FAQ about the Master of Arts
in Teaching Music (MAT) Program
What is the MAT Music program?
The MAT Music program is an accelerated 13-month course of study that prepares students to teach music in California's K-12 public schools. Public school music teachers lead classes such as elementary general music, singing, guitar, band, choir, and orchestra.
Is the Master of Arts in Teaching degree a music degree?
No, the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree is an education degree, not a music degree. Course requirements for the degree include both music education (MUED) and education (EDUC) courses.
Is getting a music teaching credential part of the program?
Yes, the MAT Music program includes classes for the Master of Arts degree, as well as full-time student teaching and education classes that allow students to obtain a California preliminary single-subject teaching credential in music. Upon successfully completing the program, students receive both a Masters degree and a teaching credential.
How long does the program take?
Students enter the MAT Music program in mid-May and finish the following mid-June. The entire process of classes and student teaching takes 13 months.
How is it possible to earn a Masters degree and do full time student teaching in only a little over a year?
The MAT Music program is extremely intensive; we have compressed a two-year sequence of classes and student teaching into 13 months. As a result, each and every class meeting, seminar, observation and day of student teaching is essential and required for the successful completion of the program. It is a very challenging, but rewarding, year of study and teaching.
Will I be able to work and/or take other music classes while enrolled in the program?
If you are enrolled full-time in the program you will not be able to take additional classes, and outside responsibilities will need to be kept to a minimum. It is possible, however, to do the program on a part-time basis over a period of more than 13 months.
So if I am currently working I can enroll and complete the program on a part-time basis?
Yes, it is possible to do the MAT Music program part-time. This option is particularly geared toward those who are currently working as music teachers in a private school or studio setting and need to continue working while they earn a teaching credential and Masters degree.
If I already have a music teaching credential and want to get a Masters degree, is the MAT Music program appropriate for me?
No, the MAT Music program is meant for those who do not have a music teaching credential. Working public school music teachers should look into the USC Master of Music in Music Education program.
What are the requirements for getting into the program?
Applicants must have either a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music or a Bachelor of Music degree to be considered for the program. In addition, the California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST) and the California Subject Examination for Teachers (CSET) in Music are required for admission. Information about these exams can be found at www.cbest.nesinc.com and www.cset.nesinc.com.
Is the GRE exam required for admission?
No, the GRE is not required for admission.
Where may I find more information about the application requirements?
More information about application requirements may be found at the USC Rossier School of Education website: www.rossier.usc.edu/admission/apply/mat.html.
How is the program organized?
Students in the MAT Music program progress through their classes as a cohort, taking most of their education classes and all of their music classes together. At the end of the program, students participate in student teaching full-time from March through mid-June.
How does choosing an emphasis in the program work?
Students choose to pursue an emphasis in either instrumental music (primarily band and orchestral music) or choral/general music (elementary and MS/HS choral music and general elementary music). However, students take some course work in both tracks regardless of their specialization.
Do I take all my classes on campus at USC?
One of the strengths of the MAT Music program is its focus on practical experience. The majority of the music methods classes are taught on a public school campus so that students may work directly with children.
Will I be on campus at USC at all?
Yes, the education classes and a few of the music classes are taught on campus at USC. However, the emphasis is placed on gaining experience within public schools.
Are there any teaching assistantships available through the program?
No, no teaching assistantships are offered through the MAT Music program.
What about financial aid, scholarships or work-study programs?
Most students take out loans to pay for the program, but there are a small number of partial scholarships given each year. There will be financial aid counselors at the MAT Music orientation who will help students navigate student loans. Upon graduation there is also a special loan forgiveness program offered through APLE for those who choose to teach in a Title I public school. The program forgives $11,000 or more in tuition expenses.
The program seems rather expensive, is it worth it?
A typical music teacher credential program takes two years to complete and does not include a Master's degree. USC MAT Music students, on the other hand, are fully credentialed and prepared to join the work force after 13 months.
How can I get more information about the program?