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English Masters Degree (M.A.), with Initial Licensure

Why Pursue a Masters in English with Initial Licensure?

Jessica Kennedy B.A. '08, M.A. '17 is the assistant principal at South Middle School in Westfield, Massachusetts.

The M.A. with initial license programs offers students an initial license in middle or secondary English Language Arts as well as advanced courses in English language, rhetoric and literature. Students gain competency in both the pedagogy and subject matter required for successful teaching in English Language Arts.

English 646 Pre-capstone Registration & Course Description Form

English 647 Capstone Project   

Independent Study/Special Arrangement Form

Capstone Application 

Requirements for a Master's in English with Initial Licensure

Program Description

Students develop knowledge of literature and its history and expand their abilities to think analytically and write effectively through advanced study and research in British, American, and other literatures. The M.A. program in English thus prepares students for advanced graduate studies in English (Ph.D.), for pre-professional studies (law, business, and administration), for teaching careers, and for work in related fields (e.g., communications, public relations, publishing, and human resources).

The M.A. in English Licensure Programs prepares students for careers as teachers at the 5-12 level. Students may earn Initial Licensure through an NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) accredited program or earn Professional Licensure. Candidates may elect the M.A. with Professional Licensure Option, a graduate program designed to allow teachers of English who hold initial licensure to become fully certified according to the educational reforms mandated for Massachusetts by the Board of Education. Candidates for certification complete a program that includes four required courses: ENGL 0539 - Advanced Methods of Teaching English, ENGL 0609 - Contemporary Issues in English Teaching, ENGL 0646 - Pre-Capstone Course, and ENGL 0626 - Seminar in English Education Capstone Experience.


    Admission Requirements

      Prerequisites for Admission to the Program:

      1. Bachelor's Degree from an accredited college or university.
      2. Minimum of 18 hours in English above Composition at the undergraduate level.*
      3. A 3.0 (B) average in all English courses is required, as is a 2.8 overall G.P.A.
      4. A writing sample, preferably a literary essay, is required.

      *Students may be required to fulfill undergraduate prerequisites as determined by the Graduate Advisor.

        Procedures for Admission to the Program:

        1. Apply for admission to the Westfield State University Graduate Program.
        2. Obtain a Graduate Program of Study form from the College of Graduate Studies.
        3. Schedule an appointment with the English Department Advisor to complete the Graduate Program of Study form. Secure the signatures of the Advisor, the Department Chair or Program Director, and the Dean of Graduate Studies after completion of the form. Submit this form within the first semester after you have been accepted in the program.

          M.A. in English with Initial Licensure 5-12 - 44 Credits

          All requirements for the M.A. in English in addition to the practicum must be completed before the candidate can receive an initial license to teach English.


            • B.A. in English or Bachelor's degree with a minimum of 18 credits in literature courses

              (Students may be required to fill undergraduate prerequisites as determined by the graduate advisor)
            • 3.0 (B) average in all English courses is required, as is a 2.8 overall G.P.A.
            • Passing grade on MTEL Communication and Literacy Test
            • A course in Adolescent Development
            • A course in History of the English Language or Structure of the English Language
            • A course in  Sheltered English Immersion EDUC 631 (Consult with advisor before enrolling. This course is Field Based)



                A. Courses - 33 Credits

                • EDUC 0521 - Middle School and Its Students
                • EDUC 0540 - Introduction to Students with Exceptional Learning Needs
                • EDUC 0554 - Educational Planning and Evaluation: Middle and Secondary Schools
                • ENGL 0527 - Contemporary Cross-Cultural Literature
                • ENGL 0538 - Young Adult Literature in the ELA Classroom
                • ENGL 0550 - Methods of Teaching English 5-12
                • ENGL 0583 - Issues in Rhetoric and Composition
                • 12 additional credits in 600-level Literature Courses Including:*1 600-level course in American Literature*1 600-level course in British Literature*1 500-level or 600-level course in Diverse Literature*1 600-level course in Literature

                B. Capstone 4 Credits

                • ENGL 0646 - Pre-Capstone Course
                • ENGL 0647 - Research Folio/Capstone Experience

                C. Practicum & Seminar - Credits 7

                • ENGL 0522 - Practicum Seminar: English Education
                • EDUC 0568 - 5-12 Practicum


                Students must have passed the MTEL English subject area exam and have a minimum GPA of 3.0 in English graduate classes before beginning the practicum. A 30-hour diversity experience is required before or during practicum. Practicum placements are generally within a 30-mile radius of the university unless otherwise specified and approved.