NYU vs other NYC colleges for graduate school in English Education

Hello! I am a recent college graduate and over the past few months, have been applying to graduate programs for a Masters in English Education. I am still waiting on a few more decisions, but I recently achieved my first acceptance into NYU! I am super thrilled about this, of course, but since I am financing my education completely on my own, am anxiously awaiting financial aid. I know they are quite stringent with giving money, but I am trying not to be stressed or worried until I actually receive the package. With the exception of one of the schools (Penn), I applied exclusively to NYC schools (Teachers’ College at Columbia, Fordham GSE, etc) - and I wanted to hear about if anyone had experience with these or even better, at NYU for English Education. My program title is an MAT in English Education with a focus in Transformational Teaching Grades 5-12. NYU is also saying that I will need to take a few more core courses to satisfy NYS teaching requirements since I only had an English minor. Is a teaching degree from NYU worth the extra money? How does it compare to the other schools I mentioned? Also, I will be commuting from New Jersey, at least for that first year, and while I am very interested in a NY certification, being able to teach in NJ in the future is a goal of mine. Any advice or insight would help! Thank you! For context, I am really interested in a variety of writing and reading courses, as well as possible research!

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Also! I wanted to apply to NJ schools but it does not look like many of them (other than Rutgers and Montclair) have Secondary English at the graduate level and they also require the GRE.

Would also love to hear about program length, rigor, student teaching experiences, etc.

For me, it would come down to money and goals. If my goal was to become an English teacher, I would try to minimize costs while getting my masters. I would not see the advantage of a Fordham, NYU, Columbia, or Penn over a Rutgers, CUNY, or Montclair. Being a graduate student is not like being an undergrad where the on-campus experience and vibe matter and may be worth paying more for. In graduate school, you show up, do your work, and go home.

Now, if my ultimate goal were to do something other than be a standard English teacher, maybe I would reconsider. NYU, Columbia, and Penn do have recognizable names, which may matter for certain prestige careers. For example, if your ultimate goal is to be one of those ultra high priced private college counselors, then maybe a prestige name is worth it.

Best wishes on finding a program that you like at a price that works for you!


If you’re interested in becoming an English teacher, please understand that it is very tough to get a job, and the pay isn’t that great. So your goal is to get qualified at the lowest possible cost, unless money is not an issue for you and your family. If you’re not getting massive fin aid from NYU that makes it cheaper than your cheapest local public option, it is a very poor choice for you.

If you’re a NJ State resident, apply to the nearest public college that has an MA in education degree, so that you can keep your living expenses low while living at home. It really does not matter whether you get your degree from “down the street public college” or Columbia. You will have a great deal of trouble getting hired for English no matter where your master’s in ed is from. You can get certified for both NYS and NJ - the public program in NJ will be able to help you with this.

If you can get a double MA in ed and English lit, great. Had you gotten an undergrad degree in English, you wouldn’t need that MA qualification in English, but so be it. I know it doesn’t help now, but your best route would’ve been to have taken an undergrad English degree together with satisfying the ed certification requirements while an undergrad, but that ship has sailed. If you can meet the reqs for English teaching cert by simply adding in a few classes to the ones you took in undergrad, while getting your master’s in ed, that’s fine. If you took a lot of history, too, you might want to look into double cert to teach history also. Same goes for psych, since AP Psych is considered one of the easier ones, often is the AP that students who might only take one AP in high school are encouraged to take, in order to improve the “equity” stats of the high school. So being able to teach AP Psych is an advantage in public schools.

Hiring for teaching is not prestige-oriented. They don’t care where your degree came from. All they care is that you’re a qualified warm body with certification who can manage a classroom. Your first jobs are likely to be day subbing - you can start that right now. Then you hopefully get a long term sub spot. Then you spend August dropping into school offices, schmoozing the secretary, making yourself known to them, and hope to be the person who is there in the office when the principal gets the notice in late August that one of his English teachers is retiring or leaving, and he needs a warm body to fill the spot, and you happen to be there in the office when he tells his secretary, “Darn! Mrs. Dragonlady just told me she’s retiring, and school starts tomorrow! Get me the file of English applicants!” Secretary then says, “Mr Principal, charming qualified new grad just happens to be here in the office right now. Would you like to say hello to them?” Principal comes out, sees you don’t have three heads, and figures out that you are the solution to his problem.

