Secondary Education Certification

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

About English 7-12 Teaching Certification

Equip students with invaluable tools of thought and expression.

Open up worlds of knowledge for middle and high school students. Level I certification and a master's degree in English education from PennWest California prepare you to teach English to grades 7-12 in Pennsylvania, while giving you essential real-world experience as an effective classroom leader.

This rigorous master's program combines core pedagogy courses with classes on literary forms and English history as needed.

Join our history of producing top-quality educators. 

  • PennWest California has been training Pennsylvania teachers for over 160 years.
  • Our partnerships with local school districts foster exceptional observation and student teaching experiences.


Online Classes: English education courses are delivered online so you can continue your day job while earning your degree. You'll also interact face to face with professors and peers during a two-day, on-campus summer residency. 

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

Fieldwork & Student Teaching: PennWest California students stand out in the English education job market because they complete 20 to 24 hours of fieldwork per semester in assigned Pennsylvania schools before the full-time student teaching component of this program.

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.


Average annual salary for secondary education teachers in Pennsylvania Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Semesters needed to complete your master's degree and certification in secondary education certification - four semesters of courses and one semester of student teaching.
icon undergrad for degree

Program Benefits

Whether you have a background in English or are switching careers from another field, graduate degree courses will give you mastery of the latest practices and theories in literacy, language arts and English education while deepening your expertise in the discipline.

  • Study English 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 English.
  • Deepen your knowledge of poetry, drama, fiction, grammar, historical world literature and other related topics.
  • Gain real-world experience through student teaching.
icon undergrad for degree

Graduate Outcomes

Graduates of this program are prepared to teach secondary education English at public or private schools. They also thrive as English program coordinators, evaluators and curriculum specialists. Secondary education program graduates are employed by dozens of schools across the country.


Curriculum, Admission Requirements and Related Programs

This professional graduate degree program is delivered online and during a two-day, on-campus residency. Our rigorous courses will deepen your English knowledge base while equipping you with the latest theories and practices in English and literary arts 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 651  Methods of English 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:

  • English composition I
  • English composition II
  • American literature
  • British literature
  • World literature
  • Early western literature
  • Writing theory
  • Research for writing or journalism
  • English or communication elective
  • English or reading elective
  • Two language courses (grammar, linguistics, history of the language)

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


A student and teacher works on a project.

On-campus Summer Residency

Each summer, PennWest California secondary education graduate students meet on campus for an intensive two-day residency where students get face-to-face instruction, interact with their peers and teach sample lessons.

An English teacher with students.

Experienced Faculty

Learn best practices in education from experienced professors such as Dr. Connie Monroe, who has taught high school French, English and English as a second language. 

A PennWest California student rides his bike on campus.

Course Spotlight: Teaching of English

Learn how to apply the principles of educational psychology, philosophy and sociology to the teaching of English in secondary schools. This course covers practical techniques of classroom practice and examines the challenges of the profession.


English 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.