Spanish Education, Master of Arts in Teaching

Department of Global Languages and Cultures

College of Arts and Letters

This coursework-based advanced degree prepares students by providing them with relevant classes in learning theories, instructional strategies, assessment modes, and technology/media methods. An internship and teaching assistantship round out a curriculum that includes input from educational psychology.

This program is nationally recognized with condition by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL).

This program is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).

This plan will not be available to new students after Summer 2021

  • To receive a master’s degree at Northern Arizona University, you must complete a planned group of courses from one or more subject areas, consisting of at least 30 units of graduate-level courses. Many master’s degree programs require more than 30 units.

    You must additionally complete:

    • All requirements for your specific academic plan(s). This may include a thesis.
    • All graduate work with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0.
    • All work toward the master's degree must be completed within six consecutive years. The six years begins with the semester and year of admission to the program.

    Read the full policy here.

In addition to University Requirements:

  • 43-unit program providing candidates with a pathway for earning a Master's degree in teaching Spanish, with secondary certification.
  • At least 25 of the graduate units are earned through Spanish graduate classes.
  • The remaining 18 graduate units consist of professional coursework offered by the College of Education, and include 9 units of student teaching.

Candidates in this program are required to demonstrate content knowledge, pedagogical knowledge and skills, professional knowledge, and professional dispositions to be eligible to enter student teaching or internship placements.

Content, pedagogical, and professional knowledge or skills, professional dispositions are demonstrated through candidate performance on key assessments embedded in the following course(s):

Minimum Units for Completion 43
Additional Admission Requirements

Individual program admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.

Arizona Endorsement

Prepares student for Arizona Endorsement.

Foreign Language A foreign language is required.
Student Teaching/Supervised Teaching Student Teaching/Supervised Teaching is required.
Progression Plan Link View Program of Study

This program may lead to licensure.

Purpose Statement

The M.A.T. Spanish Education allows candidates to obtain an Arizona Secondary Teaching Certificate in Spanish. Candidates take graduate courses (46 hours) in Spanish linguistics, literature, second language acquisition theory, and foreign language methods, as well as required courses in professional education (including educational psychology and Structured English Immersion). The linguistics courses foster abilities and knowledge about language (phonology, syntax, morphology, pragmatics) as well as sociocultural knowledge. Literature courses foster aesthetic awareness as well as Peninsular and Latin American history and culture. Our foreign-language methods courses are taught by aculty actively involved in research on foreign-language pedagogy and second-language acquisition. Candidates must complete Methods of Spanish Instruction to develop skills in current teaching strategies and approaches. They must also complete Curriculum Design to develop an entire curricula based on best practices and standards. Additionally, candidates complete Media and Technology in Spanish Language Instruction to develop in-depth understanding of the current theories (e.g., psycholinguistic, cognitive) of second and foreign-language acquisition.

To develop expertise in technology-enhanced instruction and use of technology in their own teaching, we require candiates to complete Media and Technology in Spanish Language Instruction, which fosters teachers' abilities to effectively create, utilize, and assess video, technology and other media for L2 classroom use. Candidates receive preparation in assessment and data literacy through SPA 511 Methods of Spanish Instruction and are summatively assessed through Student Teaching. Field experience (SPA 601) and capstone experiences (ECI 595) allow candidates to integrate theory and practice learned in their
coursework into instruction in applied secondary settings.

It is important to note that, while the program seeks to offer initial certification, candidates are expected to meet certain content area standards at the moment that they begin the program. Most candidates entering the program will have a bachelors in Spanish or a related major. Candidates entering the program are expected to have the oral proficiency that undergraduate teaching candidates must demonstrate at "the end of their programs. This program purports to provide such a path to certification and professional preparation by challenging candidates to gain an in-depth understanding of the language and culture of Spanish and modern foreign-language teaching practices through courses offered exclusively in Spanish. Additionally, while most candidates enroll in the program with extensive study or residency abroad experience, we offer two incentives for study abroad during the summer between their first and second years: (1) Candidates may compete
for a teaching position scholarship in our NAU Costa Rica program (San José, Costa Rica); (2) Candidate may compete for a $5000 scholarship to study in Spain.

Student Learning Outcomes

Outcomes align with Standards from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, and the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium

