Moderate Disabilities (5-12), Teacher Licensure

Why Choose a Teaching Licensure in Moderate Disabilities (5-12)?

This program affords many students who have completed a bachelor's degree the opportunity to earn initial licensure.

Our vision is the outgrowth of community discussions among education faculty, liberal arts and science faculty, students, and prek-12 teachers. Central to all conversations has been the tenet of building learning communities, including the desire to strengthen the ability of teachers to advocate for their students and their profession. At a time of increased accountability, the larger Westfield State University learning community continues its commitment to prepare graduates to educate the children of the Commonwealth. Consequently, all our Teacher Education Programs embrace a vision of Teachers as Leaders Building Learning Communities.

Requirements for a Teaching Licensure in Moderate Disabilities (5-12)

Post-baccalaureate Program Leading to an Initial Teaching License


Westfield State University has a history and abiding commitment of preparing educators who serve the educational needs of prekindergarten through secondary school students in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The shared vision of  Westfield's education programs is articulated as "Educators as Leaders Building Learning Communities."  Themes that support this vision are community building, reflective practice, diversity, and social justice.

Westfield State University teacher education programs are approved by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). Westfield is a member in good standing of the Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP). Westfield State is working toward accreditation of its educator preparation programs under AAQEP standards with an anticipated Quality Assurance Review in 2020.

Post-baccalaureate programs leading to teaching licensure are offered through the Department of Graduate and Continuing Education, and are designed for individuals holding a baccalaureate degree who wish to obtain an initial teaching license, without obtaining an additional degree.  Post-baccalaureate initial licensure programs are offered in

Biology 8-12, Initial Post-baccalaureate Licensure 

Early Childhood PreK-2, Initial, Post-baccalaureate Licensure 

Elementary 1-6, Initial, Post-baccalaureate Licensure 

English 5-12, Initial, Post-baccalaureate Licensure 

History 5-12 Initial, Post-baccalaureate Licensure 

Mathematics 5-8* or 8-12, Initial, Post-baccalaureate Licensure 

Moderate Disabilities PreK-8, Initial, Post-baccalaureate Licensure  

Moderate Disabilities 5-12, Initial, Post-baccalaureate Licensure 

Music Education, All Levels, Initial, Post-baccalaureate Licensure 

Physical Education PreK-8 and 5-12, Initial, Post-baccalaureate Licensure 

*Programs marked with an asterisk are not accepting new candidates as of spring 2016.

Applicants may be required to take additional courses and/or document professional experiences in the cognate area of the license, in addition to the pedagogical and professional courses required for licensure. See Programs of Study for individual programs.

Students who satisfactorily complete program requirements leading to a teaching license are recommended for licensure to the Massachusetts Department of Education. Program requirements include completion of all coursework, passage of Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTELs) and completion of a practicum experience.

    Program Description

    The post-baccalaureate Moderate Disabilities 5-12 program leads to initial licensure to teach students with moderate disabilities in grades 5-12 classrooms. The program does not confer a degree. Applicants must have:

    • a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college of university with a GPA of 2.6 or greater;
    • passed the MTEL Communications and Literacy test; and
    • a 2.7 GPA in undergraduate English courses, including English Composition I & II or equivalent.

      Program of Study

        A. Prerequisite coursework or experience

        Content knowledge in the following areas must be documented in the student's undergraduate academic record. Any gaps in coverage must be fulfilled as determined by the student's advisor. Courses referenced below are from the Westfield undergraduate program, but equivalent coursework from another institution will be accepted.

        Coursework meeting subject matter outcomes: 

        • ART 0106 Art Survey or ART 0104 Design Fundamentals
        • MUSC 0101 Music Appreciation OR
        • MUSC 0110 Basic Music Theory                     

            (ENGL 0104 Intro to Theatre may be substituted for art or music course)

        • HIST 0131 US History & Government to 1865
        • PHYS 0101 Physical Science
        • PSYC 0101 Intro to Psychology (prerequisite to PSYC 0203)  
        • BIOL 0102 Environmental Biology OR

          BIOL 0104 Human Biology OR

          BIOL 0106 Biology Today
        • MATH 0153 Foundations: Number Systems OR
        • MATH 0251 Foundations: Geometry OR

          MATH 0252 Foundations: Data Analysis & Probability

        • GARP 0210 Cultural Geography OR

          GARP 0101 World Regional Geography
        • HIST 0213 World History to 1600
        • Mathematics or Science Elective
        • ENGL 0215 Major American Writers
        • ENGL 0221 World Lit. to 1750 OR

          ENGL 0222 World Lit. since 1750 OR

          Other World Lit. course that includes British Lit.

          B. Required Courses for Licensure

          • EDUC 0220 Schools in American Culture OR

            EDUC 0633 Social Cultural Theories
          • EDUC 0221/0540 Introduction to Students with Exceptional Learning Needs
          • PSYC 0203 Adolescent Development
          • EDUC 0354/0554 Educational Planning & Evaluation
          • EDUC 0363/0631 Sheltered English Immersion
          • EDUC 0370/0570 Language and Communication Development and Intervention
          • EDUC 0371/0571 Special Education Curriculum
          • EDUC 0374/0574 Career Education and Transition for Students with Disabilities
          • EDUC 0376/0576 Developmental Disabilities & Self-Determination
          • EDUC 0377/0577 Learning Disabilities & Instructional Strategies
          • EDUC 0378/0578 Behavior Support for Students with Behavioral/Emotional Problems
          • EDUC 0380/0580 Critical Multicultural Education
          • GNSC 0360/0560 Methods of Science Education: PreK-6
          • EDUC 0315/0515 Methods of Teaching Mathematics PreK-6  Credits: 2 (replaces MATH 0332/0552 as of fall 2016)
          • EDUC 0597 Practicum: Moderate Disabilities

            (5-12) *

          * Seminar hours will be required during practicum.

            Additional Requirements

            A 30-hour diversity experience is required before or during practicum.

            Students must pass the required MTEL subject matter tests for Moderate Disabilities 5-12 licensure, and have a GPA of 2.8 for admission to practicum.

            Practicum placements are generally within a 30-mile radius of the university unless otherwise specified and approved.

              Decisions regarding coursework in the academic major are based on a student?s prior academic record, performance on the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL), previous college coursework, professional experience and/or other performance evidence reflective of the student having met state and national standards.

              See Appendix A for academic subject matter coursework.

              It is important for a student to meet with an academic advisor as early as possible to determine a program of study.

              *Field Experience

              **As well as passing the communication, literacy and foundation of reading portions of the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure, those seeking teacher of students with moderate disabilities, 5-12 licensure, must pass either the general curriculum test (see requirements listed in Appendix A) or a subject test in one of the core academic subjects taught in 5-8 or 8-12. If the teacher candidate is seeking an academic area, an advisor in that area must be consulted.