Literacy Education

M.Ed. in Literacy - Reading Specialist Program

This program is designed for experienced classroom teachers looking to gain a strong foundation in literacy and the development of leadership skills. In this program, you will be prepared to not only meet the needs of struggling literacy learners, but also to assume leadership positions within your school. This program is designed for the certified teacher who wishes to be certified by the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) as a Reading Specialist based on and aligned to the standards outlined by the International Literacy Association (ILA).Female student reading a book

Degree Requirements

The Loyola Reading Specialist requires 30 credit hours.

Candidates should complete the Literacy Core before proceeding to the Reading Specialist Track.   As a graduation requirement, candidates must take and earn a score of 158 or higher on the Praxis II:  Reading Specialist #5301 during the Reading Specialist Track. 

Literacy Core (18 credits)
RE 510 Foundations & Research (3)*
RE 520 Principles and Practices of Reading  (3)*
RE 603 Language, Literacy, and Culture (3)**
RE 605 Principles and Practices of Writing (3)*
RE610 Disciplinary & Digital Literacies (3) **
 RE737 Literacy Assessment I *

Reading Specialist Track  (12 credits)
RE 739 Literacy Assessment II**
RE 740 Literacy Leadership **
RE756 Practicum I**
RE 757 Practicum II**

*Hybrid Courses- Only the first four courses (12 credit hours) in the program are offered in hybrid format where students will attend 8 week classes in-person and participate in online learning activities. This is designed to both acclimate students to online learning as well as the expectations of the program and curriculum.

** Online Courses- The remainder of the program (18 credit hours) will be completed in an online asynchronous format. Practicum and clinical experiences will take place at the student's home school and classroom wherever possible. Students will be required to have a device capable of video recording for the purposes of observation/supervision


The Literacy Practica are offered as a two-course sequence. Candidates work with K-12 students in their own schools, meeting with a small group of their classmates and supervisor online to observe and reflect on their teaching strategies. In one practicum, candidates will meet with a small group of students, and in the second practicum, they will meet with an individual student. The clinical sequence of courses is designed to facilitate the development of coaching skills resulting in the ability to become a successful leader within a school environment.

Statement on Certification

Students who are currently certified in the state of Maryland and who complete the Reading Specialist Track through Loyola University Maryland will be eligible for certification as a Reading Specialist through Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE). In order to receive the MSDE certification in Reading Specialist, you must first be certified in another area by MSDE. The MSDE requires three years of classroom experience to be certified as a reading specialist. 

If you are not currently certified in the state of Maryland, you will first need to transfer your current certification to the state of Maryland in order to be eligible for reading specialist certification through MSDE.

If you do wish to be certified in a state or district other than Maryland as a reading specialist, you will need to work with your state or district to determine eligibility steps.

Site-based Cohorts

This program is also offered through the site-based cohorts to employees of local school systems at various off-campus locations. Our cohorts are a lockstep format. Semesters consist of two 8-week classes and are held one night per week from 5-8:45 p.m. Participants benefit from a 15% tuition discount. Limited scholarships are available from $1,000- $1,500 for completed applications. For more information about programs, locations, and upcoming information sessions, visit our cohort website.

Completion Time

The literacy education program is offered  part-time (to be completed in 2-5 years).

Program Outcomes

Upon completion of this program, students will be able to:

  1. Obtain a M.Ed. in Literacy Education
  2. Become certified by the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) as a reading specialist, remedial teacher, or a literacy coach, if you are already a certified teacher.