Secondary Education Certification

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

About Earth Science 7-12 Teaching Certification

Impart vital knowledge of Earth's systems to the next generation.

Launch a successful Earth science teaching career with this top-quality graduate program that prepares you to teach grades 7-12 in Pennsylvania. Complete your Level I secondary education certification and master's degree within five semesters - four semesters of courses and one semester of student teaching.

The Earth science education master's program is designed for students with a background in Earth science, but open to bachelor's degree holders in any field.  

Gain experience and expertise on a flexible schedule.

  • Rigorous courses in pedagogy combine with lab-based Earth science classes to give you mastery of discipline-specific teaching skills
  • Extensive fieldwork in assigned Pennsylvania classrooms and student teaching make you job-ready.
  • Online classes, on-site fieldwork and a two-day summer residency enable you to earn your degree while working full time.


Top Accreditation: This  degree program is approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. In addition, the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) accredits PennWest California. CAEP promotes excellence in educator preparation through quality assurance and continuous improvement. See CAEP reporting measures of program impact and outcomes.


Over 160 Years of Experience: PennWest California was founded as a teachers college and has a long-standing reputation of producing top-quality educators in Pennsylvania.


Students that need additional coursework to fulfill the Pennsylvania Department of Education Requirements may need to take on-campus courses.

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

Degree Benefits

Before beginning the full-time student teaching component of this program, PennWest California students gain hours of fieldwork in local school districts. This helps them excel in student teaching and stand out in the Earth science education job market.

  • Study Earth science curriculum development techniques and how to use the Standards Aligned System (SAS).
  • Learn top strategies in classroom management.
  • Master classroom technology for the teaching of Earth science.
  • Deepen your knowledge of astronomy, geology, oceanography, meteorology and other related topics.
  • Gain real-world teaching experience.
icon undergrad for degree

Graduate Outcomes

Graduates of this program are prepared to teach Earth science in middle and high schools. They also thrive as science program coordinators, evaluators, and curriculum specialists. PennWest California secondary education alumni have teaching careers in dozens of schools across the country.


Curriculum, Admission Requirements and Related Programs

This professional graduate degree program is delivered online, on-site through fieldwork and on campus during a two-day summer residency. Our ever-evolving curriculum will deepen your scientific knowledge base while equipping you with the latest theories and practices in Earth science education. All students are required to have current school clearances to participate in field experience and sign up for courses.



Course Credits
Required Courses
MSE 641  Orientation to 7-12 Education 3
MSE 642  Standards-Based Instruction in 7-12 Education 3
MSE 643  Content Area Literacy 3
MSE 644  Instructional Strategies in 7-12 3
MSE 645  Technology Integration in 7-12 Education 3
MSE 646  Assessments and Interventions 3
MSE 647  Classroom Management in 7-12 Education 3
MSE 653  Methods of Science Teaching 7-12 3
MSE 661  Student Teaching 9
Total Credits 33

Undergraduate Content Course Requirements

Certification requirements for the Pennsylvania Department of Education include appropriate certification testing. A minimum of 30 credits of content area coursework is required. These courses may be taken at the undergraduate level. Students must demonstrate college coursework with a grade of C or higher in:

  • Astronomy
  • Geology
  • Oceanography
  • Hydrology
  • Meteorology
  • Climatology
  • Historical geography
  • Geomorphography or tectonics
  • Earth science elective
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Evidence of lab experiences

Note: Pennsylvania Department of Education requirements are subject to change.

Chapter 49-2

Chapter 49-2 requirements (12 credits) mandated by the Pennsylvania Department of Education must be met in order to receive certification. Courses may be satisfied with previously taken undergraduate or graduate courses, subject to approval of the program coordinator. Undergraduate 49-2 courses cannot be accepted for the graduate special education add-on certification program for students who later complete that program. If not already completed, the following courses are needed in addition to the requirements above:

  • ESP 610  Special Education Foundations and Collaboration
  • ESP 701  Introduction to Behavior Analysis
  • ESP 613  Evidence-based Practices in Secondary Inclusion
  • EDU 650  Supporting the English Language Learner

Student Teaching

Applications for spring student teaching are due October 1. Applications for fall student teaching are due April 1.

Student teaching requirements include:

  • A GPA of 3.0 or higher for all courses, including undergraduate content course requirements
  • A grade of C or higher for all required courses
  • Completion of all required courses prior to student teaching
  • Required clearances
  • No incomplete (I) grades
  • Passing of required Praxis tests
  • TB tests
  • Liability insurance
  • Education requirements, such as seminars and portfolios

Program Notes

  • The summer courses require a two-day residency in July.
  • Clearances are required at all times throughout the program and must be updated every July.
  • LiveText Watermark software is required for this program. 



Admission Requirements

Regular Admission Requirements

  • 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

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
PennWest California
Box 91
250 University Ave. 
California, PA 15419

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


Student in cap and gown

Land a Job Before Graduation

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

High school teachers learn in woods.

Course Spotlight: Methods of Science Education

Help middle and high school students comprehend key principles while igniting their wonder for the natural world. In this course you'll learn proven methods for the teaching of science.

Residence halls on campus.

Faculty Know-How

Learn best practices in teaching from faculty members who have worked in secondary education classrooms. You'll benefit from the know-how of professors like Dr. Marcia Hoover who, in addition to teaching in P-12 classrooms, has served as a consultant to faculty in developing instructional uses of technology in education.

Earth Science Certification Faculty

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

View profile
Dr. Connie Monroe

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

View profile
Dr. Michael Perrotti
Education Department Chair; University-Wide Curriculum Committee Chair; Associate Professor

View profile
Michael Ulderich
Assistant Professor

View profile

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