Teaching of English MA Initial

Master of Arts (38 Points)

This Master’s program is geared toward prospective English Teachers entering the field of secondary English teaching. Our most populous Master’s program, the 38-point M.A. draws a vibrant student body of different backgrounds and life experiences. Students balance coursework with in-classroom field work experiences to gain an understanding of the critical issues in the field of English Education and engage with what it means to work as a teacher in the context of secondary English classrooms. Through the 38 points of coursework, students will explore critical pedagogical and theoretical stances in English Education, gain a working knowledge of curriculum design and methods, and engage in deep self-reflection to better understand their positionality as a teacher. 

Experiences and Exposures: 

  • Coursework prioritizes bridging the theory-practice gap to help students understand critical issues in the field, and consider what reflective practitioners might do in response to them. 
  • Students gain experience in both Middle and High School during two semesters of daytime fieldwork where students apply what they learn in their coursework to their own classrooms. 
  • Experienced mentor teachers, supervisors, and seminar leaders create a cohesive connected support system between fieldwork & coursework.
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Admissions Information

Displaying requirements for the Spring 2024, Summer 2024, and Fall 2024 terms.

Master of Arts

  • Points/Credits: 38
  • Entry Terms: Spring, Summer, Fall


View Public Disclosure Notification

  • NY State Initial: English Language Arts 7-12

Application Deadlines

Entry Term AvailablePriority DeadlinesFinal DeadlinesExtended Deadlines
SpringNovember 15, 2023November 15, 2023N/A
SummerJanuary 15, 2024June 1, 2024N/A
FallJanuary 15, 2024July 1, 2024N/A

For details about rolling deadlines, visit our admission deadlines page.

Select programs remain open beyond our standard application deadlines, such as those with an extended deadline or those that are rolling (open until June or July). If your program is rolling or has an extended deadline indicated above, applications are reviewed as they are received and on a space-available basis. We recommend you complete your application as soon as possible as these programs can close earlier if full capacity has been met.

Application Requirements

 Online Degree Application, including Statement of Purpose and Resume
 Transcripts and/or Course-by-Course Evaluations for all Undergraduate/Graduate Coursework Completed
 Results from an accepted English Proficiency Exam (if applicable)
 $75 Application Fee
 Two (2) Letters of Recommendation
 Video essay required (included in online application)

Requirements from the TC Catalog (AY 2023-2024)

Displaying catalog information for the Fall 2023, Spring 2024 and Summer 2024 terms.

View Full Catalog Listing

Master of Arts (M.A. 38 credits)

Required courses include:

  • A&HE 4057 English Methods (3)

  • A&HE 4058 Teaching of Reading (3)

  • A&HE 4151 Teaching of Writing (3)*

  • A&HE 5518 Teaching English in Diverse Social and Cultural Contexts (2-3)**

*Taken as a 6 credit block with A&HE 4156, Writing: Nonfiction (3)

**A&HE 5518 meets both the College-wide and the New York State diversity requirements.

In addition, students must choose at least one topic-specific methods course, such as:

  • A&HE 4050 Literature and Teaching (3)

  • A&HE 4152 Literacies and Technologies in the Secondary English Classroom (3)

  • A&HE 4550 Teaching of Poetry (3)

  • A&HE 4551 Teaching of Shakespeare (3)

  • A&HE 4100 Teaching of Drama and Theater (3)

As a part of the M.A. program, students also must fulfill a Content requirement. Content coursework consists of one course in writing and one course in literature. Courses may include the following:


  • A&HE 4156 Writing: Nonfiction (3)

  • A&HE 4561 Teaching Narrative and Story (3) 


  • A&HE 4050 Literature and Teaching (3)

  • A&HE 4053 Cultural Perspectives and Literature (3)

  • A&HE 4052 Adolescents and Literature (3)

Foundations/Breadth Requirement

Foundations courses are intended to broaden students’ knowledge of the history of education, philosophies of education, and educational issues and practices beyond their particular area of concentration. All students must take at least 6 points of such courses (courses in Teachers College not designated “A&HE”) in close consultation with their advisors and with the TC Office of Teacher Education. For those seeking Initial Teacher Certification (38-credit program), foundations credits must be used to meet the New York State requirements for classes in History/Philosophy of Education, Disabilities/Special Education, and Human Development/Psychology if these have not been taken in previous college-level coursework. These courses may be taken as pass/fail.


Electives provide students the opportunity to explore particular interests as they design their own programs in consultation with an academic faculty advisor.

Students whose program permits room for electives may take any graduate-level courses at Teachers College or Columbia University.

Master’s Seminar

All M.A. students are required to enroll in the A&HE 5590, Master’s Seminar: Reflective Practice. Students in the 38-credit program enroll in A&HE 5590 the same semester they enroll in Phase 2 of A&HE 4750, Supervised teaching of English. Students in the 34-credit program enroll in A&HE 5590 during their final semester. Within the context of this course, all students work with an instructor to design and complete their master’s projects.

Student Teaching

Students in the 38-credit Teaching of English program have two separate semesters of student teaching. As required by New York State, one of these experiences is in a middle school and the other is in a high school. Most placements are made in urban public schools in New York City. Commuting to one of the outer boroughs should be expected.

Student teaching experiences differ by semester. In the first (Phase 1) semester, a pair of students may be placed in a classroom under the direction of a single cooperating teacher. The cooperating teacher has primary responsibility for designing the curriculum. While students do not have the major responsibility for designing or organizing the course of instruction, they are active participants in the classroom and school communities. Although the Phase 1 experience varies, students are engaged in observation, group work with students, conferencing, and teaching. During this semester, students understand, appreciate, learn from, and coach youth as readers and writers. Students begin to take over full responsibility for lessons for the purpose of benefiting from feedback and evaluation during University Supervisor visits. Later, toward the end of the Phase 1 experience, at a time mutually agreeable to both cooperating teacher and student teacher, the student teacher is expected to assume full responsibility for one class. A three to four week unit of study might be appropriate at this point.

During Phase 2 of student teaching, student teachers are immersed in teaching, responsible for planning and conducting two classes, assessing student work, and participating as faculty members in the life of their school. Phase 2 student teachers do not ordinarily enroll in any academic courses except those that define and are an integral part of the student teaching experience. Hence, students enroll in A&HE 4750: Supervised Teaching of English (3 credits), A&HE 4751: Fieldwork and Observation in Secondary English (1 credit), A&HE 5204: Fieldwork Workshops in Teaching English (1 credit), and A&HE 5590: Master's Seminar: Reflective Practice (1 credit). These courses together constitute the student teaching experience in its active, creative, and reflective dimensions.

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