Skip navigation

School of Humanities

English Licensure

English BA with Licensure

Download licensure checklist


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 ENG 101, ENG 102, HIS 101, HIS 102, and PSY 110.

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. 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 Human
Sciences, Dr. Trent Gould 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 CoAS 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 attained 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
3. _____ Plan your program of study with the awareness that the English methods courses (ENG 401, 402, and 403)
are not taught every semester. These courses are not 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.
5. _____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. To graduate, you must pass the Praxis II exams. 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.




Praxis Exam

The Mississippi State Department of Education uses the Praxis Series Tests for Educators, as administered through ETS, for teacher certification. 

Praxis I 
The Core Academic Skills for Educators Test (CORE) is required for English with licensure majors who scored below a 21 on the ACT, or who attained any subscores below 18.  Those students must pass the Reading Test (code 5712) with a score of at least 156, the Writing Test (code 5722) with a score of at least 162, and Mathematics Test (code 5732) with a score of at least 150 to be admitted to the Professional Education Program.

Praxis II
All English with licensure majors take the Praxis II tests during their final semester of coursework.  The tests and scores required are the English Language Arts: Content Knowledge Test (code 5038) with a score of 167 and the Principles of Learning and Teaching Test, grades 7-12, (code 5624) with a score of 157 in order to earn a valid teaching certificate in the state of Mississippi.



Alternate Route to English Licensure

If you already have a bachelor’s degree and are thinking about teaching secondary school, but are not interested in pursuing a second degree in English Licensure, the Mississippi Department of Education has four approved alternate routes to licensure.  They differ in exact requirements, but all three require Praxis testing, a training program or series of courses, and a one-year teaching internship.

The four alternate routes to licensure are:

Teach Mississippi Institute
Mississippi Alternate Path to Quality Teachers 
Master of Arts in Teaching
American Board Certification for Teacher Excellence Passport to Teaching

All four of these programs are described in detail on the Mississippi Department of Education website.

If you would like to discuss which option is best for you, please contact Dr. Jay Howell at James.B.Howell@usm.




English Licensure Placement

The English with Licensure Program boasts a superlative placement rate for its graduates: for those seeking immediate employment, our placement rate for the past six semesters is at 100%.  Our students complete the traditional English major and receive secondary teaching certificates, which prepares them for successful careers at both middle schools and high schools.  Recent graduates have secured teaching positions at Hattiesburg High School, N.R. Burger Middle School, Petal High School, Perry Central High School, Oak Grove High School, Oak Grove Middle School, Forrest County Agricultural High School, Purvis High School, West Lauderdale High School, Brookhaven High School, and Jefferson Middle School; others have become 7-12 teachers in Alabama, Louisiana, and Florida.  Some English with Licensure majors prefer to enter graduate programs after completing the B.A., which include master’s programs in English, library science, and education.  




Please contact the School of Humanities main office at 601.266.4320 and we will direct you to a Licensure advisor.

Contact Us

School of Humanities

347 Liberal Arts Building (LAB)
118 College Dr. #5037
Hattiesburg, MS 39406

Campus Hattiesburg

Campus Map