Master of Arts in Teaching Plus SPED Endorsement

Master of Arts in Teaching Plus Special Education Endorsement

(MAT degree)


The Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) Plus Special Education Endorsement program is designed to provide a future teacher with the content and methods necessary to be an effective teacher. Thematic strands such as critical thinking, curriculum, classroom management, cultural proficiency, action research, and technology are integrated throughout the curriculum. The themes add qualities to the program that are not reflected in single courses but are interwoven throughout the curriculum. The form of the teacher education program includes a purposeful use of current research findings on the education of teachers as translated into practical experiences and methodologies.

The Master of Arts in Teaching Plus SPED Endorsement program may be completed in one of three ways:

  1. MAT Fulltime: a three-semester full-time format
  2. MAT in Your Community: a two-semester part-time, plus two-semester full-time format
  3. MAT @ Night: a five-semester part-time format (the last semester is full time)

The program is available to individuals who have completed an undergraduate BA or BS degree in a field other than education.

Program Objectives

Educational Objectives

To enable students to:

  • Build on their knowledge of subject matter as they develop pedagogical skills and research methodologies
  • Gain knowledge about the psychological, sociological, historical, and philosophical foundations of education
  • Apply these understandings in early childhood, elementary, middle, and secondary classrooms
  • Successfully meet the challenges of classroom teaching
Professional Objectives

To enable students to:

  • Meet the federal government's "No Child Left Behind" definition of a "highly qualified teacher"
  • Earn the Special Education (SPED) Endorsement 
  • Receive an Oregon Preliminary Teaching License upon completion of the program and passing scores on the appropriate standardized measures (Praxis Specialty Examination for secondary and middle-level licensure, ORELA for elementary licensure and middle-level authorization, and California Basic Educational Skills Test)

The Preliminary Teaching License may bear endorsements in the following areas: advanced mathematics, agriculture, art, basic mathematics,* biology, business, chemistry, drama,* family/consumer sciences, French, German, health education, integrated science,* Japanese, language arts, marketing, music, physical education, physics, Russian, social studies, speech communications,* Spanish and technology education.

* These subjects may be added to another endorsement for high school applicants; integrated science and basic math may stand alone for elementary/middle school applicants.

Admission Requirements

Applicants seeking admission to the MAT Plus SPED Endorsement program must hold a four-year baccalaureate degree program from an accredited college or university, with a minimum GPA of 3.0 in the last two years of course work. In addition, applicants must complete the following to be considered for admission to the program:

  • Master of arts in teaching application and application fee
  • Submit one official transcript from each college/university attended
  • Completion of the character reference statement required by Oregon TSPC
  • Three recommendations
  • A group assessment with the MAT Admission Committee

If accepted into the program, a $200 tuition deposit is required. Deadline for application is Feb. 1 for the full-time format, June 1 for the MAT @ Night format, and Oct. 1 for MAT in Your Community. Applications may be reviewed after those dates on a space-available basis. Preference will be given to those candidates who have had experience in schools working with students in their desired authorization level as well as to those candidates who have passed the appropriate ORELA exam.

Prior to full-time student teaching, students must have taken and passed the appropriate ORELA exam.  If a student has not completed this requirement, she/he may apply for an exception; however, if an exception is granted and the student does not pass the required exams prior to graduation, the director will not sign any official documents recommending the student as a candidate for licensure in Oregon or any other state.

Transfer Credit

No transfer credit is allowed toward the MAT Plus SPED Endorsement program. Transferability of credits earned at this institution and transferred to another is at the discretion of the receiving institution. Consult the registrar's office for information on eligibility of transfer credit.

Residence Requirements

All 55 hours required for the MAT Plus SPED Endorsement program must be taken in resident study at George Fox University. Reinstatement to the program after withdrawal requires Admissions Committee action and may subject the student to additional requirements for the degree.

Course Requirements

The Master of Arts in Teaching Plus SPED Endorsement program is generally 1-2 years in length with 55 semester hours of course work required as a minimum for graduation. Of those hours, 21 are in prescribed core education courses, 5 in area of specialization, 19 in SPED endorsement courses, and 10 practicum hours.

