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School of Education

23 Furcolo Hall

Contact: Educator Licensure Office
Office: 130 Furcolo Hall
Phone: (413) 545-2701

The School of Education is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

The school has a diverse and multifaceted mission, with many programs in undergraduate, postbaccalaureate, and graduate education. Offering undergraduate courses of general interest, and courses for students who may be interested in a career in education, the school also coordinates educator licensure programs.

The Field

Knowledge is the key to success and to full participation in our democratic society. Educators help people acquire and use knowledge. To that end, educators develop curricula, plan instructional programs, deliver instruction, and evaluate learning. Educators work in public and private schools; they also work in social service agencies and business settings.
The School of Education is dedicated to enhancing the practice of education through research that informs both the preparation of educational professionals and the development of public policy that affects education. The school’s approach is shaped by a fundamental commitment to social justice and diversity and by a belief in the essential importance of national and international perspectives in approaching the improvement of education.

The Minor

The Minor in Education is designed to provide a foundation for students seeking Early Childhood, Elementary or Secondary educator licensure or students who have an interest in education and schools. Completion of a Minor in Education does not lead to Initial Teacher Licensure in Massachusetts. Further information is provided in the “Education” section of this Guide.

Educator Licensure

Individuals who teach in the PreK-12 schools must have a license granted by the state in which that individual is employed. The Educator Preparation programs in the School are approved by the Massachusetts Board of Education and lead to teacher licensure in Massachusetts.

Massachusetts regulations for the Licensure of Educational Personnel require that candidates for Initial Educator Licensure complete a major in the liberal arts and sciences or an approved interdisciplinary major appropriate to the license sought, as well as complete an approved Educator Preparation program. Candidates must also pass a two-part examination in Communication and Literacy Skills and one or two examinations in the subject content of the license sought. Students who completed licensure requirements at the university in 2007-08 had the following pass rates on the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure:

Communication & Literacy Skills:
100% (Reading Subtest, 100%; Writing Subtest, 100%)
Academic Content Areas*:
100% (Early Childhood, 100%; General Curriculum, 100%; English, 100%; History, 100%; Music, 100%; Foundations of Reading, 100%; Mathematics, 100%)
(*Rates for specific secondary subjects—Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science, English as a Second Language, French, General Science, Italian, Latin and Classical Humanities, Physics, Political Science/Political Philosophy, Spanish and Visual Art—are not calculated because fewer than ten students took the specific subject assessment test.)

To earn a Professional License, individuals who hold the Initial License must complete an approved master’s or equivalent program.

The school offers approved educator licensure programs leading to an Initial Educator License in Early Childhood Education, and Elementary Education, and in a variety of academic subject areas in Secondary Education at the graduate level.

Admission to Educator Preparation Programs

All educator preparation programs require a formal application for admission, including letters of recommendation, a written personal statement, a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.75, and a passing score on the Communication and Literacy Skills portion of the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL). There are additional specific requirements for each program. Once admitted, candidates must also pass the MTEL Subject Test for their field of preparation before entering the final student teaching practicum.

Educator Information Office

The Educator Information Office offers advising and information for students seeking the Minor in Education and for students interested in educator preparation programs and licensure. More information is available from the office in 121 Furcolo Hall, tel. (413) 545-2002.

Early Childhood and Elementary Education

Students interested in pursuing careers as Early Childhood (grades PreK-2) or elementary (grades 1-6) teachers must complete a two-stage process. First, undergraduate students must complete an academic major in the Liberal Arts and Sciences. The School of Education offers a Minor in Education that students may fulfill as part of their undergraduate studies.
Secondly, students must complete the Early Childhood or Elementary Programs, which offer Master of Education degrees leading to Initial Licensure in Massachusetts. These one-year programs require 39 credits, 15 of which are field-based in schools. They are designed for dynamic students interested in an intensive, full-time program rooted in the ideas of constructivism. The programs are planned to meet the needs of three groups of individuals who desire a teaching license: 1) graduating seniors at the University of Massachusetts Amherst; 2) seniors from other institutions; and 3) second-career professionals.

Admission is competitive. Students must make formal application to the Graduate School by January 15 of their senior year. Admissions criteria include a minimum grade point average of 2.75, a written personal statement, letters of recommendation, previous experience working with children, and a personal interview.
Students are encouraged to seek advising in the Educator Information Office, 121 Furcolo Hall, for information regarding the Minor in Education and the Early Childhood and Elementary Licensure Programs.

Middle and Secondary Education

Students preparing for careers as secondary school teachers of English, mathematics, science, or social studies complete an academic major in the liberal arts and sciences, and an organized program of study in Education. The Secondary Teacher Education Program (STEP) offers licensure for students who major in their subject areas and wish to prepare for careers as middle school (5-8) and high school (8-12) teachers in the following fields: biology (8-12 only), chemistry (8-12 only), earth science, English, general science (5-8 only), history, mathematics, physics (8-12 only), political science/political philosophy (formerly social studies), and modern foreign languages. Satisfactory completion of the program qualifies students for Massachusetts Initial Licensure in their teaching field.

Completion of EDUC 524 The Work of Middle and High School Teachers is prerequisite to applying to the program. Criteria for admission includes the strength of the applicant’s personal statement, recommendations, relevant experience, and grade point average. A passing score on the Communication and Literacy Skills portion of the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure is also required. Completion of licensure courses, the program, and the academic major usually requires a minimum of nine semesters of academic work.

The program is geared to prospective teachers who combine a strong academic background in their field with a commitment to working with young people. STEP is guided by the belief that teaching is a creative, intellectual and moral endeavor. STEP emphasizes the importance for prospective teachers of examining their own educational and life experiences and developing the insight and skills necessary to teach all young people effectively, creatively and equitably, regardless of their race, gender or social class. The program focuses on teaching approaches that engage students in active learning, critical thinking, and the construction of their own meaning.

Students who complete the requirements for their academic degree before completing the STEP licensure requirements may receive their baccalaureate, and continue in the STEP program.

For more information contact the Educator Information Office, 121 Furcolo Hall, tel. (413) 545-2002.

Post-baccalaureate Teacher Licensure
Individuals who already hold a bachelor’s degree may apply for admission to one of the School’s teacher licensure programs. Applications are reviewed by the faculty in the licensure area to which the candidate applies. This route for licensure is specifically designed for those students who do not wish to undertake a graduate degree or second bachelor’s degree program while obtaining teacher licensure. Postbaccalaureate licensure is not available for all licenses. Information about postbaccalaureate licensure and application materials may be obtained by contacting the School, tel. (413) 545-2002.