Steps to an English BA with Licensure

Download licensure checklist (post-2013 matriculation)

Download licensure checklist (post 2015)


Requirements for admission to the Professional Education Program*

(Phase I – Getting your Gold Card)

Southern Miss’s “Gold Card” is issued once students have completed their basic coursework and passed preliminary tests, and serves as a ticket for students to enroll in upper level classes. Before you apply for your Gold Card, you must:

  1. ________ Complete the 44-hour General Education Core with a minimum 2.75 GPA.** You can find out what the GEC requirements are for your calendar year by looking in your Undergraduate Bulletin under “For Students” at or at your Degree Progress Report (DPR) on your SOAR account.
  2. ________ Earn at least a “C” in both ENG 101 and ENG 102.
  3. ________ Pass the Praxis I Core Academic Skills for Educators (Reading, Writing and Math) or have an ACT equivalent composite score of 21 or higher with no subscores below 18. Visit, where you can view “Tests at a Glance,” which identifies the knowledge and skills assessed in each area of the Praxis I (reading, writing and mathematics); to find testing centers and dates; and to register for the exam. Call 601-266-6123 for more information about online testing services.
  4. ________ Purchase a subscription to TK20, valid for seven years. TK20 is an online software system that collects data for accreditation and a subscription can be purchased on the TK20 homepage,, or from the textbook center in the university bookstore.
  5. ________Complete a background check through CastleBranch. You cannot register for courses that require field observations or take a practicum without passing a background check. Visit for instructions.

After you fulfill these requirements, you may apply for your Gold Card by seeing Ms. Jennifer Wild, the university’s licensure officer, in OMH 121B, for a Gold Card application. Once Ms. Wild has reviewed your application, you will be issued your Gold Card and be eligible to register for restricted courses in SOAR.

*A waiver for any of these may only be issued after contacting the student’s departmental advisor and making an appointment with the Dean of the College of Education and Psychology, Dr. Ann Blackwell at 601-266-4175

**The USM general education core (GEC) consists of 41 hours of coursework, but the MS Department of Education identifies a 44-hour general education core. Therefore, candidates need to complete all 38 hours of the GEC coursework and the social science requirement (PSY 374) from CoAL Bachelor of Arts requirements with a 2.75 before applying for the Gold Card


Requirements for the English with Licensure Degree:

(Phase II – Taking upper level classes and restricted education courses)

After you have gotten your Gold Card, you should see your advisor to create a schedule that includes the English classes and restricted education courses you will need to graduate. For a complete list of requirements, visit the “Degree Plans” link under the undergraduate tab on the USM Department of English webpage.

  1. ________ Earn at least a “C” in all English courses and restricted education courses.
  2. ________ Take CIS 313 and SPE 400 immediately after earning your Gold Card. Postponing these required courses could postpone the completion of the degree program by 1-3 semesters, since they are prerequisites for other licensure classes.
  3. ________ Plan your program of study with the awareness that the English methods courses (ENG 401, 402, and 403) are not taught every semester. In Hattiesburg, ENG 402 is taught in the fall and 401 and 403 are taught in the spring; the reverse is true on the Gulf Coast campus. None are available during summer terms.
  4. You must take CIS 302 and ENG 491 the semester before you begin your student teaching internship. During this semester, you will also complete your degree application, take the Praxis II exams, and apply for a teacher internship, as guided by your instructor.

Once all of the above requirements have been met and you have finished your coursework, you will enroll in ENG 494 and 495 for your final semester. This is your student teaching internship. You will be assigned two field placements, one in middle school and one in high school, and will work closely with a supervisor from the Department of English and with the staff of the Office of Educational Field Experiences.  After the successful completion of your internship, you will be ready to visit Ms. Jennifer Wild to apply for your teaching license. *

Note: Students are required to read and become familiar with the Mississippi Educator Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct, available on TK20 and the MS Department of Education website at  The Mississippi Department of Education and/or other accrediting agencies can change program requirements at any time.


*We do not guarantee to meet the licensure requirements of other states. You will be responsible for verifying that your program of study meets you desired state’s licensure requirements. 



Please contact the English department at 601.266.4320 and we will direct you to a Licensure advisor.