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Secondary Education

The UA South M.Ed. in Secondary Education Program offers two pathways that prepare individuals to obtain Arizona certification to teach in grades six through twelve. The pathways are:

  • Alternative Certification – a two-year pathway that includes teaching full-time as a Teacher of Record on an Arizona Teaching Intern Certificate while taking classes both online and face-to-face and participating in interactive teacher education seminars (TES). Throughout the program, teaching interns receive support and guidance from assigned UA South coaches and mentors in addition to having a site-based mentor in the district and school in which they teach.

  • Fast Track – a traditional, twelve-month pathway that includes taking classes online, participating in face-to-face seminars, and being placed in a classroom with a qualified classroom mentor teacher for two semesters, culminating in a twelve-week student teaching internship during the final semester of the program.

Questions about these pathways should be addressed to Jess Kelly, the Graduate Program Coordinator.

Learn more about our Noyce Border Scholars program. The University of Arizona South M.Ed. Secondary Education program has received a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support the recruitment and preparation of STEM teachers in Southern Arizona high schools and middle schools. The Collaborative Noyce Border Scholars Program along the Arizona-Mexico Border is a collaboration among the University of Arizona South, University of Arizona Biosphere 2, and Cochise College. If you would like more information, contact Alison Van Gorp.

Our Mission

The award-winning M.Ed. program in Secondary Education at the University of Arizona South is committed to preparing teachers with the dispositions and skills to work for middle and high school students in Arizona border schools. Our context-specific focus on preparing teachers for the borderlands of Arizona involves developing in candidates an appreciation for their students' and their own racial/ethnic backgrounds and socioeconomic status. Thus, critical analyses of the emerging teachers’ sociocultural, sociopolitical, and socioeconomic positionality are central for those in the M.Ed. program. In addition, interrogations of power in school settings occur across the M.Ed. curriculum. This work is accomplished by knitting together clinical experience in partner schools with carefully crafted coursework. New teacher learning is supported by a robust professional learning community of peer learners and teacher leaders in our partner schools.

Our Guiding Principles

  1. Constructivism: Constructivist learning theory informs the structure and content of our courses and our approach to teaching and learning. Whenever possible, faculty model constructivist teaching practices in their own courses.

  2. Teaching and learning: UA South faculty commitment to teaching ensures that M.Ed courses are centered on student learning and carefully designed to prepare emerging teachers with the skills they need to begin teaching.

  3. Partnerships: Deep partnerships with local schools and the participation of local master teachers in the preparation of M.Ed candidates ensures a robust democratic learning community that models classroom practices for emerging teachers.

  4. Context-specific preparation: Coursework content and pedagogy are directed at school-embedded practices in partner border schools. Our context-specific conceptual framework informs the program design and the content of coursework.

  5. Pedagogical content knowledge: A focus on pedagogical content knowledge supports emerging teachers’ ability to translate deep content knowledge into classroom learning.

  6. Action research. Participatory action research is the research framework used in the program, which prepares teachers to adopt a stance of inquiry in their own classrooms. Action research can also be used in the classroom with middle and high school students, referred to as, “Youth Participatory Action Research.”

  7. Culturally sustaining pedagogy: Culturally sustaining pedagogy seeks to sustain linguistic, literate, and cultural pluralism as part of the democratic project of schooling.

  8. Teacher leadership: Our commitment to preparing teachers to be leaders informs the structure of work our students do and also develops among students a collaborative learning community with an emphasis on peer-to-peer learning and coaching.

These understandings prepare emerging teachers to shape classrooms environments that:

  1. Acknowledge that the learner is not a passive recipient of knowledge, but rather a thinker, creator and constructor of knowledge.

  2. Emphasize instructional approaches such as reciprocal teaching that supports self-monitoring, metacognition, and self-assessment and emphasizes student reflection as a centerpiece of learning.

  3. Build culturally sustaining pedagogy and curriculum that overcome the dehumanizing deficit approaches to education that currently define too many classrooms.

  4. Respect and honor all students and that link classroom instruction to the cultural and experiential background of their students.

Our Commitment to our Students

Our work takes place in the borderlands of Arizona. This context demands a deep understanding of the politically complex and rich linguistic, cultural and bi-national communities on the border. As the U.S. becomes a more multicultural country, the understandings and dispositions students develop in the program will serve them well wherever they choose to teach.

Secondary Education is offered in the following locations: Sierra Vista, Pima County

The M.Ed. in Secondary Education has specific entrance and degree requirements. You must apply for admission through the program's Graduate Coordinator, Jess Kelly.

Admission Requirements:
  • B.A. or B.S. degree
  • GPA of 3.0 on upper and lower division coursework toward the bachelor’s degree (or the most recently completed 60 units)
  • Documented proof of application for Fingerprint Clearance Card from the Arizona Department of Public Safety
  • Complete Personal Data Form, including a letter of intent stating why you want to be a teacher
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • A professional resume

Apply for Admission

Applying for admission is easy through our GradApp graduate admission application:

  1. Create your profile (personal & contact information, your previous education data)
    2.Apply to the program(s) you’ve chosen

Submit the admissions application and pay the application fee.

Useful Links

Please contact Graduate Program Coordinator, Jess Kelly, if you have any questions, or if you wish to meet with an academic advisor to assist you in completing your application to this great program and opportunity.

Please contact Jess Kelly, Graduate Coordinator, if you have any questions or if you are interested in learning more about this program.

Since the certificate for which you will qualify once you have completed the M.Ed. Program will enable you to teach in grades six through twelve, you are required to pass the Arizona certification secondary subject knowledge exam (NES or AEPA) in the academic subject you plan to teach in order to enter the program.

Fast Track
Alternative Path to Secondary Education

Courses are based in theory with a strong focus on professional application. Courses in the major include:

  • TEDV 505: Equity Literacy

This course places equity (fairness) at the core of its investigation of schooling. Within the context of the cultures of students, schools, and communities, the course is designed to reflect knowledge growth in teaching as well as the critical/social theoretical frameworks in education that examine equity and inequity, justice and injustice. The course is based on the belief that students' and teachers' realities, experiences, values, and assumptions affect their interpretations and understandings of their own learning and teaching.


  • TEDV 520: Classroom Management

Analysis of theories and practice of instruction, management techniques and assessment.  Graduate-level requirements include a detailed discipline plan based on readings in the Charles text and their initial internship experience in the classroom.


  • TEDV 593B/693B: Secondary School Internship

This internship focuses on the practical application of theories and methods of instruction in the middle and secondary classroom. This initial internship provides the teacher candidate the opportunity to test theory by using multiple methodologies, receive guidance, and to develop competencies aligned to the InTASC Standards.

Please contact an Academic Advisor if you are interested in this program.
Mentor | Clinical Instructor
Assistant Professor
Professor, Teacher Education
Mentor | Clinical Instructor
Assistant Professor, Teacher Education | Interim Program Director, Secondary Education
Adjunct Instructor
Faculty, Adjunct
Adjunct Instructor
Faculty, Adjunct
Adjunct Instructor
Faculty, Adjunct
Minor Offered: Thematic
Program Type: Master of Education
Program Career Level: Graduate Degree
Locations Offered: Sierra Vista, Pima County

Richard Orozco, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Teacher Education | Interim Program Director, Secondary Education
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