Master of Arts in Teaching Degree


General Information

So, you think you want to become a teacher? 

Do you have a college degree in

Biology or other Science, English, History, Political Science,
Art or in a closely related discipline? 

Have you had rewarding experiences working with adolescents or young children?  

Do you love your subject?
Do you want to be a positive influence on young people and the future?

Western Carolina University may be just the place

for you to get your Master's in the Mountains!



The Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) is a degree and licensure program for students who have a bachelor's degree and want to become teachers.  The MAT is offered by several different departments for licensure in various subjects and grade levels. The information on this page is for students who have a bachelor's degree in one of the following majors:  art,  biology, English, history or political science.  Of these majors, all result in a North Carolina license to teach high school, grades 9 - 12, except art, which spans grades  K-12.  The social science concentration is for students with history or political science majors. Successful completion of the MAT leads to an advanced (M) NC teaching license.

Applicants must have earned an undergraduate degree in the major (or closely related discipline) of the concentration and must meet the prerequisite requirements of the department housing the concentration.  Applicants  with an undergraduate degree in a major other than the MAT concentration may not qualify for the MAT.  If otherwise qualified, such students are subject to prerequisite course requirements as determined by the faculty in the department of the concentration. Prerequisite requirements will vary by department and depend on the credentials presented by the candidate.  See admission requirements at the graduate catalog at this link.  Students who have to take prerequite courses may have to do so prior to admission to the graduate school.  More graduate catalog information is linked here

Attention prospective students

After reading this page and browsing the linked materials, if this program seems to be what you are looking for, call (828.227.3327) or email the program coordinator with your questions. The graduate school application process is simple and straightforward.  An interview is required.  Applications are available on line at this link

Attention new students

Please click on the Student Handbook, read about program requirements and policies, and download the Student Checksheet to see a list of required courses.  One of the first courses a student should take is the teaching methods course, EDCI 617 , and it is required for all MAT Secondary & K-12 Music & Art.  It is a general methods course, and in addition to teaching the basics of curriculum, instruction, and classroom management, it also requires students to do a practicum in a public school.  In the practicum, students do some classroom observations and some guided teaching. Students should take this course prior to taking the specialized methods course in their concentration.   It will be offered in Cullowhee in the fall, and Asheville in the spring semesters on a regular basis.

Check with your concentration advisor for courses in your concentration.  If you have not had an interview, contact Dr. Mary Jean Herzog to make an appointment. 
See below for advisor contact information.

Graduate Assistantships.

Graduate assistantships may be available.  Ask the program coordinator or your advisor for information.


The program requires students to complete a semester-long, full-time internship. Ms. Mary Beth Decatur is the Director of Field Experiences and is in charge of Internship Placements.  Applications for internships should be completed and submitted to the Office of Field Experiences early the semester before the internship to meet the college deadlines. 

Health Form.  The public schools require all employees, interns, etc., to have an updated health examination.  Here is a health form (pdf) you can use or you can get one from your doctor. 

Criminal Background Check.

Applicants for the MAT should be aware that they will have to sign a form related to a criminal background check as part of the NC licensure process.  Information about how to go about this process is linked here.

Successful completion of the MAT degree leads to a NC graduate level teaching license in the following academic concentrations (links go to departments):

Grades 9 - 12 -  Biology, English, Social Science

Grades K - 12  - Art

(The following links go to faculty email addresses.)

MAT students have two advisors, one in education and one in their academic concentration.  The program director and education advisor for the above concentrations is Mary Jean R. Herzog.    Program directors and advisors for the academic concentrations are listed below:

Art - Dr. Erin Tapley 828-227-3598
Biology - Dr. Sabine Rundle, 828-227-7244

English - Dr. Annette Debo, 828-227- 3919
Social Sciences - Dr. Elizabeth McRae, 828-227-3481

Science Education - Dr. Kefyn Catley, 828-227-7244


In addition to the above programs, WCU offers MAT degrees in Physical Education and Special Education. Those department websites are accessible through the College of Education and Allied Professions contact the Associate Dean of the College of Education and Allied Professions, if you are unsure of which department to contact.   In addition, WCU has an Office of Alternative Licensure , a teacher licensure system designed as an alternative to help alleviate the teacher shortage in NC.  It does not necessitate getting a master's degree.


Back to

Program Coordinator's Homepage

MAT Student Handbook

Graduate School

Office of Field Experiences

Other Information for MAT Students

Program Assessment Features