Teaching, M.A.

Program Overview

You know your calling is to teach.

If you are an aspiring teacher, PLNU's Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) is the program for you. You can choose to earn your preliminary teaching credential in the following areas: multiple subject (for elementary school teaching), single subject (for middle and high school teaching), or education specialist mild/moderate or moderate/severe (for special education teaching).

Establish Your Credibility

Gain the skills and degree you need to live out your call to teach. Earn your credential paired with a master’s degree that establishes you as a knowledgeable, committed teaching candidate in only 18 months. PLNU’s accreditations and district partnerships mean your degree will be from a university that is well known and respected in the community.

Be Confident in Your Calling

Learn in an environment where your goals, faith, and passion are shared and valued. At PLNU, we are here to partner with you and to give you the same holistic care you know every student deserves. Your curriculum is grounded in research and tied to critical needs and current topics facing educators.

Build a Lasting Network of Support

PLNU faculty and master teachers mentor you. Career counselors guide you. PLNU’s education alumni network, Education Associates, keeps you connected long after graduation. And further professional development opportunities are available as you advance in your career.


Jill Hamilton-Bunch Headshots

Jill Hamilton-Bunch, Ph.D.

Dr. Jill Hamilton-Bunch graduated from PLNU in 1990 with the desire to be a teacher, and that’s exactly what she’s done for the past 22 years — plus much more. As a PLNU grad, she directs the attention away from her own success and gives thanks for her spiritual growth during her undergraduate years. Read more

PLNU’s MAT program includes one or more of the four preliminary teaching credentials approved by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing:

  • Multiple Subject: Enables you to teach at the elementary grade levels in a K-12 self-contained, general education classroom (see courses)
  • Single Subject: Enables you to teach at the middle school or high school levels or in a K-12 subject specific setting (see courses)
  • Education Specialist Mild/Moderate: Enables you to teach K-12 students with mild to moderate disabilities (see courses)
  • Education Specialist Moderate/Severe: Enables you to teach K-12 students with moderate to severe disabilities (see courses)

You will complete the MAT program in two phases:

  • Phase I consists of 23-29 units of coursework and 10 units of clinical practice (student teaching), culminating in a preliminary teaching credential (33-39 units). You are not required to finish Phase II of the MAT degree to earn the preliminary credential.
  • Phase II usually takes place after you have earned your preliminary credential. This phase consists of 7-13 units, depending on your chosen specialization, for a total of 46 units. At the end of Phase II, you will be granted a master's degree.

When you complete the Master of Arts in Teaching, you and your classmates will be prepared to:


  • Promote the success of all students by being servant leaders who serve collaboratively and effectively with professional excellence, honesty, integrity, and sensitivity.


  • Demonstrate the positive power of diversity and advocacy for universal social justice within your classrooms, schools, districts, and communities, and apply faith-based influences and beliefs within educational organizations.


  • Reflect on and engage in ongoing scholarly, professional, and spiritual growth, and serve effectively as research-based, transformational leaders within your classrooms, schools, districts, and communities.

    If you are ready to pursue your passion for teaching, we are ready to make it possible.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What is required to be admitted into the Master of Arts in Teaching program?

    To be admitted into PLNU's Master of Arts in Teaching program, you must have a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution, as evidenced by an official transcript. You must also have an undergraduate cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. If you don’t meet the minimum GPA requirement, please contact your enrollment counselor regarding the exceptions process.

    What scholarship and financial aid opportunities are available to me?

    You will have the option to apply for scholarships, grants, loans, and other special types of aid through Student Financial Services. Contact your enrollment counselor for more information.

    I am already a practicing teacher. Is this the right program for me?

    The MAT is geared toward aspiring teachers. For seasoned teachers like you, PLNU offers a Master of Arts in Education with a concentration in leadership in learning, counseling and guidance, or educational leadership. We also offer a Master of Arts in Special Education. Please contact your enrollment counselor if you would like more personalized information.

    Course List


    Department Faculty

    Application Information

    Are you ready to take the next step and apply?

    We’re here to make the entire process a simple one. We’ll walk you through the application process, answer your questions, and get you one step closer to earning your degree.

