Skip navigation

Secondary Teacher Education (Alternate Route) - Master's

Availability: Online Options

Become a Teacher: Explore our Alternate Route Programs!

Do you want to teach and already have a bachelor’s degree in something other than education? USM’s Alternate Route Teacher Licensure programs may be for you! Secondary Licensure can be earned through two alternate route pathways—the Master of Arts in Teaching 33 semester-hour (MAT) degree or the JumpStart pathway for undergraduates. Earn your teaching license at Southern Miss!

Request info Apply

100%of completers secure teaching positions
⭐️Military Friendly
13+secondary education subject areas available

What Will I Learn?

Alternate licensure programs focus on the following knowledge, skills, and dispositions:

  • Professional ethics, legal obligations, and education advocacy
  • Using research to inform teaching and learning
  • Building a positive classroom environment
  • Best practices for instructional planning and design
  • Effective teaching strategies for secondary students
  •  Assessment of student learning
  • Meeting the needs of all learners
  • Supporting struggling readers and writers
  • Contemporary challenges in secondary education  

COVID-19 Guidance

For the latest guidance related to Educator Preparation and Licensure please refer to USM Educator Preparation COVID-19 Updates.

  1. Official transcripts indicating Bachelor's degree from regionally/nationally accredited institution with non-education major
  2. Passing Praxis CORE test scores, OR ACT scores with a 21+ composite score, OR SAT equivalent to 21+ ACT score, OR 3.00 GPA on the last 60 hours of earned college course credit. 
  3. Passing Praxis II Subject Area Assessment results. 
  4. Clear background check.
  5. Subscription to Tk20 by Watermark Assessment System after admission

If teacher licensure is desired, candidates must complete 9 hours of coursework during the summer and then secure employment in an accredited Mississippi school district. The state of Mississippi requires one full year of classroom teaching to attain a standard teaching license. Program admissions requirements fulfill other state of Mississippi licensure requirements.

Upon successful completion of the first 9 hours, participants apply to the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) for a 3-year non-renewable teaching license and seek employment in a Mississippi school. Once employment has been secured, candidates complete two internship classes corresponding with their first year of teaching. Southern Miss faculty make classroom visits during the year to support candidate development.

Research assistantships may be available for MAT candidates not wishing to begin teaching immediately after completing summer coursework.

The state of Mississippi and the federal government offer various incentives for high needs subject areas and for critical shortage geographic areas within Mississippi. The incentives can include loan forgiveness, signing bonuses, moving expenses, and housing allowances.

Faculty are dedicated to preparing effective teachers for Mississippi.

Faculty provide evidence-based instruction that prepares highly qualified and effective teachers in their respective subject areas while consistently modeling professionalism. Candidates receive personalized attention from faculty throughout the program to assess candidate strengths and areas for professional growth. Experts in secondary education mentor candidates during their first year of teaching thereby helping them transition smoothly to the teaching profession.

Professional Licensure Disclosure

Programs at the University of Southern Mississippi that prepare students for initial licensure in the field of secondary education in a specific subject area are designed to meet the licensure standards set by the Mississippi Department of Education.  The University of Southern Mississippi cannot determine whether a particular licensure program meets requirements for licensure outside of the State of Mississippi. Students seeking licensure in another state are advised to contact the appropriate licensing board in that state to determine specific requirements of guidelines for reciprocity. For a list of the state departments of education that oversee professional teaching licensure, see the U.S. Department of Education website - State Contacts page.

For questions, please contact Dr. Jay Howell at James.B.HowellFREEMississippi


Degree Plan Availability
Secondary Teacher Education (Alternate Route) MATOnline 100%
  • Middle School Teacher
  • High School Teacher
    • Jonathan Lawler, 2018,
      Rookie Teacher of the Year 2017-2018, Social Studies Teacher, Ocean Springs School District
    • Gerald Steele, 2017, 
      Science & Social Studies Teacher, Forrest County School District
    • Jerid Woods, 2016, 
      English Teacher, Hattiesburg Public School District
    • Leighanne Rouse, 2017, 
      Science and Social Studies Teacher, Harrison County School District