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Master's Degrees | Elementary Education

Elementary Education

Entrance Exam: GRE
College of Education

The Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) in Elementary Education is an accelerated teacher licensure program that leads its graduates to both an initial teaching license and a master’s degree in as little as a year and a half (full-time).

Professional Licensure

In the MAT in Elementary Education program, students grow in knowledge and impact as they learn how to integrate practice with theory in today’s culturally diverse and technology-enhanced classrooms. The program follows a hybrid model, consisting of online, on-campus and face-to-face off-campus classes held in Raleigh. Please note that the MAT’s focus is on preparation to teach in K-12 schools rather than an advanced credential for practicing teachers or a precursor to research-oriented doctoral studies in education.

Graduates from NC State’s MAT Elementary Education program are:

  • Qualified to work as teachers for all children; they will demonstrate values and dispositions characterized by a sound commitment to social justice, especially for underserved and vulnerable populations of children.
  • Skilled in the use of developmentally appropriate, culturally relevant, child-centered pedagogy in teaching young children.
  • Equipped with deep knowledge in the content areas of the elementary school curriculum, especially in math, science, technology and literacy.
  • Able to implement research-verified practices in all areas of the elementary education curriculum.
  • Able to employ proven practices of teaching using appropriate technology tools.
  • Prepared to foster sound and productive collaborative relationships with students, families and colleagues.
  • Equipped to make instructional decisions based on sound evidence of student work and meaningful assessments.
  • Prepared to productively practice reflection in their own practice of teaching, so that reflection will become a habit of mind.
  • Ready to succeed in a range of high quality, supervised school-based experiences with area partnership schools, including participation in guided inquiry regarding current practices in elementary education.
  • Prepared to contribute to the continuous assessment and improvement of preparing elementary education professionals.


Applicants must have:

  • Bachelor’s degree from a college or university that holds regional accreditation from a recognized accrediting agency such as SACS;
  • 3.0 GPA or higher in prior work, as required by the Graduate School;
  • The GRE is no longer required for admission to the Elementary MAT program if you have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher. If your GPA is below 3.0, a combined Verbal and Quantitative score of 300 on GRE is required. Scores should be no older than 5 years prior to the date of admission;
  • Minimum passing score of 100 on the TOEFL AND an official course-by-course evaluation from an accredited foreign credential evaluation service required for applicants with non-U.S. degrees*;
  • Meet the specific requirements of content area or grade level. See specialty coursework under curriculum for content standards.

MAT in Elementary Education is designed for individuals who hold a bachelor’s degree with the following 24 semester hours in the core content areas:

  • Mathematics: 6 credit hours
  • Science: 6 credit hours, one with a lab
  • Literature: 3 credits
  • Sociology or Anthropology: 3 credits
  • American History: 3 credits
  • Additional Relevant Coursework: 3 credits

In the absence of a content degree, 24 semester hours/credits in content relevant to the area in which you wish to teach are needed. Candidates who are missing content area courses can take them at a local college or university or as a PBS (post-baccalaureate student) at NC State prior to admission.

If an applicant does not have the 24 content area credits needed to be accepted into the program, he or she can still enroll in the first graduate classes as a Non-Degree Studies student (NDS) while completing the full 24 content-specific hours and transfer those credits into the degree program. Up to 12 credit hours with a grade of “B” or better can be transferred into a master’s degree program (either completed as an NDS student or at another institution).

* Please note that the Master of Arts in Teaching is a Distance Education program, so students on university-sponsored visas are not eligible for this program. Please contact the Office of International Services with any questions.

Plan of Study

MAT participants can undertake this program full-time or part-time. The program is 30 credit hours, including a full-semester student teaching experience.

Career Prospects

Elementary school teachers play a crucial role in furthering our country’s growth. The influence of an exceptional teacher can change a child’s life. Gain proficiency in curriculum development, lesson planning, behavior management and parent-educator relationships. Use the skills you acquire to make a difference in the lives of the many children you will teach over the course of your career as a teacher.