Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Who are the students in this program?
Most of our MATC students are teachers at the elementary and middle-school levels, about a fourth are secondary teachers. Some are specialists in particular subject areas, but most are generalists responsible for teaching several subjects in the school curriculum. Some of our students are school psychologists and counselors, or they teach English as a Second Language, the arts, physical education, or work with students with special-needs across the K-12 spectrum. A few have responsibilities in staff development or district offices. Some classmates will be principals, administrators, or district coordinators who are taking certain courses in this M.A. program to enhance their work or study in other degree programs. Some students hold administrative positions in foreign ministries of higher education or teaching positions in universities overseas. About 20% of our students represent non-Anglo, international and domestic, ethnic groups. Currently, about 80% women and 20% men are enrolled in our program.
Q What are the underlying goals and assumptions of the program?
Our primary goal is to help educators become more critically reflective about their own beliefs and practices, and to become the kind of professionals who can frame and address complex problems in practice in creative and defensible ways.
We seek to prepare teachers for professional roles and activities beyond the individual classroom. Teaching occurs in a larger social context than the classroom and we believe teachers should assume more proactive, critical roles in shaping their work and those policies and practices that affect curriculum, teaching, and learning in schools.
In this program, you can expect to study cooperatively with peers, to engage actively in learning, and to share your professional journey and examples of your work over time with peers and faculty. Finally, you can expect to participate actively in self-evaluation throughout your program of studies and to evaluate the effects this program has had on your thinking as a professional.
Q Will the class/workshop/activity I have already taken count?
Possibly--that's a determination your advisor makes after you're admitted. As a generalization, the University only permits 10 credits of prior course work to be transferred into one's MA program (those completing the five-year certification program at MSU are permitted 9 credits). Interns bringing in coursework from the teacher certification fifth year are not allowed to transfer additional coursework. (Students who opt for the pre-Internship Study Abroad are admitted for the Summer Semester Study Abroad as MATC candidates are allowed to include [typically] TE 815 and TE 894 and therefore, do not "transfer" these 6 credits)
Q How do I transfer credit?
'You' don't; your advisor does. Again--after admission, we encourage new MA candidates to meet with their advisors as quickly as possible to (a) determine a program plan and (b) discuss what credits previously taken need to be transferred to your MA program. There is no guarantee that taking coursework at another institution will be approved, so please consult with the MATC program personnel prior to enrolling in any external credits, if between semesters at MSU.
Q When should I apply?
Ideally, at least three months before you wish to enroll. Enrollment can be for any semester, including summer.
Q. When do I start?
We encourage students to progress through the program in cohorts that begin their course work with TE 807 or TE 808. Students may begin the program any semester (Summer, Fall, Spring) but TE 807 or TE 808 should be taken early in the program, ideally during the first semester.
Q How long will it take me to earn my Masters degree?
The program is designed so that it can be completed in three years or less. It may take you less time if you have already earned credit that will transfer or it may take you longer if you cannot or choose not to take a "full load" during the intensive summer sessions or at the degree centers. All of your credits must be earned within the 5-year time limit.
Q. Is it too soon for me to enter the program? How much experience should I have?
The MA program in Curriculum and Teaching is a general teacher education degree intended for practicing classroom teachers. The intent of the degree is to strengthen teachers in their classroom pursuits, regardless of grade level or subject matter. Consequently, a student in the MATC program ideally is currently a teacher while taking the degree so that s/he may practice and apply the concepts learned in the program. The amount of prior teaching experience is irrelevant to success in the program; concurrent teaching is much more important. Please note that current employment in a working K-12 classroom is desired but not required for admission.
Q. I don't meet all of the qualifications. Are there any exceptions?
Students have been admitted to the MATC program who lack one or more of the qualifications, but (a) they are exceptions to admission policies who have had strong credentials in particular areas that make them likely to "grow into" the qualifications; or (b) they are admitted on a provisional basis, pending completion of particular conditions. If you have any questions about your consideration as a candidate for admission to the MATC, or simply wish to consult with the MATC Program Advisor about the appropriateness of our program for you, please email Dr. Paul Kurf at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (517.884.1889).