General Questions

1. What can I teach with a degree from this program?
2. If I already have a bachelor's degree, can I earn teacher certification without getting another full degree?
3. If I have a bachelor's degree, but my major was not English, how can I earn English Teacher Certification through Stony Brook University?
4. I'm not sure if I'd rather teach secondary school or college English. Is the MAT the right degree for me?
5. How long will it take me to finish this program?
6. Can I teach in other states if I earn NYS teacher certification?
7. What courses may I transfer into the program?
8. Once I'm admitted, what are the requirements for remaining in good standing?
9. My question isn't answered on this FAQ list. Where can I get more information?

1. What can I teach with a degree from this program?

At the completion of our MAT or BA program you will have earned New York State Initial Certification in Adolescence English Education, which will allow you to teach English to students in grades 7-12 throughout New York State and in over 3 dozen other US states with which NYS has reciprocal agreements.  In some cases, you may need to take an additional exam to teach in other states. You may have heard that getting hired as an English teacher with a master’s degree is more difficult because you would earn a higher salary; that rumor is completely false in our experience.

2. If I already have a bachelor's degree, can I earn teacher certification without getting another full degree?

Perhaps, but not at Stony Brook University.  Other programs may allow you to take only those courses you need to earn your initial certificate through what is called “Alternate Route Certification.”  At Stony Brook, we will only certify students who have gone through our entire degree program.  It’s important to us that local school districts know Stony Brook teacher education students have had the advantage of our entire program.

3. If I have a bachelor's degree, but my major was not English, how can I earn English Teacher Certification through Stony Brook University?

You have two options.  Option 1 is preferred; option 2 is recommended only for those for whom option 1 will not work.

Option 1: If you have a bachelor’s degree, but your major was not English you may earn English Teacher Certification from Stony Brook in our Second Bachelor’s Program:

Apply to Stony Brook University for admission as an undergraduate student in a “Second Baccalaureate Program in English.”  The Stony Brook University Admissions Office will review your transcript to see what general education courses are already covered in your first bachelor’s degree.  Then you should consult the Undergraduate English Major Advisor to learn what English courses you will need in order to complete your English major.  When you meet with the English Major Advisor, you should also meet informally with the Director of English Teacher Education.  You should not formally apply for the Undergraduate English Teacher Education Program until you are in your first semester as an English major.

Option 2: The second bachelor’s program is the preferred route for those without a BA in English; however, if you already have 18 credits of English in your BA, you are not eligible for a second bachelor’s in English.  Also, Stony Brook may occasionally not admit anyone to the second bachelor’s program if the freshman class is especially large.  If either of these is your case, you may be able to enter the MAT program by taking 36 credits of EGL courses before you apply to the MAT.  This route is not recommended because it’s entirely possible that an applicant could take all those undergraduate courses and still not be competitive enough for a seat in our program.  Students who elect to take 36 credits of English should use the BA Advising Sheet to select courses, should take a mixture of upper- and lower-division courses, and should contact the Program Director (Professor Lindblom) for advice.  Your goal is to take courses that closely approximate an English major.

4. I'm not sure if I'd rather teach secondary school or college English. Is the MAT the right degree for me?

Possibly.  The best way to prepare yourself for a job as a college English professor is to get into a good PhD program in English.  The best degree for that purpose is an MA in English.  The MAT degree is split between coursework in English and coursework in teaching. While teaching experience can certainly help prepare you to teach college, it is not necessarily what will make you attractive to highly competitive PhD programs.  Unfortunately, we do not currently offer an MA that leads to English teacher certification (the BA-MA Program is an exception; see below).  However, the MAT does not rule you out of PhD programs in English.  If you choose the MAT and may want to teach college English in the future, you should do your best to earn high grades in English and pursue conference presentations and even publications in English; you should also become actively involved in Stony Brook’s English Graduate Organization.  If you earn the MAT and you really enjoy your teaching courses, you might pursue a PhD in education later; an MAT is an excellent degree for making you attractive to education PhD programs.  If you prefer the field of English to education, you should look at information available at the Modern Language Association website, if you’re interested in becoming a professor of literature or the Conference on College Composition and Communication, if you’re interested in becoming a professor of writing or rhetoric.

5. How long will it take me to finish this program?

The MAT program is a minimum of 44 credits, 35 of which must be completed before your student teaching semester (which is where the additional 9 credits come from).  Given therigor of the program and the availability of required coursework, you should expect the MAT degree to take 4 semesters to complete.  In addition, if you have not completed at least 5 of the 10 NCTE content area requirements (see below) before joining our program, you may require more than 44 credits to finish.  You must also have completed a year of foreign language at the college level.

The BA English Teacher Education Program requires a minimum of 3 semesters (as part of the BA in English Program).  If students have not been admitted to the English Teacher Education Program by the second semester of their junior year, it is advisable that they consider finishing their BA in English and then apply for our MAT English program to earn teacher certification; otherwise earning certification will delay completion of the BA degree by a year or more.

6. Can I teach in other states if I earn NYS teacher certification?

Yes.  Several dozen states recognize NYS Certification.  In some cases, you may have to take the state’s standardized test or complete other fairly minor requirements for to teach in other states. 

7. What courses my I transfer into the program?

NCTE content area requirements may be fulfilled by courses taken at other colleges, but you need not transfer them for the courses to count for this purpose.  We simply need a copy of your transcript with these courses included.  For additional information on transferring courses for the BA program, please see the Undergraduate Bulletin, The Transfer Guide, and the English Major Advisor.  MAT students may transfer up to 6 credits to the program.  See Dr. Lindblom or Dr. Glockner in the School of Professional Development to determine whether or not credits transferred may fulfill MAT requirements.  To transfer graduate courses from another institution to an MAT degree, fill out the “Transfer Credit Request” form found on the bottom right column of the SPD Homepage. For MAT students, a year of college-level foreign language is also required; foreign language courses need not be taken at Stony Brook, nor must they be transferred to SBU for the MAT degree program. If your undergraduate college allowed your high school foreign language to count as a year of college-level foreign language, have your undergraduate school’s Registrar write a letter to that effect for you, and include it in your MAT application; such a letter will fulfill your foreign language requirement for the MAT as well.

8. Once I'm admitted, what are the requirements for remaining in good standing?

Undergraduate students must maintain a 2.75 gpa to remain in good standing, but a 3.0 is required for student teaching. (These requirements are likely to become more rigorous shortly to mirror increasing standards in teacher education generally.)  MAT students must have a minimum of a 3.0 gpa and earn no less than a B in all education courses and no less than a B- in all MAT content area requirements.  All students at both levels must have a minimum of a 3.0 gpa to be approved for student teaching.

9. My question isn't answered in this FAQ list. Where can I get more information?

For general application questions or questions about NYS Certification policies, contact Dr. Marvin Glockner, the SBU Teacher Certification Officer (marvin.glockner@stonybrook.edu) or 631-632-7055.  For academic questions about English, contact Dr. Ken Lindblom, the Director of English Teacher Education (kenneth.lindblom@stonybrook.edu).

Department of English, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794-5350 - Undergraduate: 631 632-7400 | Graduate: 631 632-7373