Frequently Asked Questions

About the Master of Arts in Teaching Program

What is the Master of Arts in Teaching Program?
For our purposes, the Master of Arts in Teaching Program is a 15 month program where students, who already hold a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree and meet our Graduate School entry requirements, will simultaneously work toward qualifying for a Master of Arts in Education degree and teaching certification.  Since many of our recent applicants and potential applicants are career-changers, we are structuring this program toward that population.  Classes will be held in the late afternoon, evening and/or online with the exception of the student teaching semester, a 15 week experience in a public school setting.

The Master of Arts in Teaching Program at WestConn has three major components:

Pedagogy.  Candidates explore the art and science of teaching. The effective teacher is constantly making choices, assessing student knowledge and needs, selecting methodologies which are grounded in educational research.  The methods by which instruction is delivered are varied. The candidate explores and develops philosophical beliefs of teaching and correlates these beliefs with teaching strategies that match student needs. 

Assessment and Inquiry.  Candidates explore the methodology involved in qualitative and quantitative research.  Critical inquiry through action research where pedagogic principles and theories are applied in a K-12 environment assists the educator in refining his or her professional behaviors.  Action research is a natural component of professional development and reflective practice. 

Curriculum and Instruction.  Candidates investigate various cognitive-developmental theories and issues that influence curriculum foundations as well as the principles and procedures for conceptualizing, developing, implementing, and evaluating curriculum.

Why is WestConn offering a Master of Arts in Teaching Program?
The Education and Educational Psychology Department is offering a Masters of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) with programs leading to certification in three state identified durational shortage areas of Secondary Education (7-12) areas: Science, Mathematics, and Spanish.  These certification areas are among those currently offered through our undergraduate teacher preparation programs and our Certification Only program. Certification in Connecticut is in the process of changing.  The new certification range, when implemented, will be 6-12 for Mathematics and Science, and PK-12 for Spanish.
The M.A.T. will target post baccalaureate students (e.g., career changers, non traditional students, and others) who want to earn a master’s degree in education while meeting the requirements for teacher certification.  Students accepted into this program will have already completed the content area coursework necessary for certification. 
Currently, the only programs located in western Connecticut (CT) specifically targeting candidates desiring to become certified teachers while earning a masters degree, are found at private institutions.  According to the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) Higher Education Preparation Coordinator, Bureau of Educator Standards and Certification, the Board Resolutions of the Connecticut institutions indicate that officially only the University of Connecticut, Quinnipiac University, and Central Connecticut State University offer graduate M.A.T. programs (programs offering the Masters degree and teacher certification simultaneously).
The specialized niche is this program is not an internship program as are so many of the other M.A.T. programs in the state. Many M.A.T. programs with internships require candidates to work full time for a year in a public school, which offsets the tuition. Most often candidates serve as substitute teachers in these settings.
Considerable interest exists in the western part of Connecticut for the Master of Arts in Teaching programs where the candidate not only earns teaching certification, but a master’s degree at the same time, which is a convenient use of the candidate’s time. Candidates, when they complete the program and acquire a teaching position, will have already completed all requirements for an Initial Educator Certificate. The new teacher also qualifies more quickly for the Professional Educator Certificate because the Master’s degree (or 30 credits beyond a Bachelor’s degree) requirement is already completed and they only need to complete the Beginning Teacher Support and Training (BEST) portfolio assessment and a minimum of 30 months of successful service.
The M.A.T. will eventually replace Western Connecticut State University’s Certification Only programs. The Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) now requires that all courses in a Master’s programs be taken at a Master’s level (due to a pending change in certification language where candidates will be required to earn 30 credits beyond the Bachelor’s degree at the Master’s level). This requires a shift from our current practice of including our Certification Only candidates in undergraduate content classes. To meet the requirement, when undergraduate and graduate candidates are in the same course, differentiated syllabi must be in use. As a standard practice, the M.A.T. Program will apply for cross-coding of these courses at a Master’s level.
The Master of Arts in Teaching program is a logical next step in the evolution of quality educational experience serving a new group of candidates, those desiring to change careers.  On the secondary level (which has been fully approved by the Department of Higher Education and the Connecticut Department of Education), the university had selected three durational shortage areas for inclusion in the program:  Science, Mathematic and World Languages (Spanish).  This decision was, in part, based on data collected in Connecticut during October 2006

