Teaching Certificate in English 7-12

** This program is no longer accepting applications. Interested students should apply for our Master of Arts (MAT) in Teaching - English Education program. For questions, please contact soeinfo@pitt.edu**

Prepare for a rewarding career as a teacher with the Pitt School of Education's Instructional I Certification program in English Education. From drawing up lesson plans to managing the classroom, the program provides you with a a rigorous and thorough foundation in the fundamentals of teaching. The program pairs intensive coursework with student teaching opportunities to ready the next generation of English teachers.

Quick Facts

  • Program Duration: Eight months over two terms: (Fall and Spring )
  • Time Commitment: Full Time 
  • Term of Enrollment: Fall 
  • Course Requirements: 30-credit program combined with an internship in a local school district from September through June (10 hours in the fall, full time in the spring).  
  • Application Deadline: January 15. Late applicants are encouraged to apply and will be considered based on available space in the program.
  • Admissions Requirements: GRE Exam Not Required

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Program Details

The Instruction I Teaching Certification Program in English Education offers students a rigorous course of instruction in teaching English topics in grades 7-12. The program satisfies the requirements for earning a Pennsylvania Instructional I Certificate in Secondary English Education. 

Our program approaches pedagogy centered on dialogic, student-centered instruction that addresses literature, literary theory, and writing in the secondary ELA classroom. We also focus on issues of equity, justice, and engagement in today’s schools. 


Degree Requirements

Student Teaching: During the school year, students complete their student teaching in a local school. Students are placed for an entire school year under the supervision of a mentor. In the fall, students spend approximately 10 hours working with their mentor teacher. In the spring semester, students in the Instruction I program are full-time in their school sites, culminating in a full take-over of teacher responsibilities for two weeks in the late spring. Students observe, analyze, and practice basic teaching skills in different grade levels and subject fields. 

Placements occur in a number of districts around the University of Pittsburgh, including Pittsburgh Public Schools and many local suburban districts. Placements are made by the University, based on student interests and commuting information. During the time in the placement, a Pitt supervisor will visit a minimum of five times per semester; these observations provide direct and specific feedback for improvement and make sure all students are on track to successfully graduate the program and obtain their certification. 


The Instruction I program satisfies the requirements for a Pennsylvania Instructional I Certificate, pending: 

  • earning a passing score on the national PRAXIS II Exam; 
  • completing the PA Statewide Evaluation Form for Student Professional Knowledge and Practice (PDE 430); and 
  • demonstrating satisfactory performance in courses and the student internship 

For more information, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Education certification website.

Prerequisite Requirements

The MAT program in English Education has the following prerequisite requirements: 

All applicants are required to have completed: 

  • 3 credits of Foundations of Special Education 
  • 12 credits of English Literature 
    • This area requires a minimum of 4 three-credit courses. Courses must include reading, analysis, interpretation, and writing about literatures which reflect a diversity of genders, races, and cultural perspectives. A single course may satisfy more than one of these required foci. Examples include, but are not limited to literature courses such as, American, Women’s, African American, Native American, African, Latino/a, Caribbean, LGBTQ, Asian, World, British, or Adolescent
  • 3 credits of English Composition 
    • This area requires a minimum of 1 three-credit course. This courses must have a composition or writing focus. Examples include, but are not limited to, Fiction Writing, Journalism, Poetry, or Prose. 
  • 6 credits of English Electives 
    • This area requires a minimum of 2 three-credit courses. Courses should focus on writing, English language, or English-related areas. Examples: Linguistics, Sociolinguistics, Uses of Literacy, Fiction, Non-fiction, Journalism, Poetry, Media Studies, Theater Arts, Film Studies, Film Production, Film Analysis, or Rhetorical Studies. 

In addition, applicants to the program are expected to provide documentation of 30 hours of experience working with K–12 children. These hours can be fulfilled by obtaining experiences with children through: 

  • summer camp; 
  • Sunday school; 
  • Hebrew school; 
  • tutoring; or 
  • other volunteer or paid work with children 

**Due to the challenges associated with COVID-19, the admissions committee will consider this requirement on a case-by-case basis. Please speak to your Admissions and Enrollment contact with any concerns you may have in meeting this requirement.** 

All applicants are encouraged to use the program’s online transcript review to track your progress online. 

Career Pathways

The majority of our graduates go on to become English teachers in secondary settings. Many also teach classes in theater, film, or creative writing in their schools. 

Some of our graduates ultimately decide to return to school and obtain a master’s or doctorate degree focused in various areas of educational practice and research.