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Literacy M.Ed.

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The Master of Education (M.Ed.) degree in Literacy is a graduate program designed to focus on the most current research in the field of literacy. The program provides an in-depth study of literacy development and strategies to support academic growth and success. The curriculum includes a variety of literacy topics, such as foundational knowledge, developmental continuums, assessment, writing, and specific strategies for supporting students. Graduates of the program who meet the criteria and are interested may be eligible to add on the reading specialist endorsement to their current teaching license.

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Literacy program supports individual needs

Literacy program supports individual needs

Second grade teacher Candace Stanley didn’t enter the classroom immediately after earning her undergraduate degree because she wanted to be at home while her children were young. When she did start teaching some 13 years later, “practices had changed tremendously, and I realized that I needed to update my knowledge bank, vocabulary, and skill set,” Stanley recalls. “I started looking at cohorts, online programs, and campus-based programs. When I looked into the classes I would take, I decided that a general degree was not for me. Instead, I decided to focus my time and energy on the topic that I really loved--literacy. I wanted to instill a love for reading and writing in my students and wanted to help the struggling readers that came into my classroom.” MTSU’s master’s in literacy lived up to her expectations, providing many useful tools, beneficial assignments, and the “focus to know where my students needed to be and how to get them there.” Stanley says meeting for on-campus classes and developing relationships with instructors and other class members made her studies more effective. She praises the enthusiasm and positivity she experienced throughout the program and is especially impressed with the understanding and support she received after a personal tragedy. “I will forever be grateful for instructors who were caring, quality individuals who supported me beyond my expectations.”

Strengthen instructional skills through the literacy program

Strengthen instructional skills through the literacy program

When Alyssa Cave decided to continue her studies in graduate school, she was uncertain about her professional future, but she was certain about one thing: “I knew that if I was going to pursue my master’s degree that it had to be something I was passionate about. Literacy will always be a passion of mine. I also knew that this degree would help me greatly if I decided to return to the elementary classroom.” Cave says the program gave her the opportunity to reflect on what she wanted out of her life and career, explaining, “The professors were always challenging us to think about our next steps and where we wanted to end up. This program really helped me set priorities and goals for myself.” Cave is assistant director of talent management for the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. She oversees training for the department along with developing and executing the department’s talent management strategy. Cave recommends the Literacy program to anyone interested in pursuing a master’s in education because “this program will really strengthen your instructional skills.” As she looks to her future, she is applying to an Ed.D. program with hopes of starting next year.

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  • MTSU College of Graduate Studies

    MTSU College of Graduate Studies


Graduates from the Literacy program may be employed in a variety of positions within public schools or private settings. Examples include, but are not limited to,

  • Classroom teacher
  • Reading specialist
  • Reading interventionist
  • Mentor teacher
  • Literacy tutor 

Alumni from the Literacy Program have been employed in many districts including

  • Metro-Davidson Schools
  • Murfreesboro City Schools
  • Rutherford County Schools

The Department of Elementary and Special Education offers the Master of Education (M.Ed.) degree with a program of study in Literacy. Three years of teaching experience is required in order to be eligible for this program. Graduates of the program may be eligible to add-on the reading specialist endorsement to their current teaching license.

For complete curriculum details, click on the REQUIREMENTS button to the right. 

Other Graduate Programs

In addition to Literacy, the Department offers programs of study in Curriculum and Instruction with concentrations in Elementary School Education or Initial Licensure Specialization and Special Education with concentrations in Mildly/Moderately Disabled Students Concentration (Interventionist K-8 or 6-12) and Severely/Profoundly Disabled Students Concentration.

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Literacy Studies and the Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Assessment, Learning, and Student Success are available in the College of Education.

Undergraduate Programs

The Department of Elementary and Special Education offers four undergraduate majors, all leading to the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree: Early Childhood Education; Elementary Education (K-5); Middle Level Education (6-8); and Special Education with choices of the Comprehensive, K-12, or Interventionist, K-8 or 6-12.  

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Professional Licensure Disclosure

The Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) College of Education’s teacher licensure preparation programs are accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and are eligible for accreditation by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). The Master of Education (M.Ed.) degree with a program of study in Literacy and a specialization in Initial Licensure is designed to meet the licensure requirements set by the Tennessee Department of Education. Students should be aware that licensure requirements vary from state to state and are subject to change. MTSU has not made a determination whether a specific program will meet all of the requirements of another US state or territory. MTSU recommends that students who plan to seek licensure outside the state of Tennessee contact the appropriate licensing agency and discuss their plans with their advisor. To obtain current information about each state’s and territory’s licensure requirements and any additional regulations, students should consult the US Department of Education’s website for state contacts at

Graduates of MTSU teacher education programs certified to teach in Tennessee are eligible for certification reciprocity in many states. Reciprocity is not an automatic or complete transfer of certification, thus individuals should consult the Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) site at and the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC) site at as well as the US Department of Education state contacts site for information about any additional state requirements.

Literacy, M.Ed.

Joan Boulware, Program Director
(615) 904-8243

The Department of Elementary and Special Education offers the Master of Education degree with a major in Literacy that leads to the Literacy endorsement, Reading Specialist, PreK-12.

Please see undergraduate catalog for information regarding undergraduate programs.

Admission Requirements

Students seeking admission to the Master of Education program are expected to score at least 380 on the Miller Analogies Test or 281 on the Graduate Record Examination or the minimum on a National Teachers Examination (Praxis II) that meets Tennessee licensure standards.

Tennessee Reading Specialist Certification requirements include

  1. three successful years of classroom experience,
  2. pass Praxis 10300,
  3. complete advanced studies addressing Reading Specialist standards.

Application Procedures

All application materials are to be submitted to the College of Graduate Studies.

