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Graduate Programs

Master of Arts in Teaching: Initial Licensure
Inspiring the teachers of tomorrow

MAT campus-based overview 

The Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) provides second career and non-traditional students an opportunity to earn initial teacher licensure, authorization at the high school level, and a graduate degree. Western Oregon University offers two full-time campus based cohorts each year: one begins in March and ends the next March, another begins in June and ends the next June. (We are currently transitioning from offering a January cohort to offering a March cohort.) To serve teacher candidates who live in a geographic area that precludes a consistent commute to campus, we also have an online MAT program.

The full-time, on-campus program consists of four consecutive quarters of coursework combined with practicum experience in the schools. For two terms, teacher candidates spend half a day at the school site Monday through Friday and return to campus for their university courses. A typical day during those two terms starts around 7 a.m. at the high school and concludes around 4:30 or 5 p.m. at the university. The other two practicum experiences require teacher candidates to spend a full day at the school. August/September Experience occurs when teachers first return to the schools after summer break and continues until late September when fall term begins at the university. Full time student teaching occurs the last term of the program. Teacher candidates are usually placed in the same classroom throughout the four terms. University courses are closely linked to classroom experience so teacher candidates can explore theories and practices learned in their studies. Teaching proficiencies that define what teachers should know and be able to do upon completion of the program are threaded through each course. Assessment of the proficiencies occurs through classroom activities, course assignments, teaching evaluations, and production of two work samples.

Frequently asked questions 

What subject areas will I be licensed to teach upon graduating?
In Oregon you must pass the ORELA NES test for any subject you wish to teach. Western Oregon University stipulates that all applicants to the MAT program must provide passing scores on the Praxis II before being admitted. Typically only students with passing Praxis II scores at the time of application to the program will be considered for admission. Students are placed in high school classrooms the first term of the program so it is important that they possess extensive content knowledge before the program begins.

Western Oregon University is able to recommend MAT students for licensure at the secondary level in the subject areas listed below. Subject matter areas are referred to as endorsement areas.

  Art Language Arts
  Biology Mathematics-Basic
  Business Mathematics-Advanced
  Chemistry Music
  ESOL Physical Education
  ESOL/Bilingual Physics
  German Social Science
  Health Spanish
  Integrated Science Theatre/Drama

What grade levels will I be able to teach?
In Oregon, teaching licenses are for four grade level configurations, which are called authorizations: Early Childhood (3 years to grade 4), Elementary (grades 3-8), Middle Level (grades 5-10), and High School (grades 7-12). Upon completion of the MAT program at WOU, you will be eligible for the middle/high school or high school only authorization. It is important to note that even though the high school only authorization specifies grades 7-12, it does not allow you to teach in a junior high or middle school. Oregon licensure rules established by the Teacher Standards and Practices Commission stipulate that you can teach grades 7 and 8 only as long as they are in a 7-12 high school. If you wish to be authorized at the middle level, you will need to complete the middle/high requirements (pass subtests 1 and 2 of the Oregon Educator Licensure Assessments (ORELA) to assess knowledge and high-order thinking skills of prospective elementary and middle school teachers, complete a 90-hour practicum, and produce one of your two required work samples at that level). If you specify that you desire to pursue the middle level authorization early in the MAT program, we can help to arrange this for you.

Am I able to choose the school where I do my student teaching?
All arrangements for student teaching are made by the College of Education. If you are admitted, you will receive a list of the geographic areas where we have schools that have agreed to accept WOU students. You will be asked to indicate which of those areas you prefer. Sue Thompson, the Director of Field Services, and Ron Carey will make every attempt to find a placement for you in your top priority area. However, there are many factors that have to be taken into consideration, such as: (a) the number of applicants in the same endorsement (content) area, (b) finding teachers who qualify to be mentors, and (c) locating teachers in your content area who are willing to have a student teacher for four terms. All of this takes careful negotiation with the school principals. It is most important that students refrain from making any contact with schools on their own. Doing so can seriously jeopardize future relationships with the university. 

How do I find out about financial aid possibilities? 
There will be information in your application packet regarding applying for financial aid. You may also visit the WOU Financial Aid Web site. The financial aid office will begin to process your materials once you have been officially admitted to the Graduate School and to the MAT program. Please file your FAFSA and select WOU as a recipient of your information prior to applying for financial aid.

Will I be able to work part time while I am in the program?
Occasionally students are able to work and take classes at the same time but it is a real stretch. Once you begin taking classes you will find that the days are really full. Every day you will be in your assigned high school from approximately 7:30 until noon, except for the last term when you are student teaching all day. You will also be taking a full load of classes scheduled from 1 to 4 p.m. or later every day. There is a substantial amount of written work assigned in each class plus preparation for practice teaching. In short, it is a very demanding program and requires a high level of commitment.