Other Degree Requirements

The program structure will be characterized by:

Cohort Model
Students will work in cohorts of 15 to 18 students. Cohorts will include early childhood, elementary, middle, and secondary levels. Cohorts are both blended- and authorization-specific. Although they are separate cohorts, they will be blended together for certain experiences and courses.

Theory-Into-Practice Links
Practicum experiences will be a large component of the program, beginning with either an enrichment program planned and implemented by the students or a specific volunteer experience. The involvement in a variety of practicum experiences will provide preservice teachers with opportunities to apply learning from course work. University faculty, cooperating teachers, and administrators from local districts will be involved in collaborative efforts to plan links between course work and application in classrooms.

Action Research
A research strand will be woven throughout the program. Students will design an action research project that will be shared at an action research symposium at the completion of the program.

Thematic Strands
Major strands, such as cultural proficiency, values, action research, and decision making, will be incorporated throughout the professional courses. Other topics such as classroom management and technology will also be integrated in several of the professional courses.

Study of the Subject Matter Knowledge and Structure
Students will research and discuss the nature and structure of the subject areas while concentrating on their major subject. They will engage in interdisciplinary discussions that will allow them to discern relationships between the subject areas.

The ability to reflect on learning about teaching and on the practice of teaching will be developed in small- and large-group discussions, in journal entries, in papers, and in conferences with supervisors and cooperating teachers.

Endorsement Courses
Endorsement courses are completed concurrently with MAT cohort courses. Three courses are taken throughout the MAT cohort program and two courses are taken in May/June after Commencement. The endorsement courses blend with some MAT formats better than others.

Graduation Requirements

In order to graduate with the Master of Arts in Teaching degree Plus SPED Endorsement students must:

  • Satisfactorily complete a minimum of 55 semester hours with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above.
  • Achieve no grade lower than a B in all core courses. If a grade of a B- or lower is received in a designated course, that course must be retaken (for more specific information, please refer to the student handbook).
  • Pass appropriate exams to be recommended for licensure
  • Pass Praxis content area exam
  • Complete SPED endorsement work sample
  • Complete a successful SPED endorsement practicum experience

Curriculum Plan

Education Core Courses (21 hours)
MATG 501 The Professional Educator 2
MATG 502 Structures for Teaching and Learning 3
MATG 503 Teaching Exceptional and Diverse Populations 3
MATG 510 Human Development with Developmental Psychology and Learning Theory 3
MATG 521 Action Research for Teachers I 2
MATG 522 Action Research for Teachers II 2
MATG 560 Foundations of Language and Literacy 3
MATG 580 Classroom Management and Behavioral Support 3
Practicum Courses (10 hours)
MATG 576 Clinical Practicum I 5
MATG 577 Clinical Practicum I 5
Endorsement Courses (19 hours)
SPED 512 Structures for Teaching and Learning: Academic 3
SPED 513 Structures for Teaching and Learning: Functional 3
SPED 521 Assessment and Evaluation 3
SPED 524 Assistive Technology and Specialized Support 1
SPED 531 Case Management 2
SPED 552 Community Support and Transitional Programs 2
SPED 576 Practicum: Mild to Moderate 3
SPED 577 Practicum: Moderate to Severe 2
Specialization (5 hours-must select one)
Middle/Secondary Specialization
MATG 555 Secondary Content Pedagogy† 2
MATG 555 Secondary Content Pedagogy† 2
MATG 558 Topics in Mid-Level Education: Teaching in the Middle 1
Early Childhood/Elementary Specialization
MATG 550 Early Childhood/Elementary Level Pedagogy of Integration: Science, Social Studies, Music and Art
MATG 551 Early Childhood/Elementary Level Pedagogy in Language Arts 2
MATG 553 Early Childhood/Elementary Level Pedagogy in Mathematical Thinking
Elementary/Middle Specialization
MATG 552 Elementary/Middle Level Pedagogy in Language Arts
MATG 554 Elementary/Middle Level Pedagogy in Mathematical Thinking 2
MATG 556 Elementary/Middle Level Pedagogy of Integration: Science, Social Studies, Music and Art

†Secondary/Mid-Level Authorization students will enroll in MATG 555 Secondary Content Pedagogy according to their specific content area: art, biology, business, chemistry, family and consumer science, mathematics, music, integrated science, physics, social studies, technology education, German, Japanese or Russian.

Graduate Teacher Education Course Descriptions