Teacher talking to students

The Department of Education at Catholic University supports a vibrant community of faculty, program candidates, staff, and alumni who recognize the importance of educators in shaping the future.This community embraces the university’s commitment to advancing the dialogue between faith and reason by discovering and imparting truth through excellence in teaching and research in service to the Church, the nation, and the world. The Department has a rich history in preparing educators to serve in Catholic, private, charter, and public schools. At a time when the teaching profession is facing a myriad of challenges, our program seeks to offer a foundation of strength, vision, and teacher formation that will sustain our candidates throughout their careers. 

The Secondary Education MA program is designed for candidates interested in pursuing teaching and related professions after completing a baccalaureate degree.The program coursework, practicum field experiences, and student teaching internship are designed to prepare candidates to serve in a variety of educational contexts. Upon successful program completion, candidates are also eligible to apply for a Standard Teaching Credential (license) from the Office of the State Superintendent of DC (OSSE). 

Program Contact: Dr. Melissa Mitchell, Interim Director of Graduate Programs, mitchellm@cua.edu

Program Coursework

Secondary Education MA Course Requirements Overview:
Candidates complete a minimum of 30 semester hours of post-baccalaureate coursework (course sequencing is listed below) and complete an Action Research Project during the Student Teaching Seminar the final semester. For credentialing (licensure) eligibility candidates must complete a Student Teaching Internship (9 credit hours). 

In addition to the MA coursework, candidates must satisfy the requirements for subject area coursework in English, History, or Mathematics needed for credentialing (usually 30-36 semester hours total). A Transcript Analysis will be completed by the candidate’s assigned Education advisor. Any additional subject area coursework requirements will be provided and reviewed with the candidate before they begin the first year of the program of study for the MA. 

EDUC 551 Historical and Philosophical Foundations of American Education


EDUC 575 Contemporary Issues and Policy in American Education

These two courses provide a solid foundation of the history, philosophy, and structure of American Education system. 

Candidates explore the aims, goals, and functions of schooling emphasizing the philosophical, historical, and socio-political context of U.S. education. The courses also introduce candidates to current educational issues that influence the teaching profession.

EDUC 525 Psychology of Learning for Student Engagement This course focuses on behavioral and cognitive science theories of learning and how these theories apply to diverse populations. Candidates consider how the theoretical constructs may help to inform solutions to problems of curriculum and instruction in a variety of school settings.  
EDUC 581 Educating Exceptional Learners This interactive course provides an overview of the origins of special education, the laws governing special education, and current best practices in the education of diverse learners. Diverse learners include students with disabilities, gifted and talented as well as at-risk students, and students from diverse ethnic, linguistic, and racial backgrounds. 

EDUC 582 Introduction to Curriculum and Instruction for Secondary Education


EDUC 689C Concurrent practicum (20 hours) OR Employment*

This course is an introduction to Curriculum and Instruction theory and design grounded in the Wiggins and McTighe's (2005) Understanding by Design framework. 

The course is taken concurrently with a Practicum Field Experience of 20 hours allowing candidates to apply the course concepts to observations of instructional strategies in a classroom context. 

EDUC 586 Instructional Strategies and Assessment for Secondary Education


EDUC 689C Concurrent practicum (20 hours) OR Employment*

The course focuses on current theory and research related to effective assessment and instructional planning for secondary classroom settings to facilitate student comprehension and engagement.

The course is taken concurrently with a Practicum Field Experience of 20 hours allowing candidates to apply the course concepts to observations of instructional strategies in a classroom context.

EDUC 699 Introduction to Research in Secondary Education

This course introduces principles of educational research and evaluation, including research methodology, methods of analyzing and evaluating research, a review of current practices, and research design. Emphasis is placed on the role teachers must play in the wider conversation regarding educational research, evidence based methods, and classroom instruction.

EDUC 765 Principles of Curriculum Theory This seminar provides students with a foundational understanding of the historical and contemporary issues, theories, and practices that make up the curriculum field. The course also explores Catholic educational theory, pedagogy, and curriculum based in Thomist philosophy of the intersection of faith and reason. 

