MAT degree - Full-Time Student Track and Employed Teachers Track

What is the MAT Program?

The Master of Arts in Teaching in Middle Grades/Secondary Education (MAT) program is an opportunity for college graduates who hold a bachelor's degree or more advanced degree in a content area from an accredited college or university to earn a master's degree in education and be recommended for a Georgia clear renewable T-5 teaching certificate. This is a 36 credit hour master's degree program requiring extensive field experiences and college course work. This program is designed for the preparation of teachers for core academic areas of sciences, math, English, social studies, and reading for middle level schools and high school. Two options are available. Candidates who are currently teaching with a non-renewable certificate (provisional) are able to earn certification their first year and complete requirements for the master's degree MAT for the Employed Teachers Track in the second year of their enrollment. The second option is for full time students, not employed as teachers, who wish to earn certification through an intensive four (4) semester program with supervised apprenticeships and internships. The MAT program, either MAT (Employed Teachers Track) or MAT (Full-Time Student Track) option, is designed to meet the needs of highly-qualified college graduates who wish to enter the teaching profession.

How does the MAT Program work? 

The MAT Program operates through cohorts that complete the 36 semester hour program together. Program participants take coursework during summer and evenings while they are employed by a school system. They also receive supervision, mentoring, and support from Valdosta State University to help ensure their success.

The MAT Program has two tracks leading to certification and a master's degree.

For Working Teachers - The first year is a certification year, the second year is the completion of the master's degree. Classes are at night: for certification there are 2 classes in the summer, 2 classes in the fall (including an internship) and 2 classes in the spring (including and internship)

For Full-Time Students - There is a four (4) semester MAT program that requires evening classes and day time work in the schools during an apprenticeship and an internship. The schedule is: 2 classes in the summer, 4 classes in the fall (including an internship), 4 classes in the spring (including an internship) and 2 classes in the summer.

What are the content areas that I may seek certification through the MAT program?

Middle Grades: math, science, English language arts, or social studies

Secondary: English, math, history, political science, biology, chemistry, physics, or earth science

What is the schedule of classes?

The MAT programs begin as cohort programs each June. Summer classes are for 5 weeks, 3 days a week, 6 hours a day.

Fall and spring semesters - classes are in the evening with field experiences, apprenticeships, internships, and employed teachers occurring during the day.

What do MAT participants learn? 

MAT participants learn the skills and competencies essential to effective teaching in the middle and secondary school environments. Participants will learn how to manage a classroom, how to motivate and reach all students, effective teaching strategies, student characteristics and learning needs. And much more!

What are the MAT Program admissions requirements? 
As with any graduate program, the following criteria represent the minimal requirements for admission to the program. Meeting these requirements does not necessarily ensure acceptance into the MAT Program.

Requirements Specifically for the MAT Program VSU Graduate School Admissions Requirements
  • Must have earned a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.
  • Minimum cumulative undergraduate and gradate GPA of 2.75 on a 4.0 scale. VSU has a "no forgiveness policy when calculating GPAs. Applicants not meeting the required GPA may be eligible for admission by an alternative pathway.*
  • Must have completed all appropriate content coursework as indicated by the transcript evaluation.
  • If content courses are still required, applicants must seek admission to Valdosta State University as a certification student.
  • Must have passed or exempted the GACE Program Admissions Test.
  • Exemptions: Applicants who meet one of the criteria below are eligible to exempt the GACE Program Admissions test.
    • an SAT score of 1000 or greater
    • or
    • an ACT score of 43 or greater
    • or
    • a GRE score of 1030 or higher
    • GRE® -The GRE® was revised in August, 2011, and the scoring format has changed. Following are the required converted scores to exempt the GACE Program Admission Requirement:

    • If tested with the old GRE® format (before August 1, 2011), candidates need a GRE® composite score of 1030 on Verbal and Quantitative to exempt GACE Program Admission.

      • If tested with the new GRE® format (on or after August 1, 2011), candidates need a GRE® composite score of 297 on Verbal and Quantitative to exempt GACE Program Admission.
  • Must have passed the GACE Content Test(s) in the intended area(s) for certification. Applicants for Middle Grades certification must have two content area concentrations.

*Admission by Alternative Pathway Requirements

Must have a minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA or combined undergraduate and graduate GPA of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale AND meet requirements for one of the following alternative pathways:

  • Alternative Pathway 1: Have a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale in all coursework attempted while registered as an upper-division undergraduate student working towards a bachelor's degree (i.e. 3000 and 4000 level coursework); or
  • Alternative Pathway 2: Have a minimum GPA of 2.75 on a 4.0 scale in all graduate coursework (must have completed at least 6 credit hours of graduate work in which a letter grade was awarded); or
  • Alternative Pathway 3: Have an undergraduate GPA earned ten or more years prior to admission
  • Must apply to the Valdosta State University Graduate School.
  • Must submit all official transcripts to the Valdosta State University Graduate School.
  • Must submit acceptable scores on either the GRE or the MAT. Acceptable minimum scores are 143-V and 138-Q (or 750 combined on previous version) for the GRE and 375 for the MAT.
  • Must complete ALL requirements by the deadlines specified by the Valdosta State University Graduate School.

Candidates may be asked to submit a writing sample and meet for an interview with the Program faculty as a condition for admission.

Ideally, applicants should work on completing both sets of requirements simultaneously. However, ALL requirements for both the Program and the Graduate School must be satisfactorily completed prior to the deadline for the intended semester of admission as indicated by the Graduate School.

Where do I start the process?

Submit an application to the Graduate School. Current course content appropriateness for teaching in a Georgia Public School will be determined. 

Content Concentration course requirement - as part of the admission review, your transcripts will be evaluated to confirm the following requirements:

  • Secondary Education: 21 credit hours of upper-level (3000-4000) courses in their concentration area. Ex. For Math concentrations: 21 hours of MATH 3000-4000 courses, for English concentrations: 21 hours of ENGL 3000-4000 courses, etc.

  • Middle Grades Education: 15 credit hours of upper-level (3000-4000) courses in their concentration area. Ex. For History concentrations: 15 hours of HIST 3000-4000 courses, for Biology concentrations: 15 credit hours of BIOL 3000-4000 courses, etc.

Is Financial Support available for the MAT Program?

The Office of Financial Aid will be able to inform you of the opportunities for grants, scholarships, and graduate assistantships.

You may also find information at the Georgia Student Finance Commission website:

Where can I get more information?

For more information about the MAT Program, go to 

Or, contact Renee Whitmer, Program Advisor, at (229) 249-2789 or

Department of Teacher Education Homepage