Master of Arts in Teaching - Early Childhood & Elementary Education



44 credit hours

Program Length

as few as 18 months


Accredited by the SCDE

Take Your Career to the Next Level – Earn Your Master of Arts in Teaching in 18 Months! 

Are you an aspiring Christian educator? Columbia International University’s Master of Arts in Teaching is designed to provide you with a comprehensive and supportive learning environment, so you can excel! The program is tailored to those seeking to teach in early childhood and elementary school settings, and it includes training for both areas. Graduates of the program are eligible for initial state licensure recommendation for elementary education (second to sixth grade) with an add-on in early childhood (PreK-third grade) in South Carolina, as well as with the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI). 

One of the key benefits of CIU’s Master of Arts in Teaching is its flexibility. You can begin your course of study at the beginning of the fall or spring semesters and complete the program in four terms of full-time study or extend the time to complete the program. This flexibility makes it easier for working professionals or those with other obligations to earn their degree and advance their career. Throughout the program, you will be trained to become an effective and authentic Christian educator, involved learner and practitioner who creates effective learning communities. You will have access to models, growth experiences and communities of practice that will equip you with the skills and knowledge you need to succeed in the field. The program emphasizes the integration of faith and learning, helping you to develop a strong Christian worldview that you can apply to your work in the classroom. 

The Master of Arts in Teaching at Columbia International University is an excellent choice for those seeking to become Christian educators in early childhood or elementary school settings. With its comprehensive training, flexible scheduling options and emphasis on faith integration, this program provides a solid foundation for a successful career in education. 

Why Choose Columbia International University’s MAT?

The transition to teaching is more than being trained and having the right skill set, you want faculty to walk with you, modeling the heart for children and life skills to make your training effective and fulfilling. Faculty/student working relationships are highly valued in the training process, bringing a depth of training and support beyond just the classroom. The biblical worldview guides teacher education whether it is understanding the learner, developing personal dispositions, developing a learning culture, meeting the needs of all learners or demonstrating instructional excellence with integrity in a professional setting. To this end our program objectives are to help you become a:

  • Learner who knows content, children, and pedagogy.
  • Designer who demonstrates effective planning and preparation for instruction.
  • Presenter who models effective educational methodology, communication and technology techniques.
  • Evaluator who assesses, diagnoses, and monitors individual needs to implement differentiated instructional opportunities.
  • Manager who creates and effectively manages a nurturing environment.
  • Partner who collaborates with the child, family, community and other professionals.
  • Professional, committed, reflective, model educator who learns from experience and contributes to the profession.

Annual Reporting Measures

Benefits of a CIU MAT Degree

Earning a Master of Arts in Teaching degree can provide numerous benefits for those interested in pursuing a career in education. This program is designed to prepare students to teach in a variety of contexts, including public schools, Christian schools, private and charter schools, and international schools. The program's emphasis on early childhood education and elementary education makes it an ideal choice for those interested in working with young students. Graduates of the program are eligible for initial teacher licensure recommendation in South Carolina, which has a reciprocal agreement with most other states in the U.S. This means that graduates can pursue teaching positions in a wide range of geographic locations, giving them the flexibility to choose a career path that meets their needs and interests. 

Graduates of the Master of Arts in Teaching program may also use their training to pursue other education-related interests. These could include working in child development centers, developing a tutoring business, working as classroom assistants, or working for companies focused on tutoring. The program provides a strong foundation in educational theory and practice, as well as opportunities for practical experience in the classroom. This combination of theoretical and practical training can help students develop the skills and knowledge needed to be effective educators and leaders in their field. Overall, earning a Master of Arts in Teaching degree can open up numerous career opportunities in education, while also providing a fulfilling and rewarding career path helping to shape future generations of students.

Featured Faculty

Mark McCann

M.A.T. Program Director, Assessment Coordinator, Professor of Education

What Will I Study?

