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Mathematics Teacher Preparation for Grades 5-12 licensure: Urban Education MS

About The Program

Share your passion for learning mathematics with urban youth and make a difference. Gain a Minnesota teaching license for grades 5-12 Mathematics and your master's degree. Build upon your content knowledge and empower yourself with the multicultural teaching skills and urban field experiences you need to give urban secondary students a high-quality, equitable education.

The Urban Secondary Education graduate-level licensure program within the School of Urban Education (UED) is designed to meet the needs of urban middle and high schools for teachers who can improve students' educational achievement. The UED prepares prospective secondary teachers who can use their understanding of diverse urban learners and communities along with content knowledge and build on the talents and resiliency of their students for success in school and life.

Our approach to teacher education focuses on preparing diverse, reflective and resilient teachers who are outstanding in their commitment to teaching urban youth and creating equitable educational opportunities. More than any other program in Minnesota, we attract more teacher candidates who are of color, multilingual, low-income or ""first generation"" into teaching careers who can relate to the experiences of culturally and linguistically diverse urban youth and their communities.

Program accreditation

This program is accredited by the Minnesota Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB) to meet the Standards of Effective Practice for Beginning Teachers as part of the requirements for being licensed to teach in a specific subject area.

Student outcomes

Students completing this program will meet the following 10 learning outcomes aligned with the Minnesota Standards of Effective Practice for Beginning Teachers:

  • Subject matter: Urban teacher candidates will “understand the central concepts, tools of inquiry, and structures of the disciplines taught and be able to create learning experiences that make these aspects of subject matter meaningful for students.”
  • Student learning: Urban teacher candidates will “understand how students learn and develop and must provide learning opportunities that support a student's intellectual, social, and personal development.”
  • Diverse learners: Urban teacher candidates will “understand how students differ in their approaches to learning and create instructional opportunities that are adapted to students with diverse backgrounds and exceptionalities.”
  • Instructional strategies: Urban teacher candidates will “understand and use a variety of instructional strategies to encourage student development of critical thinking, problem solving, and performance skills.”
  • Learning environment: Urban teacher candidates will “be able to use an understanding of individual and group motivation and behavior to create learning environments that encourage positive social interaction, active engagement in learning, and self-motivation.”
  • Communication: Urban teacher candidates will “be able to use knowledge of effective verbal, nonverbal, and media communication techniques to foster active inquiry, collaboration, and supportive interaction in the classroom.”
  • Planning instruction: Urban teacher candidates will “be able to plan and manage instruction based upon knowledge of subject matter, students, the community, and curriculum goals.”
  • Assessment: Urban teacher candidates will “understand and be able to use formal and informal assessment strategies to evaluate and ensure the continuous intellectual, social, and physical development of the student.”
  • Reflection and professional development: Urban teacher candidates “will be a reflective practitioner who continually evaluates the effects of choices and actions on others, including students, parents, and other professionals in the learning community, and who actively seeks out opportunities for professional growth.”
  • Collaboration, ethics and relationships: Urban teacher candidates will “be able to communicate and interact with parents or guardians, families, school colleagues, and the community to support student learning and well-being."

How to enroll

Program eligibility requirements

Earned Bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited institution with a GPA of 2.75 or higher.

NOTE: Students first gain admission to the University and conditional admission to start the Urban Teacher Program (UTP), and then seek full admission to the School of Urban Education by meeting the following additional requirements for secondary education licensure programs:

  • Meet with an advisor or Graduate Program Coordinator to develop a contract for study to complete the licensure program
  • Complete EDU 600 with a grade of B or higher
  • Complete at least 12 credits at undergraduate or graduate level in the subject area of license (with grades of C or higher) if not already completed in previous studies
  • Complete at least 3 credits in Ethnic Studies or demonstrate ethnic studies competencies
  • Complete at least 40 hours of field experience with urban youth
  • Activate a subscription to the program's assessment system (see advisor for info)

Application instructions

Application deadlines

United States applicants

April 1 - Summer semester
Priority July 1, Final July 31 - Fall semester
Dec. 1 - Spring semester

International students 

No Summer Admissions
May 1 - Fall semester
Sept. 1 - Spring semester

NOTE: Applications are accepted throughout the year, but early applications are encouraged to ensure classes are available.

