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The Master of Arts in Teaching Elementary Level Alternate Route (MAT-ELAR) is an innovative program tailored for aspiring elementary teachers (grades K-6). This program offers an alternate path to licensure, combining rigorous graduate-level coursework, intensive residency experiences, and comprehensive teacher training to develop highly competent educators.

Program Highlights

  • CAEP-Aligned Curriculum: The program aligns with the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) standards, integrating academic and experiential components essential for initial licensure.
  • 36 Credit Hours: Complete the program with 36 credit hours
  • Fully Online: All courses are 100% online, making it accessible from anywhere in Mississippi and beyond.
  • In-State Tuition for All: Online students benefit from in-state tuition rates, regardless of location
  • Career Opportunities: This degree is designed for individuals who seek to teach in grades K-6.

Tuition & Fees

Tuition per credit hour $558.50
Instructional Support Fee per credit hour $25.00

Tuition and fees listed are subject to change and do not include all possible charges. Additional fees may apply. Please refer to the master class schedule for individual course charges.

Who Should Pursue This Degree?

If you have a passion for teaching and hold a bachelor's degree in a field other than education, the MAT-ELAR program is ideal for you. This program is designed for individuals eager to develop effective instructional strategies and meet the diverse needs of elementary students.

Licensing and Degree Details

  • 3-Year Class A Non-Renewable License: Obtainable after completing EPY 8473, EDE 8113, and EDX 8173. Note: If you already hold a master’s degree, you cannot upgrade your license to the master’s level with this license.
  • 5-Year Class AA Renewable License: Available after holding a 3-year Class A non-renewable license, completing the full master's degree, and passing the Foundations of Reading Test and Praxis II: 5017 Elementary Education Content Knowledge. Those with an existing master’s degree can upgrade to a master’s level after receiving the 5-year license.
  • Master of Arts in Teaching Degree: Awarded upon passing the comprehensive examination.

Start your journey to becoming a licensed elementary teacher today with the MAT-ELAR program!

Program Structure

The MAT-ELAR program uses a residency model that is both field-intensive and grounded in clinical practice within an elementary public school setting. As a student in the MAT-ELAR program, you will be referred to as a resident. Your journey begins with an induction camp, followed by a blend of coursework and hands-on residency experiences.

Key Features

  • Residency Model: Engage in a highly immersive, field-intensive program focused on real-world clinical practice.
  • Induction Camp: Start your residency with a comprehensive induction camp to prepare you for the program.
  • Integrated Learning: Combine theoretical coursework with practical classroom experiences using evidence-based teaching methodologies
  • Learning Cycle Model: Connect your theoretical learning about teaching with practical applications in the classroom, enhancing your skills and knowledge through a proven framework

The MAT-ELAR program prepares you to become an effective elementary educator by integrating placement opportunities and evidence-based teaching methods, ensuring you are well-equipped to meet the demands of today's diverse classroom environments.

Course Number Title Credit Hours
EDE 6623 Elementary & Middle-Level STEM Pedagogy 3
EDE 8113 Planning & Managing of Learning for Elementary & Special Education 3
EDE 8133 Elementary & Special Education Residency I 3
EDE 8143 Elementary & Special Education Residency II 3
EDF 8553 Research in the Classroom 3
EDX 8173 Special Education in the Regular Classroom 3
EPY 8473 Elementary Assessment & Evaluation 3
RDG 6123 Elementary Literacy Instruction I 3
RDG 6133 Integrated Reading and Writing in the Curriculum 3
RDG 6143 Elementary Literacy Instruction II 3
RDG 6223 Assessing Reading Difficulties 3
  Select a graduate-level education elective with COE, EDE, EDS, EDX, EPY, RDG, or TECH prefix 3
  Total Hours 36

Eligibility for Initial Licensure

After successful completion of the initial licensure courses—EPY 8473, EDE 8113, and EDX 8173—you are eligible to apply for a Mississippi 3-year Class A non-renewable resident teacher license.

  • Program Admission: You must be admitted to the MAT-ELAR program to register for Internship I and Internship II.
  • Full-Time Classroom Position: Secure a full-time teaching position in a public elementary school (grades K-6) as a teacher, teacher assistant, or paraprofessional before registering for these internships.
  • Residency Component: Internship I and Internship II make up the residency component and can be completed in any K-6 grade level within a public school setting

Transition to Regular Teaching License

Your resident teaching license will be converted to a regular teaching license upon completing all program requirements and passing the necessary licensure exams.

Comprehensive Examination

You will complete a comprehensive examination in your final semester of enrollment.

Admissions Requirements

Residency Restrictions

We are currently unable to admit students living in the state of Georgia.

Application Deadlines

Before starting the application process, please contact Matt Blackwell:

To be considered for admission, complete steps 1-5 by the following dates:

  • Spring Semester - December 1
  • Summer Semester - May 1
  • Fall Semester - August 1


Admission Options

Domestic/International Classified Admissions

  1. Submit online application. You will choose Master of Arts in Teaching- Elementary Level Alternate Route as your Program of Study and Online Education as your campus.
  2. Statement of Purpose
  3. Three letters of recommendation
    • You will be asked to submit three names and three email addresses of individuals you are using as references. Once you click submit, these individuals will be sent an email from MSU, which will provide a link to an online form for completing their recommendations.
  4. One official transcript showing bachelor’s degree or progress toward degree. (For international students, please submit a copy in native language along with translated copies, if appropriate.)
  5. One official transcript showing ALL work after bachelor’s degree. (For international students, please submit a copy in native language along with translated copies, if appropriate.)
    • Electronic transcripts should be sent to: Mississippi State University, Graduate School. Only one copy of an electronic transcript is required.
    • Paper Transcripts Address (USPS):
      Mississippi State University
      The Office of the Graduate School
      P.O. Box G
      Mississippi State, MS 39762
    • Physical Street Address (for DHL, Fed Ex, UPS, DHS, etc.):
      Mississippi State University
      The Office of the Graduate School
      175 President Circle
      116 Allen Hall
      Mississippi State, MS 39762
  6. Payment of $60 non-refundable application processing fee for domestic students.
    Payment of $80 non-refundable application processing fee for international students.
  7. Once you are admitted, you will receive an email with complete instructions on registering for classes and contacting your advisor

Academic Advising

After gaining admission to the university, you must contact your advisor to determine the courses that are most appropriate for you to take. Before the upcoming semester, your advisor will send an email to your MSU account, making course recommendations based on your program of study. Virtual individual and group advising sessions may also take place.

Mississippi State University uses email as its official means of communication with all MSU students. Please check your MSU email account ( daily. Information on setting up your MSU email can be found at the link for student services.

Contact Information

Photo of Samantha Clardy

Samantha Clardy

Enrollment & Onboarding Coach

  • General Program Questions
  • Assistance with Admissions Process & Requirements
Photo of Anusha Rijal

Anusha Rijal

Retention & Engagement Coach

  • Current Student Inquires
  • Academic & Support Services Assistance
Headshot of Jeffrey Leffler

Dr. Jeffrey Leffler

Division of Education

  • Associate Professor/Graduate Coordinator
Headshot of Matt Blackwell

Matt Blackwell

Division of Education

  • MAT Coordinator