How is the Master of Arts in Teaching Program Related to WestConn’s Strategic Plan?
The M.A.T. is consistent with the University’s Strategic Plan.  The M.A.T. will (1) meet the needs of the state and regional workforce, (2) and be consistent with an important aspect of the university’s identity, namely the professional preparation of teachers, and (3) be eligible for state approval and national NCATE accreditation.  The alignment is as follows:

University Strategic Planning Goal #3. Diverse University Community: Further develop an environment that values and affirms the unique contributions of Western’s many constituent populations, recognizes the learning opportunities that differences can create, and strengthens connections among our various community members.  The Master of Arts in Teaching Program offers additional opportunities for recruitment from the community.  Emphasis will be on recruiting a population more representative of the Danbury community.

University Strategic Planning Goal #4. Range of Quality Academic Programs: Offer a range of quality academic programs, including featured signature programs that together educate a diverse student population and meet the needs of the state and region within the context of a global environment.  The Master of Arts in Teaching Program offers secondary level certification programs in three state-recognized durational shortage areas:  Mathematics, Science, and Spanish Education.  The use of technology and technological applications are infused throughout the course and program seamlessly, linking teacher candidates and, in turn, their students, with a broader world of experiences.

University Strategic Planning Goal #5. Enriching and Supportive Student-focused Environment: Foster a holistic approach to intellectual and social growth and development that prepares students to be productive citizens of the state of Connecticut and the world by developing their knowledge, experience, and critical thinking and by fostering life-long learning characterized by intellectual curiosity, imagination, and creativity.  The Master of Arts in Teaching Program offers a developmentally responsive approach to the application of content and pedagogy.  By modeling “best practices”, linking standards with the latest strategies and methodologies, maintaining a high level of academic rigor and exploring teacher (action) research, our teacher candidates will have been educated in an environment that supports them as learners, and will be prepared to fill the demand for exceptional teachers in the K-12 setting..

University Strategic Planning Goal #6. Affordability: Deliver outstanding value to students through effective management of the university and the provision of student financial assistance, thereby maintaining the affordability and access of a mid-sized public university while creating the quality experience of the best private institutions.  The Master of Arts in Teaching Program offers teacher candidates holding a bachelor’s degree a cost-effective solution to obtaining a graduate degree and certification combined into one program.  Upon successful completion of the program, teacher candidates have the opportunity to earn both a Master of Arts in Teaching Degree and teacher certification.

What is the Target Population for the Master of Arts in Teaching Program?
Great care was taken in the development of this program to identify and address geographic needs.  Potential candidates for WestConn’s M.A.T. will be drawn from local businesses that are downsizing their operations, newly conferred baccalaureates desiring teaching certification, and career changers.
This program will serve primarily career-changers. Since most other area programs include an internship structure which requires a full time public school assignment for at least a year, this M.A.T. has been designed to respond to the specific need of career changers to continue to have an income during the majority of their coursework which is structured primarily as an evening cohort (with the exception of the student teaching semester which is full time in a public school setting). The university believes that these individuals will bring experience and expertise to their instruction at the secondary level, and in the content areas of math, biology, and Spanish.

How much will the Master of Arts in Teaching Program cost?
Fall and Spring semesters are full time.  The summer semester courses are calculated on a per credit graduate basis.  Other fees also apply as with all graduate students. 

 

Estimated tuition

(2011-2012, Summer One, Fall, Spring, and Summer Two semesters):

 

Full time Graduate Studies

Summer One  

Full-time Fall Semester Tuition and Fees

Full-time Spring Semester

Summer Two

Subtotal of Estimated Program Cost
(plus fees)

In State Candidates

Tuition

$5,004

$2,506

$2,506

$3,753

$13,769

Fees

$55

$1,943

$1,943

$55

$3,996

Health Insurance for Full Time

 

$497

$497

 

$994

Estimated Total Cost for In State Candidates

$18,749

 

Out of State Candidates

Tuition

$5,076

$6,981

$6,981

$3,807

$22,845

Fees

$55

$2,627

$2,627

$55

$5,364

Health Insurance for Full Time

 

