MAT Early Childhood Education (Teacher Certification)

The Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) in Early Childhood Education (PreK-4) is designed for college graduates who are seeking Instructional I certification. Upon completion of the program of study, candidates are eligible to apply for certification for teaching in Pre-Kindergarten to 4th grade classrooms in Pennsylvania, as well as other states. The MAT program in Early Childhood Education (PreK-4) is guided by Pennsylvania's state standards and by standards of national professional organizations. In addition to the School of Education's national recognition by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), as a point of distinction, this program earned national accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Professional standards are addressed during the coursework and field experiences throughout the program. The program prepares leading teachers for early learning environments in preschool through 4th grade. Throughout the program, candidates have the opportunity to develop classroom and professional skills by participating in a holistic approach to teaching using evidence-based teaching methodology. Field and community-based placements that provide the candidate with guided learning experiences are integral to the program. Courses are primarily offered in the evenings and online; paraprofessionals and other working educational professionals are encouraged to apply.

The MAT in Early Childhood Education is a 46-credit program consisting of courses and experiences organized into three major areas of study: Childhood Education and Diverse Populations, Professional Core 1: Effective Instructional Strategies, Professional Core II: Family Engagement and Equity, and the Professional Capstone. The program includes focused attention in the areas of Social Justice, Leadership, Diversity, and Technology. Successful completion of the program results in a Master's in Education and eligibility to apply for initial certification to teach in a Preschool – 4th grade classroom in Pennsylvania.

The School of Education Graduate programs are accredited by the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. This accreditation extends to the preparation of PreK-4, Middle Level and Secondary school teachers and school service personnel, with the Doctor of Education degree as the highest degree approved.

Guidelines for Admission

Graduates with a Bachelor's degree from an accredited college, university or seminary will be considered for admission to graduate study in the School of Education by complying with the details outlined. General admission is based on an applicant's previous academic record as shown by official transcripts of all previous study. The transcript must reflect a minimum overall 3.00 GPA (grade point average) or a minimum 3.00 GPA on the most recent 48 credits. *Applicants are expected to have a 3.0 grade point average, based on a four-point scale, in their undergraduate work. However, exceptions may be granted on a limited basis, when there is substantial additional evidence of a student's academic competence.

Admission Process Requirements


Along with the Online Application, the following are required for applying to the program: 

  • Transcripts from undergraduate degree or equivalent from an accredited college or university

    Undergraduate degree must fulfill one of the criteria below:
    • A minimum overall 3.00 GPA (grade point average) OR
    • A minimum 3.00 GPA on the most recent 48 credits
  • Provide a one-page letter of intent, describing why you want to become a teacher
  • Provide one letter of recommendation from an academic or professional contacts (no personal contacts)

Please send all application materials including transcripts to:


School of Education
Office of Graduate Admissions
Duquesne University
214 Canevin Hall
600 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15282


Once your Phase 1 materials have been received, they will be reviewed by the Graduate PreK4 Advisor. If you meet the minimum program requirements, you will be asked to meet with the Program Advisor to review your official transcript to ensure that state requirements for admission have been met and to review the overall program guidelines. In addition, the state requires coursework in Teaching English Language Learners and Special Education. These courses can be taken prior to entering the program or as part of the MAT program in the School of Education.

Deadlines for applications: Admit up until the start of classes

Additional Information


Prior to the first semester of study, candidates will need to obtain clearances. A list of required clearances can be found on the School of Education's Intranet Clearance page. 

Pennsylvania Department of Education Tests

Prior to applying for certification, candidates must pass the required
Pennsylvania Educator Certification tests (PECT) to earn an Instructional
Level I certification. Students are required to take and pass the exams as outlined by the Pennsylvania Department of Education  before applying for certification. More information regarding these tests will be given to candidates throughout the program.

For further information please contact the Program Director at (412) 396-6088 or 

Learning Outcomes

For a teaching candidate completing the MAT in PreK-4 Program

  • Exhibits exemplary knowledge in the content and professional areas of certification.
  • Demonstrates the ability to plan instruction appropriate to a child’s developmental level that also aligns with state and national content standards.
  • Utilizes resources from professional organizations specific to the content areas and for education in general.
  • Plans and implements instruction that attends to and supports learners from diverse backgrounds and academic needs.
  • Demonstrates the ability to design formative and summative assessments of students' understanding, and to use the results of those assessments as the basis of instructional decision-making at the individual and whole-class level.
  • Demonstrates the capacity to attend to social equity issues in planning and organizing instruction in PreK-4th grade classrooms.

Program of Study

Childhood Education and Diverse Populations

  • GEPK 503 Child Development Typical and Atypical Development Birth through Age 9, 3 credits
  • GEPK 504 Theory, Research and Practice in Education, 3 credits
  • GEPK 505 Level 1 and Level 2 Field Experience (30 hours), 0 credits
  • GILT 511 Technology and Education or GILT 512 Instructional Design, 3 credits
  • GFDE 552 Educational Psychology in PreK and Elementary Classrooms, 3 credits
  • GFDE 555 Foundations of Assessments in Grades PreK-4, 3 credits
  • GSPE 603 Multi-Tiered Systems of Support, 3 credits

Professional Core I: Effective Instructional Strategies

  • GEPK 525 Engaging Families through Early Literacy Experiences, 3 credits
  • GEPK 526 Literacy, Language and Literature II, 3 credits
  • GEPK 527 Literacy Field Experience (30 hrs.), 1 credit
  • GEPK 528 Curriculum Design through Creative Play, Movement and the Arts, 3 credits
  • GEPK 535 Methods of Teaching Science in Grades PreK-4, 3 credits
  • GEPK 536 Methods of Teaching Science in Grades PreK-4, Field Experience (15 hrs.) 1 credit
  • GEPK 530 Methods of Teaching Mathematics in Grades PreK-4 3 credits
  • GEPK 531 Methods of Teaching Mathematics in Grades PreK-4, Field Experience, Level 3 (30 hrs.) 1 credit
  • GEPK 540 Methods of Teaching Social Studies in Grades PreK-4, 3 credits
  • GEPK 541 Methods of Teaching Social Studies in Grades PreK-4, Field Experience, Level 3 (15 hrs.), 1 credit

Professional Core II Family Engagement and Equity, Professional Capstone


  • GEPK 542 Family and School Collaborations (taken concurrently with Student Teaching), 3 credits
  • LTEC 592 Student Teaching (15 weeks), 6 credits
  • or LTEC 593 Student Teaching Abroad (3 credits abroad and 3 credits in the US), 3 credits