The Master of Science in Secondary Education: Pedagogy and Practice program is a one-year, online program offering graduate-level coursework for someone who is either already certified as a secondary education teacher, or who possesses a bachelor’s degree in a field related to English, math, science or social studies and is looking to earn a secondary education teaching certification from the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Current undergraduate students at Mercyhurst University may be able to begin working on their master's degree early. Learn more about Secondary Education's 4+1 Program, which allows MU undergrads earn two degrees in five years, saving both time and money!

This online program focuses on the pedagogical links of teaching as art, science and social justice, while incorporating theory, research and practice. Coursework will be offered in educational research, foundations, learner diversity, cross-curricular best assessment and teaching practices. An additional course with content-specific teaching methodologies in English, math, science, or social studies is required for those seeking their secondary education teaching certification.

In Pennsylvania, all teachers, from novice to expert, are required to continue their education beyond a bachelor’s degree and to earn 24 graduate credits within the first five years of teaching. Mercyhurst continues to be at the cutting edge in developing teacher-leaders who have a rich background in action research. This program satisfies all Pennsylvania certification requirements. Since this is a master’s of science degree (M.S.), rather than a master’s of education (M.Ed.), individuals completing this program will be qualified to pursue doctoral programs in educational fields.

Typically, those enrolling in this program begin in the summer term. The entire program, except required clinical hours, is offered asynchronously online. In other words, you can complete the program working around your own busy schedule with limited specific-time requirements. Courses are offered year round, allowing customization for individual students who may want to attend part-time. Please contact the program director to discuss your scheduling options. Those who begin the program in the summer term may complete the degree in as little as 12 months (those beginning in either the fall or spring semesters will experience a longer time to completion)! Here’s how it works:

Summer 1st Mini (8 Weeks)

  • EDSP 521 Psychology of Diverse Learners (3 credits)

  • EDSE 500 Foundation of Pedagogy & Practice (3 credits) (Includes 15 Clinical Hours)

Summer 2nd Mini (8 Weeks)

  • EDSP 522 Inclusive Practices (3 credits)

  • EDSE 610 21st Century Literacies (3 credits)

Fall Semester (16 Weeks)

  • EDSP 502 Educational Research: Single Subject Design (3 credits)

Fall Mini #1 (8 Weeks / 1st Half of Fall Semester)

  • EDSE 601 Critical Teaching Strategies (3 credits) (Includes 30 Clinical Hours)

Fall Mini #2 (8 Weeks / 2nd Half of Fall Semester)       

  • EDSE 60X Curriculum & Instruction: Subject Area Specific (3 credits) (Includes 30 Clinical Hours) 

Spring Mini #1 (1st Half of Spring Semester)

  • EDSE 665 Clinical I (3 credits) (Includes 4 weeks of classroom field experience)

    • First 4 weeks of Spring Mini #1

  • WL 101 Culturally & Linguistically Diverse Learners (3 credits)

    • Entire 8 weeks of Spring Mini #1

Spring Mini #2 (2nd Half of Spring Semester)

  • EDSE 675 Capstone Clinical: Student Teaching (Includes 12 weeks of student teaching OR 6 weeks of clinicals if already certified); follows EDSE 665 (6 credits)

  • EDSE 677 Research-based Project (3 credits) (2nd 8 weeks of Spring Semester)

Course descriptions can be found in our Graduate Course Catalog.

Learning Outcomes

Vision Statement: We strive to become the region's premiere certification programs for highly qualified teachers in secondary education in the following areas: Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science, English, Math, Social Studies

  • Knowing the Content
    • Content specific program standards are met through the evaluation of undergraduate degree coursework. The Departments of Mathematics, Science, History and English evaluate all incoming transcripts. If there are areas of deficiency where standards are not met, an Undergraduate Plan of Study will be developed for that student.
  • Performances
    • Managing the instructional environment
    • Planning instruction
    • Implementing, adapting and assimilating effective instructional strategies
    • Designing, conducting and evaluating classroom activities
    • Assessing and evaluating materials to meet the instructional needs and levels of diverse learners
    • Monitoring and adjusting instructional strategies
  • Professionalism
    • Membership to professional organizations and associations
    • Subscription to professional publications and journals
    • Demonstration of integrity and ethical behavior
    • Cultivation of professional relationships
    • Effective communication

Admissions Requirements

  • A completed application for admission
    • Complete your online application for FREE at
    • Should you experience technical difficulties, please contact the graduate admissions office at (814) 824-3351 or for other application options
  • Application Deadline
    • The secondary education graduate program has a rolling admissions policy. It is preferred that applications are received at least two weeks prior to the intended start term. The summer term is the preferred starting point for this degree and is the only starting point which could result in a time to completion of 12 months
  • A bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0 in your major
    • If seeking secondary education teaching certification, a bachelor’s degree in the fields of English, math, science or social studies from an accredited college or university
    • If already certified in secondary education, a bachelor’s degree in any discipline from an accredited college or university
  • PLEASE NOTEfor those seeking secondary education teaching certification:
    • Candidates who are deemed lacking in a specific subject area critical for the successful completion of a PRAXIS subject test may be asked to take additional coursework in their undergraduate subject area.
    • This will affect the length of the program from start to finish.
  • Official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions you’ve attended
    • Send directly to: Mercyhurst University c/o Graduate Admissions, 501 E. 38th St., Erie, PA 16546
  • One letter of recommendation from persons with whom you have a professional or academic relationship (ex. employer, professor, or volunteer coordinator)
    • Send directly to: Mercyhurst University c/o Graduate Admissions, 501 E. 38th St., Erie, PA 16546
    • OR Email directly to
  • A current résumé or curriculum vitae
    • Send directly to: Mercyhurst University c/o Graduate Admissions, 501 E. 38th St., Erie, PA 16546
    • OR Email directly to grad@mercyhurst.eduA 500-750 word personal statement discussing:
  • A 500-750 word personal statement discussing: 
    • Your reason for choosing this program
    • Your short- and long-term professional goals
    • The strengths you bring as an applicant to this program
    • The skills you hope to develop while in this program
    • Send directly to: Mercyhurst University c/o Graduate Admissions, 501 E. 38th St., Erie, PA 16546
    • OR Email directly to
  • PLEASE NOTE, a professional or academic writing sample may be requested after your application and required supplemental materials are initially reviewed
  • An Interview  
    • A personal interview (either on-campus or via Skype) is not required, but may be requested after initial review of your application and required supplemental materials.
  • PLEASE NOTE, for those seeking their secondary education teaching certification, during the course of your program it will be necessary for you to undergo the following:
    • Criminal background check including
      • Fingerprinting
      • Child abuse clearance
      • Drug screening
    • Medical verification of TB vaccination

The Master of Science in Secondary Education: Pedagogy and Practice degree prepares students to earn Pennsylvania Teaching Certification in Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science, English, Math and Social Studies. Students in this program demonstrate strong pedagogical skills, leadership and service to others throughout the program. Graduate students approach teaching using a reflective-practitioner approach that requires strong content knowledge, leadership, hands-on experiences in the field and rigorous research skills. Courses adhere to the Pennsylvania Department of Education objectives listed for development of highly qualified teachers.

Contact Us

Amy Burniston
Chair, Graduate Secondary Education
Office: Hirt 300D
Phone: 814-824-2437