  • EDU 5101 M.A.T. Program Orientation

    This course must be taken during an orientation prior to the first semester of enrollment in the M.A. in Teaching program. This course introduces new candidates to the knowledge, skills, and dispositions related to being successful in the M.A.T. program. Candidates will gain an understanding of the conceptual framework that guides the program and review important elements of the M.A.T. program handbook, including Standards of Conduct for South Carolina educators, field experience policies and procedures, and an introduction to Expanded Assisting Developing and Evaluating Professional Teaching (ADEPT). The orientation is scheduled during the first days of Fall and Spring semesters. A program orientation fee is charged. (Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory).

    0.00 credit hours
  • EDU 5431 Assessment for Reading and Content

    Surveys assessment principles guiding instructional design across content areas. Emphasis is given to administering, interpreting, reporting, and implementing assessment tools for early childhood and elementary with an emphasis on literacy progress. This course is part of the 12-credit hour South Carolina Read to Succeed requirement. (3)

    3.00 credit hours
  • EDU 5432 Methods of Inquiry-Based Learning in the Content Area

    Focuses on teaching early childhood and elementary social studies, science, and health. Emphasis is placed on designing developmentally appropriate, inquiry-based instruction using methods and materials to promote learning in early childhood and elementary years. (2)

    2.00 credit hours
  • EDU 5541 Learning Environment and Classroom Management

    This course is designed to introduce a variety of class management models, with analysis and application emphases. Implications for both early childhood and elementary settings are studied. Classroom environmental arrangements; time management factors; children of diverse backgrounds and needs; mental-, emotional-, social- and/or physical differences; and preventive, supportive, and corrective discipline are addressed. Large and small group management and components of effective physical, social, emotional, and academic learning environments are examined. (2)

    2.00 credit hours
  • EDU 5603 Instructional Practices for Literacy and Technology

    Emphasizes instructional strategies, technology, and curricular support for literacy development in reading and writing. A focus is placed on emergent literacy and addressing the diverse needs of learners. This course is part of the 12-credit hour South Carolina Read to Succeed requirement. (3)

    3.00 credit hours
  • EDU 5604 Methods of Teaching Math and STEM

    Surveys STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) principles with a focus on math instruction. Emphasis is placed on designing developmentally appropriate, inquiry-based instruction for early childhood and elementary learners.

    3.00 credit hours
  • EDU 5660 Integrating the Enrichment Areas

    This course introduces the enrichment areas (visual arts, music, drama, and physical education), focusing on enriching learning environments and instructional design through developmentally appropriate practice for early childhood and elementary education. Students actively participate in learning activities involving the arts as they design and evaluate experiences that promote positive development and inter-disciplinary learning. Students learn the biblical basis for encouraging creativity through these enrichment areas.

    2.00 credit hours
  • EDU 5810 Students with Diverse Needs

    This course will expose students to various areas of exceptionality including definitions, incidence, and educational needs. Regulations governing the education of the disabled, options of serving special needs, and the modification of regular classrooms to accommodate exceptional children will be studied.

    2.00 credit hours
  • EDU 6901 Authentic Professional Experience

    This course provides incremental field experience in a variety of diverse early childhood and elementary classroom settings. Observation of best practice models and innovative methodologies allows candidates the opportunity to see theory put into practice. There is particular focus on Expanded ADEPT (Assisting, Developing and Evaluating Professional Teaching) Performance Standards and the South Carolina Teaching Standards (SCTS 4.0) rubric related to classroom teaching. Length of the field experience will vary according to hours needed. A practicum fee is charged. This course is repeatable.

    1.00 credit hour
  • EDU 7300 Foundations for Curriculum

    This course will enable both teachers and administrators to develop curriculum and use instructional design from a biblical worldview. Students will learn to integrate faith and learning by designing integrated instruction, write standards and objectives, and teach critical thinking from a biblical worldview. Products from the course will include a comprehensive list of standards for education, a list of critical thinking skills, and a knowledge of models for biblical or character integration for use in integrated lessons.

    3.00 credit hours
  • EDU 5975 Evaluative Professional Practice for Teachers

    This course is required for degree and program completion. The course grade documents whether program assessments have been passed. Passing scores for program assessments must be submitted in order to receive a passing grade.

    0.00 credit hours
For a comprehensive list of courses related to this program visit the Academic Catalog.

