Teaching and Learning

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Master of Arts in Teaching and Learning

Steve Jones, Program Coordinator
Hill Hall, Room 125;
Phone 417-836-5982

Program description 

The Master of Arts in Teaching and Learning (MATL) degree helps individual teachers improve their teaching, resulting in better student learning outcomes, while aiding whole school communities with identifying and responding to the needs or problems in their schools and communities.  This is a degree based on what teachers want: ideas, tools, strategies, knowledge, and understandings that make them better at what they do; space to work on their craft individually; and, opportunities to talk with colleagues about what is really important in their particular classrooms, schools, and communities.  Please note:  The MATL degree does not prepare (or certify) teachers to work as a building principal. 

The bulk of this degree (18 credit hours) is delivered on-site in a two-year cohort model.  Teachers enrolled in this degree will meet periodically, in the same cohort (though in different courses), with teacher colleagues enrolled in the same associated Specialist in Education, Teacher Leadership (SETL) degree and also with other teacher colleagues who want only the graduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning.  Cohorts will identify common needs or concerns, deepen collaboration, and strengthen supportive collegial relationships.  Degrees feature an inquiry project-based approach via an action research framework.  Each student will choose an emphasis or elective area (12 credit hours- with a wide range of options) and will have direct sustained involvement with SMU Education faculty.

Students interested in this degree - and who think they also might want to acquire the Specialist in Education, Teacher Leadership degree - may qualify for the Accelerated Pathway for the Specialist degree.  See the requirements for this Accelerated Pathway in the Graduate Catalog, under Specialist in Education, Teacher Leadership.

Entrance requirements

Admission to the program requires the following minimum criteria:

  1. Students must possess a Bachelor's degree, teacher certification, and must meet the requirements for admission to graduate school.
  2. A minimum GPA of 3.00 in the last 60 hours of course work in their undergraduate program.  Students who do not meet the GPA requirement must take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).  A GRE combined score of 290 (875 under the old scoring system before August 1, 2011) on the verbal and quantitative sections of the GRE is required prior to the student's registering for more than 9 credit hours.
  3. Applicants for whom English is a second language are required to submit scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).  A minimum score of 550 on the paper-based or a comparable score of 213 on the computer-based TOEFL are required for admission.
  4. A student who does not meet all the above criteria, but who demonstrates outstanding potential, may be fully admitted by the Program Coordinator on the basis of individual merit.

Program admission procedures

In addition to the Graduate Application materials, a student should submit:

  1. A letter containing teaching and professional goals, future plans, background information, teaching experiences, and the emphasis/elective area of interest to the candidate.
  2. A copy of an appropriate teacher certification or eligibility for teacher certification by a state agency.  Application without certification or eligibility may be accepted with permission from the Program Coordinator.
  3. Submission of three letters or recommendation from professionals familiar with the candidate's academic abilities and teaching potential.

Degree requirements

Satisfactory completion of a minimum of 33 approved graduate hours with a minimum overall GPA of 3.00.

  1. Students must complete the four courses listed in the Professional Learning Community section of the degree with a minimum overall GPA of 3.50.  No more than 16 hours of 600-level coursework may be applied to the degree program.
  2. Comprehensive Examination.  A comprehensive written or oral examination must be passed by the candidate before a degree will be granted.
  3. Research.  Completion of EDC 704, Teaching and Learning V: Research Seminar, which will require a presentation of a professional dossier and either an extensive paper or major creative work.
  4. Transfer credit.  A maximum of 30% of the 33 hours of graduate credit may be accepted toward the master's degree.  Please note one exception to the transfer credit rule:  no transfer credits are accepted for the first four core courses.
  5. All transfer credit must be "A" or "B" grade status from an accredited college or university and must be approved by the Program Coordinator.

Course Requirements   33 hours

Courses may count only once in meeting the 33 hours program course requirements.

Required Professional Learning Community Courses - 18 hours (No transfer courses allowed)
First Year (On-Site, cohort based)
Course Code Course Title Credits
EDC 700 Teaching and Learning I:  Current Issues & Trends in Education 5 hrs
EDC 701 Teaching and Learning II:  Diversity, Curriculum & Research 5 hrs
Second Year (On-Site, cohort based)
Course Code Course Title Credits
EDC 702 Teaching and Learning III:  Management & Assessment of Learning 5 hrs
EDC 703 Teaching and Learning IV:  Curriculum Development 3 hrs


Additional Required Course - 3 hrs
Course Code Course Title Credits
EDC 704 Teaching and Learning V;  Research Seminar 3 hrs
Emphasis/Elective Area - 12 hours

Students will choose an Emphasis Area or series of elective courses.  The following Emphasis Areas are proposed pending program area participation:

Secondary Education:  Candidate's area of certification/teaching.
Educational Technology:  Choose from among EDT 630, 650, 662, 763, 764, 765.
Literacy:  Choose from among RDG 640, 660, 673, 680, 685, 700, 710, 740, 770.
Elementary Education:  to be determined.
Early Childhood and Family Education:  to be determined.
Educational Leadership:  to be determined.
Special Education:  to be determined.
Counseling:  to be determined.
Middle School Education:  to be determined.
Educational Research:  to be determined.
Educational Foundations:  Choose from among SEC 701, SFR 676, 682, 750, 753, 791. 796, 858. 

Other electives may be added at the discretion of the Program Coordinator.