2021-2022 Academic Catalog 
    Feb 07, 2023  
2021-2022 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVE]

Early Childhood & Elementary Education, MAT

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In keeping with the institutional mission of Columbia International University, the Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) program seeks to create a learning environment that provides models, growth experiences, and communities of practice for equipping discerning Christian educators who make wise decisions as they create effective learning communities. Early childhood and elementary school curricula are addressed.

Students (referred to as candidates) completing the specified requirements will be recommended for initial teacher licensure in South Carolina, which has a reciprocal agreement with most other states. Since licensure requirements vary from state to state, candidates are advised to make themselves familiar with the requirements of the states in which they may want to teach. Candidates completing the program requirements will be eligible for recommendation for initial South Carolina licensure in Early Childhood (PreK-3rd grade) and Elementary (2nd-6th grade). The state requires the licensure document to show one level as the first area of certification and the second area as the add-on to the certificate. While initial certification may be granted in both areas pending successful completion of all requirements, program completers normally will see Elementary listed as the first area and Early Childhood listed as the add-on to the certificate. CIU Education Programs are endorsed by the Higher Education Approval Program (HEAP) of the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI). Program graduates who meet specific requirements are eligible to apply for appropriate ACSI teacher certificates. 


The Teacher Education program focuses on equipping Christian educators to think, teach, and lead biblically in educational settings throughout the world. This approach provides a biblical foundation for a career in teaching. Graduates of the five-year, two-degree program will think biblically about the profession of teaching as well as the nature and needs of children. They will be equipped to serve in Christian, international, public, mission, home, charter, and private schools.

As candidates journey through the M.A.T. program, seven milestones (specific points in the learning journey where competencies will have been met) serve as opportunities for evaluation and planning. These milestones are:

  • Milestone 1: Program Admission
  • Milestone 2: Involved Learner Review
  • Milestone 3: Effective Practitioner Review
  • Milestone 4: Authentic Professional Review
  • Milestone 5: Clinical Practice/Student Teaching Admission
  • Milestone 6: Clinical Practice/Student Teaching Exit
  • Milestone 7: Graduation

Specific dates, deadlines, and competencies for each milestone are detailed in the M.A.T. Candidate Handbook.


Candidates will demonstrate they are becoming discerning educators when they show they are:

  • Learners who know content, children, and pedagogy.
  • Designers who demonstrate effective planning and preparation for instruction.
  • Presenters who model effective educational methodology, communication, and technology techniques.
  • Evaluators who assess, diagnose, and monitor individual needs to implement differentiated instructional opportunities.
  • Managers who create and effectively manage a nurturing environment.
  • Partners who collaborate with the child, family, community, and other professionals.
  • Professionals who are committed, reflective model educators who learn from experience and contribute to the profession.

Admission Requirements

  • Online application
  • Application fee
  • Affirm to be a Christian and agree with CIU’s Doctrinal Standard
  • Official transcript for highest earned degree and any master’s level credits earned
    • A minimum 2.75 GPA for the most recent degree obtained.
  • Undergraduate background. It is generally agreed that the best preparation for classroom teaching is a well-balanced undergraduate program. Background may be demonstrated by one of the following methods:
    • Reasonable competency (a grade of “C” or above) in at least 36 semester hours of completed coursework that includes courses from each of the four following areas:
      • Language Arts (e.g. literature, composition, speech)1
      • Natural Science (e.g. life sciences, physical sciences, earth sciences)2
      • Social Studies (e.g. American history, world civilizations, psychology, sociology, anthropology)2
      • Mathematics (e.g. college math, algebra, geometry, analysis, calculus)3

1Course requirement for language arts must be met before enrolling in EDU 5601EDU 5602, or EDU 5603.
2Course requirements for science and social studies must be met before enrolling in EDU 5432.
3Course requirements for mathematics must be met before enrolling in EDU 5604.

  • Official Praxis II: Elementary Education: Instructional Practice and Applications (5001) score report showing passing all four subtests.  (This exam tests content in language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies. Information on test sites and registration is available directly from ETS at www.ets.org. CIU code is 5116.)
  • Official test score of one of the following:
    • Official score of 1100 or higher on the two-part SAT or 22 or higher on the ACT. (The exam must have been taken within the last five years.)
    • Official Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators (CORE) report with prescribed minimum scores: Reading 156, Writing 158, and Math 150 or composite score of 464 or higher on the three Praxis Core subtests, with no individual subtest score more than four points below the required passing score for that subtest. (The exam must have been taken within the last five years. Information on test sites and registration is available directly from ETS at www.ets.org. CIU code is 5116.)
    • Official GRE with test scores above the 67th percentile (verbal and quantitative), with a minimum rating of 3.5 on the analytical writing section. (The exam must have been taken within the last five years.)
  • Church Leader Reference
  • Professional Reference
  • Interview with the program director and/or education faculty
  • Essay (800 words) 

Residency and Transfer Policies

Due to the specific nature of course outcomes and proficiencies, transfer credits are rarely accepted in the M.A.T. program. Candidates wishing to receive transfer credit for the M.A.T. program should consult with the program director regarding any questions related to previous coursework.

