Be an English Teacher

We seek applications from diverse candidates who have content knowledge and are committed to the social, cultural, and academic development of all students. 

As Professor Emerita Sonia Nieto wrote in Why We Teach,

"Although for over a century our nation has advanced the ideal that a high-quality and excellent public education is the  birthright of all children, our schools cannot fulfill this ambitious and noble purpose unless all of us—parents, policymakers, and the general public—commit ourselves to sustaining education as  a public trust and a promise to future generations."

Ready to get started? Fill out this form and an advisor will get in touch with you about the admissions process.

Through the University to Schools for Graduates pathway, I was able to pursue passions and research and juggle a full time job to make ends meet. 

Danielle Desmond, Current English Teacher

How we prepare you to be an English teacher

Our program is dedicated to five goals:

  • Fostering the development of diverse teachers committed to supporting the education of youth attending rural, urban, and suburban schools regardless of students’ race, class, gender, language, country of origin, and learning needs. We admit candidates who understand that teaching and learning are political activities shaped by history, economics, and contested ideologies regarding public education.

  • Collaborating with youth, their families, and their communities to re-imagine teaching and learning in language arts classrooms from a critical sociocultural perspective.

  • Preparing professional teachers of language arts who are capable of designing, implementing, and reflecting on culturally responsive curriculum, instruction, and assessments to support all students in learning to read, write, and critically analyze multicultural literature.

  • Preparing language arts teachers to engage in action-oriented classroom research to foster critical reflection regarding how students’ in- and out-of-school experiences contribute to their social, cultural, and academic trajectories.

  • Connecting candidates and graduates to collaborative professional networks to support their development and ability to advocate for their students over the course of their careers.


Admissions Process

STEP ONE: Attend an informational meeting (Fall and Spring)

At these meetings, participants are introduced to the mission of Secondary Teacher Education Preparation (STEP) Program English and learn about the four pathways we offer toward licensure.

Upcoming Information Session Dates

Please check our website for more details about upcoming information sessions. 

STEP TWO: Submit an application by the deadline for either the undergraduate and graduate pathways (January 15th)

●    Click here for information about applying to our Education Programs

●    Click here for applications to the Undergraduate University to Schools (UTS) program

●    Click here for applications to the UMass Graduate School

●    In addition to the material requested, include a resume, completed subject matter form, and a writing sample (e.g., a paper from a course related to some aspect of English education). In completing the subject matter form, please be as detailed as possible because a course number and title often does not provide enough information. Therefore, please include information regarding the main topics or goals of the course, key authors discussed, and final projects completed. Please also include the number of credits earned in each subject area. 



STEP THREE: Faculty review application using the following criteria (February)

●     A well developed and carefully written personal statement of approximately 500 words. This statement should make clear why you are interested in entering the teaching profession and what you hope to accomplish in the future as a secondary language arts teacher. Keep in mind that we are interested in hearing why you are interested in coming to UMass and why a particular pathways fits with your professional goals. 

●     Experience working with diverse youth during one’s undergraduate experience (e.g., extra-curricular activities, volunteering in schools, tutoring, summer work experience). 

●     Evidence of leadership and a commitment to issues of equity based on a review of the applicant’s transcript, resume, writing sample, and personal statement.

●     English subject matter knowledge based on a review of the applicants’ transcript and subject matter form. This review is significant in determining if you are eligible for the one-year pathways (e.g., Bridges to the Future, 180 Days in Springfield). 

●     A minimum GPA of a 3.0 

●     Passing the Communication and Literacy Skills (01) and English (61) portions of the Massachusetts Test of Educator Licensure (MTEL). This is recommended for all STEP candidates and is required for all those interested in entering the University to Schools Undergraduate pathway. Note, after you are accepted, all licensure candidates must provide evidence that you have passed the Subject Matter Test for English Language Arts (61) before you are allowed to begin their teaching practicum. Therefore students admitted to Bridges to the Future and 180 Days in Springfield must pass MTELs prior to the fall semester. University to Schools must pass all state exams prior to beginning their teaching practicum during the spring semester of their second year. 


STEP FOUR: Interviewing with the Secondary English Admissions Committee (February and March)

●     Please approach these interviews in a professional manner. Come prepared to discuss your application materials and future plans in the same way you would if you were interviewing with a school district (e.g., subject matter knowledge form, resume, and personal statement).

STEP FIVE: Notification of admission to STEP English (March)

●     We will notify applicants in the beginning of March. 

●     Applicants interested in the 180 Days in Springfield or Bridges to the Future pathways will be contacted to schedule an additional interview with participating schools. 

STEP SIX: Attend an orientation (April)

●     At the end of April we invite all admitted STEP English students admitted to UTS, 180 Days in Springfield, and Bridges to the Future pathways to an orientation. At this meeting, you will meet the faculty and current students. In addition, we will provide you with information regarding master's degree requirements, licensure requirements, registration, and living in the Pioneer Valley. 