Application file

A complete application file consists of two parts. Begin the application process by first applying online using the online graduate application. Once you've applied online you can log in to the Applicant Portal using your StarID and password at any time and upload your remaining documents, submit your references, and check on the status of your application. All application materials become the property of Metropolitan State University and are not returned.

Part one

  • Online Graduate Programs Application. Please note you will need a Minnesota State StarID to complete the application. If you don't have a StarID, you will create one at the beginning of the application.
    • If you do not have or choose not to provide your Social Security number (SSN) you will need to follow the No SSN instructions to activate your StarID.
    • If you encounter difficulty with the online application, email graduate.studies@metrostate.edu
  • $20 Non-refundable Application Fee; pay online
    • Waived for graduates of Metropolitan State University and for certified veterans and active military.
  • Official Transcripts
    • For those applicants that were previously admitted to Metropolitan State University we will reuse official transcripts that we received IF they were electronically imaged at that time; if they were not, we will inform you of the transcripts we still need.
    • Any course work completed elsewhere AFTER attending Metropolitan State University will require an official transcript.
    • Submit official transcripts showing a baccalaureate degree or higher earned from an accredited institution with grade-point average or narrative description describing courses completed.
    • Transcripts from ALL schools attended after high school and from any graduate or professional programs are required.
    • Must have a cumulative GPA of 2.75 or higher for full admission (GPAs of 2.5 to 2.74 may be considered for conditional admission)
    • All transcripts from non-U.S. schools must be evaluated (course-by-course) by either ECE (preferred) or WES.
    • Electronic transcripts (preferred) sent to graduate.studies@metrostate.edu
    • Paper transcripts sent directly from the sending institution (preferred) to:
    • Metropolitan State University
      Attn: Graduate Admissions
      700 East Seventh Street
      Saint Paul MN 55106

Part two

After you have submitted your online application, log in to the Applicant Portal using your StarID and password to upload application materials, and check on the status of your application.  The Applicant Portal will indicate missing application items.

Applicants who previously earned full graduate admission to the Urban Teacher Program seeking 5-12 licensure are not required to provide part two documents. All other applicants must submit the following:

  • One Professional Reference: submit reference contact information using the online application.
    • The reference should be a person familiar with the quality of your work as a student, as a teacher or other work related to diverse youth/communities. Personal references will not be considered. Applicants should remind their references of the application deadline when speaking with them.
    • Once submitted, references will receive a "no-reply" email from Minnesota State with a link to the recommendation form. References should check junk mail if the email is not in their inbox.
    • The link is good for 60 days, however, the application deadline may be sooner.
  • Resume: Upload
    • Include work and volunteer experience related to urban education and diverse communities
    • Include titles of teaching license(s) earned (if any), state issued, and license number
  • Letter of Application: Upload
    • Stating which of the following concentrations you are interested in completing and why
      • Curriculum, Pedagogy and Schooling (non-licensure)
      • English as a Second Language (for additional licensure or non-licensure)
      • Special Education (for additional ABS licensure or non-licensure)
      • Secondary Education Teacher Preparation (for grades 5-12 licensure to teach English Language Arts, Life Science/General Science, Mathematics, or Social Studies)
    • Explaining how the MS-Urban Education would contribute to your professional growth and professional goals or interests, especially in relation to the School of Urban Education's Vision and Mission
      • Information about your experience working with culturally and linguistically diverse youth in urban settings and what you have learned from these experiences
    • Plan/strategy for completing the master's degree
    • Letters of application should be typed with 1.5-2.0 line spacing and a total of 1-2 pages in length. The letter serves as a demonstration of your writing skills and will be judged on both content and professionalism in writing mechanics needed for a master's degree candidate

Part three - international students only

In addition to parts one and two, international applicants in the U.S. or abroad, on any type of visa, are required to provide this information for admission to the university.

