MAT Program Requirements

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 accreditied 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.

What is the process for entering the MAT Program?


Inquiring about the process (2 parallel processes)

Contact Dr. J.T. Cox at or

Dr. Robert Spires at 


College Education (Middle & Secondary)

Graduate School

  • Transcript evaluation (Submit to the Dean’s Office); and submit transcripts
  • Seek admission to the unversity as certification student to complete prerequisite courses
  • Complete prerequisite content courses (identified by transcript evaluation
  • Pass or exempt GACE Program Admissions
  • Pass GACE Content  Assessment (in area that you are seeking certification)
  • Apply to Graduate School (online application)
  • Submit all official transcripts to the graduate school
  • Submit to graduate school acceptable scores on MAT or GRE (minimum MAT 375, minimum GRE 750)
  • Meet April 15th deadline

After all the above requirements are met candidates will receive letters of acceptance from the Graduate School and from the Department

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

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

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

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 is the schedule of classes?

The MAT programs begin as cohort programs each June and January. 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 occuring during the day.

What if I don't have a job teaching?

There is a four (4) semesters MAT program for full- time day- time candidates. This program merges certification and the master's degree program into an intensive field based program Candidates are placed in schools for field experiences and student teaching.

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.

Potential candidates for admission:

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.
  • Must have a 2.75 GPA or higher on all coursework from accredited institutions.
  • Must have a COMPLETED Transcript Evaluation on file. Transcripts from ALL undergraduate and graduate institutions previously attended must be included for evaluation.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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.

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

Where do I start the process?

1. Submit an application for a transcript evaluation to the Dean's Office Dewar College of Education. Current course content appropriateness for teaching in a Georgia Public School can be determined. You will receive an evaluation and have the opportunity to meet with an advisor.

2. Take and pass GACE Program Admissions Exemption (or submit exemption scores of 1000+ SAT, 43 ACT, or 1030 GRE) and GACE Content Assessment in the area in which you are seeking certification.

Is Financial Support available for the MAT Program?

The Office of Financial Aid will be able to inform you of the opportunies 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 Dr. J.T. Cox, MAT Program Coordinator at (229) 247-4598 or or Dr. Robert Spires, MAT Program Coordinator at (229) 249-2782

Department of Middle, Secondary, Reading, and Deaf Education Homepage