$497

$497

 

$994

Estimated Total Cost for Out of State Candidates

$29,203

 

Extension Fee and On Line Ext fee,
(estimated)

Transcript Fee
(one time)

Application Fee
(one time)

Online Fee
(per course)

Summer Fee
$55

$428

$75

$50

$50/course

$110

Please see the graduate catalog at http://www.wcsu.edu/catalogs/graduate
Financial Aide available:  https://www.wcsu.edu/finaid

What are the Entry Requirements for the Master of Arts in Teaching Program?
Individuals holding a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution who wish to earn initial teacher certification in Connecticut may do so by enrolling in Western Connecticut State University’s Master of Arts in Teaching Program. Applicants are required to meet all current admissions criteria for teacher education programs as mandated by the State of Connecticut and the university. In addition, the candidate must meet these requirements:

  1. Overall GPA of 2.8 for all undergraduate courses taken at ALL institutions attended
  2. Completion of at least two undergraduate general education level mathematics courses with a grade of B or higher.
  3. If an applicant’s cumulative undergraduate grade point average (GPA) is below 2.8, the applicant must present a score rated at the 35th percentile or higher on the Miller Analogies Test, as indicated below:

    UNDERGRADUATE GPA Miller Analogies Test SCORE REQUIRED
    2.8 or higher M.A.T. not required
    2.57 to 2.79 35th percentile
    2.47 to 2.56 45th percentile
    2.37 to 2.46 50th percentile
    Below 2.37 60th percentile

How Do I Apply?

Step 1:  Transcript Review Process

  1. Contact our Certification Officer, Dr. Maryann Rossi, for a Transcript Review by phone (203) 837-8950 or e-mail rossim@wcsu.edu.
  2. Mail official transcripts from all colleges/universities attended to:
    Dr. Maryann Rossi, Certification Officer
    White Hall 003C
    Western Connecticut State University
    181 White Street
    Danbury, CT  06810
  3. Mail a Transcript Evaluation Form with the $75 fee to the same address above.
  4. Applicants are required to meet all current admissions criteria for teacher education programs as mandated by the State of Connecticut and the University.

Step 2:  Praxis I and II

  1. After completing the Transcript Review Process and receiving the “go ahead” from Dr. Rossi, arrange to take Praxis I and the appropriate Praxis II for your content area.
  2. Information for the Praxis tests may be obtained on the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) Website:  http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/cwp/view.asp?a=2613&q=321256.
  3. Praxis I Waiver:  A combined SAT score of 1,000 (with at least 400 on both the verbal and math sections respectively) or 1,100 if taken on or after April 1, 1995 (with at least 450 on both the verbal and math sections respectively, depending on date of administration).  The ED 192 waiver may be obtained from the Certification Officer or online at the CSDE Website:  http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/cwp/view.asp?a=2613&q=321216.

Step 3:  Application Process

  1. Complete the Graduate Application Process:  a packet will be mailed to qualified M.A.T. candidates containing:
    1. Graduate Application Form – also download from http://www.wcsu.edu/graduate/forms/graduate_application.pdf
    2. Obtain 3 References and have each Complete a Reference Form
    3. M.A.T. Mini-portfolio
    4. $50 Application fee
    5. Health (physical) form
  2. Return all components of the application packet by mail or in person to the Division of Graduate Studies.

Step 4:  Interview Invitation

  1. Completing the entry requirements outlined in Steps 1 - 3 does not necessarily guarantee acceptance into the program. 
  2. After the Master of Arts in Teaching Application Review Committee meets, qualified applicants will be invited to interview.

Step 5:  Complete Prerequisites if Required

 

What is the Program Structure for the Master of Arts in Teaching Program?

The program addresses economy of structure and cost.  Courses meet not only the current regulations, but the new regulations.  Since our students coming in pass a rigorous pre-qualification and transcript review, they will have a strong area of content knowledge.  Building on this knowledge base, we address not only the minimum requirements for each primary content area, but have created a course for each of the major content areas and focused the pedagogy. 
The course content has been solidified and revised where appropriate to meet the needs of this new M.A.T. program.  The student teaching experience is for a full semester (15 weeks), but students are charged at a 6 credit hour rate (the minimum the state allows).  We anticipate students will be charged at the graduate part-time rate per credit for summer programs and at a full time rate for the Fall and Spring semesters as per Connecticut State University policy.

