SIUE Introduces Master’s of Arts in Teaching

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Susanne JamesSouthern Illinois University Edwardsville is introducing a master’s of arts in teaching (MAT) for summer 2020 through the School of Education, Health and Human Behavior’s (SEHHB) Department of Teaching and Learning.

The MAT allows students, who have an undergraduate degree in areas other than education, the opportunity to earn a master’s, as well as gain certification to teach special education in grades K-12. Students can earn state licensure and a master’s in just two years. The MAT program provides integrated coursework focused on diverse learners, as well as field experiences that require theoretical and practical knowledge application. 

“With a growing need for special educators nationwide, as well as anticipated continued growth, MAT graduates have a wide range of employment opportunities,” said Susanne James, PhD, program director and associate professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning. “Our graduates are licensed to teach students with a wide range of disabilities in kindergarten through age 21. There is a dramatic need for special education teachers in Illinois.”

The MAT prepares candidates for Learning Behavior Specialist I licensure, which requires teachers to build a knowledge base to identify and intervene with students who exhibit a wide range of disabilities. Students with undergraduate degrees in teacher education are not eligible for this program.

MAT candidates complete six semesters, totaling 45 hours of coursework while engaging in field-based, hands-on learning experiences in public school settings. Students progress through the program as members of a cohort, with each new group beginning during the summer term. Licensure will cover grades kindergarten-12 in special education.

MAT coursework is designed to allow candidates the opportunity to evaluate and conduct research in the classroom. A series of developmentally sequenced field experiences are required for all ages, types and ability levels, as well as collaborative opportunities appropriate to the special education teacher. All experiences must be completed prior to student teaching, are supervised by qualified professionals, and are arranged through the SEHHB Office of Student Services.

For more information, contact James at 618-650-3489 or [email protected], or visit

Photo: SIUE’s Susanne James, PhD, associate professor in the School of Education Health and Human Behavior’s Department of Teaching and Learning.