Seriously, that is how you get hired for an English teaching job in public school as a new teacher. It is that competitive, and you might be surprised to know that an MA degree makes you LESS likely to get that first job, rather than more, because they have to PAY you more, since you have the MA, to do the exact same job as the person with the BA. They’re more likely to take someone who only has a BA, since they’re cheaper. The idea is to get certified at the BA level, then get your MA, and eventually MA plus 60 more credits, part time and summers after you’ve already been hired.

I realize that this is not what you want to hear. But better you should hear it now, than go into debt for an expensive degree, and still not be able to get a job. By the way, if the GRE is a barrier to your getting into an MA in ed program, know that both NYS and NJ require that you pass certain exams for teacher’s certification. You can look up what SAT score predicts being able to pass these exams. If you’re afraid that you cannot get a GRE score high enough to get into a master’s in ed program, you need to make sure that the teaching certification exams will not be too high a hurdle for you, before you start this route. Better to prep for the GRE, take it, and then if you cannot score high enough to get into a public master’s in ed program in NJ, consider a different career path.


So take the GRE… what’s the big deal? If the exam is required for a program you are interested in, can afford, and will let you achieve your professional goals, just bite the bullet and take the test.

A teaching degree from NYU is not worth the extra money (though a teaching degree from Columbia or Bank Street College of Education might be). Perhaps if you wanted to go elsewhere in the country and wanted to invest in the name recognition of your degree to make your application stand out, then maybe. Or if you have plans to move on to a doctoral program or another professional path later, then maybe. But in teacher ed, the program most likely to land you a job is usually not the most prestigious one, but rather the one with good local reputation that has developed community partnerships that can help you make connections in local schools. I’ve been in the field of teacher ed for a long time (both as a HS teacher myself – long ago – and as a professor who has trained teachers), and the programs that have the best relationships with local school districts are very rarely the most prestigious name-brand schools in the region (example: I spent a lot of time in Illinois, where, if you wanted to be a public school teacher, you were wiser to go to Illinois State University than to U of I, Northwestern, or Chicago. Now, I’m in Colorado, where prospective teachers would usually choose University of Northern Colorado or Metro State over CU-Boulder.). So do a little digging. Does CUNY or SUNY have especially well-regarded teacher ed programs? If you want to teach in New Jersey, what about Rutgers, Monmouth, or Montclair State? Those might be better choices.

I don’t agree with earlier posters that it will be difficult to get a job as an English teacher with an MA, because even though you’ll cost the district more money in salary, the teaching shortage is so severe that good candidates will likely get jobs. But going into the field with an MA makes it all the more important that you come from a program that has good relationships with local school districts, and that you don’t incur a lot of debt in getting the MA – one of the reasons for the job shortage is that the pay is still not great. Another option is to find a post-Bac program that will help you fulfill the certification requirements, including extra content-area course work, without the MA (this is the cheapest option, and one that prestigious private schools are not likely to offer). Find out about how much time you will spend in field placements and student teaching in the programs you’re interested in, and find out about job placement.

As far as taking the GRE is concerned, I don’t know what the big deal is. Do a few practice tests, and then take the real thing. If you took the SAT or ACT, this should not be a problem. It’s basically the same thing as the SAT plus the analytical section.


What schools on your list will be affordable with little to no debt?

And definitely look at NJ options. While teacher’s licenses can be transferred going to grad school in NJ could save you that step.

This is how the applicants were filed in a major city in the intermountain west: Graduates of nearby large religious college. Graduates of nearby smallish private protestant college. Graduates of nearby flagship state U. OTHER. Four files, all grads categorized by which of the 3 local programs that supplied the most candidates, and then OTHER (outsiders). Point is, hiring for teaching is local. A degree from Columbia, or Harvard, or some other very prestigious school of education is only an advantage if one is going into high level administration or education policy. Otherwise, it’s worth no more than local public state college, but at a much higher cost.


If teaching in NJ is the goal, the first question to ask now is “How do I become a teacher in New Jersey”?

Start there. Figure out the NJ-specific pathways and alternate pathways to teaching, and work backwards in order to plan your best route. Talk to any NJ teachers that you might know. Google it.*


Most states provide several routes towards becoming a teacher: a traditional route and an alternate route. Almost all routes include some combination of 3 different elements (in differing orders):

Education + certification (licensing exam) + student teaching

The NJ alternative route allows you to start teaching right away before you have all 3 elements in place.

Regardless, you should stay in NJ as you work on these 3 elements. Otherwise, you are placing unnecessary hurdles in your path towards getting a job in a NJ school system. A strong recommendation coming out of your student teaching placement will help lead to a full time position. And, you will need to be licensed in NJ.

