FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions


Elementary Professional Certification Program FAQs

Yes, the 50 hour practicum is a requirement by New York State for professional certification. All students in the program have already completed student teaching or its equivalent.

Twelve points is considered a full time load in the fall or spring semester.  Six points is considered a full-time load in each summer session.  With approval from your advisor, you can take up to 14 points a academic year semester.

The 4005 practicum requires 50 hours of field work during the fall semester.  Time commitments for the master’s action research project vary depending on the nature of the project, but generally students average 10-15 hours a week in the classroom from October through mid-April.

During the semesters you are enrolled in a practicum (4005 for 4 points) or working on your master’s project (4502 for 1 or 0 points), your advisor can sign a “certificate of equivalency” form indicating that the college considers you a full-time student.

One or two courses, at most, a semester would be advisable during the academic year when you are teaching.

Secondary Professional Certification Program FAQs

The M.A. degree must be completed within 5 years. If the student has an adequate reason for needing an extension, she/he must petition the director of the program (Professor Knight-Diop, 2009-2011). At that point, the student’s transcript will be reviewed to ascertain that satisfactory performance (“B” average minimum) has been maintained, that the student has a reasonable plan to complete the degree, and that any current requirements for the degree will be met.  The student must also meet the college requirement that at least 16 credits be completed in the 5 years prior to graduation.  Once a plan has been devised and approved by the program chair and the department chair, the petition will be forwarded to the Registrar’s Office for approval.

There is a 50 hour practicum associated with C&T 4005 Principles of Teaching and Learning. There is fieldwork associated with C&T 4502 Master’s Project.

If students are teaching, they can use their own classroom for both 4005 and 4502 fieldwork. Students should consult with the instructor of 4005 about setting up practicum and fieldwork placements associated with 4005 and 4502.

Applications are submitted online. Step-by-step directions are available at: http://www.tc.columbia.edu/apply


Students may begin their program in fall, spring, or summer. New students are required to meet with their advisors in person before registering for their first courses.

In order to enroll in the M.A. Secondary Professional Certification Program, students must hold an Initial Certification in Secondary Education in one of these areas: English, Social Studies, Mathematics, or Science & Technology. The application form allows applicants to indicate when they anticipate applying for or receiving their Initial Certification. TOEFL scores are required for international students for whom English is a second language. Due to state law, the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or an equivalent national assessment is now required. However, it is Teachers College policy to assess applicants from a holistic perspective in which no single score is considered to be determinant in admissions decisions.

Please e-mail your questions and requests to the following address:  ctmed@tc.edu

It is a 32-credit program. With careful planning and advising, students who begin coursework in summer or fall terms can complete the degree in 12 months. Students who begin in January can expect to take approximately 17 months to complete. Some students attend part-time and take longer to complete the program.

No transfer credits are allowed for this M.A. program.

This program can lead to New York State professional certification as a secondary teacher (7-12) in the areas of English, Social Studies, Science, Technology, or Mathematics, when the student meets other requirements (e.g., tests, years of teaching experience).  These other requirements are the responsibility of the student.

There may be additional requirements if a student holds an initial teaching certificate from another state. For example, NYS only acknowledges science education coursework that is subject-specific, such as biology or chemistry; “general” science courses are not accepted. It is the student’s responsibility to check this information with the State Department of Education. In many cases, any additional requirements can be worked into the student’s program through electives or some extra coursework.

New York State has licensing reciprocity with most states. Please check to make sure that the NYS license will be accepted in another state.

For information on scholarships and financial aid, please consult the Teachers College financial aid website: http://www.tc.columbia.edu/admissions/financial-aid/

When an applicant creates an admissions account, s/he will have full access to financial aid information and guidelines. The TC application system is available at: http://www.tc.columbia.edu/apply

The project is an action research, or teacher research, project, initiated in C&T 4502 Master’s Project.   C&T 4502 is taken in the fall and the instructor assists you in designing your study and completing your research proposal. The research is completed independently in the spring term. The action research project can be conducted in one’s own classroom or in a host teacher’s classroom. Host classrooms are arranged for students, or students may choose their own placement.

The action research project must be completed by the end of summer term (in other words, students have approximately 11 months to design and complete it). If a student fails to complete an acceptable master’s project by the announced deadlines, the student must retake C&T 4502 for 0 points. If the student fails to complete an acceptable project again, the Department faculty will consider whether or not the student should be allowed to continue in the master’s program and under what circumstances.

To provide a sense of the range of research topics, here are the titles of some recent secondary Masters Action Research Projects:

  • Education equity through mathematics: A case study of the young women’s leadership school
  • Resistant learners and homework: Perspectives of students in one South Bronx middle school.
  • “That’s so gay:” An examination of the homophobic classroom.
  • Can we create responsive schedules to meet our students’ academic and social needs?
  • Teacher professional learning and change: A case study in a suburban public high school in New York State
  • The main ideas/topics that should be taught in AP biology or equivalent levels
  • Road to college:  Active preparation towards college admission for 9th graders at Urban Academy

The M.A. program in secondary education (CUSD) is a 32 credit program, which can lead to professional certification as a grades 7-12 teacher in New York State in the areas of English, Social Studies, Science, Technology, or Mathematics. The program supports three shared philosophical stances underlying our long-standing tradition of preparing teachers as education leaders.  These stances include teaching as inquiry, teaching as curriculum making and teaching for social justice.  The overarching intention of the program is to assist educators who expect to exert leadership in their school settings and with their colleagues.

Additional information about Teachers College, living in New York City, orientation sessions, and other materials for prospective students is available at: http://www.tc.columbia.edu/housing/

An application for Teachers College housing is available at the TC Online Application System: http://www.tc.columbia.edu/apply

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