  • Proof of English proficiency (official TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo score)
    • Minimum scores: TOEFL 80 IBT, 213 CBT, 550 PBT, IELTS 6.5, or Duolingo 105-110
    • IBT=internet based; CBT=computer based; PBT=paper based
  • Financial statement (F1 visa only)
  • Immunization records
  • Copies of passport, visa, I-94, and international home address and phone numbers

Questions about applying to the Master of Science in Urban Education?

Questions about the online application, fee, transcripts, references, and document upload feature can be sent to graduate.studies@metrostate.edu (preferred) or you can call 651-793-1302.

Questions about Part Two requirements or the program can be sent to the Master of Science in Urban Education Graduate Coordinator Dr. Paul Spies paul.spies@metrostate.edu.

Courses and Requirements

SKIP TO COURSE REQUIREMENTS

If content coursework that is aligned with the requirements for the BS Mathematics Teaching major has not already been completed, content courses needed to meet licensure requirements will need to be completed. In addition to completing required content and urban education coursework, the following are among the requirements for licensure program completion to earn a Minnesota grades 5-12 Tier 3 licensure:

  • Completion of at least 120 hours of practicum experiences in urban middle school (60 hours) and urban high school (60 hours) classrooms in your licensure subject area.
  • Completion of 12 weeks of full-time student teaching.
  • Passing all required licensure exams and performance assessments.
  • Background check and licensure application with fee.

Following student teaching and licensure program completion, students then complete the remaining master's degree courses along with a thesis or capstone project presentation. Many students find it better to teach for a year before completing these courses and their thesis or capstone project for the master's degree. If students chose not to write a formal thesis, they may make a 30-minute capstone presentation instead but must complete another 3 credits of electives. 

Courses Needed for Licensure then Master's Degree

+ Required introductory courses for admission (4+ credits)

In addition to the course shown, requirements include: (1) one Ethnic Studies course (at least 3 credits) or prior ethnic studies competency, and (2) at least 12 credits of coursework in the subject area of licensure that has been transferred in or taken at Metro State that matches content courses required in the Mathematics Teaching BS.

This course is designed for graduate level study and conducted in seminar format. The purpose is to explore the impact of successful teaching of diverse students in urban classrooms. Students in the seminar will examine issues related to urban education mirrored in research, theory, and practice while looking at instructional approaches as reflected in the Standards of Effective Practice. Topics will include but not exclusive to multicultural competencies, curriculum transformation, and teacher dispositions. In addition, students will come to understand the role of the students' family, culture, social class, and ethnicity. The seminar is designed to meet several Standards of Effective Practice for the State of Minnesota Board of Teaching (BOT) (State Statute 8700.2000) for all teacher licensing programs.

Full course description for Principles of Urban Education

+ Required for licensure (22 graduate, 4+ undergraduate credits)

Any subject area courses needed to meet state licensure standards for this content area that haven't been met as determined by a School of Urban Ed transcript review based on the courses needed for the BS Mathematics Teaching major that meet licensure content standards must also be completed.

This course provides advanced theory and practice regarding common methods of differentiating instruction for urban middle school and high school classrooms. Post-baccalaureate urban teacher candidates learn how to create developmentally appropriate and culturally relevant unit and lesson plans that attend to the various abilities, needs, cultures, experiences, and interests of urban 5-12 students while also meeting district and state standards for learning and making interdisciplinary connections. Foundational understanding of the diverse learning styles and developmental characteristics of young adolescent and adolescent learners forms the basis upon which appropriate plans are developed and methods are employed. The inter-relationships between standards, assessment, curriculum and instruction are examined in promoting high achievement for each urban learner. Teacher candidates examine current trends and research in urban middle school and high school education along with the…

Full course description for Urban Middle School and High School Methods -Advanced Theory and Practice

This practicum is designed to give urban teacher candidates the opportunity to document and reflect upon at least 40 hours practical clinical experience working with diverse youth in an urban middle school or high school. Most of the field experience hours will be determined by field-based assignments required in other Education courses. Included with these experiences, urban teacher candidates practice using diagnostic assessment to guide their instructional planning of at least three lessons for a small group of 1-5 students needing help to improve their reading or mathematics literacy. Successful completion of this practicum is a prerequisite for student teaching. Requirements include attendance and participation in periodic seminars to help prospective urban teacher candidates reflect upon their field experiences, and prepare for future clinical field experiences including student teaching. Co-requisites: EDU 306, OR EDU 606, OR EDU 323, OR EDU 481.

