Education Degrees Offered by University of West Alabama
The University of West Alabama appears in our ranking of the 15 Most Affordable Online Early Childhood Education Master’s Degrees.
The University of West Alabama (UWA) is the newest incarnation of an older institution dedicated to the preparation of teachers and educational administrators. The school began in 1835 as an all-female school, but not the glamorous etiquette schools so often depicted in film and written about in books on the American South. The Livingston Female Academy, as the UWA was called in the beginning, was dedicated to the education of women as teachers and advocates for children. The school’s graduates were widely sought after and saw service throughout the southern states and out in the western provinces. By 1818, UWA became known as the Livingston Female Academy and State Normal College. Normal College was the accepted designation for an educational institution dedicated to the instruction of teachers. The school has progressed through several permutations to become the UWA that it is today. Of the six departments that make up UWA, the Julia Tutwiler College of Education is the largest taking in 38% of the student body, keeping faith with the traditional purposes of the university. UAW offers a wide range of educational degrees, including associates, bachelor, master, doctoral and educational specialist programs.
Many undergraduates seeking teaching credential sat UWA pursue two fields of study, usually in the form of a major and a minor. The strategy enables the graduate to teach in two areas. Often the graduate will seek a major in secondary education while attaining a certificate to teach in specific subject areas which may include the sciences, mathematics, social sciences, or any number of subjects in the humanities.
While the differences in hours of study between a major and a minor degree are vastly different at UWA, the likelihood of completing both within the average span of four years is high. A Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education, K-6/P-3 demands 127 semester credit hours to complete. To add a Minor in Creative Writing, the student must add another 21 credit hours to their itinerary since those who seek these minors at UWA may not use the hours used toward their major to satisfy the minor degree.
Some master-level degrees like the Master of Education (Certification) in Early Childhood Education P-3 are presented either in classrooms at UWA or online. These degrees require the student to complete 30 to 36 credit hours of study. The degree is not given until the candidate passes a comprehensive exam at which point the candidate enters the certification process.
UWA offers certification options for master holders who seek to upgrade their credentials in a specific area or who wish to expand their general knowledge. Alabama law guides the parameters of these certifications, designating them as either A or AA. Both certifications require the passing of a competency test. The primary difference between the two levels of certification is the GPA with the A certification requiring that the candidate maintain a 3.25 average and the AA level a 3.50 average.
UWA offers a unique doctoral degree that keeps with the traditions that brought about the founding of the school. The Ed. D Rural Education degree is designed for administrators in rural settings where the need for competent administration is a real problem. Just as in the first half of the 19th Century, the new incarnation of the Livingston Female Academy tackles the issue in a straightforward fashion. The successful candidate can take the courses in the classroom or online, which makes the degree easier for those already working in rural areas. The program requires the completion of 60-66 credit hours of study, 12 of which are dedicated to the construction and defense of a publishable dissertation concerning the challenges residing in rural education.
About the University of West Alabama
Founded in 1836 as the Livingston Female Academy, UWA shut down during the Civil War but was reopened after hostilities ceased. The school remained all-female until 1915. The campus sits on 600-acres of land designated to it in 1836. Several classrooms and dormitory buildings are located on campus in which students that are attending classes are encouraged, but not required, to live. Adding to the natural splendor of the university, the school created a 54-acre lake called Lake LU. Overall, the students experience a pleasant environment on this small campus within a small community. UWA is an ideal spot for students who prize the rural setting to attend college.
With most of its students attending classes through online programs, it is not surprising to see that UWA is rated high on the list of schools that offer distance-learning. Of the thousands of schools in the nation (approximately 93% of post-secondary schools offer online classes) that are currently engaged in distance-learning through the Internet, UWA ranks 210th in Best Online Graduate Educational Programs and 254th in Best Online Bachelor’s Programs by US News & World Report. The publication also ranks the university at 96th in Best Colleges Regional Universities South and 92nd in Top Performers on Social Mobility.
University of West Alabama Accreditation Details
UWA is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The accreditation for the Julia Tutwiler College of Education comes from two sources: The Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE)and the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). While the ALSDE concerns itself with maintaining the strict criteria required to attain and sustain teaching credentials within the state of Alabama, the NCATE accreditation is standard throughout the country and allows the graduates from the Julia Tutwiler College of Education to find employment in most of the states of the union.
University of West Alabama Application Requirements
To gain admittance to UWA, and in particular, to the Julia Tutwiler College of Education, an applying undergraduate student must complete their SAT with a minimum combined score of 990 or an ACT score of 19 and present the results to the Admissions Department. The student applicant must submit immunization information and medical record along with an unopened official high school transcript. A $30.00 application fee applies. Typically, students who have finished their high-school education show transcripts with these units completed at an acceptable GPA.
- Four units of English
- Four units of mathematics
- Three units of science with at least one unit including laboratory work
- Two units of social science
Those applying to enter graduate-level education courses at UWA must hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited school, or be a certified teacher or educational administrator. Educational graduate programs at UWA also require the passing of the GRE to demonstrate comprehensive reading and writing skills.
Tuition and Financial Aid
The tuition for a year of schooling at UWA for an undergraduate who is an Alabama resident is currently $9,100. For out-of-state applicants, the tuition comes to $18,200. Students that live on campus pay $19,340 per year and $28,440 respectively. An added expense is books and supplies which UWA estimates to be $1,200 per year.
UWA’s Financial Aid Department specializes in helping students find funds for their educational needs. The school hands out $14.7 million in scholarships per year. Other scholarships are available nationally from various organizations, states, and communities. The Financial Aid Department works with state and federal programs to find “need” grants and Pell Grants for its students. Federal Student Loans are also available, but the Financial Aid Department will only consider the loan programs as a final solution as UWA looks toward the financial well-being of its graduates.
At UWA, the individual student grows familiar with their instructors as well as with other students. The laid-back atmosphere encourages deep thought. With all its opportunities, students seeking quality education in Alabama should not hesitate to consider seeking an education degree at the University of West Alabama.