Teaching Science with Certification, Master of Arts in Teaching
Online programs leading to certification require fieldwork, internship, and/or student teaching which must be completed onsite in Arizona.
Online programs leading to certification may require synchronous online learning activities. Students must have access to technology with audio and video capabilities.
The Master of Arts in Teaching Science (MAT-S) is a challenging, fully online Master’s program designed for current and future educators in Arizona schools to earn an Arizona Standard Professional Secondary Certificate. The program is designed to be completed on a part-time or full-times basis and leads to certification as well as a master’s degree. The degree is available to individuals who already have an undergraduate degree in a science or related field and are interested in teaching science at the secondary school level (grades 6-12).
The program prepares science teachers for teaching in grades 6-12 and emphasizes the development of a teacher’s ability to develop research-based teaching strategies that make science accessible to learners. Specific attention is directed at the interaction of schools, learners, pedagogy, subject matter and curriculum. The program is unique in that it focuses solely on science education. This allows you to be in a supportive cohort of high-achieving science peers taught by faculty who specialize and conduct research in science education. We strive to provide a cutting-edge, high-quality program that will utilize and build upon your science knowledge and experiences to become an innovative middle or high school teacher. The program is designed for students with strong undergraduate preparation in the sciences seeking Arizona certification to teach biology, chemistry, physics, earth science, or general sciences at the secondary (middle and high school) level.
This program is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP)
This program is nationally recognized by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA).
Requirements Accordion Open
To receive a master’s degree at Northern Arizona University, you must complete a planned group of courses from one or more subject areas, consisting of at least 30 units of graduate-level courses. (Many master’s degree programs require more than 30 units.)
You must additionally complete:
- All requirements for your specific academic plan(s). This may include a thesis.
- All graduate work with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0.
- All work toward the master’s degree must be completed within six consecutive years. The six years begins with the semester and year of admission to the program.
Overview Accordion Closed
In addition to University Requirements:
- Complete individual plan requirements.
Candidates in this program are expected to demonstrate content, pedagogical, and professional knowledge and skills needed to teach science (biology, chemistry, general science, earth science, physics) in secondary schools. Two practicums and student teaching in secondary schools are required components of this program and occur in the candidate's own classroom or are arranged by the university in Arizona classrooms. Practicum and student teaching placements can occur anywhere in the state of Arizona.
|Minimum Units for Completion||36|
|Additional Admission Requirements||Admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.|
Prepares student for Arizona Endorsement.
|Student Teaching/Supervised Teaching||Student Teaching/Supervised Teaching is required.|
|Some online/blended coursework||Required|
|Progression Plan Link||View Program of Study|
This program may lead to licensure.
The Master of Arts in Teaching Science (MAT-S) is a challenging, fully online Master’s program designed to provide certification for secondary science educators in Arizona schools. Upon completion, students earn an Arizona Standard Professional Secondary Certificate in their field as well as a master’s degree. The program can be completed on a part-time or full time basis. The program prepares science teachers for teaching in grades 6-12 and emphasizes the development of a teacher’s ability to develop research-based teaching strategies that make science accessible to learners. Specific attention is directed at the interaction of schools, learners, pedagogy, subject matter and curriculum. The program is unique in that it focuses solely on science education. This allows you to be in a supportive cohort of high-achieving science peers taught by faculty who specialize and conduct research in science education. We strive to provide a cutting-edge, high-quality program that will utilize and build upon your science knowledge and experiences to become an innovative middle or high school teacher. The program is designed for students with strong undergraduate preparation in the sciences seeking certification to teach biology, chemistry, physics, earth science, or general sciences at the secondary (middle and high school) level looking to earn a standard certification in Arizona.
Student Learning Outcomes
The Learner & Learning:
- Standard #1: Learner Development. The teacher understands how learners grow and develop, recognizing that patterns of learning and development vary individually within and across the cognitive, linguistic, social, emotional, and physical areas, and designs and implements developmentally appropriate and challenging learning experiences.
- Standard #2: Learning Differences. The teacher uses understanding of individual differences and diverse cultures and communities to ensure inclusive learning environments that enable each learner to meet high standards.
- Standard #3: Learning Environments. The teacher works with others to create environments that support individual and collaborative learning, and that encourage positive social interaction, active engagement in learning, and self motivation.
- Standard #4: Content Knowledge. The teacher understands the central concepts, tools of inquiry, and structures of the discipline(s) he or she teaches and creates learning experiences that make the discipline accessible and meaningful for learners to assure mastery of the content.
- Standard #5: Application of Content. The teacher understands how to connect concepts and use differing perspectives to engage learners in critical thinking, creativity, and collaborative problem solving related to authentic local and global issues.
- Standard #6: Assessment. The teacher understands and uses multiple methods of assessment to engage learners in their own growth, to monitor learner progress, and to guide the teacher’s and learner’s decision making.
- Standard #7: Planning for Instruction. The teacher plans instruction that supports every student in meeting rigorous learning goals by drawing upon knowledge of content areas, curriculum, cross-disciplinary skills, and pedagogy, as well as knowledge of learners and the community context.
- Standard #8: Instructional Strategies. The teacher understands and uses a variety of instructional strategies to encourage learners to develop deep understanding of content areas and their connections, and to build skills to apply knowledge in meaningful ways.
- Standard #9: Professional Learning and Ethical Practice. The teacher engages in ongoing professional learning and uses evidence to continually evaluate his/her practice, particularly the effects of his/her choices and actions on others (learners, families, other professionals, and the community), and adapts practice to meet the needs of each learner.
- Standard #10: Leadership and Collaboration. The teacher seeks appropriate leadership roles and opportunities to take responsibility for student learning, to collaborate with learners, families, colleagues, other school professionals, and community members to ensure learner growth, and to advance the profession.
