Master’s Degree: Secondary Teacher Education

The Secondary Teacher Education (STEP) concentration prepares prospective and practicing middle and high school teachers for leadership roles in schools and other educational institutions. Several important features and underlying assumptions characterize the STEP program of study:

  • Students are expected to have or to develop a firm foundation of content knowledge in the subject areas of English, History and Social Studies, Mathematics, or Science. The program of study strives to develop and transform that content knowledge into effective and relevant pedagogical approaches.
  • Faculty seeks to develop dialogue and connections among faculty and students concerning the major issues facing schooling in the United States, including the issue of equity in schooling. Our goal is to raise awareness of issues of equity and then work with educators to develop principles and methods to enable all students to reach their full potential.
  • Faculty believes that becoming a teacher is a process of intellectual and emotional development. The program of study blends academic study in a discipline with professional preparation in education that includes applied work in schools and clinical settings prior to student teaching.
  • Faculty explores teaching and learning from a constructivist perspective, believing that people learn effectively when they can integrate new knowledge into what they already know and understand. Teacher certification candidates work to reconstruct their past experiences, construct new knowledge, and become active, responsible, and collaborative participants in a community of learners and teachers.
  • Faculty collaborates with a network of teachers in urban, suburban, and rural communities throughout the Pioneer Valley and Massachusetts in clinical sites and other schools that welcome our student teachers and provide them opportunities to explore and develop as educators.
  • The licensure component of the STEP program of study has been approved by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Our Secondary Teacher Education Pathways

The College of Education offers a number of options for those individuals interested in pursuing licensure at the middle (grades 5-8) or high school (grades 8-12) level in the areas of English, history, political science/political philosophy, the sciences, or modern foreign languages (Chinese, French, Italian, Spanish). Mathematics only offers licensure for grades 9-12. For more information on these options, please see the Secondary Teacher Education brochure and review the links below.

Admissions Criteria

Criteria for admission to any of the above pathways include a strong subject matter background; strong commitment to learning; interest in and respect for adolescents; interest in and respect for diversity and a commitment to work towards equity through work in the schools; potential for leadership through schools; and compatibility with mission and goals of the program of study.


For questions about any of our secondary education pathways, or if you would like to make an advising appointment, please contact the Educator Information Office at (413) 545-2002 or