Secondary Education Certification

Secondary Education Certification Master of Arts Teaching (M.A.T.) - Communications

About Communications 7-12 Teaching Certification

Gain applicable real-word experience and launch a rewarding teaching career.

Teach secondary education students skills that will last a lifetime with Level I teaching certification and a master's degree in communications education from California University of Pennsylvania.

Intended for communications professionals, but open to bachelor's degree holders in any field, this master's program combines core pedagogy courses, communications classes, and hands-on fieldwork. You'll graduate prepared to teach grades 7-12 in Pennsylvania.

Cal U's quality teaching program has top accreditation. 

  • Complete secondary education certification and your master's degree in four semesters of classes and one semester of student teaching.
  • Cal U's teaching programs are approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education and have been accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) since 1954. We are continuing with the successor organization, the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).


Flexible Schedule: Keep your day job while earning your degree. Online graduate communications education courses and on-site field experiences accommodate your busy schedule. A two-day on-campus summer residency provides face-to face instruction, interactions with peers and opportunities to teach sample lessons.

Top Accreditation: This graduate degree program is approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Cal U's education programs have also been accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) since 1954, and we are continuing with the successor organization, the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). See CAEP reporting measures of program impact and outcomes.


Average annual salary for secondary education teachers in Pennsylvania Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
weeks of full-time student teaching in a real classroom.
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Degree Benefits

Graduate degree courses will give you mastery of the latest practices and theories in communications education while deepening your content-area expertise.

  • Study communications curriculum development techniques and how to use the Standards Aligned System (SAS).
  • Learn top strategies in classroom management.
  • Master classroom technology for teaching communications.
  • Deepen your knowledge of video production, debate, acting, language arts, theater production, literacy and other related topics.
  • Gain extensive real-world teaching experience.
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Graduate Outcomes

Graduates of this program are prepared to teach secondary education communications and theater at public or private schools. They also thrive as communications program coordinators, drama coaches and curriculum specialists. Cal U secondary education alumni have rewarding careers in teaching positions at dozens of schools across the country.


Curriculum, Admission Requirements and Related Programs

Founded as a teacher's college, Cal U has a 160-year reputation of producing top-quality educators. Our rigorous, discipline-specific courses will deepen your communications knowledge base while equipping you with the latest theories and practices in communications education. All students are required to have current school clearances to participate in field experience and sign up for courses.



Course Credits
ENG 101  English Composition I 3
ENG 102  English Composition II 3
Required Content Courses (a grade of C or better is required for certification)
COM 101  Oral Communications 3
COM 142  Video Production 3
COM 230  Argumentation & Debate 3
COM 490  Communication Theory 3
ENG 308  Research for Writers  OR  ENG 352 Studies in Writing 3
ENG 345  English Grammar and Usage  OR  ENG 347  Introduction to Linguistics
ENG 425  Shakespeare 3
ENG Literature Elective 3
THE 131  Fundamentals of Acting 3
THE 150  Intro to Theatrical Design 3
THE 302  History of Theater I  OR  THE 304  World Drama  OR  THE 306  Modern Drama 3
THE 320  Fundamentals of Directing 3
Cal U Required Courses
EDU 650  Supporting the English Language Learner 3
ESP 610  Sp. Ed. Foundations & Collaboration 3
ESP 613  Evidence-Based Practices for Sec Inclusion 3
ESP 701  Introduction to Behavior Analysis 3
MSE 641  Orientation to 7-12 Ed. 3
MSE 642  Standards-Based Instruction in 7-12 Ed 3
MSE 643  Content Area Literacy in 7-12 Ed. 3
MSE 644  Instructional Strategies in 7-12 Ed. 3
MSE 645  Technology in 7-12 Education* 3
MSE 646  Assessments and Interventions* 3
MSE 647  Classroom Management in 7-12 Ed. 3
MSE 651  Methods of English Teaching 7-12* 3
MSE 661  Student Teaching & School Law** 9
Total Graduate Credits 45

* Two-day on-campus July residency will be integrated into the summer MSE courses.

** Must earn a recommendation for student teaching.


Admission Requirements

Admission Requirements (Regular)  

  • Bachelor's degree with a GPA of 2.80 or higher (Students with a GPA below 2.80 may apply for conditional admission)
  • Official transcripts from an accredited undergraduate institution
  • International Graduate Applicants

Conditional Admission Requirements

  • Conditional Admission may be granted with the following modifications of the Regular Admissions Requirements:
    • Bachelor's degree with a GPA under 2.80 will be reviewed for a decision

Provisional Admission:
Applicants who have provided unofficial documentation of test scores, prerequisite courses, transcripts or lack of letter(s) of recommendation may be admitted provisionally.

This policy also applies to undergraduate students who apply for graduate admission pending bachelor degree completion. Upon receipt of all official documents, a student will be changed from Provisional Admission to either Regular Admission or Conditional Admission. Provisional Admission students may take classes for one term but will not be eligible for Federal Financial Aid. 

Program Requirements

  • Depending on the area of certification chosen, the department will provide guidance if any foundation undergraduate courses need to be completed before applying for student teaching
  • Clearances:  Students are responsible for updating clearances annually through the Office of Field Experience.  In addition, clearances must be on file before applying for student teaching  - Acts 24, 34, 114, and 151

How to Apply:

School of Graduate Studies and Research
California University of Pennsylvania
Box 91
250 University Ave. 
California, PA 15419

  • Submit unofficial transcripts and other documents by mail (using the address above), email ( or fax (724-938-5712)

For additional information:
Phone: 724-938-4187

Out of State Students:
All students who will be seeking certification outside of Pennsylvania are responsible for securing and following the certification requirements in the state in which they intend to apply for certification.

Related Programs


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Professors with Real-World Experience

Learn best practices in education from experienced professors. All core secondary education faculty have doctorate degrees and most have taught in public schools at the middle or high school level.

Students write in the library.

Course Spotlight: Assessment in English/Communication

Gain insight into the design, implementation and analysis of assessment instruments used in communications education. Study the trends and results of English/communications standards according to recent research.

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Land a Job Before Graduation

If offered a teaching job while enrolled in the secondary education master's degree program, Cal U communications education students can apply for the Teacher Intern Certification program. This enables you to work full-time as a teacher before certification, and use your job to fulfill field placement requirements.

Communications Certification Faculty

Dr. Keith Hepner

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Dr. Marcia Hoover
Professor; field coordinator, Department of Secondary Education and Administrative Leadership

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Dr. Connie Monroe
Professor and chair, Department of Secondary Education and Administrative Leadership

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Dr. Susan Morris-Rutledge
Associate Professor and ESL Program Coordinator

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Dr. Michael Perrotti
Coordinator of Graduate Secondary Ed Programs and Associate Professor

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Dr. Joseph Zisk
Professor; director, Teaching and Learning Center

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Please Note: All students who will be seeking licensure/certification outside of Pennsylvania should consult the State Authorization web page for more information.