Can I still apply even though I don't have all my test scores yet?
You can apply without proof of passing test scores, however, your application will be considered incomplete and others, with proof of all passing test scores, will be considered ahead of you. It has become quite uncommon for us to admit anybody into the full-time, on-campus MAT program without proof of passing tests but have been a little more flexible with the part-time, web-based MAT program. In other words, your application will be viewed most favorably if you have all your tests completed!

Some of the content areas consist of more than one test. Can I be admitted to the program if I have passed part but not all of the Praxis tests?
Again, your application will be viewed as incomplete if you have not passed all appropriate tests.

What happens if my grade point average isn't high enough?
If your grade point average during your last 90 quarter hours or 60 semester hours of academic work was below a 3.0, you will need to take an additional test. You have the option of taking either the Miller Analogies Test, which requires a score of 395 or higher, or the Graduate Record Examination, which requires an average score of 450 or higher on the Verbal and Quantitative sections and a 3.5 or higher on the Analytical Writing section.. Contact the Graduate Office at 503-838-8492 to inquire about testing dates and locations.

I haven't had experience working with youth in a school or public institution. Does this prevent me from being accepted?
In a perfect world, you would have had the opportunity to work with youth in settings such as Boys & Girls Club, scouts, after school activities, or some other similar experience. The benefit of such experience is that you have a chance to find out if you really like working with that age group and we can learn if you have the requisite skills and aptitude for going into teaching. We realize, however, that some individuals may not be able to provide that documentation. If this is your situation, indicate any other experiences you may have had that might be comparable. This is only once piece of information that we consider and should not preclude you from being accepted. If you want your application materials to be looked upon most favorably, we suggest you volunteer about 30 hours of your time in a high school classroom appropriate to your subject matter specialty area.

I heard there were required courses for the ESOL endorsement, is that true?
Yes. Unlike all the other content areas, the ESOL endorsement requires that you take additional coursework. You will not be admitted to the program under the ESOL endorsement area without these courses. For information about course requirements please contact:

Surname begins with A-F, Dr. Maria Dantas-Whitney, phone 503-838-8636
Surname begins with G-O, Dr. Carmen Caceda, phone 503-838-8409
Surname begins with P-Z, Dr. Karie Mize, phone 503-838-8724

How do I add an endorsement area?
An endorsement area is added by doing two things: 1) pass the appropriate NES test(s), and; 2) complete a 90 hours practicum in the appropriate subject matter setting - like a mathematics classroom. If you pass the NES test early enough in your program we can arrange for this within the context of the MAT program.

Can I begin the MAT program in a part-time cohort and transfer in to a full-time cohort?
No. We tried this early in the program and found that it really didn't work very well - neither for students nor the program faculty. At this time, we do not consider transferring between cohort models.

About how much does the MAT program cost?
Contact the College of Education for more information.

I heard there were some additional requirements if I'm in creative arts (art, music, theatre/drama)?
Yes, that's true. If you're in art, music, or theater arts, you will be required to go through a couple extra steps in application. Those in theater arts need to also submit transcripts and a theater arts resume highlighting experiences working in performance, directing, and technical theater. Because no Praxis II exam exists for theater, theater arts faculty here at Western will use this resume and your transcripts to make sure you have a suitable level of theater arts experiences and coursework to enter the program. If you have a degree in theater, or approximately 21 credit hours in theater, you will likely fair well in this evaluation process. If you are in art, you must also submit a portfolio of your work and arrange to discuss your portfolio with one of the art faculty members here at Western. This can be arranged after you apply to the program. If you are in music, you will also be required to meet with Western music professors and perform in your musical specialty area. As with art, this can be arranged after you apply to the MAT program.

How do I add the middle level authorization?
Adding the middle level authorization is a bit more complex than adding an endorsement area. First, you will need to pass the ORELA. Second, you'll need to do a 90 hour practicum in a middle school, and third, you'll need to prepare a work sample in this setting. The practicum and work sample can be completed in the context of the MAT program but you'll need to find a way to pass the ORELA before we can legally add this authorization to your license. Now, there's a trick here for those in art, music, physical education, and ESOL - folks in these areas do not need to pass the ORELA as these are deemed specialty areas by Teacher Standards and Practices Commission (TSPC). No matter your endorsement area, if you wish to add the middle level authorization, make your desire known early in your MAT program and give Western lots of time to help you make this happen!

What are the possibilities for getting jobs after graduation?
Most of our graduates have been able to find jobs in their field. Factors such as location, subject area, and school financing all play an important role in the job market. Teachers in math, science, Spanish and ESOL/ESL are in short supply and therefore have a greater chance of finding the position of their choice. Teachers in other content areas may have to consider smaller schools and districts outside of the I-5 corridor. The two biggest factors, though, are your professional skills and recommendations from your mentor teacher, other school personnel, and the university faculty. You may wish to consider adding additional endorsement areas (subject matters) and the middle level authorization as these will make you a more marketable candidate as well.

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