Secondary Education (M.S.E.)
Secondary Fifth-Year Nontraditional Program for Alternate Certification

The Master of Science in Education Alternative A Fifth-Year Certification Program in Secondary Education (Fifth-Year Non Traditional Masters) is designed for graduates of an accredited university who already have a BA or BS degree and desire to earn a Class A teaching certificate to teach in a specific content area at the secondary level of education (grades 6–12).

The program accommodates those working part- or full-time and also enables admitted students in good standing to work in classrooms with provisional certificates. To this end, courses are offered in the late afternoon, evening or a combination of online and face-to-face formats. Since observation in a variety of authentic classroom settings is crucial to the formative process, teacher candidates enrolled in the program are required to complete a specified number of observation hours per term, which is dependent upon their course schedule.

The program is composed of 36 credit hours, depending upon the prospective student’s transcript, plus any prerequisite credit hours necessary for admission. These 36 hours include 24 hours in professional courses, including a semester-long clinical internship, and 12 hours focused on a specific content area as declared by candidate. The program is paced so that candidates are able to compete all requirements in 16–18 months.

“[Professors] are willing to stay after or meet before class to aid you. This makes such a difference as you seek to develop as a teacher.”

Degree Areas

Samford’s FYNT program offers degrees in the following areas for grades 6–12:

  • Biology
  • English/Language Arts
  • General Science
  • History
  • Math
  • General Social Studies
  • Spanish
  • Physical Education P–12

Objectives & Goals

  • Concept-based curriculum design and writing (e.g. unit and lesson planning)
  • Classroom management
  • Pedagogical content knowledge
  • Differentiation of instruction
  • Action Research (investigation of interventions designed to positively impact student content learning)
  • Learning theories

Is This Program For Me?

  • Professional dispositions
  • Passion for content area
  • Enjoys interpersonal interactions
  • Flexible
  • Willing to learn

What Makes Us Different?

The Samford University SFYNT program is focused on mentoring students. The program pushes its students to grow by coupling high academic expectations with authentic experiences in classrooms. This occurs under the leadership of experienced instructors who know teaching and their content areas. While expectations are not uncommon in other similar schools, the smaller class sizes make it possible for professors to know and encourage students personally. When trials arise, whether professional or personal, professors encourage and challenge their students to achieve while always respecting them as a person.

“Life happens and the professors are willing to work with you when it does.”

Career Preparation

Market Ready

Students who graduate from Samford University with their master’s in secondary education are highly desired and employable in a number of content fields. We frequently receive emails from local school systems, asking if we have any available graduates. With regularity these requests lead to full-time employment for students who are still enrolled in the program.

Career Opportunities

Secondary Teacher (middle school or high school) in the following content areas: biology, English/language arts, general science, history, math, physical education, social studies

“The professors have made such a significant impact upon each of us. Their passion for teaching and for their students is contagious - thank you for teaching us how to be an example.”


Public and private secondary schools
International secondary schools


Birmingham City Schools
Hoover City Schools
Homewood City Schools
Jefferson County Schools
Shelby County Schools
International Schools (Peru)
KIPP Academy (Nashville, TN)

Accolades & Alumni

Awards and Recognition

Recognition as a Specialized Professional Association (SPA) from the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE); currently under evaluation for math, science, social studies and physical education

Alumni Careers

  • Secondary content teachers
  • International secondary school teacher
“Thank you for helping me navigate my way and making me a better teacher. You are one of a kind.”