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Literacy Education, MSE

Master of Science in Education - Literacy Education

Enhance your career, fine-tune your instructional knowledge and transform the lives of students who need it most by earning your master’s in Literacy Education from the University of Central Missouri. UCM’s nationally recognized program will prepare you for a lifelong calling as a literacy coach, classroom instructor or reading specialist in a variety of K–12 academic settings.

Learn diagnostic assessment skills to identify students who struggle with reading and writing at every level, and gain the knowledge and experience to design curricula that will help them achieve successful learning outcomes.

Become more than a literacy teacher — be a reading coach

Take your career in education to the next level as a reading specialist or literacy coach. Our well-rounded curriculum for the master’s in Literacy Education degree provides a proven foundation in both reading education and assessment. You’ll acquire theoretical analysis skills and a historical overview of the field and be able to immediately apply the lessons from your Literacy Education MSE to your current classroom environment with support from UCM’s expert faculty.

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Study at your own pace over 2–4 years

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100% online program option

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7:1 departmental student-to-faculty ratio

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Start fall, spring or summer

What you will study

This Literacy Education degree is designed for professional educators, such as certified elementary, middle school and secondary teachers. You’ll master theoretical, historical and evidence-based foundations of literacy and language. You’ll not only learn to select and administer assessment tools to screen and diagnose and measure student literacy achievement, development and instruction, you’ll also learn how to create an environment that fosters reading and writing achievement. 

Graduates of our program will acquire the skills to model, create and engage students in literacy practices that develop awareness, understanding, respect and value of differences in our society.

Our program is based on the International Literacy Association (ILA) Standards for Reading Professionals. Key required UCM coursework includes:

  • Methods and Materials for Literacy Enhancement
  • Assessment of Literacy Development
  • Advanced Language Arts Methods: Culture and Communication


Excellence in Literacy Education

  • The International Literacy Association has awarded UCM’s program National Recognition, the “gold standard” in literacy education.
  • Nationally Accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.
  • Top 15%: Most Focused Colleges for Education (College Factual, 2022)
  • Top 6%: Most Popular Colleges for Education (College Factual, 2022)


Unique learning opportunities in literacy education

Regardless of where you’re joining us for the UCM master’s in Literacy Education, you’ll still have direct opportunities to put your learning into action:

  • Become an effective literacy teacher: In addition to research, pedagogy, methodologies and history, our graduate students take The Literacy Coach, a course designed to prepare you to become an effective mentor and partner in reading and writing.
  • Real-world experiences: Complete two required clinical practicum courses on site in the classroom in a single block for convenient scheduling: Practicum in Literacy Assessment and Practicum in Instructional Techniques for Literacy Enhancement. These courses will be among the most demanding and rewarding of your time at UCM. You’ll complete supervised and integrated intervention work with students, supported by experienced colleagues and school personnel. This experience will ensure that you’ll be prepared to succeed in your career as an expert and mentor to students from all walks of life.


What can you do with a degree in Literacy Education from UCM?

Graduate prepared for a number of educational positions, including literacy coach, reading teacher and reading specialist.

However, not all graduates seek to work directly with students. Some educators add this credential to their skill set to transition into an administrative or supervisory role, either at a school or a related nonprofit organization.

Alternatively, if you seek a career in literacy research, your core graduate program coursework will provide you with the educational methods and experience you need to apply for doctoral programs.

Jobs in literacy education

Use our interactive tool below to explore all of the possibilities with a master’s in Literacy Education from UCM.




Financial assistance options for your MSE in Literacy Education

As a public institution of higher education, the University of Central Missouri is dedicated to providing you with an affordable, high-quality education. In addition to offering some of the lowest tuition available in the state of Missouri, we provide numerous opportunities and resources for graduate students. 

We’re here to help you understand your financing options, including scholarships, grants, graduate assistantships, awards and student loans. 

Furthermore, we’re proud to offer funding opportunities reserved specifically for Literacy Education students:

  • Department of Educational Foundations and Literacy Scholarship 
  • Kathleen Ranson Scholarship in Reading 
  • Kathryn and Richard Carr Graduate Scholarship in Reading

Find out more about program-specific awards by using the UCM Scholarship Finder.



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Make yourself more marketable.

If you’re looking for additional credentials to further expand your expertise, consider adding a graduate certificate to your master’s degree:

Elementary students in a classroom


Explore programs related to literacy education.

Is literacy education close to your heart but not exactly what you’re looking for? Check out these related graduate degrees:


Flexible Course Formats

You will have access to highly-qualified faculty who are leaders in the field of literacy education. Personal instruction and advising from one of these faculty members helps you be successful in the classroom and in the field. Courses are offered in flexible formats (online and/or hybrid) to work around your busy schedule.

Depending on your personal schedule, it usually takes anywhere from 2 to 4 years to complete the graduate hours required for the degree. We suggest that you take your time with graduate courses as the workload tends to be higher than undergraduate classes.

Student Learning Outcomes

You will use the knowledge and skills obtained in the program to:

  • Demonstrate expertise in theoretical and evidence-based foundations of reading and writing processes and instruction.
  • Foster the use of instructional approaches, materials, and an integrated, comprehensive, balanced curriculum to support learning in reading and writing.
  • Be responsible for managing and monitoring a variety of assessment tools and practices to plan and evaluate effective reading and writing instruction.
  • Model, create, and engage students in literacy practices that develop awareness, understanding, respect, and valuing of differences in our society.
  • Create a literate environment that fosters reading and writing by integrating foundational knowledge, instructional practices, approaches and methods, curriculum materials, and appropriate use of assessments.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to professional development as a career-long effort and responsibility.

Admission Requirements

MSE classes are offered for the Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters. You don't need to wait until Fall to start, you can begin your program in Spring or Summer. 

To be accepted into the degree program, you must:

  • Have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited or National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education institution with a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.5
  • Submit proof of teacher certification or provide a professional endorsement from any of the 50 states or territories
  • Submit a copy of a recent summative teaching evaluation (i.e., a PBTE or similar evaluation form) or a letter from a school superintendent, principal, or professor attesting to teaching abilities and graduate school potential
  • Submit an application for admission (including submission of official undergraduate transcripts)

For more information on Graduate Admissions, please visit the Graduate School Admissions page. All application materials should be received a minimum of three weeks prior to the first date of the semester in which you seek to enroll.

After you are accepted, you will be assigned a graduate advisor who will assist you in developing a Program of Study and selecting courses to help you finish your program in a way that best meets your needs.




UCM is the longest continuously CAEP accredited public institution in Missouri

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This program is nationally recognized by the International Literacy Association and is based on the ILA Standards for Reading Professionals


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