Field Experiences (Practicum) and Clinical Practice (Student Teaching)

M.A.T. candidates participate in a variety of carefully planned and sequenced field experiences. Candidates experience structured observations in a variety of settings. Placements include child development centers, early childhood, and elementary classroom settings. In these settings, candidates progress from observation to individual/small group, and then to whole class instruction. Candidates are responsible for their transportation to and from the field experience sites. Field experience culminates with the candidate assuming full responsibility for the teaching process in a classroom during clinical practice. Field experiences are integrated within candidate coursework, allowing candidates to spend time in both the University classroom and the field experience classroom. During clinical practice, candidates are placed full time in a local public school classroom.

Prior to EDU 6901, Authentic Professional Experiences, candidates must submit documentation of a negative TB test to the Director of Field Experiences and must be screened and approved through a SLED check prior to participating in practicum in public school settings.

In addition to coursework, field experience, and competency requirements before clinical practice, candidates must have a “cleared” status on an FBI fingerprint and background check through the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) prior to participation in any field experience (http:/www.sled.sc.gov/), pursuant to Section 59-25-115 of the South Carolina Code of Laws. Candidates must submit documentation of a negative TB test to the Director of Field Experiences. Prior arrests or convictions could affect candidate ability to complete the clinical experience and qualify for certification in South Carolina. Candidates must also take the required Praxis II exams prior to entering clinical practice.

Candidates are not permitted to be employed during clinical practice without specific, restricted, approved permission. Candidates not enrolled in M.A.T. coursework one or more semesters prior to clinical practice may require additional steps to ensure proficiencies meet the level of readiness required.

Clinical practice can be waived with a portfolio of evidence validating both experience and classroom competency. Experience must include at least three years of full-time teaching in the area of licensure. The portfolio must include letters of recommendation, annual evaluations documenting successful teaching, and documents verifying proficiency in SC State Standards competencies. Individuals requesting this exemption should discuss their experience with the M.A.T. Program Director. Candidates granted this exemption will enroll in EDU 6480 - Professional Portfolio Development .

Time Limitation

The time limit for completion of all requirements is six years, measured from the date a candidate is admitted into the M.A.T. Program (Milestone 1).

Completion Requirements

Although advisors assist students in planning their courses of study, it is the student’s responsibility to ensure that all requirements for graduation have been met.

  • Complete Milestones 1-6.
  • Maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 and receive no grade below a “C.”
  • Achieve at least the minimum acceptable competency level rating on each of the seven candidate proficiencies.

Licensure Recommendation Requirements

Candidates who wish to be recommended for South Carolina state initial certification must:

  • Achieve a grade of “B-” or above in Clinical Practice.
  • Achieve passing scores (as set by the South Carolina Department of Education) on required Praxis II exams.
  • Complete Milestone 7.

The application for initial licensure in South Carolina includes a fingerprint review to determine any criminal history – state or federal. Prior arrests of a serious nature or convictions could affect the individual’s ability to complete the clinical experience and qualify for certification in South Carolina pursuant to Section 59-25-115 of the South Carolina Code of Laws .

The requirements for a teaching license in South Carolina are subject to change by the State Board of Education and the South Carolina General Assembly during the period for such licensure. The College of Education may revise the M.A.T. program at any time and cannot assume responsibility for changes or additional courses, including revisions, due to changes in state standards.

Program 1 Course of Study (44)

Orientation (0)

Clinical Practice (Student Teaching) (9)


1Must be taken the first semester of enrollment, fall or spring
2May be taken in either the fall or spring semesters
3Summer courses 
4Must be taken for ACSI certification
5Must be taken with EDU 6901 
6Clinical Practice is full time and will be completed in a Columbia, SC, area public school.
7Candidates take EDU 6901 for 2 credits in the second semester of the program.

Candidates meeting the requirements for student teaching exemption will graduate with 36 total hours, replacing the 9-hour student teaching course with a 1-hour portfolio requirement. See Field Experiences (Practicum) and Clinical Practice (Student Teaching) for further details.

Program 2 Course of Study (30)

CIU undergraduate students who meet the competencies and assessments to be accepted into the M.A.T. program may enroll in the Rapid Advancement for Ministry/Marketplace/Missions Placement (RAMP) during the final semester of their bachelor’s degree. Fourteen hours of graduate coursework may be completed in the fall (EDU 5431 , EDU 5432 , EDU 5541 , EDU 5602 , EDU 5604 , and EDU 6901 ) or spring (EDU 5331 , EDU 5601 , EDU 5603 , EDU 5660 , EDU 5810 , and EDU 6901 ).

For more information, see the undergraduate Teacher Education BS/MAT . 

Suggested Program of Study - Program 1

The total minimum number of semester hours to graduate is 44. The M.A.T. program is designed to meet the scheduling needs of individuals. Candidates may begin their course of study at the beginning of the fall or spring semesters, and may complete the program in four terms of full-time study or extend the time to complete the program. EDU 5101 - M.A.T. Program Orientation must be taken in the first semester of enrollment. Candidates take EDU 6901 for two credits in their second semester. The M.A.T. Program Director is available to assist candidates in planning their degree program.

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