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Degrees and Programs

English Adolescent Education 

Philosophy and Goals

The English and Language Arts Education Program is designed to prepare teachers as educational practitioners, leaders, and reformers who can address the complex challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.  The philosophy guiding the English program is grounded in the social, psychological, cultural, and linguistic theories of language and literacy growth in adolescence, as well as research findings in language and literacy teaching and learning.  This philosophy informs teacher practice in literature, composition, and language.

Our focus is not only in enhancing our candidates’ knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary to teach today’s diverse population of teachers, but in conceiving of teaching as an act of social justice and bringing about a more equitable society which reshapes the lives of teachers, students, their families and their communities. Our emphasis is on urban education, particularly in the incredibly diverse borough of Queens and its surrounding communities.  This is an area in which 140 different languages are spoken, and which has, among many cultural groups, the largest population in the city of various Central American and Asian communities [1].  Our desire is to foster prospective English teachers’ awareness, understanding, and appreciation of diverse students and their home cultures and communities, as well as to assist teaching candidates and new teachers to meet the educational needs of these communities.

Our commitment is also to excellence in the research, theories, and practices of English Education as defined by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and other national professional organizations.  Our desire is not to accept things as they are, but to enhance student learning in a number of areas:  In reading, we value a reader response approach to literacy which encourages socially construed meaning making.  In writing, we seek to enhance a community of writers who create, share, peer edit, and publish authentic pieces of writing. We see reading, writing, and speaking as interconnected human acts which can be enhanced for students’ personal, social, and academic success.

At the undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, and master’s levels, our goals are to provide opportunities for prospective teachers to establish a solid content knowledge base, and to acquire the practices and professional dispositions necessary to become effective teachers and reflective practitioners.

Degrees and Certificate Programs:

Undergraduate Minor in English Education Leading to Initial Certification

This program is designed for candidates who are English majors matriculated at Queens College and are interested in becoming initially certified as secondary English teachers in New York State.  To declare the minor, candidates must be admitted to the College, maintain a GPA of 3.0 or better in the content area (English), and have taken at least 5 courses in the major. A GPA of 3.0 must be maintained in secondary education courses (SEYS).   Please consult an appointed English Department advisor for requirements for the English major and the assigned English Education faculty for the Education (SEYS) minor.  The total number of credits in education is 24.  Please consult the English Department for major requirements.  Please consult the college’s Bulletin for full information about this program.  Students should plan for four semesters to complete this program, culminating with student teaching in the spring semester of the senior year.  Please consult an advisor for planning your coursework.

Graduate Initial Certificate (Post Baccalaureate) Program:

This Program is intended for students who have a major or minor (36 credits) in English, with at least a 3.0 in the content area, who have an appropriate BA degree from a certified college or university, who have no educational coursework, and who would like to become initially certified in English.  Upon initial certification, students typically have five years to get a master’s degree “functionally related to the teaching of English” for full professional (formerly, permanent) certification.  At Queens College, this may be an MA in Literature (see the English Department web pages), or the MSEd in English Education (see below).  The total number of education credits (in SEYS) is 21.  Please consult the college’s Bulletin for full information about this program.  This program can be completed in three semesters and culminates in student teaching in the spring semester.  Please consult an advisor in planning your coursework.

Master of Science in Education (MSEd):

This program is for initially certified English teachers who need to complete a masters degree “functionally related to the teaching of English” for full professional (formerly, permanent) certification.  The Program consists of 33 graduate credits, fifteen in English (ENGL) and 18 in Education (SEYS).  Please consult the Bulletin as changes in the program may be in effect.  Students interested in this program should receive advisement both in English and in Secondary Education.  A minimum GPA of 3.0 is required to enter, and remain in, this Program.  Please consult an advisor in planning your coursework.

Relationship of the Programs to the Education Unit’s Conceptual Framework

All English Education Programs are aligned with the Core Values of the Education Unit of “promoting Equity, Excellence, and Ethics in urban schools and communities.”  More specifically, the Education Unit is committed to preparing teachers and educational professionals who:

  • build inclusive communities that nurture and challenge all learners (Equity)
  • demonstrate professionalism, scholarship, efficacy, and evidence-based and reflective practice (Excellence)
  • value diversity, democracy, and social justice (Ethics

Through the exploration of the English content as well as through the exploration of exemplary practices in curriculum design, adaptation, and instruction, these Programs also embed the Standards for Reading Professionals established jointly by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), and the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE):

  • Foundational Knowledge
  • Instructional Strategies and Curriculum Materials
  • Assessment, Diagnosis, and Evaluation
  • The Creation of a Literate Environment
  • Professional Development

Academic Standards and Professional Disposition

Candidates admitted to a Program in secondary English Education must maintain high academic standards.  This means maintaining the required GPA stipulated for the specific Program.  Professional disposition is used here in its broadest sense, to mean a candidate’s beliefs, values, behaviors and attitudes towards the teaching profession.  All English Education candidates are expected to demonstrate high standards in their course work and field experiences.  Additionally, they must show a positive professional disposition at program entry, during transition, and at graduation.  Failure to maintain high standards and demonstrate a positive professional disposition will result in warning, probation, and appropriate disciplinary action.  Students will be asked to sign a contract outlining these policies and steps prior to student teaching.  


 Office Information


Chair: Eleanor Armour-Thomas 
Dept. Office: Powdermaker 150 
Phone: 718-997-5150
Fax: 718-997-5152​


 Program Advisors


Arthur T. Costigan
Powdermaker Hall 150-Q
Telephone: (718) 997-5175


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