    Application Deadlines:

    • Summer 2018 Quad II – May 28, 2018
    • Fall 2018 Quad I – July 16, 2018
    • Fall 2018 Quad II – September 10, 2018
    • Spring 2019 Quad I – November 5, 2018
    • Spring 2019 Quad II – January 28, 2019

    Not all programs offer entry for new students each quad. Check with your enrollment counselor for programs and start dates.

    Start Application

    The Selection Process

    The educational context at PLNU will challenge you to live a full life that integrates the pursuit of knowledge with beliefs, values, and actions. While honoring diverse perspectives and beliefs, Christian values and principles are woven into the educational experience. We understand your application is not only a reflection of you as a student; it reflects you as a person. At PLNU, we holistically evaluate your academic history, work and life experience, background, and circumstances to determine admission into a graduate program. Your undergraduate GPA is an important piece of your application, but if you do not meet the minimum GPA requirement of a 3.0, you may still be eligible for admission based on your application package as well as the exceptions policy per your particular program.* Therefore, we strongly encourage you to contact your enrollment counselor, who will advise you regarding your qualifications and provide specific information about the admission under exceptions process.

    To be admitted into PLNU's Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program, you must have a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution, as evidenced by an official transcript from an institution that indicates the completion of an undergraduate degree.

    If you have any questions about your qualifications or the program in general, we encourage you to contact your enrollment counselor.

    Application Checklist

    Note: The application is completed entirely online with the exception of transcripts, which can be submitted electronically or directly to PLNU, and test scores, which should be submitted electronically.

    1. Submit an online application for admissions (including $50 non-refundable application fee, which is waived for PLNU alums, current or former military and their dependents, and PLNU employees).
    2. Submit official transcripts with proof of earned baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution.

      Official transcripts must be sent to:
      Point Loma Nazarene University
      Office of Graduate Admissions
      3900 Lomaland Dr.
      San Diego, CA 92106

      Official electronic transcripts must be emailed to:
    3. Submit a personal essay, 2-3 pages in length and double spaced, that addresses the following topics:
      • Describe your professional career goals for the next five years.
      • Describe the variety of experiences that helped you determine these goals.
      • Explain what motivates you to work in California’s diverse schools.
      • Explain why you are applying to PLNU, a private Christian university.
    4. Provide two professional recommendations. You will be asked to register your recommenders by providing their names, titles, and email addresses.
    5. For credential seekers only: Submit basic skills exam (CBEST or equivalent) scores. This can be demonstrated by taking the CBEST exam
      • OR Multiple Subject CSET plus writing skills examination
      • OR CSU Early Assessment Program or the CSU Placement Examination
      • OR providing proof of a valid California teaching credential

    Start Application

    *Exceptions Policy: If you have below a 3.0 GPA in your baccalaureate degree, you will need to speak with your enrollment counselor for more information on the exceptions materials needed for your particular program.

    Financial Aid and Student Support

    We take seriously the role of providing you with financial, academic, and career support so you have the tools you need to be successful at PLNU and beyond. That’s why we offer a holistic support system that focuses on your unique experiences, particular needs, and personal and professional goals — resulting from our deep concern for you, our student.

    With a focus on authentic relationships and personalized attention, our goal is to help transform you so you can follow your calling in your own career and life.

    Financial Aid and Student Support

    Career Opportunities

    The MAT program at Point Loma Nazarene University will prepare you for the following careers, depending on which credential you select:

    • Elementary School Teacher
    • Middle or High School Teacher
    • Special Education Teacher

    An MAT degree also provides excellent preparation for people who want to teach outside the traditional classroom environment as tutors or corporate trainers, or in settings such as museums or zoo education departments.

    "The PLNU Master of Arts in Teaching program is focused on preparing candidates to be educational leaders in the era of 21st century education and common core standards. Through coursework, fieldwork, and interaction with faculty in PLNU's School of Education, students will gain the knowledge and skills to empower them to provide high quality educational experiences to students and to be leaders in their schools and districts."

    Kathy Caric
    Special Education Program Advisor, Master of Arts in Teaching