Teacher Licensure


Dance • English • Foreign Languages • Music • Social Studies

Looking for a job with great job security and benefits, a generous retirement plan, flexibility during the summer, multiple opportunities for student loan forgiveness, and a chance to work with others equally committed to making a difference  in the lives of young Mississippians?

Teachers are in great demand in the state of Mississippi (and around the country), and the excellent benefits and incentives make teaching not only a calling for those who want to give back to their communities and make the world a better place, but a smart career choice.

To learn more about the benefits of being a teacher, visit the Mississippi Department of Education.


Teachers Change Lives

We all have a special teacher we remember, someone who changed the way we looked at the world, who inspired a new career path, who helped us believe in ourselves and realize our potential.

Teachers have tremendous influence over their students, and a well-prepared, motivated teacher can help make a real and lasting difference in the lives of generations of Mississippi students. The more prepared our teachers are, the better they can help their students achieve success. Highly prepared college graduates are the future of Mississippi and will be drivers of growth and prosperity state-wide.

That's precisely why the College of Arts & Letters takes such pride in educating Mississippi's future teachers in Dance, English, Foreign Languages, Music, and Social Studies.


Why Choose Southern Miss?

At The University of Southern Mississippi, we take teaching tomorrow's teachers seriously. We are Mississippi's largest and oldest state-supported teacher training school, and we are proud to provide our state with exceptional teachers in 17 different subjects.

From our founding in 1910 as Mississippi Normal College, we have grown into a comprehensive research university that attracts top notch students and internationally recognized scholars and artists to our state-of-the-art facilities.

While the university has expanded its mission since its founding and now offers 142 distinct undergraduate degrees, we remain especially proud of our commitment to training teachers, a commitment which is as strong now as it was over 100 years ago.


Arts & Letters Licensure Programs


Students learn technique, choreography, performance, history, music education, advocacy and dance education, in addition to taking professional education coursework, including in classroom management and educational psychology. Students graduate with a BFA in dance and solid preparation for meeting the teacher licensure requirements for K-12th grade in the state of Mississippi.

Learn more >


Students study literature while developing strong writing and critical thinking skills. In addition, they receive training in classroom management and composition, literature, and language studies for teachers. After student teaching for a semester, students graduate with a BA in English and solid preparation for meeting the teacher licensure requirements for 7th-12th grade in the state of Mississippi.

Learn More >

Foreign Language

Southern Miss offers the only nationally recognized teacher licensure program in foreign languages in the state of Mississippi. Students can major in French or Spanish, and they take additional classes in educational psychology, classroom management, and special education. (And check out our study abroad opportunities to study French in France or Spanish in Spain or Peru!) Students graduate with a BA in French or Spanish and solid preparation for meeting the teacher licensure requirements for K-12th grade in the state of Mississippi.

Learn more > 


Students have a choice between Instrumental and Choral teaching. Two-thirds of the courses for either degree are in music theory, music history, music education and music performance, as we believe it is as important for our teachers to be excellent performers as it is to be excellent teachers.

Learn more (Instrumental) >

Learn more (Choral) > 


Social Studies

Students in our social studies licensure program, offered through the Department of History, receive a strong foundation in world and American history, and take additional courses in such areas as American government, economics, and sociology. In addition, students take classes in education to learn to be effective teachers. After a semester of student teaching, students graduate with solid preparation for meeting the teacher licensure requirements for 7th-12th grade in the state of Mississippi.

Learn more > 

Applying to Southern Miss

Visit the Office of Admissions to set up an appointment to:

  • visit campus

  • see a video tour

  • arrange to meet an admissions counselor

  • fill out an online application

  • view tuition and fees

  • learn more about financial aid and the many scholarships we have available


If you have questions about the College of Arts & Letters and the teacher licensure programs we offer, please contact Donavan Johnson at 


Job Prospects for Teachers

No matter what the job market looks like, the state of Mississippi will always need qualified teachers who have a firm foundation in their subject area, but who also understand and practice the best methods for teaching and inspiring students.

Over the past four year, 97% of graduates from our teaching licensure program have received offers for full-time teaching positions after graduation. That is a phenomenal rate.

Placing our graduates in Mississippi schools is a major focus of our college. Our licensure faculty are in touch with middle and high schools across the state and are frequently called upon by principals and lead teachers to recommend successful students to fill openings. Through our student teaching programs, schools have learned that they can depend on the quality of training and the depth of knowledge of our graduates, and we are proud of the relationships we have built.


How We Prepare Students

We collaborate with the Department of Education to make sure our teachers get a firm foundation in their subject area while learning the unique skills they will need to be successful teachers: strategies for managing classrooms, best practices for motivating and inspiring students, methods for assessing students accurately and effectively, ideas for creating great lesson plans, and more.

Along the way, students take the national exams required for a teaching license (Praxis I & II), and in their final semester, they are placed in classrooms around the state as student teachers to gain practical experience.

Our students graduate with a Mississippi teaching license, prepared, confident, and ready to make a difference. 

If you will be seeking a license in another state, you will need to obtain your Mississippi license before applying as an out-of-state candidate for licensure in another state. Each state has specific requirements, many of which are in addition to those needed to obtain a Mississippi license. Some examples of licensure requirements are additional coursework, a criminal background check, and/or specific test scores. To address any questions about out-of-state licensure, please contact Dr. Anne Sylvest via email at Anne.Sylvest@usm.edu or phone (601.266.5247).


Other Licensure Programs

For a complete list of licensure programs offered by The University of Southern Mississippi, visit our licensure degree program page. For information on Elementary Education, Special Education, or Alternate Route, visit the College of Education and Psychology.