Math Licensure (M.Ed.)

Do you have a bachelor’s degree in mathematics or a closely related field? Do you want a meaningful career in which you will impact the future generations?

We can help you become a math teacher!

Schools are searching for well-qualified mathematics teachers who can spark students’ interests and improve student achievement. At ISU you can become an effective licensed teacher in as little as 15 months. ISU offers an accelerated program that:

  • Challenges you through extensive interaction with nationally-recognized professors, experienced teachers, and students.
  • Rapidly licenses you to teach middle and high school (grades 7-12).
  • Enables you to earn a high quality master’s degree.
  • Allows you to enter your field at a higher salary level.

Apply for admission

Apply online or download an application.

Deadline: Applications must be posted by February 1.

Tips for a successful application

Follow all instructions in the application materials. The Self-Managed Application Checklist is a helpful guide. Also, keep in mind the following tips

  • Degree-seeking status. You are applying as a degree-seeking student.
  • Transcripts. You must send official transcripts in sealed envelopes (or have them sent directly to ISU at the address below) from each institution you previously attended.
  • Letters of recommendation. You must send three letters of recommendation. Choose recommenders who can comment on your potential to become a good mathematics teacher. This might include former professors, employers, or others who know you well but are not related to you.
  • GRE. You must take your GRE and have the testing agency send us your scores. Minimum required scores are: 400 for Verbal and 500 for Quantitative.
  • Cover letter. Include a cover letter (roughly 2 pages long) with your application that describes your career history and goals, as well as your interest in our graduate licensure program.
  • Fee. There is a $25 application fee for applying online. You save $5 by downloading the application and applying on paper. (Previous ISU students do not pay an application fee but must apply on paper).
  • Major/degree designation. On your application, the desired major is Curriculum and Instruction, and the desired graduate degree is M.Ed.
  • Entrance date. On your application, the planned entrance date should be Summer Session.
  • Assistantship. Regarding question #13 on the application, if you are interested in being considered for a teaching or research assistantship, check yes on the application (and put both, if you would like to be considered for both). However, assistantships are relatively rare in Curriculum and Instruction. If you would like to pursue the possibility of a teaching assistantship in the mathematics department, you should contact them directly.
  • Past activities. Regarding question #15, you do not need to give detailed descriptions of past activities. You have room for this in the cover letter if this information is relevant. Simply list your past employment or education-related activities here.

Submitting materials

Send all of your application materials (including transcripts, test scores, letters, etc.) to the graduate secretary for the Educator Preparation Program. Her address is:

Holly Ryan
School of Education
N131 Lagomarcino Hall
Iowa State University
Ames, IA 50011

Program of study

The complete list of coursework required for your teaching license will depend on your mathematics background. It could be completed in as little as 15 months.


The State of Iowa requires the following mathematics requirements to grant a license for grades 7-12 mathematics teachers:

  • 2-course sequence in calculus
  • 1 course in abstract or linear algebra
  • 1 course in post-calculus geometry
  • 1 course in probability or statistics
  • 1 course in computer programming
  • Coursework in discrete mathematics

You must have at least a total 24 credit hours in mathematics courses.

Our program is geared for those people whose undergraduate degree included a good number of the courses above. You must have at least a C- in those courses, and your overall GPA must be above 2.50. You must maintain a 2.50 or above GPA to obtain your license.

Program curriculum

Once admitted, our students take the following courses:

Spring or early May

Complete 10 hours of observation in a classroom. You can enroll in CI280L to fulfill this requirement.

Summer I (May - August)

Non-mathematics education courses:

  • SPED501 (3 credits)
  • CI 526 (3 credits)
  • CI 506 (3 credits)
  • CI 529 (3 credits)

Apply to the ISU Educator Preparation Program.

Fall I

Mathematics and mathematics education courses:

  • CI 597 (3 credits)
  • CI 508 (3 credits)
  • CI 513 (3 credits)

Field experience course:

  • CI 480C (40 hours) (2 credits)

Non-mathematics education courses:

  • HPC 504 (3 credits)

Spring I

Mathematics and mathematics education courses:

  • CI 509 (3 credits)
  • CI 599G (3 credits)

Field experience course:

  • CI 517C (12 credits)

Summer II

Mathematics and mathematics education course:

  • Stat 401 (4 credits)

Non-mathematics education course:

  • CI 505 (2 credits)

Total credits : 50

  • Mathematics and mathematics education courses: 19
  • Field experience courses: 14
  • Non-mathematics education courses: 17

End of Spring I/during Summer II

You must defend your creative component. After having done so successfully, and assuming that your mathematics content requirements are met, you will receive your Iowa 7-12 teaching license in Mathematics, and your Master’s Degree.

Final exam and graduation application

To be able to defend your creative component, you must do the following:

  • Submit a request for final oral examination. The request for the final examination is due at least three (3) weeks before your scheduled oral exam. Contact the graduate secretary, Holly Ryan, (N147 Lago, 515-294-1241) for assistance in requesting the final oral examination.
  • Submit an application for graduation. The application for graduation should be submitted early in May if you want to graduate at the end of the summer.

  • Contact Information

    Holly Ryan
    School of Education
    N131 Lagomarcino Hall
    Iowa State University
    Ames, IA 50011

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