Our program leads to a professional degree that combines essential aspects of the field of education studies with the academic tradition of the master of arts degree. About half of the required courses are taught in the College of Education and the other half in Italian Studies. Students typically complete the program in two to three years, but their last semester is always dedicated to hands-on training known as the practicum, an essential component of all the Commonwealth's educator preparation programs. During that semester, students work alongside an Italian teacher in a Massachusetts high school. Dr. Stacy Giufre coordinates the program and the placement of students with mentor teachers across the state.


In order to teach Italian at grades 512 in a public school in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, teachers must possess a license. You should know that there is a very precise set of rules regarding the four types of educator licenses. Teachers who earn an MAT in Italian at UMass begin their careers right away with an Initial License. What's more, UMass Amherst holds national accreditation under the rigorous standards set by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP, formerly NCATE). This is important because Massachusetts is a signatory of the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement, which facilitates licensure reciprocity in all member states and several provinces in Canada. In other words, you can get your MAT here and take your license almost anywhere. Even Guam! No other institution in the Commonwealth offers a teacher licensure program in Italian Studies.

This program leads 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 meet teacher licensure requirements in any state other than Massachusetts. If you are seeking licensure in another state, you should contact Dr. Michael Papio, director of the Graduate Program in Italian, for more information about how to determine whether this program will be appropriate for you. Access to your state’s licensing agency is available on the Teacher Licensure Agency Directory.

How to Apply

Our applicants usually have a BA degree with a major in Italian, but anyone with a related major and adequate preparation will also be considered. Once you create an account in our online system, called SPIRE, you'll upload your documents directly.

The deadline for fall 2024 admission is February 1, 2024.

We ask that you send official transcripts of your undergraduate work, your GRE scores and other materials as explained in Spire once your application is underway. It is best if you have your letters of recommendation sent by people who know your academic work and have an idea of your aptitude for teaching. If your native language is not English, you must additionally present a minimum score of 80 on the TOEFL exam in order to enroll at UMass Amherst. Students transferring from other institutions may be granted as many as nine credits of graduate-level work toward the MAT.

Teaching Assistantships

Especially if you're not familiar with the American university system, you should know that it is possible to complete your degree without paying tuition. Each semester, our teaching assistants (or TAs) teach one course of either elementary or intermediate Italian under the guidance and supervision of Dr. Giufre. In exchange, they receive a nine-month stipend of approximately $23,000, excellent health insurance, and full tuition and curriculum fee waivers. If you would like to be considered for a Teaching Assistantship, simply let us know in your application. If you are not an American citizen, you should also know that UMass Amherst will sponsor your visa upon your admission to the program. For further details, feel free to contact the International Programs Office.

Course of Study

During the first semester of the program, students must pass the ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview with a minimum score of “Intermediate High” and the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure ("Communication and Literacy" and "Italian Subject").

A representative distribution of the 47 required credits is provided below.

Education Requirements (26 credits):

ITALIAN ED 500U: Student Teaching (712 credits)
EDUCATION 615J: Education and the Law (3 credits)
EDUCATION 524: Work of the Middle and High School Teacher (3 credits)
ITALIAN 572: Basic Methods of Teaching Foreign Languages (3 credits)
ITALIAN 598: Pre-Practicum Field Experience (2 credits)
ITALIAN 698: Practicum Seminar/ST-Teaching in Middle and High School (2 credits)
EDUCATION 597R: Tutoring in the Schools (3 credits)
EDUCATION 693I/EDUCATION 571: Psychology in the Classroom (3 credits)

Italian Requirements (21 credits):

Students are guided, year by year, in a varying selection of courses in order to establish a strong background in the full range of Italian culture, from the Tre corone to today. One of these seven courses may be substituted by a 500- or 600-level course taught in another Romance language if appropriate.

Still have questions?

Send an email to Dr. Michael Papio, Graduate Program Director.