Matriculation, Candidacy, and Graduation Requirements

Before you read about the program to which you have been admitted, you should first understand some terminology.

Matriculation means that you have been accepted into and are enrolled in the Master’s degree program. The process for matriculation is as follows: you first apply to the graduate program and then you are accepted into the English Department. There is a College fee for applying; contact the Admissions Office for more information. You will indicate the graduate program in which you wish to enroll on this form. You may only take up to nine credit hours (three courses) before being matriculated into the program.

You will be notified of your status by the Admissions Office if your application is lacking any of the requirements such as proof of certification or transcripts. Once the conditions of acceptance are met, you will be accepted into the English Department. It is up to you to provide proof that conditions have been met.  If you are accepted unconditionally, you will be notified. When you are accepted into the Master’s degree program, you will be assigned an advisor.

Candidacy is another requirement that must be met. You need to apply to be a “candidate for a Master’s degree.” You do this when you have taken between 6 and 15 credit hours at Cortland required for your degree. This is an internal check to make sure you are on the right track, and there is no fee for this process. We recommend that you file for candidacy with your program coordinator immediately after the completing your first six credits. You will receive a letter once your candidacy is approved.

We offer three Master’s degree programs in the English Department. One program is a Master of Science in Adolescence Education, English 7-12 (AED), which leads to a professional or permanent certificate for students already holding provisional certification. A second program is a Master of Arts in Teaching in Adolescence Education, English, which leads to an initial or provisional certificate. Successful completion of either of these programs allows Cortland to recommend the candidate for certification (initial or permanent). Candidates for the M.A.T. program who decide to teach and attain provisional certification from NYSED prior to completing this program must file a change of status form, be admitted into the M.S. Ed. program, and complete any additional requirements necessitated by this change of status. The third program is the Master of Arts in English, which is appropriate for candidates who plan to pursue a Ph.D., who do not wish to pursue a teaching certificate, or who already possess provisional certification and wish to seek permanent certification. Students in the M.A. program who wish to pursue permanent certification need two years of teaching experience and are required to pass two New York State Teacher certification exams. At the conclusion of their degree programs, M.A. students can apply on their own for the permanent certificate, presenting a transcript to the state documenting completion of a functionally related master’s degree, along with documentation of completion of other requirements.

Students in any graduate program in English must meet several all-College requirements, in addition to the program requirements, for completion of the degree program.  Below are the requirements for graduation.

  1. Total Credit Hours: A minimum of 31 credit hours must be earned for graduation in the M.S.Ed.: AEN, English program. A minimum of 46-49 credit hours must be earned for graduation in the M.A.T.: AEN, English program. A minimum of 30 hours is required for the M.A. in English. At least 9 of the hours must be at the 600-level.
  2. Up to six credits from other accredited institutions may be transferred with approval.
  3. Cumulative Average: A cumulative average of 3.0 for all coursework completed at Cortland is required for graduation. No grade below a C- will be counted toward a Master’s degree.  Students who retake a course in which they earned a grade of E should be aware that both their original and their retake grade will appear on their transcript. However, only the last grade will be factored into your GPA.
  4. Foreign Language Requirement: Students in all master’s programs in English are required to complete one year of college-level study or the equivalent of a language other than English. (Students enrolled in the M.A. program have the option of demonstrating competency in a classical language.) If this requirement has not already been met, the candidate may take language courses concurrently with graduate study. The English Department does not permit the substitution of American Sign Language for the foreign language requirement, unless there are compelling reasons (e.g., a documented hearing disability) for doing so.
  5. Time to Complete:  In January 2005, the New York State Board of Regents approved a policy change that will allow students who are enrolled in a master’s degree program leading to permanent certification five years to complete the requirements. Specifically, the Board of Regents approved an amendment to the Commissioner’s Regulations (8 NYCRR section 80-3.3[a][1]) that extends the term of the initial certificate to five years. This change will provide teachers with the flexibility to complete a Master’s degree within a five-year period (rather than three) to qualify for professional certification. The amended regulation became effective on February 3, 2005. Teachers who were issued initial certificates since February 1, 2004, will have their certificates extended to five years from the original date they were issued. All future initial certificates will be issued with five-year validity periods. For additional information, visit the New York State Education Department website at For candidates enrolled in graduate programs prior to December 2003, and for all non-teaching degree programs (including the MA program), all graduate degree requirements must be completed within five years after the date of the first graduate enrollment, even though such enrollment may be on a non-matriculated basis. Any non-matriculated student who has taken courses prior to the Fall 2001 semester and has not officially been admitted to a graduate degree program will be required to satisfy the new re-registered programs.
  6. Culminating Activities: In addition to the requirements listed above, all students in the M.A. in English program are required to write a substantial (30-40-page) master’s thesis. Students in the M.S.Ed.:AEN and  M.A.T.: AEN programs are required to submit an electronic Teaching Portfolio that demonstrates the thirteen institutional learning outcomes.  While the various components of the final portfolio will be created and submitted in graduate courses along the way, the portfolio itself will be assembled in the culminating activity course: for MAT students, in AED 578 Master’s Project and Teaching Colloquia; for MSEd students,  in AED 678 M.S.Ed Final Project.  All teaching portfolio will be submitted via TaskStream.
  7.  Graduation: You must apply for graduation through Banner Web.