Admission Requirements

  • Completed application
  • Official transcripts for highest earned degree and any master’s degree work
  • Academic Proficiency as evidenced by passing: Official Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators report, SAT, ACT, or GRE
  • Church leader reference and Professional reference
  • Application Essay (800 words total, typed)
  • Minimum cumulative 2.75 GPA

Accreditation and Accolades

SC Department of Education
ASCI (Association of Christian Schools International)
SACSCOC (The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges)

Career Path Opportunities

  • Teaching in public and charter schools in grades PK, K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 
  • Teaching in Christian schools in grades PK, K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 
  • Teaching in international schools in grades PK, K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 
  • Teaching in public or private child development centers. 
  • Directing afterschool and daycare programs 
  • Working with tutoring companies to service students 
  • Teaching with home school cohorts 
  • Working in church ministry positions such as childcare director. 
  • Serving as academic interventionists 
  • Ministering to children through mercy organizations worldwide 
  • Serving as a Christian education consultant 
  • Moving to further training as curriculum and instructional specialists, guidance counselor, school administrator and doctoral work. 

Top FAQs

Is this program approved by the state of South Carolina for teacher education?

Yes, this program is approved by the state of South Carolina for teacher education. This means that the program has met the standards and requirements set forth by the state for teacher education programs. Approval by the state ensures that the program provides students with a high-quality education and meets the standards necessary to prepare them for a career in teaching. 

Does this program lead to state certification?

Yes, the Master of Arts in Teaching program leads to state certification in both elementary and early childhood education. This means that graduates of the program meet the qualifications necessary to obtain certification to teach in South Carolina public schools. State certification is a necessary requirement for those interested in pursuing a career in teaching, and this program provides students with the training and education necessary to meet this requirement. 

Does this program lead to Christian School certification?

Yes, graduates of the Master of Arts in Teaching program meet the qualifications for certification through the Association of Christian Schools International. This means that graduates are prepared to teach in Christian schools both in the United States and abroad. The program provides a strong foundation in both educational theory and practice, as well as an emphasis on Christian values and principles, making it an ideal choice for those interested in pursuing a career in Christian education. 

Can I transfer my certification to another state?

Yes, South Carolina has reciprocal agreements with most states, meaning that certification obtained in South Carolina can be transferred to another state. This provides graduates of the Master of Arts in Teaching program with increased flexibility and mobility in their career paths, allowing them to pursue teaching positions in other states with ease.

How long does it take to complete this program?

The Master of Arts in Teaching program is designed to be completed in four semesters, which is approximately 18 months. The program provides a rigorous and comprehensive curriculum that covers both educational theory and practical experience, ensuring that graduates are prepared for a successful career in teaching. 

Is this an online program?

No, the Master of Arts in Teaching program is a face-to-face format. This means that students attend classes on campus and have the opportunity to engage in hands-on, experiential learning through field experiences.

When are classes?

Candidates are in class Tuesday and Thursday with field experiences on Wednesday and Thursday morning. This schedule allows students to balance their coursework with other commitments, such as work, free time and family obligations.

Do I have to be a full-time student?

No, students have the flexibility to take all of the Tuesday classes in the fall and spring semesters one year and the Wednesday practicum/Thursday courses in fall and spring semesters the next year. This provides students with the ability to balance their coursework with other commitments and pursue their degree on a schedule that works for them.

Are there summer classes?

Yes, the program includes two courses that are two-week intensives in the first four weeks of the summer session. These intensive courses provide students with an opportunity to deepen their understanding of key topics in education and engage in immersive learning experiences.

Do your graduates find teaching positions?

Yes, in many cases, graduates of the Master of Arts in Teaching program are offered teaching positions before they finish student teaching. The program provides students with the training and education necessary to pursue a successful career in teaching.

Do your graduates do well in the teaching profession?

Yes, South Carolina uses the SCTS 4.0 evaluation system for educators, which includes a measure of successful impact on student learning. To move from an initial certificate to a five-year certificate, program completers must pass these evaluations. State data shows that 100% of the program completers pass these evaluations and have a positive impact on student learning.


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