What courses are offered in the Master of Arts in Teaching Program?

Core Curriculum

ED500 Contemporary Educational Issues:  This foundations of education course will examine important philosophical views influencing education today, thereby, assisting the student in examining his/her own philosophical perspective.  These views will be presented by a variety of guest speakers, with facilitation and reflection by the instructor.

ED502  Secondary Student Teaching (Grades 7-12) for the M.A.T. Program:  Designed to support candidates in the Master of Arts in Teaching Program, this course provides experience in planning, conducting instructional activities and assessment of student performance in a secondary school under the guidance of a trained cooperating teacher. Full time for one semester. Includes a weekly seminar. Pre-requisite:  Admission to the Master of Arts in Teaching Program or permission of the Chair of the Education and Educational Psychology Department. Students are urged not to be employed during the student teaching program.

ED514  Teaching Reading in the Content Areas:  Designed to help teachers better understand the relationships between content and process by focusing on the skills that children need to comprehend content in various curriculum areas and teaching strategies.

ED503 Educational Psychology:  A constructivist approach to child growth and human development, specifically focusing on the ways that concepts and principles from research and theory may be applied in the classroom.  Learning will be viewed through a developmental approach.

ED530  Curriculum of the Secondary School:  This course encompasses a study of the changes, developments, and responsibilities of the secondary school curriculum. The problems and needs of youth are examined and serve as a basis of study for the secondary school program.

ED532  Computer Literacy in Education: This course is developed for educators in order to provide information about using computers in education, knowledge of resources, and experiences through which to address issues pertinent to computer curriculum development, integration, implementation, and evaluation.

ED 546 Inquiry in the Classroom:  This course introduces candidates to inquiry in the context of the classroom. Candidates explore appropriate resolutions to questions and issues, learning how to create knowledge from this questioning to enhance students’ learning in the classroom. Assessment, qualitative, quantitative, and action research methodologies are applied to instructional decision making.

 ED 571 Urban Education Experience:  This course is designed to enhance participants’ knowledge of urban schooling as related to the dynamics of race, class, and culture through the analysis of historical, socioeconomic, and political factors influencing urban education.  The distribution of opportunity is explored through instructional and organizational practices designed to close the achievement gap and build positive school cultures.

ED593 Standards, Mandates, and Legal Issues in Teaching: Supports Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) documents relevant to the education of Secondary Education educators and identifies standards appropriate to their identified Special Program Alignment (SPA). Teacher candidates will prepare for the Beginning Educator Support and Training (BEST) Program assessment standards. Teacher candidates will have opportunities to discuss the student teaching experiences and observed “best practices”. 

ED592 Capstone Project in Education:  This course requires educators to complete a capstone project based on K-12 professional practices.

EPY509 Exceptional Learners:  Children & Adolescents Helps teachers understand exceptional students and their educational issues by focusing on managing these problems in the regular classroom.  Includes methodologies for differentiating instruction for exceptional students including special education and talented & gifted.

Secondary Education - Mathematics Option Content Courses

ED/MAT549  Teaching Mathematics in Secondary Schools:  This course provides secondary teacher candidates the content and pedagogy necessary to develop an understanding of the methods and materials needed to become effective teachers of mathematics. Candidates are introduced to assessment methods and learn to integrate current instructional technologies into their teaching. Emphasis is placed on strategies for differentiating instruction. Candidates develop lesson plans and units of instruction, practice delivering instruction, and observe secondary teachers of mathematics in the field. In addition, they examine current curricular reform movements and consider their impact on mathematics education in the secondary school. The implications of state, national, and international testing movements, state standards/frameworks, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) standards as well as the NCATE standards are considered. This course will be taught by a member of the Mathematics Department.  Prerequisite:  Admission to the Professional Secondary Education Teacher Preparation Program and registration in secondary education professional semester courses or Admission to the Master of Arts in Teaching Program or permission of both the Chair of the Education and Educational Psychology Department and the Chair of the Mathematics Department.
MAD513  Topics in Secondary School Mathematics Education:  An in-depth study of a single topic or collection of related topics of current interest in secondary school mathematics education. Topics will vary depending on developments in mathematics education and student or program needs. Topics might include curriculum developments, applications, research on teaching, technology, current research on mathematics education, or similar topics. May be repeated for credit with different topics. Prerequisite:  Must hold a valid teaching license or be admitted to the Master of Arts in Teaching Program in mathematics.

