Education

Program Requirements and Courses

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Additional Program Information

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Teaching is challenging, rewarding and important work. As ever, our schools need good teachers — fierce, confident teachers who respond to the needs of all students. Today’s classrooms include increasingly diverse learners, and the education program at Sweet Briar prepares graduates to effectively teach all students who enter their classrooms. Through a combination of rigorous and engaging coursework, individualized mentoring from the program faculty and extensive field experiences, you will graduate a highly qualified professional who will make a difference in the lives of children.

There are two options for students wishing to pursue an M.A.T. at Sweet Briar:

  1. Sweet Briar undergraduate students who pursue one of three licensure tracks listed below may obtain their M.A.T. in five years.
  2. Men and women with bachelor degrees from Sweet Briar or other institutions who enroll full-time in the program may obtain their M.A.T. in one to two years, depending on previous coursework.

What is distinctive about studying education at Sweet Briar?

Beginning with the first education class, candidates will be immersed in the classroom environment through clinical experiences in local schools. Preservice teachers spend multiple hours per course in the classroom observing, working with teachers and students, and teaching their own lessons. Based on their goals, the education program matches candidates with teachers who are professional, helpful and focused on differentiated instruction. While establishing relationships with students and teachers, candidates create lesson plans and daily reflections, learn about school policies and gain professional experience.

  • The education program also offers an add-on endorsement opportunity in special education (general curriculum K-12). The special education endorsement provides hands-on field experiences working with students with special needs in both inclusive and self-contained classrooms.
  • M.A.T. students are paired with faculty members who have extensive training in mentoring preservice teachers and in differentiated curriculum and instruction.
  • During the M.A.T. year, courses are offered in late afternoons and evenings to allow students to substitute-teach in local schools and “earn while they learn.”
  • Virginia is part of the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC) Interstate Agreement, which facilitates the mobility of educators among the nearly four dozen other states who have signed reciprocity agreements with Virginia.
  • Completion of the M.A.T. program means higher salary potential in most school districts throughout the country.

Licensure Tracks

Elementary Education (PreK-6)

Prospective elementary teachers must major in liberal studies and complete the required education courses for the PreK-6 licensure.

Secondary Education (6-12)

In order to gain endorsement in the licensure areas below, prospective secondary teachers must major in the associated discipline (see below) and complete the required education courses for secondary licensure.

Biology licensure: Must major in biology (B.S.)

Chemistry licensure: Must major in chemistry (B.S.)

English licensure: Must major in English and creative writing (B.A.)

History and Social Science licensure: Must major in history (B.A.)

Mathematics licensure: Must major in mathematics (B.A.)

PreK-12

In order to gain endorsement in the licensure areas below, prospective PreK-12 teachers must major in the associated discipline and complete the required education courses for PreK-12 licensure.

Dance arts licensure: Must major in performing arts [dance track] (B.A.)

Theatre arts licensure: Must major in performing arts [theatre track] (B.A.)

Visual arts licensure: Must major in visual arts [history and image or studio art track] (B.A.)


Frequently Asked Questions

I want to teach elementary school. What do I major in?

For elementary teacher licensure, you will major in liberal studies and complete the fifth-year Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) program.

I want to teach biology (or math or dance or theater or English or chemistry or history or art). What do I major in?

For secondary and PreK-12 teacher licensure, you will major in your content area and complete the fifth-year Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) program.

When do I declare my major?

If you are planning to declare a major in liberal studies, you must first be admitted to the undergraduate portion of the education program. You can declare other majors without first being admitted to the program.

When do I apply to the education program?

You can apply to the undergraduate portion of the education program any time after taking EDUC 103: Teaching, Learning, and Human Development and by Jan. 25 of your sophomore year. 400-level classes are open to students who have been accepted to the program. Applications to the M.A.T. program should be submitted during the senior year.

What do I need to do to apply to the undergraduate portion of the education program?

To apply to the undergraduate portion of the education program, please submit the following:

  • A completed application, including a signed statement of understanding, a recommendation form and entrance essay
  • Evidence of a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75 and 3.0 in EDUC courses
  • Evidence of having taken the Praxis Core Math and the Virginia Communication and Literacy Assessment

For details, please refer to the “Declaration of Intent.”

What resources are available to help me prepare for the Praxis Core Math and VCLA tests?

There are free resources available through the Praxis website, including a collaboration with Khan Academy. The education subject mentor in the ARC can also help you prepare for either test.

What if I still have questions?

Contact Professor Meredith McCool, director of the education program, at mmccool@sbc.edu or stop by her office in Sales 211.