Frequently Asked Questions about the Master of Arts in Teaching Program in the Graduate Center for Education at American Jewish University Read more...
What is the M.A.T. program?
The MAT is an innovative two-year program that enables working educators to receive a Master of Arts in Teaching degree specializing in Jewish Education without giving up their daytime jobs. Made possible by the support of Janine and Peter Lowy, the MAT program is designed to enable full-time Jewish educators to expand their knowledge of educational theory and practice, upgrade their pedagogical and curricular skills, and deepen their involvement with Jewish texts and ideas. Attending classes one evening a week and on occasional Sunday afternoons, students are able to work out a balance between the demands of work and the requirements of a graduate level program.
Is the MAT geared solely toward day school educators or is it open to religious school educators as well?
The MAT is open to all Jewish educators with a track record of success. To qualify for the program, candidates must be teaching for at least 10 hours per week in a Jewish educational setting.
I’m a beginning teacher, is this the right program for me?
Yes! Students join the program with a range of experiences. Our faculty is able to differentiate for beginning teachers. Individualized mentoring provides newer educators with support in their classroom as they put into place the theories they are learning in our classrooms. The cohort model is essential to the MAT student experience through which our students learn from each other.
I’m a veteran teacher, is this the right program for me?
Yes! We have students who have come to us with more than 20 years of teaching experience! Experienced educators find that our program takes them to the next level in their teaching, providing a theoretical framework and new tools for their practice.
How much will tuition cost me each year?
All tuition and fees may be obtained in our Schedule of Charges on the Financial Aid portion of our website. Information regarding tuition and options can be obtained by contacting Larisa Zadoyen, Director of Financial Aid (310-440-1252), at AJU.
Note that the cost of the program is a per-semester cost, not a per-unit cost. Made possible by the support of Janine and Peter Lowy, MAT students receive very generous financial aid, that enables them to attend the program at a deeply discounted rate. The cost of the program will remain the same no matter how many units a student takes. In other words, if you were to transfer in a course from another institution that exempts you from one of the MAT courses, thus reducing your semester load from 12 units (a full load) to 9 units, your tuition cost for the semester (and the year) would nonetheless remain constant and would not be decreased. Students are required to take at least 6 units per semester (8 units during the summer) to qualify for any and all financial aid.
Will my tuition cost remain the same for the second year of the program?
You should expect a 5% tuition increase for the second year of the program. During the course of the first year, you will be asked to resubmit an updated FAFSA, and the Director of Financial Aid will assess your need again, according to federal guidelines. Unless your financial status has undergone significant changes, your demonstrated need for the second year should be similar to your need during the first year.
In addition to tuition, what other fees and expenses should I expect to pay?
In addition to tuition, you should expect to pay approximately $1,000 in fees for the entire year. These fees cover registration costs as well as student activities and health services. The health services fee is mandatory for all students, including those with a health plan from another source.
Also, you should expect to spend approximately $200 per semester on books and other course-related materials.
What is the time commitment for the program?
During the fall and spring semesters, students attend classes one night per week from 4:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., with a short dinner break, and four Sundays each semester. All Sunday sessions begin in the afternoon to accommodate the schedules of those teaching in religious schools.
When calculating the time commitment for the program, students must also take into account the coursework (e.g., reading and preparation for classes, written assignments, presentations, and exams) that will be demanded in the program. The staff and faculty of the MAT are conscientious about requiring reasonable amounts of work from students who are also full-time professionals. However, to maintain its high academic standards, the MAT demands graduate level work in its classes. It is a demanding program, and students must, therefore, plan ahead and use their time wisely as they work to meet these standards. In the summer semesters, you should expect to be doing work each weekday evening. Also, during the year, you will be devoting a significant number of hours each week to coursework. To remain in the program, all students must maintain a “B” average in their coursework.
I do not hold a B.A. or B.Sc., only a credential/certificate from a Teachers’ Seminary. May I still apply for the program?
Yes, you are welcome to apply if, and only if, the Teachers Seminary is currently an accredited institution and your undergraduate program involved at least three years of study prior to graduation. When applying to AJU, you will need to provide documentation in support of these criteria.
But my credential/certificate track was only a two year program? What can I do?
You must first complete your B.A. before applying to the WPP.
Must I take the GRE and/or TOEFL exam?
Submitting scores from the GRE is optional. Non-native speakers of English must take the TOEFL exam. Exempted from this requirement are students who have completed undergraduate degrees in the United States, at an accredited institution of higher education in Canada in which the primary language of instruction is English, or at accredited institutions of higher education in other countries whose primary language is English.
I am a native Hebrew speaker. For the degree courses, will I be able to write my exams and papers in Hebrew?
The language of instruction in all courses is English, and all written work must be completed in English.
Is there a Hebrew requirement for this program?
No. However, in certain cases, candidates who would benefit professionally from advancing their Hebrew literacy will be encouraged to pursue additional Hebrew coursework.
I have taken some graduate level courses at another institution. Can they be counted toward the AJU degree?
Graduate level coursework from another institution may count toward your AJU degree but only under the following conditions:
a) A maximum of 9 units of graduate work may be transferred in from another institution, provided that the credits were earned fewer than ten years prior to application to the program.
b) The other institution must be an accredited institution of higher education.
c) The course/s taken at the other institution must be equivalent to the course/s listed for the WPP. For example, an Educational Psychology (Ed. Psych.) course can exempt you from the WPP’s equivalent and required course. However, a course in Adolescent Psychology is not comprehensive enough to exempt you from Ed. Psych. Note that in some cases, even courses with identical titles might not be allowed to transfer in. For example, the WPP’s required Sociology of Education course is more specific than a parallel course at any another institution as it focuses primarily on the sociology of American Jewish education. Therefore, a course in Sociology of Education at another institution will not exempt you from this course.
d) All requests for course transfer must be accompanied by transcripts, titles, and syllabi for the course in question. Otherwise, requests will not be considered.
Note that transferring units does not impact on the cost of the program (see question 4).
I have been out of school for more than ten years. May I still transfer in coursework?
All coursework completed ten or more years ago is considered outdated for transfer purposes and cannot, therefore, exempt you from any of the courses in the WPP.
If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact Assistant Dean Dr. Sara Smith at (310) 440-1214 or sara.smithaju.edu.