Spanish MAT FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About the Spanish MAT Program

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1. What is the relationship between the World Languages Institute (WLI) and the Master of Arts for Teachers (MAT) in Spanish?
The WLI is the administrative center through which courses are offered leading to the MAT. All academic advising for the MAT is done through the Department of Spanish and Portuguese.

1a. What are the basic requirements for acceptance to the WLI?

  • The minimum requirement for acceptance to the WLI is a minor in Spanish as an academic subject at the undergraduate level.
  • Eighteen classroom credits starting with 200-level courses, and especially including 300- and 400-level courses are required; undergraduate credits in Spanish earned via a testing procedure such as CLEP are not accepted for admittance to the WLI.
  • It is also helpful to have some background in educational principles as well as a minimum of teaching experience.
  • The GRE score is not required for admittance to the WLI

1b. What are the basic requirements for acceptance to the MAT?

  • To be considered for acceptance to the MAT program in Spanish, the student will need to have completed six credits, or two courses, in the WLI with a grade of “B” or above in each course.
  • The GRE's are not required for admittance to the MAT.

2. Once I am accepted to the WLI, does that mean that I have been accepted to the MAT program?
No. There are two different application processes.

  • The first process is for acceptance to the WLI for the first summer of course work. This application is submitted to the Language Institute, and may be found on its website at Only after a student has completed six credits, or two courses, in the WLI may that student apply to the MAT program in Spanish. If a student has done well in these first two courses (grade of “B” or above), then the student has a good chance of getting accepted into the MAT, which will permit him/her to continue taking courses in succeeding summers.
  • The MAT application is submitted for consideration to the Graduate School of Rutgers-New Brunswick, not the Graduate School of Education. The candidate is required to complete a graduate application (available online at and submit three letters of recommendation, one of which should be written by an instructor in the WLI.
  • N.B.: The Graduate School allows students to take no more than twelve credits on a non-matriculated basis. That is, if a student takes four three-credit courses through the WLI and fails to apply for the MAT, he/she will not be permitted to register for additional courses.
3. Once I am accepted to the MAT program, will the courses that I have already taken in the WLI be applicable to my degree?
Yes, provided that the grades are at a “B” or above.

3a. What types of courses are included in the MAT?
The MAT includes courses on teaching methodology, linguistics / language / theories of second-language acquisition, assessment, technology in the classroom, literature and culture.

3b. How do I choose which courses to take?
The MAT has traditionally been a program that allows each student to construct his/her own program according to individual needs. Normally, the thirty credits, or ten courses, are distributed in the following manner, although there is room for variation:

  • three credits of methodology
  • nine credits of linguistics / language / SLA theory
  • twelve credits of literature and culture
  • three credits of elective, which may be taken outside the courses offered by the WLI
  • three credits of Independent Study for the Teaching Portfolio
  • The only requirements in the overall thirty credits are the three credits of methodology and the three credits of Independent Study for the completion of the Teaching Portfolio.

4. I have taken graduate courses at another institution that would seem to apply to the MAT degree, and/or are parallel to courses offered through the WLI. Can these credits be transferred and applied to the twenty-seven credits that are required for the MAT?
The Graduate School’s rule is that the student must complete twelve matriculated credits of the Rutgers requirements before a definitive decision can be made on how many or which credits will be accepted for transfer. No student under any circumstances may transfer more than twelve credits from another institution. After earning twelve matriculated Rutgers credits, the student may petition to have credits from another institution evaluated for consideration, and decisions are made on a case-by-case basis.

5. The WLI offers its courses only during the summer, and the MAT program is identified as ‘summer only’ program. But I would like to take courses during the academic year in order to earn credits toward the MAT more quickly. What are my options?
The MAT is indeed a ‘summer only’ program. However, if appropriate courses are located and taken at other institutions, it may be possible to transfer up to a maximum of twelve credits. (See #4 above.) This option is available only with special permission.

6. I plan to finish my MAT course work next summer. However, I do not want to lose momentum, and would like to get a head start on the Teaching Portfolio, the last requirement. What is my next step?
Refer to the documentation on the Teaching Portfolio, which provides students with a description and guidelines to get them started. Although students are n ot permitted to sign up for the three credits of Independent Study that will entail the preparation of the Teaching Portfolio until the twenty-seven credits are completed, students can begin to work on it at their own pace during the academic year. The first step would be to decide who it is that the student wants to be his/her director, then make an appointment with that person to get the thinking and organizing process started.

7. I was not able to take classes with the WLI last summer even though I was accepted to the program. Do I have to reapply to the WLI to take classes this summer?
No. Students who do not take courses the first summer after being accepted into the WLI should contact the office of the Language Institute (732-932-7373) by the following January to update their contact information in order to receive current registration materials. Students who do not take courses the first summer after being accepted into the MAT program should contact the Department of Spanish and Portuguese prior to the following summer to verify their status in the program.

8. I have noticed that WLI courses contain many theoretical readings. Why is it necessary to include so much theory? All I really want is to be able to adapt materials directly for use in my own classroom.
Provide a person with a fish, and that person will not go to bed hungry that night. But teach that person to fish, and s/he will never go hungry again. That is, theory provides the framework upon which to organize and critique materials of vastly different types and styles. It is through the reading and analysis of educational and pedagogical theory that we learn how to think critically and judge the materials that we will eventually use in our own classrooms. An apt example would be the selection of age-appropriate reading materials for the classroom. Many examples of appropriate texts could be brought to the classroom and the students could dutifully copy down the titles and the authors. But it is much more efficient and useful to show teachers how to read any book using appropriate criteria. The theory behind book selection and the values – ethical as well as community – that they present allows the teacher to consider a wide array of teaching materials appropriate for a given age or community context.

9. Does the WLI offer any professional development activities during the fall or spring semesters?
Yes. There are a number of professional development activities that take place during the fall and spring semesters. As long as you have provided a current, functioning email address for the WLI listserv, you will receive information concerning these events.

10. Is it possible to earn credits abroad and apply them to the MAT?
Yes. There are several options available for summer study via a Rutgers program. For example, for credits in Spanish, there are programs in both Spain and Spanish America. For six-week programs, consult with the Department of Spanish and Portuguese for details. For two-week WLI programs, consult with the WLI office for details. Academic courses from other accredited institutions may also be submitted for consideration. (See #4 above).