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Secondary Teacher Education (Alternate Route) - Master's

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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 one of three distinct alternate route pathways—the Master of Arts in Teaching 33 semester-hour (MAT) degree, the Teach Mississippi Institute 12-semester hour (TMI) certificate, or the JumpStart pathway for undergraduates. Earn your teaching license at Southern Miss!

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100%of completers secure teaching positions
13+secondary education subject areas available
3distinct pathways to licensure

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
  1. Official transcripts indicating Bachelor's degree from regionally/nationally accredited institution with non-education major
  2. Passing Praxis CORE test scores, ACT scores with a 21+ composite score, or SAT equivalent to 21+ ACT score.
  3. Passing Praxis II Subject Area Assessment results
  4. 2.75+ on last 60 hours of Bachelor’s degree
  5. Clear background check.
  6. 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.


  • 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