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Master of Arts in the Teaching of Languages

Frequently Asked Questions

--Can I complete the program online and if so how long does it take?

Yes, you can complete the program entirely online. It will take approximately 5-6 semesters to do so. We offer courses in the fall, spring, and summer online. In order to speed up your progress in our program there are study abroad options in French and Spanish as well as in-class options should you be able to come to campus.

--What are the costs of the program?

Students are charged in-state tuition for online enrollment and for summer enrollment. Please see the tuition and fees: http://www.usm.edu/business-services/general-tuition-fees

-- How many classes can I take every semester?

The online program is designed for students who work and want to go to school part-time. We offer at least two courses a semester (fall, spring, and summer), with the goal of each student graduating in two years.

-- Can I take courses as a non-degree student?

Students may take up to 9 hours of non-degree work with the department chair’s approval. Students will be approved for this option if there are strong indications the student can do well in the courses. Taking courses as a non-degree student does not guarantee admission to the program.  Currently we are only considering non-degree enrollment in French and TESOL.

--Do I have to take the GRE to get into the MATL program?

Yes, all students who apply to the MATL program must take the Graduate Record Examination and submit the general section scores in verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing. We do not accept GRE scores that are more than 5 years old. In general your grade point average from your undergraduate studies, along with letters of recommendation and your statement of purpose serve as the best indicators of success in our program.

--What are the application deadlines?

Fall - November 1
Spring - April 1
Summer - May 1

--What if I don’t have a degree in Spanish or French? Can I still do the MATL program in one of those languages?

You must first qualify for language study at the graduate level in Spanish or French. If you do not have a Bachelor’s degree in French or Spanish or its equivalent (generally 10 courses are required beyond the beginning levels of language study), then you may qualify for graduate level work by taking the ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview and scoring in the Advanced range. Your OPI scores must be sent to the department before beginning the program. Past study abroad course work is also applicable.

--I am a heritage speaker of the language in which I would like to study, but I do not have a degree in the language. Can I still do the MATL program?

You may qualify to do the MATL program by taking the ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview and scoring in the Advanced range. Your scores must be sent to the department before beginning the program. Study abroad course work is also applicable. Faculty will also review your Statement of Purpose which must be written in the target language to further evaluate your readiness for graduate level course work.

--Can I transfer course work from another program into the MATL?

Yes, you may transfer up to 6 hours of appropriate graduate level course work into our program. Coursework from a completed degree cannot be transferred, however.

--How do I apply to the program?

Please review the Application Guidelines under the Graduate Program on the departmental Web site for more information on how to apply to the program.

- What can I expect when I start taking classes?

The graduate online program (MATL Online) is very different from traditional face-to-face course work. There will be required chats and discussion groups in the target language that will allow you to be part of an online second language community. But this type of participation also requires more self-discipline and personal motivation. You may have to make more effort to connect with instructors and fellow graduate students. Keep in mind that graduate school requires a lot more reading and writing, and this is especially true in an online environment. Students should expect to spend a significant amount of time weekly studying, attending online class meetings, and completing projects.

--What kind of technology do I need to complete this degree online?

It is recommended that you have a fairly new computer and a high-speed Internet connection. For certain chat group sessions you will need to purchase a headset with a built-in microphone.

--Can I obtain a degree with a dual emphasis in French and Spanish or in Spanish and TESOL, for example?

Yes, as long as you qualify for the languages in which you would like the dual emphases. A dual-emphasis degree is 45 hours. Please see the Graduate Student Handbook for more information.

--What do international students need to do to apply to the program?

All international students must follow the same application procedures as everyone else. In addition they must take the IELTS or TOEFL to qualify for the program.  Please see more information about International student enrollment in the Application Guidelines under the Graduate Program on the departmental Web site.

--Do I have to participate in online chat groups at a specific time?

Yes, most courses have a chat component in the fall and spring semesters. You would need to be available to chat during those times. Times are listed on our department’s Web site under Course Offerings.  Teachers can work with you to make up missed chats, if necessary, but keep in mind that chat is included as part of your grade and is considered important for increasing interaction with your classmates and professors.  Chat usually occurs once a week and lasts about an hour. It occurs either in late afternoon or early evening making it convenient to working teachers.

- Whom should I ask to write my letters of recommendation?

Ask professionals (e.g., professors, supervisors) who know your academic and/or professional work to write letters of recommendation for you. Letters of recommendation from former professors and other credentialed academics carry more weight.


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