EDUC 580 (English)/ 585 (Social Studies)/ 579 (Math) Content Area Methods 


EDUC 689C Concurrent Practicum (30 hours) OR Employment*

Candidates further develop their philosophy of content area education, planning for instruction, and ability critique curriculum materials in this course with a focus on their subject area. 

The course is taken concurrently with a Practicum Field Experience of 30 hours allowing candidates to apply the course concepts to observations of instructional strategies in a classroom context.

EDUC 5XX (or higher) OR Subject Area 5XX (or higher) Elective Various elective courses are offered each semester. 

EDUC 500 Student Teaching Internship (9 credit hours) 

OR EDUC 600 (3 credit hours if current classroom teacher in subject area)

The Student Teaching Internship experience provides the opportunity for Graduate Program candidates to apply the professional knowledge of theory and pedagogy acquired in previous coursework and Field Practicum experiences to gain the contextual knowledge required to enter the teaching profession and thrive. Candidates spend the 15 week semester immerse in a school classroom and assume instruction under the guidance of a cooperating teacher and a University Supervisor. 

*Candidates employed as a classroom teacher in their subject area may be eligible to substitute their employment for 6 hours of the Internship requirement. 


EDUC 501 Student Teaching Seminar (3 credit hours- required for all candidates)
This Student Teaching Seminar course for Graduate Program Candidates is taken concurrently with the Student Teaching Internship experience (EDUC 500). Candidates apply their understanding of theory, philosophy, and practice to complete their Action Research projects during this seminar course.


 

Additional Program Information and Requirements

Subject/Content Area Requirements:
In addition to the MA coursework, candidates must satisfy the requirements for subject area coursework in English, History, or Mathematics needed for credentialing (usually 30-36 semester hours total). The number, type, and requirements for this coursework are determined by OSSE not Catholic University. A Transcript Analysis will be completed by the candidate’s assigned Education advisor. Any additional subject area coursework requirements will be provided and reviewed with the candidate before they begin the first year of the program of study for the MA. Approval of the additional subject area coursework required for credentialing (licensure) does not obligate Catholic University to offer the courses needed.

Transfer Credit Limitations:
Transfer credit is not permitted for EDUC 551, 525, or EDUC 575.  Catholic University policy permits the transfer of up to six semester credit hours of previous graduate work into the Master’s program with the approval of the candidate's Department of Education advisor and the Dean of the School of Arts & Sciences. The Department of Education will only consider transfer credits for courses completed in the five-year period immediately preceding the candidate's admission to the program with an earned  grade of B or better.

Advising:
Each candidate at the Department of Education is assigned a faculty advisor prior to initial registration. The advising faculty member provides guidance regarding study and degree requirements, academic problems that may arise during the candidate's course of study, and resources for the candidate. Candidates are responsible for communicating with their advisor and meeting on a regular basis to review degree requirements and progress.

Education Portfolio Project and Presentation (Comprehensive Exam):
Teacher Education Master’s candidates conduct an Education Portfolio Project based on the context of their Student Teaching Internship classroom their final semester. This project is based on the synthesis of feedback from three instructional cycle evaluations during the Student Teaching semester.

Criteria for the Education Portfolio include:  a clear statement of the candidate’s educational philosophy, demonstrated use of data to inform instructional practice, and supporting scholarly literature review for the candidate’s planning and delivery of instruction for the context of the education setting. The formatting, content details, and scoring guidelines for the project are reviewed in the Student Teaching Seminar course.
Candidates are assigned a Department of Education faculty member or University Supervisor who supervises the candidate during the Student Teaching Internship. The Education Portfolio is reviewed and scored by the candidate’s Education advisor, faculty or field supervisor, and Student Teaching Seminar instructor. 