●     Please note that faculty are typically not on campus during the summer, so we make every effort to answer your questions in April so you are well prepared for September. Also note that new students are not able to register until the Graduate School sends you information, typically in August. Regardless of this time lag, you should have no concerns regarding registering for required courses. Typically, newly admitted students are able to register for classes by August before the Fall semester begins. 

●     Please make sure that you check your UMass email regularly or have it forwarded to an email address you check often. The University will send you information over the summer and it is important that you know about upcoming events and important announcements (e.g., program deadlines and events, scholarship, job opportunities, speakers and the like). 

STEP SEVEN: Attend College wide orientation meeting and meet with your advisor every semester (August).

What you need to know to be an English teacher

Please visit the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education website for more about the English Language Arts and Literacy curriculum framework: 


Frequently Asked Questions 

I am already teaching, can I be in this program?

Yes. The University to Schools (UTS) pathway is designed for teachers already employed, but seeking a Master’s degree and state license.

Do I need a car?

Having access to a car will give you more flexibility in finding a placement that is a match for you. Otherwise, you will need to rely on public transportation and may have fewer options for placement. 

Is this an online program?

This program is not designed as a fully online program. However, we are  taking into account disruptions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Until the entire university is operating on a face to face schedule, we will be adapting as needed to support students who cannot be present to engage in studies. There will be the availability of remote courses and we are planning for several different outcomes whether on campus or off campus. 

How do I get experience working with youth?

  • Take courses that a have service learning component.

  • Look for summer employment at a camp or youth organization.

  • Look for opportunities to volunteer.

I am interested in applying, but did not major in English. Therefore, I am missing a number of subject matter requirements. Will my application be competitive?

Yes, but you will most likely only be eligible for the University to Schools Pathway, not the one-year immersion pathways. You can complete these requirements at a community college, another college, or online.


Can I work and enroll in the program at the same time?

The University to Schools (UTS) pathway allows flexibility to students who need to work full- or part-time. Bridges to the Future and 180 Days in Springfield require full-time study. 

I grew up in a predominately white middle class community and have not had much experience working across race, class, and language differences. What should I do?

  • Join student organizations with a social justice mission.

  • Take courses that have a service learning component.

  • Look for summer employment at a camp or youth organization.

  • Look for opportunities to volunteer. 

When do I have to complete my subject matter requirements?

The answer to this question depends on the pathway you choose to apply to. Please see the table below for an overview of when the English subject matter knowledge must be completed.

Questions regarding subject matter completion:

PATHWAY Do my English Subject Matter Knowledge requirements need to be completed before fall semester of my STEP English practicum? Can I take courses online to fulfill Subject Matter Knowledge requirements? Can I take independent study while enrolled in the STEP English practicum? Can I fulfill Adolescent Literature and Reading Requirements (EDUC 693) during the STEP practicum?
180 Days in Springfield

YES, except EDUC 503


Bridges to the Future

YES, except EDUC 503)


University to Schools (UTS) for Undergraduates

YES, except EDUC 503)



University to Schools (UTS) for Graduates


YES YES, during the first year of your program. YES


Subject Matter Requirement

A partial list of courses at UMass Amherst which meet subject matter requirements

American Literature

(6 Required Credits)

  • ENG 115: American Experience
  • ENG 117: Ethnic American Literature
  • ENG 204: Introduction to Asian American Literature
  • ENG 268: American Literature and Culture pre-1865
  • ENG 269: American Literature and Culture post-1865
  • ENG 271: Early American Literature
  • ENG 272: American Romanticism
  • ENG 273: American Realism
  • ENG 279: Intro to American Studies
  • ENG 373: American Indian Literature
  • ENG 494JI: Going to Jail
  • ENG 491JM: U.S. Literature in Global Context

American Literature

(6 Required Credits)

  • ENG 201: Early British Literature and Culture
  • ENG 202: Later British Literature and Culture
  • ENG 311: Legends of Arthur
  • ENG 326: Elizabethan and Jacobean Drama
  • ENG 343: English Epic Tradition
  • ENG 349: 19th Century British Fiction
  • ENG 358: Romantic Poetry
  • ENG 359: Victorian Imagination
  • ENG 469: Victorian Monstrosity
  • ENG 437: Milton
  • ENG 491 TT: Beowulf


(3 Required Credits)

  • ENG 221: Shakespeare 
  • ENG 222: Advanced Shakespeare
  • ENG 397: Shakespeare’s Non-humans

World Literature

(3 Required Credits)

  • ENG 205: Introduction to Post-Colonial Studies
  • ENG 369: Studies in Modern Fiction
  • ENG 491AS: Arabian Nights in World Literature
  • ENG 494A: Pulp Caribbean

Women in Literature

(3 Required Credits)

