Master of Arts in Teaching

Elementary Education


M.A.T. Program Description and Goals

Program Description

The Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program leads to a masters degree and initial teacher certification in Elementary Education from the state of South Carolina. The MAT program offers choices to people who decide to become professional educators after they have finished other undergraduate programs and have entered a career in another field, enabling a career change.  Candidates for the MAT complete prerequisite courses as needed and take a 15-18 month course of study that begins in the Spring Semester or Summer Session I. This degree offers a unique opportunity to join a cohort of peers in carefully sequenced full time study that features peer collaboration and a full year of Internship in local schools.

Program Goals

  1. To enable a career change for professionals in fields other than education.
  2. To provide a full year of field experiences.
  3. To provide an integrated, sequenced program with a collaborative cohort of peers.
  4. To emphasize interdisciplinary, problem-solving curriculum approaches to learning.
  5. To integrate current technology applications in all areas of teaching and learning.
  6. To prepare future leaders for the field of education.

Admissions Criteria and Procedures

The number of students admitted to the MAT teacher education program each year depends upon the availability of resources for maintaining quality instruction.
Student eligibility is determined according to satisfactory performance or appropriate evidence on each of the following:

To apply to the MAT Program a student can:

Application deadline: Submit all application materials to the Graduate School, no later than September 15 preceding the spring or summer of anticipated enrollment in the MAT program.

For more information:, or contact Dr. Michele Myers, Clinical Assistant Professor and Elementary M.A.T. Coordinator via email at, or via telephone at 803-777-9688.

South Carolina Teacher's Loan Program
For information:

Program of Studies


A. Courses described below are required for all entering MAT students seeking South Carolina certification.
9 hours of English composition, grammar, and literature                  
3 hours of children's literature
3 hours of math and MATH 221 or equivalent
10 hours in natural sciences, including physical, life, and earth/space sciences; at least one course must
involve a laboratory experience
6 hours in the social sciences
3 hours in U.S. history or government
3 hours non-Western, non-European culture (e.g., history, literature, religion, or approved social science)
3 hours exceptionalities (e.g., EDEX 523 Introduction to Exceptional Children, PSYC 528 Psychology of Children with Exceptionalities)

B. All applicants are required to demonstrate successful, significant experiences with children such as teaching, tutoring, or mentoring children, or leadership in a volunteer or professional group.

Graduate MAT Program of Courses
This is a cohort program; that is, all students go through the program at the same time and take most courses in the same sequence.
Required courses:
All students enroll in Summer Session I and Summer Session II
Fall semester:
12 hours of course work including beginning of year-long internship
Spring semester:
15 hours of course work including intensive internship
Summer sessions (to complete graduate electives, if not already completed)

Complete any additional requirements.

May or August graduation with M.A.T. degree in Elementary Education

Click here for a Program of Study

Call or send inquiries to:
M.A.T. Degree in Elementary Education
USC College of Education - Student Affairs, Wardlaw 113
Columbia, SC 29208 (803) 777-6732

Tameka Breland, Teacher at the Center for Inquiry, Richland School District Two
"Being a part of the MAT program at USC afforded me opportunities learn from and with some of the best educators in the state of South Carolina, all of whom believe that our most important job is to help prepare our students to be active citizens in our society. Everything taught out of that philosophy goes far beyond any measurable standard."
Derek McQuiston, M.A.T. Graduate and Elementary Teacher in Rock Hill, South Carolina
"Preparing to become a professional educator is hard work, no matter which program you select. However, the M.A.T. program at USC is well worth the investment of time and commitment. After graduating, I relocated to a new area and was very impressed at how well the M.A.T. program prepared me for real-life teaching. From what I have seen in comparison to other programs, the M.A.T. at USC does a tremendous job of pairing theory alongside practice. Through my program of study I learned not only what I should do to create a nurturing environment with high-quality, collaborative instruction, but I also learned how to do it from the many and varied experiences I had with students and colleagues while still in college. I left USC confident and capable to do my job as a teacher."

Derek McQuiston, M.A.T.
The Quest: No Walls, No Limits
Rock Hill