Student Teaching Placement Eligibility:

  • Candidates must meet the minimum grades in all Graduate coursework to be eligible for Student Teaching.
  • Continuance in the program and eligibility for Student Teaching placement is not automatically granted upon successful completion of academic requirements. If weaknesses or deficiencies are noted in content knowledge, understanding of pedagogy, professional communication, interpersonal skills, or other disposition concerns, the Department may elect to put the candidate on probation. An improvement plan will be determined which may require the candidate to take additional coursework, complete additional practicum observations, or obtain personal counseling. For non academic issues, candidates are granted one probationary period to improve as designated by the improvement plan. 
  • Secondary Education MA candidates must take and pass the appropriate PRAXIS II Subject Content Knowledge Exam in the semester prior to Student Teaching. 
  • Transportation to and from agencies or schools used for practicum, student teaching, and any other field experiences is the personal responsibility of the candidate. The Department makes every effort to find placements accessible by public transportation. 

Graduation:
Candidates must complete all coursework and internship requirements outlined above to be eligible for graduation. In addition, candidates must:
  • Maintain a minimum of a 3.0 GPA on a four-point scale in all coursework;
  • Present an Education Portfolio Comprehensive Exam
  • Coursework and other program requirements must be completed within five years from the date of admission. Students must apply for an extension if they determine they will exceed the five year completion timeline.

Application for Standard Teaching Credential and Endorsement Requirements
In addition to the University program graduation requirements, to be eligible to apply for a Standard Teaching Credential (teaching license), candidates must complete the credential application process directly with the Office of the State Superintendent of DC (OSSE). 

The complete process for applying for the OSSE Standard Teaching Credential is outlined on the OSSE website, see this link for full details  OSSE Standard Teacher Credential. Catholic University of America Teacher Education Program graduates are pursuing Option 1: In-State Program Completer. Please review all of the requirements. It is the candidate’s responsibility to apply for the Standard Teaching Credential. Catholic University is not able to initiate or complete this process on behalf of candidates.
The following is a short list of the requirements from the OSSE website for quick reference:

  • Approved Program Completer Verification Form 
    • This form is completed by the Education Department and a PDF copy will be provided to the candidate for submission to OSSE after graduation verification is completed. 
  • Identity History Summary Check (IHSC) (See list for providers)
  • Complete required Praxis Content and Pedagogy Exams 
    • List of Required Praxis Exams by Subject Area
    • Candidates must take the Subject Content Exam for CUA’s  program completion requirements. 
    • The Principal of Learning & Teaching (PLT) exam is also required for credentialing. 
  • Official Transcripts from Catholic University of America 
    • Submit a Transcript Request to CUA when available after the end of Spring Semester. 
    • Submit a copy of the final transcript with the degree conferred confirmation with the OSSE application.
  • Pay all applicable fees (For most credentials the application fee is $50)

Interstate Agreement (Reciprocity)
The OSSE in DC participates in the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC) Interstate Agreement. This organization facilitates the ability of Educators to transfer their teaching credentials to states and territories participating in the network. Here is a link to the NASDTEC website and a full list of participating US States and Territories.

If you plan to obtain a license in another state/ US territory, the easiest way of doing so is to obtain a teaching credential from OSSE first. You will then submit this credential to the Department of Education in State or Territory for review. You should also contact the Department of Education in the state/territory where you are planning to teach to learn what other requirements you may need to fulfill in addition to providing your OSSE Teaching Credential. For example, in some states, like Texas and Alaska, you may need to complete a course in state history for certification.

Adding Teaching Endorsement Certifications
OSSE allows candidates to apply to add an Endorsement Standard Credential in another subject area to their Standard Teaching Credential by passing the associated PRAXIS II content and pedagogy tests. In essence, this is an “exam only” option which means you do not need to take any additional coursework to obtain the endorsement.

For instance, an Elementary program completer could apply for an Early Childhood credential endorsement as long as they pass the ECE PRAXIS II content and pedagogy tests. Or a Secondary Education major could apply to add a Middle School endorsement as long as they pass the Middle Childhood Praxis II content and pedagogy test.

Candidates may apply for the endorsement concurrently with the application for the DC Standard Credential in their major program.  Link to Information on OSSE Adding Teaching Endorsements