Master of Arts in Liberal Studies Teacher Certification FAQs
How do I know which courses to take so that I can obtain my professional teaching license? I must complete a minimum of 12 credits in the content field of my initial certification.
If the certification is a "generalist" or "special" education license, any arts and science course corresponding to public school curricula will count (i.e., math, English, science or history courses). Teachers who hold licenses in other areas should review the course offerings in their Certification Content Areas. These are lists of courses that have successfully been used by students to obtain professional licensure in their content area.
What if I took a course that was on the Certification Content Areas list on the SPD website, and now that course is no longer there? Will it still count toward the 12 credits I need for professional certification?
NYSED has individual examiners reviewing the transcripts of the students who file for their professional license via Certificate Progression through Individual Transcript Evaluation. One examiner may deem a course appropriate for the content area and another may not. When we receive notification that a course has been rejected by a NYSED examiner, we remove it from the SPD website. This does not necessarily mean that the course will not be accepted by NYSED; the student has the right to appeal. The first step is to submit a Graduate Course Verification Form to SPD to have it reviewed by a department chair for approval.
I am a student who needs to take twelve credits in my content area, but there are not enough courses offered by SPD, or the courses I need are not offered online. What should I do?
Our course listings note which are offered by SPD on campus and which are available online, but it is not possible for SPD to support all subject content certification areas. Students who live within driving distance should review the graduate course listings published on the Registrar's website to see if the course they need is offered by another academic department on campus. Admission to these courses is not automatic; you may need to seek permission from the faculty member (or department) offering the course prior to attempting to enroll. You may also take courses online from another school or at an institution located near you and transfer these credits into your degree program. (See next question.)
I was told during an advisement appointment that the classes I completed were appropriate for obtaining my professional certification, and I heard back from NYSED that one of them does not count. Why, and what do I do now?
You may request transfer graduate-level courses from any regionally accredited college or university (view SPD's Transfer Credit information for specific details). In addition, OPEN SUNY has a catalog of online graduate courses that are offered by SUNY institutions. It is preferable for any course to carry a designator of the department offering the course (i.e., EGL – English, MAT – Mathematics, HIS – History, etc.). Please note that SPD can only advise you regarding Stony Brook's course offerings. You would have to contact the home institution of the course for which you wish to enroll. If you take a course elsewhere, it is that institution's responsibility to validate that a specific course will meet NYSED standards for your content area.
I'm thinking of getting a second certification. Can I just take a few classes in that area and then apply for a secondary license in that content area?
NYSED mandates that you must have a minimum of 30 credits in the content area of the new certification that you are seeking. These courses may be undergraduate, graduate or any combination thereof. Upon completion of the 30 credits (some of which may already be on your undergraduate and/or graduate transcript), you must file on the TEACH website for the new certification area, submit transcripts from all colleges attended, and complete the CST in the new content area.
My friend is in or completed the MA in Liberal Studies program, and he said I could get certified by selecting one of the content area clusters on the Professional Certification by Content Area of the SPD website, is this true?
No, it is not true. You must select one of the 16 content areas covering teacher certification in New York State. NYSED mandates that you must have a minimum of 30 credits in the content area of the new certification that you are seeking. These courses may be undergraduate, graduate or any combination thereof. Upon completion of the 30 credits (some of which may already be on your undergraduate and/or graduate transcript), you must file on the TEACH website for the new certification area and complete the CST in the new content area. Keep in mind that only graduate-level courses may be used to complete a master's degree.
My friend told me that all of the 18 credits of the "thematically related cluster" need to be in "education" in order for me to obtain my professional certification; is this true?
No, your degree coursework must only reflect a minimum of 12 credits of content in the area of your initial license. There are no specific required courses, so your cluster does not have to include any education courses. You may choose additional courses over and above the 12 credits of content that you feel will be of benefit to you in your profession (e.g., Classroom Management or Technology in the Classroom) or courses that may be used toward completion of new certification area requirements (e.g., Adolescence Education).
I completed a course for my content area, but because it has an Arts and Humanities (AHLS) designator, my advisor put it in the AHLS slot on my advisement sheet. Does this matter? Does this mean I need to take extra content courses for my “cluster” area?
A given course may be used to fulfill either a core area or a cluster requirement within the MALS degree program. Placement of the course within the degree has no effect on its use to complete the 12-credit certification requirement for a professional license. However, the course must be placed either in the Core or the Cluster. It may not be double-counted.
I’ve been trying to call NYSED, but no one answers the phone. What should I do?
The Office of Teaching Initiatives is overwhelmed and it may take a while for an agent to pick up your call. Please be patient; they will answer. The number that you should use is: (518) 474-3901
What do I do with the NYSED Course Verification form? To whom do I bring it or send it?
You must submit a Graduate Course Verification Form to SPD (along with a self-addressed stamped envelope) for review. SPD will transmit the form to the home department of the curriculum involved. If the course curriculum is deemed to be appropriate, the Department Chair will sign off and SPD will return the form for you to submit to NYSED.
What if I took a course for use towards obtaining my professional certification at an institution other than Stony Brook? What do I do?
You must request that a transcript containing that course be sent to the Office of Teaching Initiatives (see below) in support of coursework underpinning your professional certification. It is incumbent upon that institution to verify that this course will meet the mandates of a graduate-level course in the content area of your initial certification. If a course verification form is required, it must be submitted to that institution.
I completed the MA in Liberal Studies degree and I am trying to apply for my professional teaching license on my TEACH account. I'm being asked for the program code; where do I find it?
There is no NYSED program code for this degree. While the Liberal Studies degree is a functionally valid degree program for professional certification, is not an approved program for initial certification. There is no NYSED program code for this degree. Please see the sample TEACH application guideline for step-by-step instructions on how to apply for your professional license using the Liberal Studies degree (refer to step 11 of the document). You must apply for your professional license via either NYSED or your local BOCES office. For more information, please review the information regarding obtaining your professional license found on the NYSED Teach website.