Secondary Teacher Education

The UMass Amherst Secondary Teacher Education Preparation Program prepares students to become middle or high school teachers.

Students may pursue licensure for grades 5-8 or 8-12 in English, history, political science/political philosophy, the sciences, or modern foreign languages (Chinese, French, Italian, and Spanish) or 9-12 for mathematics. We offer several pathways to licensure (accelerated, two-year, post-baccalaureate), giving students the flexibility they need. They move through our programs in small supportive cohorts, building extensive classroom experience and working closely with UMass Amherst faculty engaged in the cutting edge of education research and theory.

The UMass Amherst secondary education program views teaching as an act of caring, with complex intellectual, moral, theoretical, and political implications that reach beyond testing and benchmarks. Our students become critically reflective educators committed to a life-long process of learning, embedded in the core values of social justice, evidence-based practice, and community engagement. Further, in keeping with the land-grant university mission, we work directly with public schools throughout the Connecticut River Valley region of western Massachusetts with an emphasis on serving under-resourced urban and rural schools.

The foundation of the program is our commitment to equitable and inclusive teaching practices that are responsive to diverse learners, communities, and a global society. We cultivate students who will challenge and upend socio-cultural norms that promote inequity and marginalization of the “other” (defined by ethnicity, class, gender, dis/ability, nationality, sexuality, language, religion, etc.). Ultimately, we aim to eliminate the opportunity gaps that engulf the American educational system by developing teachers who embrace inclusive pedagogies that recognize and encourage diversity of thinking, understanding, and living.

The Secondary Teacher Education Preparation Program develops teachers who engage in critical thinking, problem-solving, and lifelong learning. Our faculty bring scholarly and practitioner perspectives to the intellectual work of training teachers, and their constructivist orientation encourages students to create meaning and theory through practice. Our students build a strong foundation in the subject matter, a comprehensive understanding of how students learn and engage, and an intellectual curiosity rooted in continual informed attention to evidence. They learn to navigate complex relationships among curricula, instruction, and assessment while becoming judicious technological innovators.

Recognizing that effective educator preparation is a cooperative endeavor involving all members of an extensive community, our students learn to work within and across a range of community and professional contexts, sensitive to the family, community, and political contexts of education. Through university-school-community partnerships, they prepare to be informed and influential participants in local and global communities.


The College of Education offers several different options for secondary education degrees and licensure. 

University to Schools for Undergraduates

As students work toward their undergraduate degrees, they can also work toward their initial license through the University to Schools for Undergraduates pathway, earning both in four years. Students pursuing this option must complete all coursework by the end of the fall semester of their senior year so that the spring semester is free for their practicum (student teaching).

University to Schools for Graduates

Through the University to Schools for Graduates pathway, students earn a master’s in education (M.Ed.) and prepare for initial licensure to teach middle or high school. Students can take courses full time or part time; full-time students may complete the program in three to four semesters, while part-time students have up to three years to finish the program. Students complete 33-37 credits, which include education courses and 600+ level courses in their subject area.

180 Days in Springfield

Students in TEACH 180 Days in Springfield prepare for initial licensure for middle or high school and master’s degree in the space of an academic year, while teaching at a school in Springfield, MA. In that time, they receive a thorough education in best practices, support from fellow students, and mentorship from faculty. They graduate with a deep understanding of urban education, an extensive professional network, and excellent job prospects.

Bridges to the Future

Bridges to the Future allows students to earn a master’s in education (M.Ed.) and prepare for initial licensure in middle or high school in one year of teaching at a rural school in western Massachusetts. Bridges gives promising teachers a year-long immersive experience teaching in a rural middle or high school, a thorough education in best practices, broad support and mentorship, and an wide professional network.

Post-Baccalaureate Teacher Licensure

The Post-Baccalaureate licensure pathway offers experienced, nontraditional students—who already have a bachelor's degree in the liberal arts and sciences—an opportunity to become licensed to teach in Massachusetts. Offered through the College of Education and the Division of Continuing Education, the program is a non-degree route to admission to the licensure programs at UMass for those students who do not wish to undertake a graduate degree or second bachelor's degree while pursuing licensure. Students complete coursework and field experience, followed by a semester of student teaching.