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University Bulletin
Graduate Degree Programs

Literacy Education (LEDUC)

Program Home Page

LAURA ROY, Program Coordinator
Penn State Harrisburg
Middletown, PA 17057


Degree Conferred:



The Graduate Faculty


The Program

The Master of Education in Literacy Education at Penn State Harrisburg is designed to provide full-time and part-time graduate students with a focused program of study in the field of reading education. The program is aligned with the standards of the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Following successful completion of the program, students are eligible to take the Praxis examination for certification as a reading specialist (K-12). Specifically, the goals of the program are to develop in students: (1) specialized, in-depth knowledge about the teaching of reading and writing; (2) the clinical skills necessary for diagnosing and intervening with reading disabled students; (3) the ability to interpret and to evaluate literacy research, (4) the literacy leadership skills necessary to support the professional practices in a K-12 setting; (5) provide rigorous offerings aligned with the standards of the International Reading Association (IRA) and the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE); and (6) prepare students for the complexities they will face as reading specialists in schools serving the K-12 population.

Admission Requirements

Requirements listed here are in addition to general Graduate School requirements stated in the GENERAL INFORMATION section of the Graduate Bulletin.

For admission to the Graduate School, an applicant must hold either (1) a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or (2) a tertiary (postsecondary) degree that is deemed comparable to a four-year bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution. This degree must be from an officially recognized degree-granting institution in the country in which it operates.


The M.Ed. Program in Literacy Education has five important admission requirements.

First, candidates must have achieved an overall junior/senior grade point average of 3.00 or higher. For candidates applying for admission who have completed credits beyond the baccalaureate degree, we will evaluate the last (approximately) 60 credits completed.

Second, candidates must submit two letters of recommendation. These letters must be from former professors or professionals who can attest to the academic ability and potential of the candidate.

Third, candidates must submit a 200-300 word personal statement that addresses their career goals and reasons for pursuing a graduate degree.

Fourth, candidates must have a valid Pennsylvania Teaching Certificate and present evidence that they have completed a course in the methods of teaching reading such as EDUC 320 (Methods in Teaching Beginning Readers) or 321 (Methods in Teaching Intermediate and Advanced Readers) with a grade of C or better.

Fifth, candidates must submit test scores from one of the following: Graduate Record Examination, Miller Analogies Test, or Praxis examinations completed for certification.

The language of instruction at Penn State is English. All international applicants must take and submit scores for the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or the IELTS (International English Language Testing System), with the exceptions noted below. The minimum acceptable score for the TOEFL is 550 for the paper-based test, or a total score of 80 with a 19 on the speaking section for the Internet-based test (iBT). The minimum acceptable composite score for IELTS is 6.5.

International applicants are exempt from the TOEFL/IELTS requirement who have received a baccalaureate or a graduate degree from a college/university/institution in any of the following: Australia, Belize, British Caribbean and British West Indies, Canada (except Quebec), England, Guyana, Republic of Ireland, Liberia, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Scotland, the United States, and Wales.


Candidates must maintain a minimum 3.00 grade point average, satisfactorily complete all required key assessments, attain a grade of "C" or better in all required core courses. Candidates who do not make satisfactory progress will be notified in writing noting the specific deficiencies and requesting that they meet with the program coordinator to develop a remediation plan. Failure to meet or to satisfactorily complete the remediation plan will result in termination from the program.

All persons enrolled in Teacher Education Programs at Penn State Harrisburg are expected to demonstrate the professional dispositions that are aligned with the unit's vision statement. The faculty shall evaluate the approved dispositions demonstrated by the candidates in class and during field experiences. Candidates may be rated as exemplary, acceptable, or unacceptable. Candidates are expected to attain acceptable or exemplary ratings in order to graduate.

Degree Requirements

The Master of Education degree in Literacy Education consists of 42 credits that prepare candidates for the Pennsylvania Reading Specialist Certification (K-12). The degree requirements for the Master of Education in Literacy Education includes 36 credits in foundational, pedagogical, and advanced theoretical work in reading, writing and educational research design and a 6 credit capstone clinical practicum for a total of 42 credits. A minimum grade-point average of 3.00 for work done at the University and acceptable or higher ratings on the professional dispositions are required for graduation.

Prescribed Core Course Requirements (39 Credits)


422. Literature for Children and Adolescents (3)
425. Literacy Assessment (3)
452. Teaching Writing (3)
466. Foundations of Teaching English as a Second Language (3)
471. Best Practices in Literacy (3)
477. Teaching Struggling Readers and Writers (3)
561. Psychology of Reading (3)
562. Diagnostic Evaluation of Reading Problems (3)
563. Advanced Methods of Teaching Reading (3)
564. Reading Clinic (6)
565. Literacy Leadership (3)
586. Educational Research Designs (3)



(Choose 3 credits from the following)
Students can choose either one of two electives in the program. Both elective courses (ENGL 409 or EDUC 432) require specialized study in the teaching of writing. ENGL 409 (taken concurrently with EDUC 452) will allow the student to complete a writing fellowship with the Capital Area Writing Project. Or, EDUC 432 allows for the in-depth study of writing through children's literature.

EDUC 432 Children's Literature in the Writing Curriculum (3)
ENGL 409 Composition Theory and Practice for Teachers (3)

Transfer Credits

Subject to the limitations given below, a maximum of 10 credits of high-quality graduate work done at a regionally accredited institution may be applied toward the requirements for the master's degree. However, credits earned to complete a previous master's degree, whether at Penn State or elsewhere, may not be applied to a second master's degree program at Penn State. The student should distinguish carefully between the transferability of credit and its applicability in a particular degree program. Approval to apply any transferred credits toward a degree program must be granted by the student's academic adviser, the program head or graduate officer, and the Graduate School. Transferred academic work must have been completed within five years prior to the date of first degree registration at the Graduate School of Penn State, must be of at least B quality (grades of B- are not transferable), and must appear on an official graduate transcript of an accredited university. Pass-fail grades are not transferable to an advanced degree program unless the "Pass" can be substantiated by the former institution as having at least B quality.

A maximum of 15 graduate credits taken as a nondegree student prior to admission to a graduate degree program may be applied to a graduate program, with departmental approval. The credits must have been earned within five years preceding entry into the degree program.

Forms for transfer of credit can be obtained from the graduate program office.


Graduate courses carry numbers from 500 to 599 and 800 to 899. Advanced undergraduate courses numbered between 400 and 499 may be used to meet some graduate degree requirements when taken by graduate students. Courses below the 400 level may not. A graduate student may register for or audit courses below the 400 level in order to make up deficiencies or to fill in gaps in previous education but not to meet requirements for an advanced degree.


Last Revised by the Department: Fall Semester 2008

Blue Sheet Item #: 36-06-189

Review Date: 4/15/08

Faculty linked: 8/14/14