Master of Arts in Teaching

Belhaven University has a long tradition of academic excellence in preparing teachers. Originally founded as a woman's college, Belhaven's first "professional degree" was in teacher education. Since that time, the College has produced thousands of teachers who have filled classrooms in Mississippi and many other states. Building on this tradition, Belhaven offers two non-traditional teacher graduate programs: the Master of Education and the Master of Arts in Teaching. The Master of Arts in Teaching is designed exclusively for students who hold the bachelor's degree and wish to teach at either the elementary or secondary level but have not completed an undergraduate teacher education program.

While serving different audiences, all degree programs acknowledge the expertise, experience, and needs of adult learners. Both programs also foster inquiry into the nature of learning and the effects of teaching, transfer of theory to practice, self-directed learning and reflection, collegial interaction with peers, commitment to innovation and change, and the development of leadership skills and professional efficacy.

Belhaven offers a challenging educational experience for practicing and aspiring teachers who desire to enhance their knowledge and skills. Our faculty and staff are committed to preparing professional educators who can provide distinctive Christian leadership and service in the classroom, the school, and the community.


Online Option Available

All MAT students have a choice of taking EDU 501 and EDU 506 either online or live in a classroom setting. This will allow for greater flexibility in scheduling. All other courses in the MAT program are only taught in a live classroom setting.

Objectives for the Master of Arts in Teaching Program

The goal of graduate teacher education is to prepare competent teachers who demonstrate both academic excellence and professional knowledge while providing distinctive Christian leadership and service to students, parents, and communities. The conceptual framework of the department reflects and supports the following objectives:

  • ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE: The Master of Arts in Teaching program seeks to provide experiences that will enable the teacher candidates to:
    • Develop an enhanced knowledge base of educational strategies, curriculum development, and instructional management skills needed in the elementary and secondary schools.
    • Acquire further knowledge about the growth and development of children and adolescent youth and how they learn.
    • Acquire additional skills and knowledge of educational technology and its uses in the classroom.
    • Evaluate subject matter content knowledge and develop greater critical thinking skills and creative inquiry processes.
    • Acquire knowledge about philosophical and psychological principles of education.
  • PROFESSIONAL KNOWLEDGE: The Master of Arts in Teaching program seeks to provide experiences that will enable the teacher candidates to:
    • Synthesize best teaching and curriculum practices through collaborative problem solving.
    • Evaluate instructional strategies and build a variety of teaching modules that will improve learning within the classroom and school.
    • Use professional materials, organizations, and current research to expand their knowledge about innovations and trends in education to improve instruction in the school.
    • Design and implement research studies that observe, record, and evaluate students' behavior in order to plan appropriate instructional programs and improve learning environments.
    • Acquire greater knowledge as to appropriate research methodology and analysis of current trends in education and the implication for today's schools.
    • Demonstrate an understanding and use of a variety of instructional strategies to encourage students' development of critical thinking, problem-solving, and performance skills.
    • Develop the ability to evaluate instructional management plans in terms of effectiveness in meeting a school's goals and objectives.
  • LEADERSHIP OPPORTUNITIES: The Master of Arts in Teaching program seeks to provide experiences that will enable the teacher candidates to:
    • Develop leadership skills to enhance instruction in the classroom and to communicate with parents, administrators, and the school community.
    • Use and conduct research to improve instruction and assessment.
    • Promote cooperative exchanges within the classroom, among faculty, and with parents to provide greater opportunities in the curriculum and instruction in the school.
  • CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT: The Master of Arts in Teaching program seeks to provide experiences that will enable the teacher candidates to:
    • Integrate the Christian worldview in involvement with students, parents, coworkers, and the community.
    • Demonstrate integrity in research and implementation of programs to improve instruction.
    • Analyze and develop models of service to schools and communities.
    • Manifests the ethical principles of a Christian professional educator.

Curriculum Summary

PHASE 1-INTRODUCTORY  (Required First Two Courses)
Course # Course Name Credits
EDU 501 Measurement and Evaluation Strategies 3
EDU 506 Classroom Management and Organization 3
PHASE 2 – INTERNSHIP (Must be Employed as a Licensed Teacher)
EDU 502 Dimensions of Learning I 3
EDU 503 Dimensions of Learning II 3
PHASE 3 – CANDIDACY (Phase 3 can begin before Phase 2)
EDU 602 Psychology of the Exceptional Child 3
EDU 622 Teaching Reading and Math Skills 3
Candidates cannot be Fully Admitted to the MAT Degree Program and cannot progress any further until they have successfully completed Phase 1:  EDU 501, EDU 506 & Phase 3: EDU 602, EDU 622 and have passed the required teacher exams.  Candidates enrolled in Florida must have passed the required Florida State Teacher Exams.
EDU 610 Research Methods and Procedures 3
EDU 612 Curriculum Planning and Organization 3
EDU 621 Assessing Student Learning 3
EDU 628 Advanced Teaching Strategies 3
CAPSTONE COURSE  (Prerequisite: a minimum of 21 program hours completed or 18 hours with EDU 503 in progress)
EDU 625 Instructional Leadership Skills in the Classroom
This courses includes writing a Comprehensive Paper

Admission Information

The Master of Arts in Teaching degree is for students who hold non-educational undergraduate degrees and want to pursue the alternate route license at the graduate level (see steps to alternative teacher certification), or who currently hold an alternate license and desire a master's degree and standard certification. MAT graduates can teach in the elementary setting, grades 4 through 8, or in the secondary setting, grades 7 through 12.
Students must have a GPA of 2.75 or higher on one of the following:

  • Cumulative from undergraduate/graduate degree granting institution or
  • Cumulative on last 60 hours of undergraduate work