Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT)

College of Social Sciences, Commerce, and Education


Dr. Kimberlee Wagner, Chair and Unit Head

Prof. Annie Baddoo

Prof. Gina Braun

Dr. Jacob Hardesty

Dr. Chris McCullough

Dr. Kelly Monson

Dr. Brandi St. James



“Empowered Minds Learning Together”

MAT Programs

Rockford University offers MAT degrees with and without Illinois Professional Educator License (PEL). The Rockford University Master of Arts in Teaching program is designed to further students’ knowledge in one or more academic disciplines, increase understanding of the educational process, and enhance various skills involved in teaching. All MAT tracks require at least 36 semester hours; 32 hours if the thesis option is available and selected.

All teacher education programs at Rockford University are firmly rooted in the liberal arts to provide a broad range of knowledge and practical experiences that will help students understand themselves, society, the natural world, and the world of arts and humanities. Students learn how individuals develop within the context of their social, economic, cultural, linguistic, and academic experiences. Further, students learn to identify and adjust for diverse characteristics and abilities of each student to create a positive learning environment, while reflecting upon and evaluating their own teaching skills.

Rockford University Programs Leading to Professional Educator License (PEL)

As of July 1, 2013, a professional licensure system replaced the teacher certification system in the state of Illinois. Students completing approved teacher education programs at Rockford University will receive a Professional Educator’s License (PEL) with endorsements in their chosen area(s) of study. Rockford University offers several endorsements for those seeking an Illinois PEL.

Important Notes: Illinois licensure requirements may change, and students must satisfy Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) requirements in effect at the time of application for licensure, endorsements, and approvals. Rockford University has no control over any such changes in state requirements, and state requirements are not negotiable. Students are advised to refer to the Education department’s current Handbook for Professional Educator Licensure (PEL) Programs for the most recent updates in requirements for various aspects of the program.

The following PEL endorsements are available upon completion of Rockford University approved programs.

  • Early Childhood (birth to grade 2)
  • Elementary (grades 1-6)
  • Middle Grades (grades 5-8)
  • K-12 (Foreign Language: French, Spanish; Physical Education; Visual Arts)
  • Secondary (Biology, Chemistry, Drama/Theatre Arts, English/Language Arts, History, Mathematics)
  • Special Education--LBS1 (preK-21)

The following endorsements may also be earned. A PEL must be awarded prior to entitlement for these endorsements.

  • Bilingual
  • English as a Second Language (ESL)
  • Special Education (LBS1)

An Early Childhood Special Education approval for Pre-K only is available for those completing licensure endorsement requirements in either Early Childhood Education or Special Education (LBS1).

Admission to the Teacher Education Program (TEP)

Admission is contingent upon the following.

  • Successful completion of EDEC 500 or EDUC 500     
  • Filing an official Plan of Study
  • Completion of 9 graduate hours in education

Student Teaching Requirements

Rockford University teacher education programs leading to professional educator licensure culminate in the student teaching semester. Students may student teach during the fall or spring semester of the senior year. Admission to student teaching is not automatic. Students are required to attend the Student Teaching Application Meeting and submit their applications during the semester preceding student teaching. The student-initiated application process may be repeated only once. Admission to student teaching is contingent upon the following.

  • Completion of designated coursework with a grade of “C-” or higher (students must earn at least a “C-” in all courses required for program completion resulting in licensure, endorsements, or approvals)
  • Graduate GPA of 3.0 GPA or higher 
  • Passing of the appropriate ILTS content-area test (s)
  • Successful professional dispositions review by the Student Teaching Admission Committee
  • Approval of the Student Teaching Admission Committee

Important Note: Additional requirements specific to each Rockford University approved teacher education program are found in the current Handbook for PEL Programs.