Applicant must

  1. submit an application with the appropriate application fee (online at this initial application has been accepted, the applicant will receive directions on how to enter the graduate portal to be able to submit other materials.
  2. submit official scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), Principles of Learning and Teaching Exam (PRAXIS II), or Miller Analogies Test (MAT);
  3. submit official transcripts of all previous college work (GPA of previous work should be 3.0 or higher.);
  4. participate in an intake interview;
  5. have a bachelor's degree in Education or initial licensure.

Degree Requirements

The Master of Education in Literacy requires completion of a minimum of 33 semester hours.

Candidates must successfully complete a comprehensive examination to be taken in the last semester of coursework (may be taken no more than twice).

Curriculum: Literacy

The following illustrates the minimum coursework requirements.

Required Courses (24 hours)

  • DYST 6000 - Introduction to Dyslexia and Other Reading Difficulties

    3credit hours

    Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor. Overview of the history and science of dyslexia and other reading disabilities. Examines the value of integrating insights from the cognitive psychology and neuroscience into diagnostic, therapeutic, and instructional models of literacy. Explores the etiology and prevalence of reading disabilities and addresses current issues in assessment and intervention.

  • ELED 6000 - Teaching Writing  3 credit hours  

    ELED 6000 - Teaching Writing

    3credit hours

    An in-depth exploration of students' efforts to become writers. Presents theoretical and practical strategies for establishing an effective writing environment based on current research.

  • READ 6000 - Foundations of Literacy  3 credit hours  
    **  dotslash:* title:* 

    READ 6000 - Foundations of Literacy

    3credit hours

    Prerequisite: A reading methods or literacy course. Planning and developing a reading program through extensive reading in the field and seminar participation. Special emphasis on the reading process.

  • READ 6710 - Adolescent Literacy  3 credit hours  
    **  dotslash:* title:* 

    READ 6710 - Adolescent Literacy

    3credit hours

    Approaches to effective literacy enhancement in middle and secondary school programs. Suggestions for meeting the literacy needs of typical and atypical adolescent literacy learners.

  • READ 6730 - Curriculum and Supervision of Literacy Instruction  3 credit hours  
    **  dotslash:* title:* 

    READ 6730 - Curriculum and Supervision of Literacy Instruction

    3credit hours

    The role of the reading specialist. Focuses on preparing reading specialists to work with students and adults in school settings. Planning in-service presentations, grant writing, critiquing materials, and effective reading programs explored.

  • READ 6750 - Research in Literacy

    3credit hours

    Prerequisite: READ 6000, its equivalent, or permission of the instructor. An investigation of significant research related to reading with emphasis on classroom practices, group analysis, and individual study. (Available on permission-of-department basis only.)

  • READ 6760 - Early Literacy  3 credit hours  
    **  dotslash:* title:* 

    READ 6760 - Early Literacy

    3credit hours

    A methods course that concentrates on beginning reading and emergent literacy issues in developing reading and writing.

  • READ 6790 - Literacy Practicum  3 to 6 credit hours  
    *(3 credit hours) *  dotslash:(3 credit hours) * title:* 
    (3 credit hours) * 

    READ 6790 - Literacy Practicum

    3 to 6credit hours

    Prerequisite: READ 6720 or equivalent. A supervised practice in teaching children with various types of reading and learning problems. Student may enroll for 3 hours credit or 6 hours credit in a single semester. May be repeated for up to 6 credits; however, only 3 credits may apply toward the degree.

*required for licensure

Electives (9 hours)

Choose three courses from the following:

  • DYST 6010 - Identifying Students with Dyslexia and Other Reading Difficulties

    3credit hours

    Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor and DYST 6000. Details the profile of dyslexia and other reading disabilities. Develops competency in choosing appropriate testing batteries for identification, administering valid and reliable measures, and interpreting and communicating the results. Outlines how to use assessment data to plan instruction and monitor progress.

  • DYST 6011 - Interventions for Dyslexia and Other Reading Difficulties

    3credit hours

    Prerequisites: Permission of instructor and DYST 6000. Details the elements of intervention for children with dyslexia and other reading disabilities. Increases competency in identifying and implementing effective interventions based on student skills and characteristics. Covers evidence-based interventions in phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension, and writing.

  • PSY 6530 - The Psychology of Reading and Reading Development

    3credit hours

    Overview of the cognitive processes involved in reading. The structure of both oral and written language; cognitive mechanisms in reading; language development and the acquisition of reading skills; developmental and acquired disorders of language and reading.

  • SPED 6100 - Differentiation and Literacy: Teaching Corrective Reading and Writing

    3credit hours

    Prerequisite: Admission to Teacher Education program. Identifies and implements evidence-based reading interventions and strategies. Incorporates writing deficits; how to identify students with reading disabilities, administer curriculum-based assessments, determine skill level, determine appropriate interventions, assess intervention outcomes, and adjust interventions when needed.

  • SPSE 6800 - Curriculum Design and Instruction for ELs

    3credit hours

    Analysis of curriculum models for instruction in the EL classroom. Considers elements of differentiated instruction, transformative literacy frameworks, and standards-based content in lesson planning, embedded assessment tasks, and units plans with appropriate accommodations and adjustments for second language learners. Fieldwork required.

Program Notes

Any course requiring admission to Teacher Education may require observations, case studies, or other time in PreK-12 classes.

Contact Information

Dr. Joan Boulware


Who is My Advisor?

Dr. Joan Boulware

Dr. Terri Tharp

Mailing Address

Department of Elementary and Special Education
Middle Tennessee State University
MTSU Box 69
1301 East Main Street
Murfreesboro, TN  37132

College of Graduate Studies
Middle Tennessee State University
MTSU Box 42
1301 East Main Street
Murfreesboro, TN 37132

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