Secondary Education Pedagogy and Practice - MS

Program Code: MSQSEPP
Master of Science

Availability: online

The graduate program in Secondary Education is a 12-month, fully online program. The program has been developed for students who have a bachelor’s degree in a content area of English, physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, history, or other related fields. Individuals completing the requirements of the MSSE program can apply for Pennsylvania Department of Education teaching certification in grades 7-12.

Mission Statement
The MS Secondary Education: Pedagogy and Practice degree prepares students to attain Pennsylvania Certification in Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science, English, Math and Social Studies. Students in this program demonstrate strong pedagogical skills, leadership and service to others throughout the program. Graduate students approach teaching using a reflective-practitioner approach that requires strong content knowledge, leadership, hands-on experiences in the field and rigorous research skills. Courses adhere to the Pennsylvania Department of Education objectives listed for development of highly qualified teachers.

The curriculum has been developed to meet standards set forth by Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE). We have been approved to offer certification in:

  • Biology (7-12), General Science (7-12), Earth Science (7-12), Physics (7- 12), Chemistry (7-12), English Language Arts (7-12), Social Studies (7-12), and Math (7-12).

Admission Requirements

  • Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university and provide official transcripts.
  • Applicants must obtain a passing score on the PRAXIS II content knowledge exam for area of intended certification.
  • Applicants must have an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher (on a 4.0 scale).
  • Applicants are required to supply three letters of recommendation.
  • Applicants must submit a succinct personal statement that discusses professional goals in reference to the teaching profession.
  • International or non-native speaking students must submit official, notarized scores from the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) exam and must meet the minimum score requirement of 550 for the paper-based test and 79-80 for the internet-based test.
  • Criminal background checks, including finger printing, and child abuse clearances are required for matriculating into the program. Students are financially responsible for this process. Adverse results at any time can prevent a student from matriculating into the program, being placed for observation hours or student teaching clinical, or recommended for graduation.

All students must complete a thesis based on some topic related to secondary education. Approval of topics must be granted by the program director. In order to participate in graduation, student will be expected to defend their thesis project prior to the commencement date. Many students will need to gain approval through IRB prior to gathering their data. Please refer to the IRB section under Academics for a description on the processes and requirements.

Clinical and Student Teaching
To obtain PDE certification, teacher candidates must complete a 120 hour clinical experience and 12 week student teaching experience. Both experiences can be completed at a distance, but students may be subjected to an additional fee for hiring of a distance supervisor. Distance student teachers will still be required to participate in distance seminar. Students may student teach internationally up to 6 weeks. For those student teaching outside of Pennsylvania, all lesson plans must adhere to Pennsylvania state standards and students will be evaluated using PDE evaluative forms. Students are required to compile an exit portfolio at the end of student teaching. Students who register for courses with a clinical experience are required by PA state law to obtain ACT 24/82, ACT 34, ACT 114 and ACT 151 clearances, a clear TB test and the Mandatory Reporter Training Course. Copies of these clearances must be presented to the course instructor during the first week of class and submitted to the Education Office. Clearances must be updated every 36 months.

Praxis II Exam
Graduate students are not required to complete the PRAXIS I series exams, but must obtain a passing score on the PRAXIS II content knowledge in the area they are seeking certification. For more information on passing scores, exam registration, etc. please refer to:

Secondary Education Curriculum
The graduate program in Secondary Education operates on a semester calendar. Summer, fall and spring semester are completed in a predetermined sequence.

The summer curriculum is designed around the theoretical frameworks which underlie best practice in secondary education, the fall curriculum revolves around practical aspects of secondary education such as lesson planning, curriculum development, etc. and the spring semester wraps up the program with clinical placements, student teaching, and thesis.

Program Student Learning Outcomes:

Upon completion of the requirements for the master of science degree in Secondary Education - Pedagogy and Practice, the graduate will possess knowledge, skills and abilities in the following competencies:

  • Plan, implement, manage, and access 21st century student learning in the classroom.
  • Identify and adopt effective instructional strategies to meet the intructional needs and levels of diverse learners.
  • Critically analyze primary literature related to secondary education and conduct scholarly research in the classroom.
  • Demonstrate personal ethical and professional standards in the school setting 
Program Requirements:

To obtain the Master of Science in Secondary Education degree students must successfully complete all requirements, including a minimum of 30 graduate credits, while maintaining a minimum 3.0 overall grade point average. To obtain the Pennsylvania Department of Education secondary teaching certificate (7- 12), students must complete a PDE application and have successfully passed and submitted the PRAXIS II content exam. Teacher candidates will apply for certification through the PDE Teacher Information Management Information System (TIMS)







4+1 in Secondary Education
The 4+1 program affords the opportunity to earn a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in only five years by taking graduate-level equivalent courses during their junior and senior years. Undergraduate majors complete EDUC210 Comparative Issues in Education (3 credits) and WL101 Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners (3 credits) typically during their junior and senior years. Additional online graduate courses can be taken once the two equivalent courses have been taken. The 4+1 courses cannot be used towards the undergraduate 121 credit minimum. Students interested in the 4+1 must apply through the Office of Graduate and Continuing Education.