Core Courses

Courses Required of All Students (27 credit hours)

Rubric/Number Course Title Hours
Foundations (6 hours)
LITS 7130 Literacy in Socio-Cultural Contexts
LITS 7100 Historical Issues, Trends & Methodologies 3
Language & Literacy (6 hours)
LITS 7011 Neurobiology of Language and Literacy
ENGL 7520 Essentials of Linguistics
Pedagogy (6 hours)
LITS 7110 Models of Literacy Assessment
LITS 7210 Evidence Based Methods for Literacy Development
Research Design & Data Analysis (6 hours)
LITS 7140 Research Design & Methodology in Literacy 3
PSY 7290* Psychological Statistics: ANOVA 3
Practicum (3 hours)
LITS 7200 Practicum 3

* Requires one previous graduate course in regression (PSY 7280 or STAT 5360)

Core Course Replacements

It is required that all students complete 27 hours in the Core, distributed as detailed above. However, it is possible that some students will have taken one or two of the above listed courses as part of a previous graduate program. When a student documents that a specific course listed in the core has been satisfactorily completed, within five (5) years preceding admission, the advisor and student will jointly identify a replacement course that satisfies the interdisciplinary goals of the program as well as the career goals of the student. For instance, if a student entering with a master's has already taken graduate classes equivalent to a core course, such as Essentials of Linguistics, the core requirement for that specific course would be waived, but the student would take an additional three hours of coursework, specific to the literacy framework of this degree, to bring his/her total hours to 60.  This request must be made within two (2) years of admission to the program.

No more than two courses in the core will be considered for replacements. Students requesting such course replacements will be required to provide adequate documentation of the content of the course, such as a copy of the course syllabus, to be approved. This will permit evaluation of its similarity to the related course in the Ph.D. program. Only courses in which a grade of A- or better was earned will be considered for replacement.

Course-Based Service Learning Experiences

Students in this program will complete two field-based service learning experiences through which they will gain practical knowledge in work settings. The field-based experiences are embedded in the core courses. Typically, the service learning experiences will require 15-20 clock hours in the field.  Field experiences provide opportunities for students to work in a variety of environments where they are exposed to current issues in literacy research and practice. For the most part, these field experiences will provide a service to the sponsoring organization. These experiences are thus in-line with the University stated interests in encouraging service learning experiences.

Practicum Experience

Students may register for a practicum experience no earlier than their second year in the program, having completed a minimum of 20 credit hours of coursework within the core and at least 6 credit hours in the area of specialization.  Typically, the practicum experience will require 80 total clock hours in the field.

Practicum experiences are designed to provide students with appropriate experiences related to their areas of specialization. For example, a student concentrating in Literacy Instruction and Staff Development might work with a district curriculum supervisor and gain hands-on experience in the evaluation of curriculum materials and/or providing support and in-service training to teachers. A student concentrating in Reading Disabilities might be placed in a Title-I or Special Education program to gain hands-on experience diagnosing reading disabilities and providing support and in-service training to the teachers who provide remedial instruction. A student concentrating in Administration / Policy might be placed in the Tennessee State Board of Education for hands-on experience in education law and policy.