  • ENG 132: Gender, Sexuality, Literature & Culture
  • ENG 378: American Women Writers
  • ENG 491BE: Black Women Writers
  • ENG 491M: Irish Female Imagination
  • AFROAM 391B: S-Modern Afro-American Women Novelists
  • AFROAM 297F: ST-Black Women in the Americas and the Caribbean

Literature by Authors of Color

(3 Required Credits)

  • ENG 204: Introduction to Asian American Literature
  • ENG 205: Introduction to Post-Colonial Studies
  • ENG 371: African American Literature
  • ENG 372: Caribbean Literature
  • ENG 373: American Indian Literature
  • ENG 391AC: Multilingual Writing and Global Language Change
  • ENG 391W: Black Pop Culture
  • AFROAM 244: Afro-American Poetry: Beginning to 1900
  • AFROAM 253: Pre-Civil War Black Writers


(3 Required Credits)

  • ENG 141: Reading Poetry
  • ENG 343: English Epic Tradition
  • ENG 375: American Poetry
  • ENG 366: Modern Poetry
  • ENG 358: Romantic Poetry
  • ENG 391LP: Latino Poetry in the U.S.
  • ENG 491A: Neruda in Translation


(3 Required Credits)

  • ENG 200: Intensive Seminar in Literary Studies (Many other options here. Consult an advisor for additional options.)

Literary Criticism

  • Many Junior Year Writing Courses—English 300—will include this requirement, but check with the professor first.
  • ENG 217: Dis/ability and Literature

Adolescent Literature

(3 Required Credits)

  • EDUC693T: Adolescent Literature

Print and Non-print Media

(3 Required Credits)


  • EDUC 167: Education and film
  • ENG 290 BH: Introduction to Performance Studies
  • ENG 300: Picture This: Lives in Graphic Form
  • ENG 302: Studies in Textuality and New Media
  • ENG 391D: Writing and Emerging Technologies
  • ENG 391GC: Video Games and Civic Action
  • ENG 494DI: Dystopian Games, Comics, Media
  • ENG 494CI: Codes, Ciphers, Crackers, Hackers
  • COMM121: Introduction to Media & Culture

History of English Language

(3 Required Credits)

  • ENG 412: History of the English Language
  • ENG 313: Introduction to Old English
  • ENG 343: English Epic Tradition
  • ENG 416: Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales
  • ENG 491TT: Beowulf

Theories of Language

(3 Required Credits)

  • LING190A: Language Acquisition & Human Nature
  • LING 201: Introduction to Linguistic Theory
  • EDUC 503: Sheltered English Immersion


(3 Required Credits)

  • ENG 388: Rhetoric, Writing, and Society
  • EDUC 503: Sheltered English Immersion


(3 Required Credits)

  • EDUC693T: Adolescent Literature

Writing and Evaluating Writing

(3 Required Credits)

  • ENG 200: Intensive Literary Studies Seminar
  • ENG 298H: Teaching in the Writing Center
  • ENG 300: Junior Year Writing 
  • ENG 329: Tutoring Writing: Theory and Practice
  • ENG 254: Introduction to Creative Writing
  • ENG 354: Creative Writing
  • ENG 355: Creative Writing: Fiction
  • ENG 356: Creative Writing Poetry
  • EDUC 503: Sheltered English Immersion

Resources for English Teachers

Organization Contact Website
Western Mass Writing Project

Anna Rita, Site Director,

Generation Teach STEAM Academy, Holyoke

See website for contact, candidate and teaching fellow application information.
Homework House

See website for contact and volunteer application information.

The Literacy Lab

Vlai Ly, Program Associate - The Literacy Lab,

(413) 426-2867



Program Costs

Please plan for the following costs. Be sure to check the UMass websites, as some costs are subject to change. 


Most updated information on tuition


UMass fees explained

MTEL *test fees subject to change

Communication and Literacy Skills (01): $112

English (61): $139


Off-campus housing

On-campus housing

TK20 Portfolio System

Estimate $100+

Books & Supplies

Estimate: $150 per semester (new)

Free with UMass Libraries and Interlibrary loan (used/borrowed)


Access to a car is highly recommended as there is limited public transportation to placement schools.


College of Education assistantships, scholarships, and funding opportunities



This programs lead to initial teacher licensure in Massachusetts. Because of reciprocity agreements between states, you may be able to transfer your license to another state. However, the College of Education at UMass Amherst makes no guarantees that this program meets teacher licensure requirements in any state other than Massachusetts. If you are seeking licensure in another state, click on the link below for the program of your choice for more information.  For assistance in determining whether this program will be appropriate for you, send your inquiry to the program contact identified in the program description.  Access to your state’s licensing agency is available on the Teacher Licensure Agency Directory.Contact


For initial inquiries, and to begin the admissions admissions process, please fill out the "Get Started" form.

For other inquiries, contact the program coordinator, Keisha Green.