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2018-2019 Graduate Studies Bulletin 
  Dec 01, 2023
2018-2019 Graduate Studies Bulletin [Archived Catalog]

Initial Teacher Certification Programs

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The USC initial teacher certification programs prepare exemplary Collaborative Educational Leaders with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions they need to positively impact classrooms and a wide spectrum of educational enterprises. USC’s two graduate degree programs that lead to teacher certification are the Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) and the Master of Teaching (M.T.) degrees. Certified teachers are NOT eligible for these degrees.

Undergraduate initial teacher certification programs can be found in the Undergraduate Bulletin.

M.A.T. degrees are designed for career-changers or those deciding to become teachers after completing a bachelor’s degree in an area other than education.  M.A.T. degrees are available in many areas including elementary education (grades 2-6); areas of P-12 certification (e.g., art, foreign languages, music, physical education, special education, and theatre), and secondary English, mathematics, science, and social studies (grades 9-12). 

The College of Education offers M.A.T. programs in collaboration with departments in other college/schools, as appropriate for each program. In general, M.A.T. programs include a minimum of 45 credit hours with 6-15 credit hours in professional education coursework, 15-24 credit hours in the content area, and 15 credit hours of internship/directed teaching and seminar.  See the specific requirements for each M.A.T. degree.

The M.T. degree program is a “fifth-year” program designed for candidates who attend USC as undergraduates, earn a bachelors degree in an appropriate content major, and complete a 12-15 credit hour education core of courses. The M.T. degree is specifically designed to prepare graduates to teach in the secondary education areas of English, mathematics, science, and social studies.  The degree includes a minimum of 39 credit hours including 15-24 credit hours in professional education and 15 credit hours in internship and seminar.

Graduation from all M.A.T. and M.T. programs requires successful completion of all course work, including internship/directed teaching and a comprehensive examination.  Placement for internships/directed teaching will be made only in the Columbia metropolitan area.

Questions about applying to the M.A.T. and M.T. programs should be directed to the College of Education, Office of Student Affairs in Wardlaw 113 (777-6732;

Admissions Criteria

Requlations and requirements for admission to graduate study and graduate degree candidacy for Initial Teacher Certification Programs correspond to those of The Graduate School. In accordance with the general regulations of The Graduate School, the College of Education, and the various graduate Initial Teacher Certification Program Areas, any candidate for the M.A.T. or M.T. program is required to meet the following admissions criteria:

  • hold a baccalaureate degree with a grade point average of 2.50 or higher (based on a 4.00 system)
  • submit acceptable scores from either the GRE, Miller’s Analogy Test, or Praxis Subject Assessments as indicated by each program/degree
  • obtain at least two letters of recommendation (some programs require more) from those who can clearly attest to the candidate’s knowledge, skills, and dispositions relevant to the degree sought
  • submit supplemental application, letter or statement of intent, and/or be interviewed if required by the degree area

Some areas may have additional admission criteria.

Professional Program in Education and Internship/Directed Teaching

Candidates are required to apply for and obtain formal admission to the professional program in education prior to the internship or directed teaching experience. All candidates seeking admission to the graduate Professional Program in Education must:

  • be fully admitted to the Graduate School and to the program
  • have a minimum overall graduate GPA of 3.00 or higher
  • submit formal application to the Professional Program in Education
  • submit a graduate program (Program of Study) form signed by appropriate advisor(s)
  • satisfy all program-specific requirements
  • submit a passing score on the state-mandated Education and Economic Development Act Assessment (EEDA) module
  • be recommended by faculty

Some areas may have additional and/or more restrictive criteria. Requirements are specified under each program area. Candidates seeking teacher certification must also apply for internship or directed teaching in order to successfully complete their program of study.


In the teacher certification degree programs (M.A.T. and M.T.), the degree requirements and certification requirements are linked. Inasmuch as the certification requirements are the responsibility of the S.C. State Board of Education, if state regulations change, degree requirements are also subject to change. All candidates seeking teacher certification must:

  • successfully complete the requirements of the degree program
  • achieve test scores at or above those established by the state on the program-appropriate exams (Praxis II Series); scores earned on the Praxis must be submitted to the Office of Student Affairs, College of Education, Wardlaw 113, USC, and to the South Carolina Department of Education
  • submit to an FBI and SLED background check for prior felony convictions and be cleared by the FBI and SLED prior to internship/directed teaching
  • pay all certification fees as required
  • successfully complete ADEPT requirements with a positive recommendation for certification.



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