Literacy Education

MSEd in Literacy Education (with or without ESL concentration)

The Master of Science in Education in Literacy Education, an advanced certification for teachers, provides students with a sound theoretical and empirical knowledge base relating to literacy acquisition. The purpose of the program is to enable students to become informed decision makers who are capable of designing and implementing appropriate up-to-date instruction in reading and writing at all levels. Students will acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to become effective advocates for improving literacy instruction in their schools. The program is designed for classroom teachers, literacy teachers, and other experienced educators whose primary responsibility is helping students to become competent users of language.

Literacy Education

Program Requirements (36 credits)

First Tier Courses (27 credit hours)
     EDU 511 Children's Literature or
     EDU 513 Adolescent Literature
     EDU 514 Improving Teaching in Content Areas through Literacy
     EDU 521 Digital Literacies and Education
     EDU 562 Linguistic and Cultural Diversity in the Classroom
     EDU 600 Research Methods and Techniques
     EDU 607 Teacher Research in Literacy
     EDU 620 Reading Development and Instruction
     EDU 621 Literacy Problems: Assessment and Instruction
     EDU 626 The Writing Process

Second Tier Courses (9 credit hours)
     EDU 634 Seminar in Literacy Research
     EDU 639 Practicum in Literacy Education (6 credits)

Concentration in English as a Second Language

The Master of Science in Education in Literacy Education with a concentration in English as a Second Language (ESL) provides students with the knowledge base related to language acquisition by English language learners (ELLs). The emphasis is on literacy development in the second language. The program provides classroom practitioners with the skills needed to assess language and implement instruction to improve learners' proficiency for competent second language use.

Program Requirements (36 credits)

First Tier Courses (27 credit hours)
     EDU 514 Improving Teaching in Content Areas through Literacy
     EDU 557 Teaching Writing to Multilingual Learners*
     EDU 558 Content-Based Curriculum for English Language Learners*
     EDU 559 Aspects of Reading for Multilingual Learners*
     EDU 561 Aspects of the English Language*
     EDU 562 Linguistic and Cultural Diversity in the Classroom*
     EDU 563 ESL Testing and Assessment*
     EDU 600 Research Methods and Techniques
     EDU 607 Teacher Research in Literacy

Second Tier Courses (9 credit hours)
     EDU 635 Seminar in Second Language Literacy
     EDU 639 Practicum in Literacy Education (6 credits)

* These courses meet state requirements for endorsement as an ESL teacher, K-12. State endorsement in ESL requires prior teacher certification and a passing score on the Praxis II exam (0361) for Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages. The master's degree in literacy education with an ESL concentration does not qualify graduates for Maine literacy specialist certification; however, additional courses may be taken beyond this master's degree to qualify.  Students should consult with their advisor for more details.

Tk20 Subscription

All undergraduate and graduate students who matriculate into an educator preparation program or pathway in USM summer 2013 or later are required to subscribe to the Tk20 online data management system. The subscription allows students to use the system for assessment, advisement, field-experience and career portfolio management. The subscription fee of $103 covers some of the expenses related to the administration and assessment of the program. For loan purposes, it will be eligible for consideration as part of costs. The subscription is a one-time payment and must be made by each student during the first semester of program or pathway matriculation (check with individual programs and pathways for specific subscription timelines). Subscription instructions are posted on the Office of Educator Preparation web site: http://usm.maine.edu/educatorpreparation 

The Office of Educator Preparation at USM will consider, on a limited basis, individual requests for financial support to assist in payment of this fee for students who have challenging and extenuating financial circumstances (e.g. unexpected medical expenses; a sudden unforeseen life event that causes a dire financial burden). To apply for a subsidy, complete the application form on the Office of Educator Preparation web site under Tk20 (http://usm.maine.edu/educatorpreparation).  Submit the application to Colleen Pleau in the Office of Educator Preparation (8 Bailey Hall) or via email (cpleau@usm.maine.edu). Applications for this subsidy must be received no later than four weeks following the start of a student’s matriculation semester by Kim Warren, SEHD Director of Student Affairs. 

Minimum Requirements: Applicant must have a bachelor's degree and have earned a cumulative grade point average of 2.5 (on a 4.0 scale) in a baccalaureate degree program; Applicants who do not have a 2.5 overall GPA must enclose a letter asking for special consideration, in which they provide evidence of an ability to complete graduate studies successfully. Without such a letter, applicants who fail to meet eligibility requirements may be automatically denied. The applicant must also have attained teacher certification (provisional or professional level).

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. Exceptions to this policy will be considered on a case-by-case basis and are up to the discretion of the admitting program.

Application Deadline

May 1 for fall matriculation, October 1 for spring matriculation, and March 1 for summer matriculation.

Candidates should submit all application materials to the USM Office of Graduate Admissions, P.O. Box 9300, Portland, ME 04104-9300 by the application deadline.

Application must include:
  • A submitted online graduate admission application;
  • The application fee of $65.00;
  • Two sets of official transcripts from all colleges or universities attended, including USM;
  • Three letters of recommendation attesting to the applicant's knowledge of current scholarship, capacity to connect theory and practice in posing and solving educational problems, achievement of excellence in educational practice, and demonstrated capability and motivation to engage in advanced graduate study. Recommendations are submitted using our online application form. You will need to provide the name and email address for each of your recommenders during the application process. Once you submit your application, an email will be automatically generated to your recommenders directing them to fill out the electronic letter of recommendation.
  • Essay: see essay question below;
  • Completed and signed Teacher Credential Summary Form;
  • Certification of finances (international students only);
  • Submission of official TOEFL or IELTS scores (if English is not first language); and
  • Current resume.
Special Essay Question

Type a brief essay (300-500 words) stating your reasons for pursuing graduate study, your professional goals, and how you think this program of study will contribute to these goals. You may include a statement of any special interest you would like to pursue in your study.

Testing Requirements

Submit official TOEFL scores of 550 or higher on the paper-based test, 79 or higher on the Internet-based test, or 213 or higher on the computer-based test, or an IELTS score of 6.5 or higher if the applicant is an international student whose first language is not English. International students who have received their undergraduate degree from an English-speaking institution may apply for a waiver of this requirement.

Transfer Credit

Previously completed graduate courses may be approved for transfer into a graduate program within the literacy education program if credits for the courses were earned no more than five years prior to matriculation, with grades of B or better.

For previous work completed through the University of Maine System, up to twelve credits may be accepted if the courses meet the requirements above and are equivalent to core courses or elective courses in the relevant USM program of study. Up to six graduate credits completed at institutions outside of the University of Maine System may be accepted if the courses meet the requirements above and are equivalent to core courses or elective courses in the relevant USM program of study. A syllabus for each course submitted for transfer credit from outside the University of Maine System must be provided upon application.

Transfer of more than twelve University of Maine System credits or six non-University of Maine System credits may be approved by the program coordinator and faculty. These credits may include certificate of graduate study program courses and professional development in-service graduate courses. Requests for the transfer of credits taken more than five years prior to matriculation may also be evaluated and approved by the program coordinator and faculty.