When evaluating NJ schools, pick an affordable program. Then, look at their reputation— what is their licensing exam pass rate, where do they place students for student teaching and what is the employment rate at graduation?

Very best of luck to you. Always, always need more good teachers!!

*My quick Google search of “How to become a teacher in NJ” and “alternate route to teaching in NJ”:


I agree with everyone, if you want to teach in NJ, go to school in NJ. Many teachers in our schools started out subbing, and word of mouth seems to be how many get hired.


This description of how teachers are hired is really off base — underneath the humor, the message is not accurate & pretty insulting to teachers.

Teaching is a profession and teachers are professionals. There are professional hiring practices in place. It is highly competitive to be hired as a first year teacher — but not in the way described here.

Teacher hiring is not based on “schmoozing” “Mrs. Secretaries.” Or, the last minute whims of “Mr. Principals” looking for any certified “warm body” “without three heads” that happens to be in building at the time when “Mrs. Dragonlady” teacher retires and a new teacher is needed.

In my own recent experience, I watched my own newly-minted teacher D go through a very strenuous process to get her first teaching job in a public high school.

The position was publicly advertised and many qualified candidates applied. The hiring process included several rounds of interviews — including the final candidates being observed and evaluated by “Ms.” Principal while teaching the curriculum in front of students & the department head.

This was all after D obtained both a bachelors degree and masters degree in her field, passed a state licensing exam and completed a year of student teaching in the very same school that hired her. The school purposely would not hire D without her going through this process in order to ensure that they picked the most qualified candidate, not the first warm body who just happened to be in the building.


My friend’s daughter just got her undergrad degree, she is teaching in the same elementary school she went to, and lives next door to another teacher at the school (who’s husband is a retired police chief in town). Every administrator has been hired from within. My friend’s daughter had to scramble to finish her teaching requirements. Although the pay is pretty decent here in NJ, there is a teacher shortage (especially urban areas, but my town isn’t urban). Most who live here are second/third generation, I see people I graduated HS with everywhere. School open houses were a trip, knowing so many parents and current teachers. Lots of nepotism for government jobs, the entire parks and rec department are related. Every new teacher my kids had was a local.

Exactly. It helps to have connections, but you build those connections through wowing the staff (admins and teachers) as a field placement student and student teacher, maybe by coaching or helping to sponsor other activities, and using your teacher ed program to diversify your experience and expand your professional network. Yes, you might also build your reputation as a long-term sub. There is a teacher shortage, but it’s not a find-the-next-warm-body shortage

The hiring process is subject to EEOC regulations, and a protocol of application reviews, reference contacts, and rounds of interviews. This? I don’t know what this is:

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Your daughter was hired because she had the credentials, and she was a known quantity, having student taught there. But for someone who is on an alternate pathway, or for the many people who applied for the spot that your daughter got, but didn’t get a spot through that route, it really IS as I described it - the person who is available when the principal needs someone at the last minute at the end of August, is the person who gets the job.

No. The person who replaces Dragon Lady in that case is a long-term sub. Then the school initiates the real hiring process. And maybe the long-term sub gets the job in the end (however, often the long-term sub is a retired teacher who’s a known quantity but not a job candidate – I’ve seen that happen several times). But there are rules governing hiring processes, and public schools have to follow them.


Not in my town. Lawsuits on fire department hiring; sanitation; city purchasing staff. Only takes a few expensive lawsuits for cities and towns to institute more rigorous hiring procedures which kick nepotism to the curb.

Half a building fell down last year…that lawsuit hasn’t happened yet. But the plans were signed off on by somebody’s brother in law and the planning department never had the chance to explain that pouring concrete on a wetlands setback doesn’t work for very long. Nobody died, thankfully.

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In cities that operate on a point system for hiring of public employees, having spent time in the system (as a substitute teacher, a “proby” in the fire or police or EMT ranks, an intern or student volunteer in one of the municipal offices) gets you points. Knowing somebody- or hanging out in an office waiting for an opening- is worth zero points. Shmoozing someone is worth less than zero points, because the person who knows you is supposed to recuse themselves from the hiring process unless they supervised you in one of the substitute/proby/intern jobs.

Back to topic please. The OP did not ask how teachers are hired

OP- getting hired to teach in NJ is a relatively transparent process. But graduating from a program in NJ- and doing your student teaching and being shadowed/supervised in NJ- is going to make the process even easier.

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