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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).

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 on the CAGS program, go to

Students seeking licensure information or just thinking about licensure should be in touch with or 413-545-2002. If you are interested in teaching English on the secondary level, we strongly encourage you to visit the School of Education at 121 Furcolo and speak with an advisor to discuss your goals as well as an advisor in the English undergraduate office. All of these paths require special course work and most lead to a Master's degree in Education, so the sooner you plan, the better prepared you will be.

Other ESL certification programs

Early Childhood Education

Early childhood education is a path that requires a genuine interest in and commitment to the education of young children. Students embarking on this path may seek to acquire or extend their knowledge and skills in Early Intervention, Preschool Programming, Family Services, or Public Policy for Children and Families. There is a strong emphasis on the study of the child, individually and in groups, and with close attention to the cultural context. On campus, the Child Study and Early Education concentration does not lead to licensure, but Early Childhood licensure is offered through the Collaborative Teacher Education Program (CTEP).

Other important links