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Teaching Paths

High School English (STEP)

If you plan to teach English at the secondary level, you will need to take additional courses beyond those required for the English major. It is therefore critical to see an advisor in the Undergraduate English Office and in the School of Education early in your undergraduate career.

You should meet with an advisor to help you choose English courses that will help you meet the specific subject matter requirements that are necessary for admission into one of the university’s Secondary Teacher Education Programs (STEP). Every semester the English Undergraduate Office prepares a list showing which of our courses fulfill these subject matter areas. This list is available both in the office and on our website's Undergraduate courses page, where it can be downloaded as a PDF from one of the top links of the page.

For admission into one of the programs, you will also need

  • a 3.0 cumulative GPA and a 3.0 GPA in English.
  • to pass the Communication and Literacy portion of the MTEL prior to admission to the undergraduate University to Schools program, and within the first semester of the post-graduate programs.
  • to understand the social justice mission of STEP, and to acquire experiences—through coursework, tutoring, or internships—that expand your awareness of diversity and inequity issues in education.

The following links provide additional information about STEP:

Students considering STEP should meet as soon as possible with Janis Greve ( in the English Undergraduate Advising Office (South College E345B).

Elementary, Early Childhood, and Special Education

Students interested in teaching elementary school are advised to pursue and complete the major of their choice.  They are encouraged to apply in their senior year to CTEP (Collaborative Teacher Education Pathway), a 10-month, full-time program blending intensive academic study with carefully supervised field experiences.  Students interested in Early Childhood Education or Special Education must pursue those concentrations within the Education major, though they may still pursue a minor or major in English if their schedule permits.


Students seeking licensure information for any of the teaching pathways should contact or 413-545-2002. We strongly encourage you to visit the School of Education at 121 Furcolo Hall and speak with an advisor to discuss your goals. All of the paths require planning and in some cases special course work, so the sooner you plan, the better prepared you will be.

English as a Second Language

Teaching English as a second language and/or at a primary or secondary level is a career path for many English majors. Below is important information related to these paths that can help you start to plan your progress toward these goals.

Certification is not required to teach English as a second language. However, it is strongly recommended as it will make you better prepared and more qualified for those kinds of jobs. There is no undergraduate degree available on campus for teaching ESL, but there are local opportunities to begin gaining important experience through volunteering. The School of Education does offer a Masters with a focus on bilingual, ESL and multicultural education, as well as a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies (CAGS) and preparation for ESL licensure. For more information, visit the CAGS program website.

Other ESL Certification Programs

Resources for teaching careers