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Secondary Education curriculum

A hallmark of the course work during the master of arts in teaching in Secondary Education is learning how to teach a subject area while empowering you to inspire your students.

Content-area options

  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Science: biology, chemistry, Earth science, and physics
  • Social studies
  • Special education generalist

Each Secondary Education curriculum module connects learning theory with practice and builds on what you’re doing in the classroom. Upon completion, you earn your master of arts in teaching and achieve your recommendation for initial certification in New York State* in a Secondary Teaching content area in English, mathematics, science, or social studies for Grades 7-12, or in special education – students with disabilities Grades 7-12 generalist.



Your course work helps you learn about your students, their families, and their community. In the classroom, you apply this knowledge as your mentor teacher starts the school year and come to understand the importance of establishing certain routines and procedures to build a culture of rapport and achievement in your classroom.

Summer 4.5 credits

Knowing the individuals in our classrooms, their families, and communities is an essential starting point of teaching. Building relationships with learners, learning from them and their experiences, and empowering them in the classroom to establish mutual respect and social contingencies where all class members contribute to social, emotional, and intellectual growth. Topics include learner identities, unpacking teacher privilege, intersections of diversity, building on family/community resources, and responding to diversity through individualization.

Where we teach and learn influences how we function and who we engage in the process. This course focuses on various contexts of learning and schooling in a range of environments, including classrooms (general, inclusive, and separate); historical contexts; and federal, state, and local policies that shape learning contexts, learning, and learners. Residents will be able to identify models of positive classroom environments, support high expectations for all students, collaborate with families and other professionals, and create caring classrooms for diverse learners.

Early Fall 3.0 credits

This module builds on previous units’ focus on knowing learners and the contexts where they learn to develop students’ understanding of their obligations to their diverse learners, and of their teaching environments. Residents are encouraged to explore more complex understandings of teaching and learning than those they may have acquired in their own schooling. They learn classroom management and self-assessment skills and identify the teaching assets they bring to classroom environments, including their content knowledge and previous leadership experiences.

This module covers disability conceptualizations and controversies through an examination of historical and current federal US education policy and law. Residents learn about individualized educational programming, their legal responsibilities as teachers, and techniques for maximizing students’ self-determination and family involvement.

Active practice

Your course work focuses on your content area and how you teach that subject to diverse learners, including bilingual speakers, students with special needs, English language learners, and students with varying literacy abilities. In the classroom, you apply this knowledge to your students’ community.

Late Fall Through Spring 9.0 credits

This module introduces fundamentals of curriculum planning and development. Focus is on creating content-rich curricula that provide culturally relevant learning experiences for students and enable them to connect meaningfully to other content areas and experiences outside the classroom. Residents gain valuable skills in developing curricula that meet content-area standards while addressing students’ varied learning needs; providing individualized instruction (including use of Individualized Educational Plans, or IEPs, in the classroom); and strategies for authentic assessment.

This module covers the characteristics and services for students with high-incidence disabilities impacting learning, attention, and behavior in secondary settings. Our focus is on curriculum and instructional methods for increasing student efficacy across general and special education inclusive settings.

This module focuses on key pedagogical methods for teaching secondary subject areas (English, math, science, and social studies). Residents learn to design and deliver lesson plans that are content-rich, culturally relevant, and inquiry-based. Topics include methods for differentiating instruction for all learners, especially students with disabilities and emergent bilinguals.

This course introduces fundamentals of curriculum planning and development for students with disabilities. Residents learn how to develop, modify, and adapt curricula for students with disabilities in a range of educational settings. Residents also learn to create individualized education plans (IEPs) to drive curricular design, implementation, and assessment. Our focus is on middle, high school, and transition-aged youth who are in separate and inclusive learning environments.

This module focuses on assessment. Topics include formal classroom assessment (for example, tests, writing assignments, and projects); informal classroom assessment (as carried out in classroom discussions, monitoring of small groups, one-on-one observations and discussions, and students’ self-assessment and peer assessment); grading; and external standardized assessment. The module also includes preparation for the MAT program summative assessment.

Peak teaching

You learn about your responsibilities as a teacher and how those duties affect your relationship with your students. As the lead teacher in the classroom, you apply all your course work to ensure your teaching meets the needs of your school and each student’s academic achievement goals.

At the end of the year, you finish your Participatory Action Research (PAR) project. At that point, you have completed the requirements for your Teacher Residency and demonstrated the skills of a highly effective teacher.

Spring Through Summer 13.5 credits

This module combines cross-disciplinary work in which students from different content areas learn from one another with discipline-specific reading and writing from their content area. Building on previous modules, this module explores how to integrate reading and writing instruction into lesson planning and how to integrate teaching methods to support reading and writing skills in each content area. This module embeds fieldwork experiences in multiple ways, including planning, implementing, and analyzing lessons in the field.

This course introduces residents to the legal requirements and educational rights of students with disabilities and strategies for working with students with disabilities, including the use of IEPs (individualized education plans), and collaborating with colleagues to meet the needs of students with disabilities. We also explore issues and trends in special education.

This module covers the characteristics and services for students with low-incidence disabilities, including significant intellectual disabilities, multiple disabilities, autism, and sensory disabilities. Our focus is on curriculum and instruction that balances 1) access to grade-level content and inclusion with peers with 2) individualized content that supports functional skills. Instructional methods in varied learning environments including home, school, and community-based settings, related services, and assistive technology are central to course content.

This module explores the professional responsibilities of teaching in connection with students, colleagues, families, and the school community. Topics include the social responsibilities of teachers, such as anti-bullying education, substance abuse prevention; HIV/AIDS education; child abuse recognition and reporting; and school violence prevention. Students gain skills in activating protective resources, advocating for diverse students and their families, working with colleagues and community partners, and supporting empowerment and resilience in the classroom.

This culminating module focuses on participatory action research (PAR), which is one of the programmatic themes. PAR is characterized by a collaborative process of inquiry and action for change in response to organizational or community problems. Residents learn how to design, create, implement, participate in, and present a PAR project that focuses on a content-area problem, as well as learn how to keep the everyday world less problematic, how to practice radical listening, and how to be a mindful learner.

PLEASE NOTE: Completing the Teacher Residency does not guarantee a recommendation for certification. To receive a recommendation, you must:

  • Demonstrate mastery of the competencies needed to be a highly effective teacher and mentor for all learners in your classroom.
  • Complete your assignments as a successful co-teacher, sharing equally in classroom responsibilities with your teaching mentor.
  • Successfully complete your PAR project.

Our teacher education programs are fully accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.

*Note: The course work and fieldwork lead to eligibility for initial teaching certification in New York State. Please visit our Professional Licensure page for more information.

Something that’s really important to us as faculty is to make sure that the sequence of our course work supports increased knowledge and skills and that there are clear connections between the different courses in our program.