  • Standard 1. Language, Linguistics, Comparisons
    • Demonstrating Language Proficiency: Candidates demonstrate a high level of proficiency in the target language, and they seek opportunities to strengthen their proficiency.
    • Understanding Linguistics: Candidates know the linguistic elements of the target language system, recognize the changing nature of language, and accommodate for gaps in their own knowledge of the target language system by learning on their own.
    • Identifying Language Comparisons: Candidates know the similarities and differences between the target language and other languages, identify the key differences in varieties of the target language and seek opportunities to learn about varieties of the target language on their own.
  • Standard 2. Cultures, Literature, Cross-Disciplinary Concepts
    • Demonstrating Cultural Understandings: Candidates demonstrate that they understand the connections among the perspectives of a culture and its practices and products, and they integrate the cultural framework for foreign language standards into their instructional practices.
    • Demonstrating Understanding of Literary and Cultural Texts and Traditions: Candidates recognize the value and role of literary and cultural texts and use them to interpret and reflect upon the perspectives of the target language.
    • Integrating of Other Disciplines in Instruction: Candidates integrate knowledge of other disciplines into foreign language instruction and identify distinctive viewpoints accessible only through the target language.
  • Standard 3.  Language Acquisition Theories and Instructional Practices
    • Understanding Language Acquisition and Creating a Supportive Classroom: Candidates demonstrate an understanding of language acquisition at various developmental levels and use this knowledge to create a supportive classroom learning environment that includes target language input and opportunities for negotiation of meaning and meaningful interaction. 
    • Developing Instructional Practices That Reflect Language Outcomes and Learner Diversity: Candidates develop a variety of instructional practices that reflect language outcomes and articulated program models and address the needs of diverse l described in the evidence for a standard gathered in a course or a field experience language learners.
  • Standard 4. Integration of Standards into Curriculum and Instruction
    • Understanding and Integrating Standards in Planning: Candidates demonstrate an understanding of the goal areas and standards of the Standards for Foreign Language Learning and their state standards, and they integrate these frameworks into curricular planning.
    • Integrating Standards in Instruction: Candidates integrate the Standards for Foreign Language Learning and their state standards into language instruction.
    • Selecting and Designing Instructional Materials: Candidates use standards and curricular goals to evaluate, select, design, and adapt instructional resources.
  • Standard 5. Assessment of Languages and Cultures
    • Knowing Assessment Models and Using Them Appropriately: Candidates believe that assessment is ongoing, and they demonstrate knowledge of multiple ways of assessment that are age- and level-appropriate by implementing purposeful measures.
    • Reflecting on Assessment: Candidates reflect on the results of student assessments, adjust instruction accordingly, and analyze the results of assessments, and use success and failure to determine the direction of instruction.
    • Reporting Assessment Results: Candidates interpret and report the results of student performances to all stakeholders and provide opportunity for discussion.
  • Standard 6. Professionalism
    • Engaging in Professional Development: Candidates engage in professional development opportunities that strengthen their own linguistic and cultural competence and promote reflection on practice.
    • Knowing the Value of Foreign Language Learning: Candidates know the value of foreign language learning to the overall success of all students and understand that they will need to become advocates with students, colleagues, and members of the community to promote the field.

Additional Admission Requirements
  • Individual program admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.

  • The NAU graduate online application is required for all programs. Admission to many graduate programs is on a competitive basis, and programs may have higher standards than those established by the Graduate College.

    Admission requirements include the following:

    • Transcripts.
    • Undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution with a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale ("A" = 4.0), or the equivalent.

    Visit the NAU Graduate Admissions website for additional information about graduate school application deadlines, eligibility for study, and admissions policies.

    Ready to apply? Begin your application now.

    International applicants have additional admission requirements. Please see the International Graduate Admissions Policy.

    • Academic essay written in Spanish
    • A Spanish oral interview after application is submitted (program coordinator will contact applicant) 
    • Personal statement or essay
Master's Requirements
  • This Master’s degree requires 43 units distributed as follows:

    • Content/Spanish Coursework: 22 units
    • Professional Education/Professional Knowledge Requirements: 21 units

    Take the following 43 units:

    Content/Spanish Requirements (22 units)

    Professional Education Unit/Professional Knowledge Requirements (21 units)

    Complete professional courses offered by the College of Education to qualify for certification to teach Spanish in Arizona and most other states. You must be admitted to the Professional Education Unit.
    Before being accepted to student teaching, you must have a passing score on this required Professional Dispositions Modules. 

    Requirement for Arizona Certification

    This is not a part of the MAT Spanish Education Degree Requirements.

    You may also take POS 220 (or POS 110 and POS 241) to satisfy Arizona certification requirements for Federal and State Constitutional knowledge. You may meet this requirement by demonstrating proficiency on the Arizona Educator Proficiency Assessments (AEPA) Exam.


  • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also successfully complete. For prerequisite information, click on the course or see your advisor.

  • Accelerated Bachelor's to Master's Program

    This program is available as an Accelerated Undergraduate/Graduate Plan. Accelerated Programs provide the opportunity for outstanding undergraduates working on their bachelor’s degree to simultaneously begin work on a master’s degree. Departments may allow students to complete both degrees in an accelerated manner by approving up to 12 units applicable toward both degrees. Students must apply to the accelerated program and the master’s program by the application deadline, and meet all requirements as listed on the Accelerated Bachelor's to Master's Programs to be considered for admission. Admission to programs is competitive and qualified applicants may be denied because of limits on the number of students admitted each year. Be sure to speak with your advisor regarding your interest in Accelerated Programs.