Master's in Teaching in Secondary English

Master's in Teaching Secondary English

Students studying In our Master of Arts in Teaching Secondary English you will begin a rigorous and comprehensive interdisciplinary program designed to provide you with the background, tools, and knowledge necessary to engage in effective and creative teaching in today's K-12 classrooms.

Apply to the Master of Arts in Teaching in Secondary English

Program Overview

The Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) in Secondary English is designed to provide prospective teachers with the background, tools, and knowledge necessary to engage in effective and creative teaching. The program also addresses interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary issues in education. Because the MAT is a professional degree in the art and science of teaching, it constitutes a broad base of content knowledge, teaching methodologies and techniques, and curriculum practices and learning strategies. The thesis or thesis research project provides students with the opportunity to research, investigate, and write about a significant issue in their content area.

The MAT program is designed to meet the needs of individuals with widely varying backgrounds of prior education and teaching experience. It is also designed for full- and part-time students.

Degree Options

The MAT degree in English offers two degree plans:

Master's Thesis Option

  • Any three MAT courses from the list of five Core Courses (MAT 610, 611, 612, 613, and 614).
  • Five graduate-level courses in English (please consult with an MAT advisor to confirm that a course will count toward this component).
  • Six hours (two semesters) of MAT 699, Thesis. Please meet with Dr. William Nelles, the Director of the MAT Program in English, before registering for MAT 699 in order to discuss the selection of a thesis Director and committee members.
  • MAT Graduate Course Descriptions
  • English Graduate Courses for MAT

    Non-Thesis Option

    • All five Core Courses in the MAT curriculum: MAT 610, 611, 612, 613, and 614.
    • Five graduate-level content courses in English (please consult with an MAT advisor to confirm that a course will count toward this component).


    The MAT Program in Secondary English is a rigorous and comprehensive one designed to acquaint students with the various theories and practices on teaching reading, writing, and literature and to apply these theories to practice in both the literature and the composition classroom.

    The MAT Program covers the most current pedagogical methods and provides students with opportunities to discuss their own pedagogies and methodologies for teaching as well as their writing processes. It prepares students to teach both literature and writing at the secondary school level. In addition, it prepares them to teach the major literary genres as well as texts usually included in secondary English and college curricula. Students will examine the most effective ways of applying theory to practice. In addition to the traditional canon, students take courses that explore multicultural texts.

    The program aims to help students develop their future careers as teachers.

    MAT candidates in Secondary English complete a common course requirement of 15 core credits in education or education-relevant courses and 15 credits of courses in their content area. For specific courses, see the Degree Requirements page.

    The MAT content field courses range from Curriculum Design and Implementation to Foundations of Education. The courses offered in the department of English range from Theory and Practice in Teaching Reading and Writing, historical approaches to teaching literature, to thematic and cultural approaches to teaching literature.

    Finally, students take a departmentally-based methodology course and then investigate, research, and write a thesis or a thesis research project.

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    Graduate Course Descriptions for the MAT

    MAT 610 Educational Research and Technology

    Develop the techniques and criteria for understanding and conducting action research in education in preparation for the capstone project in MAT 614. Additional emphasis placed on using technology as an effective teaching and learning tool. Topics include research strategies, literature reviews, research design, data collection, and quantitative and qualitative research techniques.

    MAT 611 History and Foundations of American Education

    A study of historical and contemporary issues in American Education that include major educational issues from various disciplines, policies, and trends. The disciplines of philosophy, psychology, sociology, and history will provide an intellectual foundation designed to develop an awareness of and critical disposition to pressing concerns in American Education.

    MAT 612 Instructional Methodology

    The course will focus on theoretical and practical support for attending to issues of student differentiation, environments that support responsive teaching, principles of effective classroom differentiation, instructional and management strategies that support differentiation, and the roles of assessment in differentiation. The course is structured to assist participants in developing approaches to modifying content and process in mixed ability classrooms in order to address the varied readiness, interests, and learning profile needs of a variety of learners.

    MAT 613 Urban Education and Social Issues

    Provides conceptual frameworks for understanding how race and class operate in schools and instructional methods to ensure inclusive education. Particular emphasis on addressing the diversity needs of our region, including the needs of English language learners.

    MAT 614 Curriculum: Theory and Practice

    Prerequisite: Completion of 21 credits, including MAT 610

    A study of curriculum dimensions, concepts, design, and products for varied student populations and school settings. This course focuses on curriculum planning for multicultural and multisector educational levels, research of curriculum development, and the study of curriculum issues, trends, and innovations. The capstone project for this course fulfills the expectations for the MAT degree.

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    English Courses for the MAT

    ENL 632 Theory and Practice in Teaching Reading and Writing

    Prerequisite: Graduate status or permission of instructor and director

    This course divides itself into three basic strands. The first explores theoretical issues in reading comprehension, text processing, memory, and language development as a foundation for understanding how students learn to read. The second focuses on theoretical issues in how students learn to write. The third focuses on applying theory to teaching in both areas by exploring such general issues as reading and writing evaluation and assessment, diagnosis, selection and use of reading materials and writing assignments, developing teaching strategies for a spectrum of low- to high-level skills, and critical thinking.

    ENL 657 Literature Seminar: Historical Approaches

    Explores canonical and/or non-canonical literature from a historical perspective to strengthen background knowledge and understanding of literature, using representative literary texts as a point for departure and discussion. Includes discussion of issues relating the role of historical texts to alternative, nontraditional, and multicultural contexts and of the pedagogical limitations and issues inherent in using a historical approach.

    ENL 659 Graduate Literature Seminar: Thematic and Cultural Approaches

    Prerequisite: Graduate status or permission of instructor and director

    Exploration of the study of literature in light of current thematic and cultural perspectives. This course includes discussion of women's literature, minority literature, and third-world literature, especially as such works contrast with or depart from the traditional canon. The course will examine the influences of these works on student learning and issues that arise in the classroom when they are introduced. In addition to traditional texts, the course will consider the options for use of alternative, nontraditional materials. Discussion will focus on the pedagogical limitations, problems, and issues inherent in using a cultural or thematic approach, with emphasis on finding ways to animate and vitalize the literature classroom.

    ENL 684 Literary Criticism I: Theory and Practice in Teaching Literature

    Prerequisite: MAT enrollment or permission of instructor

    Intensive readings with analysis of relationships among language, thought, form, and content. The course will examine the intellectual, emotional, cultural, multicultural, and aesthetic qualities of texts, including the links among stylistic devices, central motifs, author's purpose, motivation, imagination, and psychology with emphasis on secondary students' analytic writing and reading abilities. The course will examine forms of literary criticism as they apply to teaching secondary language and literature.

    Additional course offerings from the English Department may be selected in consultation with Director of the MAT Program in English.

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