Details Accordion Closed
Additional Admission Requirements
- Admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.
- NAU Graduate Online application is required for all programs. Details on admission requirements are included in the online application.
- Undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution
- Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A"), or the equivalent.
- Admission to many graduate programs is on a competitive basis, and programs may have higher standards than those established by the Graduate College.
- For details on graduate admission policies, please visit the Graduate Admissions Policy
- International applicants have additional admission requirements. Please see the International Graduate Admissions Policy
Individual program admission requirements include:
- Admission to the NAU Professional Education Program (PEP)
- 2 professional recommendations
- Minimum of 24 units of appropriate content-specific coursework in the area of teacher certification with a grade of “C” or better
- Resume or curriculum vitae
- Personal statement
- IVP Fingerprint clearance card
- For applicants who are currently teachers of record, and application for the Teacher Intern Preparation Program (TIPP) alternative certification is required. This requirement can be waived if the applicant has a current Specialized Secondary STEM or Subject Matter Expert certificate.
Requirements prior to student teaching:
- Must pass the appropriate AEPA or NES subject knowledge exam
- Passing score on the required Professional Disposition Modules
- Must meet Arizona requirement for U.S./Arizona constitution (Option 1: POS 220 or equivalent course; Option 2: AEPA Constitutions of the United States and Arizona exam)
This Master’s degree requires 36 units distributed as follows:
- Science Education Coursework: 12 units
- Teaching Content Coursework: 6 units
- Internship and Seminar: 12 units
- Selected Science Content Coursework: 6 units
Take the following 36 units:
Before being accepted to student teaching, candidate must successfully complete required state and university training modules.
You may also take POS 220 (or POS 110 and POS 241) to satisfy Arizona certification requirements for Federal and State Constitutional knowledge. As alternative, this requirement can be met by demonstrating proficiency on the appropriate Arizona Educator Proficiency Assessments (AEPA) Exam.
In order to obtain an Arizona teaching certificate, you must pass the Secondary Professional Knowledge Exam.
Please be aware that Arizona state teacher certification requirements leading to Institutional Recommendations may change at any time and may impact program of study requirements.
Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also take. For prerequisite information click on the course or see your advisor.
This program was intentionally designed to lead to licensure or certification in the state of Arizona. For information regarding how the curricular requirements for this degree program align to licensure or certification requirements in other states, see https://nau.edu/compliance-and-authorization/professional-licensure-by-state/.
For students seeking certificationThe Masters of Arts in Teaching Science (MAT-S) program is a challenging, fully online program designed for educators interested in teaching secondary science or those already teaching in Arizona schools with alternative or non-standard certifications who are looking to earn an Arizona Standard Professional Secondary Certificate in their field as well as a master’s degree. The program prepares science teachers for teaching in grades 6-12 and emphasizes the development of a teacher’s ability to develop research-based teaching strategies that make science accessible to learners. Specific attention is directed at the interaction of schools, learners, pedagogy, subject matter and curriculum. The program is unique in that it focuses solely on science education. This allows you to be in a supportive group of high-achieving science peers taught by faculty who specialize and conduct research in science education. We strive to provide a cutting-edge, high-quality program that will utilize and build upon your science knowledge and experiences to become an innovative middle or high school teacher.
-- Jon Griffith, former MAT-S student
Who qualifies for the program? Accordion Open
For students entering the profession, placements in secondary science classrooms will be provided by the university for required practicum and student teaching experiences. Classroom placements occur through the College of Education and can be made in districts throughout the state allowing students to complete the program in the community of their choice. Students are required to complete two practicum placements in the first year of the program and a student teaching experience in the second year. Depending on practicum placements and schedules, students may be able to work during the first year of the program. Students are expected to follow the normal teacher work schedule during the student teaching experience in the second year.
For students who are currently employed as the teacher of record in an Arizona secondary science classroom, all required practicums and student teaching experiences required by the State of Arizona occur in the student's current teaching position. No additional placements are required. For these students, a current alternative certification is required that enables them to be the teacher of record (unless teaching in a private or charter school). Current teachers without an alternative certification such as the Specialized Secondary STEM or Subject Matter Expert certificates must apply for the Teacher Intern Preparation Program (TIPP) for alternative certification using the Department of STEM Education TIPP Application Packet. The TIPP is an alternative pathway offered at NAU to enable a candidate to enter into a teaching contract while completing the requirements for a standard Arizona teaching certificate. Upon completion of the program, students will earn an Arizona Standard Professional Secondary Certificate, allowing them to teach in Arizona and, through reciprocity agreements, across the U.S. What's the difference between the different types of certifications? Visit the ADE certification site for more details.
All students in the program are required to pass the Assessment of Professional Knowledge: Secondary NES exam before graduation.
* If you are an in-service teacher looking for a graduate program to improve your practice, please see our Master of Arts in Science Teaching (MAST) program.
Program benefits: Accordion Closed
- A fully online program that fits your work-life schedule
- Earn an Arizona teaching credential through university-provided classroom placements or while being employed full-time as a teacher
- Directly apply research-based teaching strategies from graduate classes into your classroom
- Receive mentorship and support from your school site as well as faculty in DSE at NAU
- Learn from prominent science education faculty well respected in Arizona and beyond
A note on admissions: After being admitted to the MAT-S graduate program, students are required to submit an application to the NAU Professional Education Programs (PEP). This is required for all programs leading to certification. The PEP application will appear in Louie once you have been admitted to the program. Specific requirements for the PEP include:
- ENG 105 (or equivalent) with a minimum cumulative English GPA of 3.0.
- College Algebra or an approved math course with a minimum grade of C.
- One lab science course with a grade of C.
- IVP Fingerprint clearance card.