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MAT Frequently Asked Questions

What is an MAT?

A Master of Arts in Teaching is a graduate degree that includes the course work required for initial teacher certification.

Who is the MAT for?

The MAT is designed for individuals who have an undergraduate degree in an area other than teaching.  It is not appropriate for people who are already certified teachers. MAT students come from a variety of backgrounds and range in age from 22-60.

What undergraduate background is required?

You may be admitted to the MAT program with any undergraduate degree.  You will however have to have the course work required in your certification area.  For elementary, early childhood, and special education, you will need 60 hours of arts and science credits including study in all curriculum areas.  For secondary education, you will need 30 hours of study in your certification area including courses in all of the areas covered in NJ Core Curriculum Content Standards.  For technological education, you will need an undergraduate degree in a design or engineering related field.

What do I do if I don’t have all the needed undergraduate credits?

You may matriculate into an MAT program provided that you have completed the needed hours before classes start.  If this is not the case, you will have to take any missing classes before entering the program.

What are the admission requirements?

You will have to take a Graduate Records Examination (GRE), submit 2 letters of recommendation, and write an admissions essay.  You will be required to have a 2.75 GPA in your undergraduate degree except under extraordinary circumstances.  There is no absolute GRE score requirement, but in the past few students have been admitted with less than a combined verbal and quantitative score of 1000.  All factors are taken into account when admission decisions are made.

How is the program structured?

The MAT is a one-year cohort program which starts at the end of May and ends at the end of the following June (special education is a year and a half and ends in December).  The first two summer courses are offered in evenings during June and July.  In the fall, all students have the Internship I semester which includes 3 half days a week in the schools and may include courses during daytime hours.  In the spring, all programs except for special education have the full time student teaching experience and some additional evening course work.  Student teaching in the special education program is in the second fall semester.  All programs include summer study in the second May and June.

Can I take the program part-time?

Many students complete the MAT over a two or three year period, first taking all of the night courses that they possibly can.  Eventually, however, you will have to take Internship I and the related courses and the full time Internship II semester.  Furthermore, not all courses are offered every semester so scheduling a part time program is not entirely flexible.  For example, you can complete the elementary MAT in 1 or 2 years easily, but cannot possibly plan to complete it in a year and a half.

Must I start the program in the summer?

The only time students can matriculate into the MAT program is for the summer.  The deadline for application is March 1st.  A limited number of students are allowed to enroll in courses on a special admission basis in the fall.  The deadline for this is August 1st.  No students are admitted for the spring semester.

When do I apply for Internship II (student teaching)?

If you are completing the traditional 13 month program from May to June, you will apply during the Exploring Teaching course which is the first class you will take in the program.

Otherwise you should apply as soon as you matriculate into the program.

Please note that in addition to completing the application for Internship II, the MAT candidate must also register for Internship II through the Office of Records and Registration.

Can I request a specific district, grade level or k-12 teacher?

No, but consideration will be given for hardship, when the application for placement is being made. A desire for a specific grade level does not constitute a hardship. You will be placed within the grade levels of the subject area for which you will be certified to teach. A hardship request can be accomplished by attaching a letter to your student teaching application indicating the factors that need to be considered. General information on requirements and policies can be obtained by consulting the Culminating Field Experience Handbook.

Placements will be made in school districts within a 30-mile radius of TCNJ and to districts within a reasonable commute from your home.

When will I be advised of my placement?

In most cases you will be notified before the end of the semester prior to student teaching. Understand, however, that placements can occur as late as one week prior to the beginning of the experience.

What if I have a problem with my placement?

You must consult with your department coordinator.   Based upon the recommendation of the department coordinator, the STEP Office may issue an alternate placement.   However, the final decision will be made by the STEP Office.

When should I receive my Mantoux (tuberculosis) test?

You will need to have a Mantoux test at the beginning of the Internship I experience. If there is a lapse of time between the Internship I experience and Internship II experience, you may need to be tested again prior to student teaching.

Does TCNJ administer Mantoux testing?


WHEN:   2 clinics are scheduled by the STEP Office – one for Fall and one for Spring. A letter is sent to the MAT candidate announcing the dates of the clinic. A letter will be sent to the MAT candidate announcing the clinics.

WHERE:    Health Services

COST:      $5.00/test

Copies of the results will be forwarded to the STEP Office from Health Services if administered during the scheduled clinic dates. If the test is NOT administered through the clinic, you must forward a copy to the STEP Office. Keep the original with you in the event the school nurse at your cooperating school requests verification of the Mantoux test.

If I have a certification or praxis question whom do I see?

You can check with the Certification Office located in Education 106 about NJ certification application and TCNJ graduation questions.

What do I do if I have further questions?

You may call or e-mail the program coordinators listed:

Elem Educ. – Dr. Arti Joshi;; 609.771.2419

Secondary Educ. – Dr. Gregory Seaton;; 609.771.3348


The College is open with very limited on-campus staffing. For assistance and all questions, please contact us via email