates’ competencies in essential teaching and content knowledge will be evaluated through performance-based assessments. Graduates of this program will meet all Maryland certification requirements, receive initial teacher certification in their area of specialization, and extend their understanding of issues germane to teaching and learning.
 
Duration
The MAT program is based on a four-semester (or equivalent) sequence that requires completion of 36 credit hours. The majority of MAT students are studying as part time students.
 
Content Coursework Requirements
To fortify content understandings and be highly qualified as well as certified, students may be required to take additional content coursework. This course work may be needed to satisfy discipline specific requirements as defined by UMBC, MSDE/NCATE approved program requirements. Students’ undergraduate and/or graduate transcripts will be reviewed in advising sessions before admission to determine if additional courses are needed to fulfill these requirements. All students will receive a written copy of the review of their transcripts indicating any additional content coursework that must be successfully completed prior to beginning of Phase II of the internship.
 
Courses
MSDE requires both early childhood and elementary school teachers to complete 12 credits of reading methods courses and secondary school teachers must complete 6 credits of reading. In the MAT, 24 credits of the content core, various content area foundations and methods, as well as the accompanying internship are also required. Secondary teachers will have six hours of content-related, discipline specific electives to complete their 36-hour program. All students are required to complete each required education course with a grade of “B” or better and pass their portfolio presentation.
 
Field Experience
A major goal of the program is to integrate theory and practice. Consequently, field experiences are incorporated throughout the program in a variety of ways. Elementary MAT teacher candidates will have opportunities to work with children and teachers through their methods and reading courses.
 
Early Childhood MAT teacher candidates participate in a different semester-long field experience that is linked with a three-credit study group during each of the first 3 semesters. Students spend three hours on two mornings a week in the field for a minimum of 72 hours over the course of each semester.
 
Secondary track MAT teacher candidates will also have field experiences built into their methods and reading courses, in addition to a separate practicum course. The field experiences may be scheduled a variety of ways. It is typically scheduled as a 3-hour block once a week.
 
Clinical Experience
Clinical experience, sometimes referred to as student teaching or internship, is intended to be a full-time experience lasting at least 100 days and spanning two semesters. During this period of time, it is expected that the candidate will gain as much experience in teaching as possible. Ideally, at the conclusion of the clinical experience, a candidate will be ready to successfully assume full responsibility for a classroom.
 
The candidate is expected to be devoted full-time to Phase II of the internship and participate in the seminar course. The candidate may take methods courses during Phase I of the internship. Any part-time non-school work is unacceptable during Phase II of the internship.
 
For more information regarding the models for clinical experience and UMBC Professional Development Schools, contact Dr. Pamela Williams Morgan, Director of Office of Field Experiences and Clinical Practice (pwmorgan1@umbc.edu)
 
Dual Areas of Certification
In some cases, candidates may wish to pursue two areas of certification. This means that it will be necessary to complete two special methods courses and demonstrate academic competence in both areas of certification. During the field experience course and clinical experience, candidates will observe and participate in both areas of certification.
 
Culminating Portfolio
The MAT program culminates in a portfolio (written and electronic) based on the performance outcomes developed by NCATE, the Specialized Professional Associations (SPA) and MSDE and includes teacher performance assessments, including their portfolio presentation, as well as their knowledge of content and pedagogy and dispositions toward teaching diverse students.
 
Application and Admission
The MAT is a UMBC graduate program. Applicants must be accepted and admitted to the UMBC Graduate School and the UMBC Department of Education. Minimum admission requirements include an undergraduate GPA of 2.75 for admission and 3.0 for internship and passing scores on Praxis I, according to MSDE certification criteria.
 
The first step in the application process is to schedule a personal interview with an advisor of the program and submit transcripts of all prior undergraduate and graduate study for analysis.