 

Secondary Education - Science (Biology) Option Content Courses
ED/BIO566  Teaching Science in Secondary Schools:  Designed to foster confidence in teaching secondary science teacher in the middle or high school (6-12). The course will focus on Nature of Science, instructional strategies fostering development of science concepts, mastering of process skills, organization, assessment, and growth of positive attitudes in the areas of science. Pre-requisite:  Admission to the Master of Arts in Teaching Program or permission of the Chair of the Education and Educational Psychology department or (non-M.A.T.) Admission to the Professional Secondary Education Teacher Preparation Program. Co-requisite:  Registration in secondary education professional semester courses.
BIO599  Student Developed Study in Laboratory Science.  This course is designed to provide the student with an opportunity to design his/her own learning experience.  The student will design a laboratory science project in an area of interest and seek a faculty sponsor.

Secondary Education - World Language (Spanish) Option Content Courses
ED/SPA568  Teaching Spanish in Secondary Schools: Content and Pedagogy:  Provides candidates in the Master of Arts in Teaching Program with an understanding of the methods and materials needed to become a competent teacher of Spanish at the secondary level. Emphasis is placed on making content knowledge accessible to diverse student populations. Candidates are introduced to assessment methods and learn to integrate current instructional technologies into their teaching. They develop lesson plans and units of instruction and practice delivering instruction. The course will include an examination of the current curricular reform movements and their impact on the teaching of Spanish in the secondary school. Implications of state and national standards are considered. This course will be taught by a member of the World Languages and Literature Department. Candidates must receive a grade of B or higher in order to enroll in student teaching. Pre-requisite:  Admission to the Master of Arts in Teaching Program or permission of both the Chair of the Education and Educational Psychology Department and the Chair of the World Languages and Literature Department.
ED/SPA567 Applied Linguistics in Spanish:  Provides a specific analysis of complex grammar structures and their relationship to learning and teaching Spanish as a second language, and Spanish for heritage speakers. It highlights specific problem areas for students and involves the practical application of theories to classroom learning and teaching. Pre-requisite:  Admission to the Master of Arts in Teaching Program or permission of both the Chair of the Education and Educational Psychology department and the Chair of the World Languages and Literature department.

 

Secondary Program Course Sequence (42 Credits)

 

Semester

Core Secondary Content Courses

Math Option

Science Option

Spanish Option

Summer One

ED503 Educational Psychology
(3 CR)

ED546 Inquiry in the Classroom
(3 CR)

ED532 Computer Literacy (3CR)

MAD513  Topics in Secondary Mathematics
(3 CR)

BIO598  Faculty Developed Study in Biology
(3 CR)

SPA567 Applied Linguistics in Spanish
(3 CR)

Fall

 ED514 Teaching Reading in the Content Areas
(3 CR)

ED530 Curriculum of the Secondary
School (3CR)

EPY509 Exceptional Learners:  Children and Adolescents
(3 CR)

MAD549 Teaching Mathematics in Secondary Schools
(3 CR)

ED/BIO 566 Teaching Science in Secondary Schools
(3 CR)

ED/SPA568 Teaching Spanish in Secondary Schools
(3 CR)

Spring

ED502 Secondary Student Teaching
(6 CR)

ED592 Capstone Project in Education  
(3 CR)

 

 

 

 

Summer Two

ED593 Standards, Mandates and Legal Issues in Teaching  
(3 CR)

ED571
Urban Education Experience (3 CR)

ED500 Contemporary  Educational Issues
(3 CR)

 

 

 

*Draft Schedule and  may be subject to change.

 

Revised December 2010

 

 


McQuillan, Mark K. (April 18, 2007).  Superintendents of Schools Principals of Schools Circular Letter: C-12 Series: 2006-2007. Retrieved on January 3, 2008 from http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/lib/sde/pdf/circ/circ06-07/c12.pdf.
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