The University of West Alabama was opened by Scottish-Irish Presbyterians as the Livingston Female Academy in 1835 primarily to produce teachers. After awarding its first degree in 1843, the academy was expanded greatly by education advocate Julia Strudwick Tutwiler. UWA’s current name wasn’t adopted until 1995 as the public, co-educational higher learning institution was welcomed into the ACHE. Endowed for $375,613, the University of West Alabama enrolls around 5,150 Tigers. With a 600-acre rural campus in Sumter County just 30 minutes from Meridian, UWA offers face-to-face and online education across eight divisions. West Alabama is affiliated with notable alumni like actress Lois Wilson, coach Mickey Andrews, and Ambassador Andrew Killgore.
According to Washington Monthly, the University of West Alabama is America’s 286th best master’s-level institution based on social mobility, service, and research. The publication’s Southeast rankings also placed UWA as the 130th best bang for the buck. Times Higher Education featured UWA within the top 800 universities nationwide. On Niche, West Alabama was named the 384th “Top Public University” with the 177th “Best College Food” and 332nd “Best Greek Life.” College Factual ranked UWA in the United States’ top 5 percent for teacher education. The Center for Online Education recognized the University of West Alabama as the #8 best online school statewide.
University of West Alabama Accreditation Details
At Level IV, the University of West Alabama had its regional accreditation reaffirmed by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) in 2013 without public sanctions. This ensures that bachelor’s, master’s, and education specialist degrees have Federal Title IV eligibility under the U.S. Department of Education. The Julia S. Tutwiler College of Education has programmatic approval from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), which is transferring to the CAEP. Special education programs are recognized by the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) for K-6 or 6-12 teaching licensure too.
University of West Alabama Application Requirements
Classified as “selective,” the University of West Alabama had a Fall 2015 acceptance rate of 73 percent. Prospective online students for the M.Ed. need to fulfill strict admission criteria beyond simply an accredited bachelor’s degree. Teachers must have finished the initial Alabama Class A certification by passing the Alabama Educator Certification Testing Program (AECTP). All course prerequisites like foundations of education must be graded “C” or better. Master’s applicants should present a minimum 3.0 GPA. Graduate testing scores should be sent to GRE code 1737 or MAT code 1007. International students whose native language isn’t English must score at least 580 on the TOEFL pBT or 6.5 on the IELTS.
The Office of Graduate and Online Admissions has final online deadlines of July 11th for Fall, October 31st for Spring, and March 27th for Summer before late fees kick in. Master’s applicants can submit the application online or mail it to UWA Station 46 in Livingston. Don’t forget to attach the following materials:
- Official, sealed final college transcripts
- Valid Alabama or equivalent teaching certificate
- GRE or MAT scores from the last five years
- Two letters of recommendation
- Resume or CV with teaching experiences
- Payment for the $30 application fee
Tuition and Financial Aid
Graduate students from Alabama are charged traditional tuition at $2,925 each semester. Non-residents taking graduate courses full-time pay $5,055 per term. Residential master’s students need to budget $3,561 for room and board, $600 for textbooks, and $2,002 for transportation. These costs add up to $10,811 (in-state) and $12,941 (out-of-state). Luckily, online M.Ed. students shave off costs to pay $429 per credit regardless of Alabama residency. There’s only a $50 technology fee and $50 comprehensive exam fee per session.
The NCES reports that 92 percent of full-time UWA students, including those online, earn financial aid packages worth $4,985 on average. Institutional awards like the Darryl Hutcheson Memorial Scholarship, Julia Tutwiler Scholarship, Thomas P. Hester Scholarship, Alabama Power Scholarship, and Leadership Trustee Scholarship are abundant. Filing the FAFSA form before June 30th could certify graduates for borrowing Direct Unsubsidized or Grad PLUS loans. Living in the “Heart of Dixie” may qualify you for the Alabama Student Assistance Program or Alabama National Guard Education Assistance Program. The Division of Online Programs does have some Federal Work-Study (FWS) jobs open for at least $7.25 per hour. Graduates may also benefit from the TEACH Grant and Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program.
Online Degree(s) Available
The University of West Alabama belongs to the SREB Electronic Campus to deliver 11 bachelor’s and 34 master’s options fully online. There are also hybrid courses conducted for Alternative Class A Certification. Online courses are accessed 24/7 through Blackboard 9.1 and TigerNet Email with a 13:1 student-faculty ratio for close peer and professor interaction. Remote Proctor Now (RPNow) allows learners to take exams online without finding a third-party testing site. Textbooks are conveniently rented through the UWA Online Bookstore for affordability too. Current or aspiring special educators could consider these master’s degrees:
Master of Education in Special Education Collaborative Teacher K-6
Conducted through accelerated, eight-week online courses, the M.Ed. in Special Education Collaborative Teacher K-6 at UWA prepares graduates for advanced certification to adapt curriculum for younger children within just 18 months. The 34-credit program expands teachers’ pedagogical knowledge with courses like behavior management, assistive technology, educational planning, early childhood development, and severe disabilities. Online courses conveniently start every August, October, January, March, May, and June to fit around full-time teaching schedules. Practicum requirements can be fulfilled in teachers’ own districts or through after-school and summer school programs. Online teachers are still welcomed into West Alabama’s Kappa Delta Pi and Pinnacle chapters.
Master of Education in Special Education Collaborative Teacher 6-12
Another of the options for certified educators seeking advanced endorsements is UWA’s M.Ed. in Special Education Collaborative Teacher 6-12, which also has flexible, eight-week online courses for completion in 18 months or less. Teachers build the instructional strategies for educating pupils with mild to severe disabilities in middle and high school classrooms. Though there’s definite course overlap, this 34-credit curriculum integrates topics like vocational training, transition services, and adolescent development. The NCATE-accredited curriculum nurtures Council on Exceptional Children (CEC) competencies with teaching practicum based on students’ geographic location. Specific Class A tracks are available for Biology, English Language Arts, Science, Social Science, History, and Mathematics.
Other online master’s degrees for school certification at the University of West Alabama include the M.Ed. in Elementary Education K-6, M.Ed. in Physical Education PK-12, M.Ed. in School Counseling, M.Ed. in Instructional Leadership, and M.Ed. in Library Media.