The alternative A secondary education (M.S.E.) program is designed for the working professional who has earned a bachelor's degree in a field other than education from a regionally accredited institution who now desires to earn a Class A teaching certificate to teach in a specific content area at the secondary level of education (grades 6–12).

This is a full-time program that may require students to attend classes on campus and at clinical settings during traditional work hours. Some class meetings will be online and some will take place in the evenings on campus.

The program accommodates those working part- or full-time and also enables admitted students in good standing to work in classrooms with provisional certificates. 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 the candidate. The program is paced so that candidates are able to compete all requirements in just five semesters.

Our candidates graduate well-prepared to enter the classroom and are highly sought after. For the past three years, 100% of our graduates have gained employment within three months after completing all requirements for graduation and certification.

“[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

This program offers degrees in the following areas for grades 6–12:

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

Objectives and Curriculum

Graduates of this program will master the following concepts:

  • 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

The curriculum requirement for the program is 36 credit hours. Students must have a 3.25 or higher cumulative GPA at Orlean Beeson School of Education to graduate. Please view our full list of completion requirements.

For more information about the graduate courses and electives offered at Orlean Beeson School of Education, please visit the Orlean Beeson School of Education section of the Samford University Catalog.


Is This Program For Me?

The alternative A secondary education (M.S.E.) 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. In addition, 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.”
This program seeks to enroll students who exemplify the following qualities:
  • Professional dispositions
  • Passion for content area
  • Enjoys interpersonal interactions
  • Flexible
  • Willing to learn

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); for English, history, social studies and physical education.

“Thank you for helping me navigate my way and making me a better teacher. You are one of a kind.”


Application Deadline

Summer term: May 1

Admission Requirements

To be considered for admission to the alternative A secondary education (M.S.E.) program you must:

  • Possess a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution and have graduated with a minimum GPA of 2.5.

For an application to be considered complete, we must receive all of the following:

  • Online application for admission. Please be sure to list your personal e-mail address on the application.
  • $35 Application Fee. This non-refundable fee is payable by credit card and is waived for Samford alumni, and current Samford students, faculty or staff.
  • Official Transcript(s) from all higher education institutions attended. Transcripts are considered official only when they bear the issuing institution’s seal and arrive with the seal intact. Transcripts can be sent electronically to or by mail.
  • Passing score on Praxis Core.
    Alt A applicants having a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher will be exempt from taking the Praxis CORE tests at admission. All other Praxis test requirements will remain intact based on the current Teacher Education progression timeline.
  • Passing score on Praxis test in subject field of choice. 
  • Dispositions form filled out by current supervisor.
  • Interview with program director.

To check the status of application items, you may login to your application account and view the list of application items received.

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Tuition, Scholarships and Financial Aid


View the current graduate tuition and fees worksheet or contact the graduate admission director.


Orlean Beeson School of Education is proud to award graduate students in its master's, certificate and specialist programs a scholarship. Graduate students do not need to apply for this scholarship as it is automatically applied. The school will continue providing a scholarship until coursework is complete. Any additional scholarships are the responsibility of the applicant to secure.

Financial Aid

Financial aid, payment plans, student employment and student loan options are available to assist graduate students in attending Samford University. To learn more about our financial aid options, visit the Samford One Stop or call 205-726-2905.