Full course description for Urban Teaching Practicum and Seminar

This course reviews advanced theory and practice to support the education of exceptional urban and diverse learners in grades 5-12. The course will address what teachers should know about exceptional learners, including students with disabilities and students with special gifts and talents. The responsibilities of general education teachers in service to students with special needs who are included in the mainstreamed classroom will also be examined, and practice will be provided for developing lesson plans and assessments that meet the needs of students with exceptionalities. Special education law and collaboration with special education staff will be discussed in the context of reviewing current research, issues and best practices for pre- and post-special education service needs of exceptional learners in urban public schools. Clinical field experience hours are part of the course requirements.

Full course description for Teaching & Assessing Exceptional Urban Learners-Advanced Theory & Practice

This course explores advanced theory and practice to support academic literacy among urban learners in secondary classrooms. First, through readings, discursive presentations, and applied exercises, participants in this course will acquire techniques to assist struggling readers and writers. Alongside these skills, course participants will learn how to engage secondary urban learners in assuming responsibility for literacy self-development. Third, the course will include review and development of a variety of materials to teach diverse middle and high school students whose reading and developmental levels vary widely.

Full course description for Literacy Education in Urban Schools - Advanced Theory and Practice

This course examines current theory and research on the relationship between classroom management and academic achievement to prepare prospective urban teachers for facilitating student learning in a positive classroom environment. Participants in this course will examine teacher and student classroom behaviors from a cross-cultural perspective to recognize the effects of cultural/linguistic differences in the assessment, interpretation, and planning of the instructional and social environment in a class. Students will gain understanding of individual and group motivation and behavior to create learning environments that encourage positive social interaction, active engagement in learning, and self motivation. Students will also gain understanding of how factors in students' environment outside of school may influence the classroom learning environment. A portion of this course will explore the influence of the use and misuse of drugs, and management strategies for atypical behaviors…

Full course description for Managing Learning in Urban 5-12 Classrooms-Advanced Theory and Practice

This course explores historical, cultural, sociological, and philosophical foundations of education in the United States with an express focus on urban education principles and practices. The metropolitan community is used as a resource for learning about the educational strengths and challenges faced by diverse groups. Students will gain understanding of the contributions and lifestyles of various racial, cultural, and economic groups in our society, including an emphasis on Minnesota-based American Indian culture, history, and tribal government. Core concepts include democracy and education, educational equity for all students, and historical as well as contemporary relationships between school and society. Emphasis is on issues of power and the educational segregation and attempted deculteruralization of historically marginalized groups. Resilience and persistent struggles for equal educational opportunity in the face of oppression are also emphasized from diverse cultural…

Full course description for Historical, Cultural, and Philosophical Foundations of Urban Education

Does religious belief matter in our daily lives? Can religious teachings and values be applied universally or must the history of the people be taken into consideration? This course explores these questions in the lives of American racial and ethnic groups. It examines the role and function of religious belief in their struggle for survival and liberation. Topics of discussion include the concepts of identity, selfhood, community, spirituality, social responsibility, salvation and freedom. Certain religious traditions, for example, African American, American Indian and Asian American, are discussed in the light of histories of these groups. Significant focus is given to issues of race and racism. (Also listed as ETHS 316 Race and Religion)

Full course description for Assessing Learning in Urban Grades 5-12 - Advanced Theory and Practice

This course includes an examination of theory, research, and practice regarding the process of second language acquisition and various strategies for teaching English Language Learners (ELL) subject matter content in urban K-12 classrooms. Prospective and current urban teachers will learn how to modify mainstream course materials and instructional strategies so that ELL students can engage in course content while simultaneously developing their English language skills. Course activities and expectations include demonstrating teaching strategies; developing lesson modifications; evaluating textbooks and other materials and resources available in the field; and examining issues in testing students of limited English proficiency for placement, diagnosis, exit, and evaluation. There is a requirement of a 10-hour field experience in urban setting involving classroom participant-observations and working with an ELL student.

