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Admission Requirements and Procedures

Applicants should submit or have sent to the Office of Graduate Operations the following:

  • a completed Saint Joseph’s University graduate application.
  • official sealed transcript(s) of undergraduate/graduate coursework. If you are a SJU graduate the Office of Graduate Operations will obtain your SJU transcripts for you.
  • a current resumé
  • two letters of recommendation from at least two faculty appraising the candidate’s promise and capacity for graduate study, reflecting, from a professional’s point of view, the candidate’s ability to pursue a rigorous, independent course of study at the graduate level.
  • a personal statement outlining the candidate’s professional goals and educational objectives for the program, including the applicant’s rationale for program choice and professional study.
  • $35 application fee – waived if attended an Open House or an SJU graduate.
  • Students applying for supervisory or principal certification should be aware of the specific application requirements for these programs stated in the Educational Leadership Program section.
  • Students must have achieved a 3.0 Grade Point Average (GPA) in their undergraduate work.
  • First certification applicants must also have taken two English courses and two math courses in their previous coursework in higher education.

Admission to all programs is done on a rolling basis. Students are responsible for verifying that all materials required for application have been received by the Graduate Operations Office. Students who are not fully accepted into the master’s or post-baccalaureate programs may register for courses on a non-matriculated basis during their first semester of coursework; however, they must meet with their program advisor prior to such registration.


The Education Departments offer scholarship aid to students. A limited number of graduate assistantships are also available. Applications for these positions are accepted each spring for the coming academic year. For more information, contact the departmental administrative assistant at 610- 660-1583.

Time Limit and Course Load

All graduate students are expected to complete all course requirements for the degree within five years. All courses must be completed at the 500 level or above. A full-time course load is three courses (9 credits) per term for fall and spring semesters, and four courses (12 credits) for the summer term. Working professionals may not register for more than two courses (6 credits) for the fall and spring terms and two courses (6 credits) for each summer term. Any exceptions to this policy must be approved by the Director of Graduate Education. Students requesting full time status should submit a letter in writing to the Director of Graduate Education stating that they are working less than 20 hours per week during the semester(s) for which full-time status is being requested.

Certification Requirements

Students seeking certification in a secondary subject area must provide evidence of an undergraduate major in their specialty area or obtain approval from the Department to complete appropriate coursework. Early advising in the program is necessary. Students seeking certification in elementary education, special education or in reading education should discuss their plans of study with an advisor at the time of admission. No student with a GPA of less than 3.0 upon completion of the program will be certified in any area. In addition, candidates for secondary certification are expected to have a minimum GPA of 3.0 in their subject matter area; those who do not may be required to take additional coursework in the pertinent content area.

Students must also have passed all required Praxis tests for their area in order to be certified.

Note: First certification graduate students must have successfully completed the PPST (basic skills) Praxis tests prior to the application for student teaching. These include reading, writing, and mathematics.

Several of the programs offered by the Graduate faculty in Education can lead to certification and the Master’s degree. There are selected programs, however, that lead to certification only or to the Master’s Degree without certification. Students are advised to discuss their educational plans before and after the admissions process with the Graduate Education Advisor by calling 610-660-3364 or by email to

All certification programs meet the General and Specific Standards of the Bureau of Teacher Preparation and Certification of the Department of Education in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Candidates are required to meet certification standards in force at the time of their application for certification.

Criteria for certification is demonstrated by professional behavior in the classroom and in field placements. Students who do not meet the high standards of professionalism established by the Department and delineated in the Student Handbook will not be recommended for certification to the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Please note: The State Board of Education adopted changes that affect all of PA’s teacher certification programs by adding 9 credits or 270 hours or equivalent combination for adaptations and accommodations for diverse students in an inclusive setting and 3 credits or 90 hours or equivalent combination to meet the instructional needs of English Language Learners. These new regulations have been incorporated into all initial certification programs for those students starting the program in Spring 2011. The Education Unit at Saint Joseph’s University is making further changes to comply with the new Pennsylvania Department of Education certification requirements and, therefore, additional program requirements will be developed and incorporated to our certification next academic year

Field Experiences (Labs)

Field Experiences accompany three graduate courses: American Education, Psychology of Teaching, and Reading/Literature II (elementary), or Instructional Techniques for... (subject area—secondary). If the student is already teaching, these labs may be completed in his or her own school; if not, the Director of Field Experiences will place the student in an appropriate school. Assignments for the labs are given by the instructor of the course they accompany. Students taking the labs in the summer and unable to complete them in a school at that time will be given an "In Progress" grade until they are able to complete them in the following fall semester. The classroom teacher hosting the field experience student must sign off on a record of attendance.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania requires employees working in schools to obtain both a criminal (Act 34) and child abuse (Act 151) background check, as well as a negative TB test. Students conducting a field experience placement must also have these clearances prior to beginning their field placement. The clearances are good for one calendar year. Students conducting a field experience also need to provide their FBI Criminal History Record Check before entering the schools.

Student Teaching

Students must apply to the Director of Field Experiences nine months prior to actual enrollment in Student Teaching. Students must demonstrate a 3.0 cumulative grade point average to participate in this program. Secondary certification candidates must have a 3.0 GPA in their content field as well. In addition, students will be expected to demonstrate completion of all prerequisite courses. Finally, students must demonstrate successful completion of all appropriate Praxis tests.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania requires employees working in schools to obtain both a criminal (Act 34) and child abuse (Act 151) background check, as well as a negative TB test. Student teachers must also have these clearances prior to beginning their field placement. Additionally, student teachers need to provide their FBI Criminal History Record Check before entering schools.


For inquiries about any graduate education program, prospective students are encouraged to contact the Graduate Education Advisor at 610-660-3364 or All students accepted into the program are required to meet with the Graduate Education Advisor before they register for courses to review the student’s transcripts and to determine whether there is a need for additional courses at the undergraduate level.