May 15, 2021
The Master of Arts in the Teaching of Languages is a unique program of professional preparation specifically designed to meet the needs of teachers from elementary and secondary education through the junior and community college levels. The MATL is not a literature degree; instead our purpose is to provide students with courses that meet their needs as foreign language teachers. Designed to integrate theory and practice, the MATL program focuses on the enhancement of language teaching skills and knowledge about language and language learning.
The MATL program meets the requirements for AA licensure for those holding a current Mississippi teaching license in French or Spanish (the MATL is not designed for initial teacher certification or licensure). Applicants from other states should check with their respective state departments of education for specific requirements concerning certification or licensure. The department also offers a program of study for the ESL endorsement to a current Mississippi teaching license in any area. Please contact the coordinator of the MATL program for details.
Members of all underrepresented groups are strongly encouraged to apply for admission to the MATL program. The following materials are reviewed in the admission process:
- Official scores for the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). For information on the GRE, go to http://www.gre.org. You can also call 1-800-473-2255 to schedule an appointment for the test.
- Official transcripts for all previous undergraduate and graduate studies. Successful applicants in the past have had undergraduate grade point averages over the last two years of undergraduate study that range from 2.85 to 4.0 on a 4.0 scale. Students who obtain “regular admission” typically have a GPA of 3.0 or better. Conditional admission may be considered for applicants whose undergraduate grade point average and/or test scores are marginal, but who show promise for success in graduate studies. The requirements for a change to regular admission will be stated at the time of acceptance into the program.
- A Statement of Purpose written in the language you will be pursuing (English, French or Spanish). Please write a 300-500 word statement indicating your career and professional goals and explaining why you want to pursue graduate study in language teaching. You might mention particular interests, academic accomplishments, travel abroad, teaching experience or other relevant preparation.
- Non-native speaker to the French and Spanish emphases should have an undergraduate degree in the language or present evidence of equivalent language experience (30 hours in the language). Applicants who do not have an undergraduate degree in the language will be required to either complete more coursework before being allowed to take language emphasis courses or take the ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview, www.actfl.org, and score in the Advanced range. A copy of the test score must be sent to the MATL coordinator. In cases where an applicant does not have an adequate background in the emphasis language, conditional admission may be granted with undergraduate language requirements and/or the ACTFL OPI set for full admission; such graduate students can begin MATL core courses while completing the prerequisites. This information pertains to heritage language speakers but not to international students whose native language is Spanish or French. Please see the Graduate Student Handbook for more information.
- For international students whose native language is not English, official scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) are required. Successful applicants have had a Computer-based or on Internet-based test a score of 83 with no section lower than 19. Information on the TOEFL is available at http://www.toefl.org. The department will also accept an IELTS score of a 6.5 with no sub-test score below a 6. Please see the Graduate Student Handbook for more information: http://www.usm.edu/foreign-languages-literatures/graduate-student-handbook.
For more information on non-US applicants see the information below. International students need to apply through the International Admissions Office (see below).
- Three (3) letters of recommendation are required from professional in the field who is able to comment on the student's preparation to engage in graduate studies.
See the “Academic Requirements” section of the Graduate Bulletin for other general requirements. Conditional admission may be considered for applicants who do not meet all the criteria but show promise for success in graduate studies. The requirements for a change to regular admission will be stated at the time of acceptance into the program.
General Program Academic Requirements
All students are expected to complete the following requirements:
- A total of thirty-three (33) hours of graduate level courses, including eighteen (18) hours in courses numbered 600 or above. A 3.0 GPA is required for graduation.
- Plan of Study. Students must submit their signed, official Plan of Study Form to the Graduate School by the end of the first semester they are enrolled. The Plan of Study Forms are available at www.usm.edu/graduateschool/planofstudy.php - click on the "Plans of Study" link.
- FL 561 , FL 663 , FL 664 , and FL 665
- A practicum tailored to the teaching experience of each student (FL 694 )
- For students in the TESOL emphasis, a minimum of 9 hours of courses with a TSL prefix, including the required TSL 612
- For students in the Spanish or French emphasis areas, a minimum of 15 hours of graduate-level courses in the specific language
- A language proficiency requirement, as determined by departmental policy, within the specific emphasis area. In addition, students in the TESOL emphasis whose first language is English must also meet a foreign language requirement by completing nine (9) hours of undergraduate conversational foreign language study (i.e., through USM 201 level) or equivalent with an average of “B” or better.
- Comprehensive examination which consists of a successful defense of a portfolio
All students are required to prepare an individualized Program Plan with an adviser.
Continuous Enrollment Requirement: Students must meet the requirement specified in the front section of this Bulletin.
Responsible Conduct of Research Training:
All faculty holding Regular or Associate graduate faculty status, must complete RCR training modules required by the Graduate School and their departments. All graduate students must complete the RCR training modules required by the Graduate School and their departments the first semester they are enrolled in graduate school. The RCR policy and training information are found on the Graduate School web page – www.usm.edu/graduateschool. Contact the Dean of the Graduate School if you have any questions regarding the policy of training information.