Full course description for Teaching Assessing ELL Students in Content-Advanced Theory and Practice

This course provides students with the knowledge and experience of high school mathematics to be an effective teacher in urban, multicultural classrooms. The content of this math methods course emphasizes the interconnectedness of curriculum, instruction and assessment. The overarching philosophical framework for this course is the social justice perspective of mathematics education particularly for urban students. Field experience in a high school mathematics classroom is required.

Full course description for Teaching Mathematics to Urban Learners in Grades 5-12

This advanced pre-student teaching practicum is designed to give urban teacher candidates the opportunity to document and reflect upon at least 60 hours practical clinical experience in an urban middle school or high school classroom within their subject area of licensure. Requirements include teaching at least 3 lessons in their licensure area to a whole class of students, but most of the clinical field experience hours and active classroom involvement will be determined by field-based assignments required in other Education courses and the cooperating urban school teacher hosting the practicum. Successful completion of this practicum is a prerequisite for student teaching. Requirements include attendance and participation in periodic seminars to help prospective urban teacher candidates reflect upon their field experiences, and prepare for student teaching.

Full course description for Advanced Urban Teaching Practicum and Seminar

+ Student Teaching (6cr)

Note: For students seeking initial grades 5-12 licensure, EDU 650 includes 12 full-time weeks in a math middle or high school classroom. This experience is required for licensure not the degree. Teacher Candidates must notify the Field Experience Director two semesters prior to doing their student teaching. They must also submit a student teaching application by September 1st for spring placements and February 1st for fall placements. MTLE Content and Pedagogy exams must be taken before student teaching.

Supervised student teaching with students in an urban school required for the candidate's licensure area. This course for graduate students seeking initial licensure includes 12 full-time weeks or equivalent required for Minnesota teacher licensure, and required periodic seminars with other student teachers. ** Note: this is a variable credit course with credit range of 2 - 8, but all initial licensure candidates register for 8 credits. Individualized student teaching placements for reduced credit are arranged for currently licensed teachers seeking to expand or add licensure through the post-baccalaureate process.

Full course description for Student Teaching in the Urban School

+ Final core sequence for master's degree completion (12 - 15 credits)

These courses are to be taken at the end of the licensure program after student teaching. EDU 670 and EDU 688 are co-requisites typically offered in the summer, and EDU 698 is typically offered in the fall. Many students find it better to teach for a year before completing these courses and their thesis or capstone project for the master's degree. If students chose not to write a formal thesis, they may make a 30-minute capstone presentation instead but must complete another 3 credits of electives.

This course examines the important role of critical reflection for the professional development and effectiveness of urban teachers in their efforts to provide equitable educational opportunities and increase achievement of their diverse students. Various types of reflection will be practiced in critically thinking about the multiple and complex aspects of the teaching and learning process within a racial, socio-economic, cultural, historical, structural and systemic context. The role of urban educators as agents and leaders of change will be examined, in addition to how reflection can be used as a tool to foster change for educational equity. Reflection during the course will lead to identifying a central focus and question for thesis research.

Full course description for Advanced Reflective Practice for Urban Educators

The course engages students in the variety of educational research designs, analyses and conceptual frameworks appropriate for research in diverse and urban educational settings. The course examines approaches to research for improving classroom or school practices and/or connections with diverse urban or cross-cultural communities. Research methods learned include responsible conduct of research and human subjects protections, quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods along with issues of sampling, measurement, and technical adequacy of observed research results in urban educational settings.

Full course description for Research Methods in Urban/Cross-Cultural Education

This course provides both an introduction to modes of research and scholarship useful in urban education or other diverse cross-cultural educational settings and an opportunity for applying principles learned to classrooms, schools, or communities. Students develop and complete a culminating project of research to improve an aspect of teaching, student learning, a school program/initiative or a community service and share their findings with others.

Full course description for Capstone: Conducting Research in Urban Classrooms, Schools and Communities