In order to graduate from any of our MS Programs, you must complete all required courses in your program (e.g., Lit B-6) with acceptable grades and a required minimum GPA.
Graduation requirements are not the same as certification requirements. For example, our MS Literacy programs lead to Initial Certification in your specific program, which, after three years of successful teaching, and fulfilling all other requirements (e.g., Abuse Identification, Fingerprinting, Content Specialty examinations, etc.), leads to Professional Certification. The University processes your application for initial certification at the time of graduation, but completing the degree is only one part of the certification process. See the NYS Teacher Certification page for more details.
Applying For Graduation
Each student must apply for graduation in the semester he/she plans to successfully complete all requirements. Students should apply early in the semester and can apply through MyUAlbany. Simply click on the link that says "Apply for Graduation." This will trigger the "degree clearance" process. Graduate Admissions will review each program plan to make sure that all requirements are met. You must apply for graduation, even if you do not plan on attending graduation ceremonies. However, we strongly encourage you to attend graduation, which is held in December as well as in May. The graduate ceremony is separate from the undergraduate, and is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate your accomplishment with family, friends, faculty, and fellow students. Commencement, which typically lasts just over an hour, is followed by a reception for School of Education graduates, their families, and the faculty. It is our chance to officially congratulate you, and wish you well in the next phase of your career.
Applying for Certification
There is a 4-step process to apply for Teacher Certification:
1. Apply for graduation during your last semester.
2. Apply for certification through TEACH.
3. Apply for a recommendation through the University.
4. Meet all certification requirements.
We strongly encourage students to attend a TEACH workshop. After applying for graduation, the PIE Center contacts students to invite them to a workshop. In the workshop, students will complete online applications and submit all necessary paperwork to Graduate Admissions for an "institutional recommendation" for certification. Directions on how to apply can also be found on the Graduate Admissions webpage. If you need assistance with the TEACH program or have a question about your certification in general, please contact Heidi Audino in the PIE (Pathways Into Education) Center at 442-3529, HAudino@albany.edu, or visit her directly in ED 127.
Advanced Study After Graduation
Some of our best PhD students were also some of our best MS students who completed their master's program, returned to teaching, and came back into either the CAS (Certificate of Advanced Study) or the PhD program. On occasion, a student who just completed the master's degree will apply directly to enter the PhD program.
We encourage you to think about advanced study, but we also think that having several years of teaching experience is valuable preparation for a PhD program, and students who come into the advanced programs immediately after their master's degrees typically have had this experience before and during their MS programs.
If you are even thinking about the possibility of advanced study, come in and talk with us about your interest. Advanced study is demanding and it is not for everyone, but we can help you understand what is involved, the potential benefits in terms of opening up career choices, and answer your questions about costs and length of time to completion.
Required Minimum Grade Point Averages
Students are required to maintain a minimum of a ‘B’ average throughout their programs. With a grading system which uses pluses and minuses in addition to letter grades, it is hard to know what counts as a ‘B’ average unless the letter grades are converted to their corresponding numbers:
In numerical terms, students must maintain an average grade of 3.0 or higher in their coursework. A grade of C (2.0) in a course is able to be offset by a grade of A (4.0) in another, but a grade below C cannot be offset by any grade. In such a case, the student must petition the Department to take up to 6 credits beyond the required 30 hours. There is no maximum number of courses graded S/U that can be applied to the master’s degree program. A grade of S is assumed to be a B or better, but it cannot substitute for an A in making up for a C grade. Note: some courses are always graded S/U (e.g., ERDG687) and some are always letter-graded. A course is designated as S/U or letter-graded (one or the other, but not both) by the faculty—students can’t choose to have a course graded S/U or by letter.
Graduates of our MS in Literacy and MS in Special Education/Literacy degrees are certified to work with students who encounter the most difficulty with literacy, and to coach and mentor other teachers. In order to ensure that these specialists are appropriately qualified to receive literacy specialist certification (B-6, B-12, or 5-12), students in these degree programs must receive a B or better in practicum courses before being allowed to take the capstone class. These practicum courses include: ERDG 505, ERDG 506, ERDG 601, ERDG 605, ERDG 619, and ERDG 655. In addition, students must also receive a B or better in the final practicum experiences ERDG 620 and/or ERDG 623. Students receiving a B- or lower in such courses have the following options: a) retake the course for a better grade; b) request a shift to a professional certification degree in the department. This latter option might require taking additional courses.