Literacy Education

Graduate Program HeadMark Kiselica
Program CodeLEDUC
Campus(es)Harrisburg (M.Ed.)
Degrees ConferredMaster of Education (M.Ed.)
The Graduate Faculty


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 literacy education. This advanced degree provides students with a comprehensive approach to literacy research, instructional practice, assessment, and leadership to meet the varied and diverse needs of PK-12 learners. Grounded in sociocultural and critical literacy approaches, the program affords literacy professionals:

  1. specialized, in-depth knowledge about the teaching of literacy;
  2. diagnostic and clinical skills necessary to support and plan instruction for a diverse range of learners;
  3. the ability to interpret, evaluate, and use literacy research to inform practice;
  4. opportunities to use both digital and traditional texts to teach literacy across the curriculum;
  5. knowledge about the role of social context in supporting PK-12 learners’ acquisition of language and literacy; and
  6. the literacy leadership skills necessary to support and inform professional practice in PK-12 settings.

Students also participate in a final capstone course that provides the opportunity to work closely with PK-12 learners in a faculty-supervised, clinical, or on-site setting. Throughout the program, students work closely with faculty and cultivate strong peer support networks.

The Literacy Education program is recognized by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) and the International Literacy Association (ILA). The M.Ed. in Literacy Education program is aligned with both state and national standards from the:

  • Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE),
  • International Literacy Association (ILA), and
  • National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).

Accreditation and Licensure

The Literacy Education program is recognized by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) and the International Literacy Association (ILA). Following successful completion of the program and a passing score on the Praxis 5301 exam, program completers are eligible to receive their PK-12 Reading Specialist Certification in Pennsylvania. Out-of-state students are advised to check with their appropriate state licensing agency to obtain guidelines and to verify specific requirements.

Admission Requirements

Applicants apply for admission to the program via the Graduate School application for admission. Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-300 Admissions Policies.

Students must have achieved an overall junior/senior grade point average of 3.00 or higher on a 4.0 scale. For students applying for admission who have completed credits beyond the baccalaureate degree, we will evaluate the last (approximately) 60 credits completed.

  • Two letters of recommendation
  • A brief (200-300 words) personal statement describing your interest in pursuing a master’s degree in Literacy Education
  • A valid Pennsylvania Teaching Certificate1
  • Test scores from one of the following: GRE, Miller Analogies Test, or Praxis examinations completed for certification

Degree Requirements

Master of Education (M.Ed.)

Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-700 Professional Degree Policies.

The Master of Education degree in Literacy Education consists of 33 credits that prepare students for the Pennsylvania Reading Specialist Certification (K-12). The degree requirements for the Master of Education in Literacy Education include 21 credits in foundational, pedagogical, and advanced theoretical work in reading, writing and educational research design, two courses that make up the capstone clinical practicum (6 credits), and 6 additional credits of electives for a total of 33 credits. At least 18 credits must be taken at the 500 or 800 level, with at least 6 credits at the 500 level. A minimum grade-point average of 3.00 for work completed at the University and acceptable professional dispositions are required for graduation.

Required Courses
EDUC 452Teaching Writing3
EDUC 477Teaching Struggling Readers and Writers3
LLED 445Teaching English in Bilingual/Dialectal Education (or an equivalent ELL course approved by the program coordinator)3
EDUC 561Theoretical Foundations of Literacy3
EDUC 862Literacy Assessment and Evaluation3
EDUC 865Literacy Leadership3
LLED 594Research in Language and Literacy Education3
Select 6 elective credits:6
Literature for Children and Adolescents
Children's Literature in Teaching Writing
Teaching Reading Through the Content Areas
Culminating Experience
EDUC 863Literacy Methods (Capstone Project) 13
EDUC 864Literacy Clinic (Capstone Project) 13
Total Credits33

Transfer Credits

Credits earned at other institutions but not used to earn a degree and credits earned as a non-degree student prior to admission to the graduate program may be applied toward the requirements for a graduate degree, subject to restrictions outlined in GCAC-309 Transfer Credit. Forms for transfer of credit can be obtained from the graduate program office.


Students must maintain a minimum 3.00 grade-point average, satisfactorily complete all required key assessments, and attain a grade of "C" or better in all required core courses. Students 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 students in class and during field experiences. Students may be rated as exemplary, acceptable, or unacceptable. Students are expected to attain acceptable or exemplary ratings in order to graduate.

Accreditation and Licensure

The Literacy Education program is recognized by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE), the International Literacy Association (ILA), and the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).


A graduate minor is available in any approved graduate major or dual-title program. The default requirements for a graduate minor are stated in Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-600 Research Degree Policies and GCAC-700 Professional Degree Policies, depending on the type of degree the student is pursuing:

Student Aid

Graduate assistantships available to students in this program and other forms of student aid are described in the Tuition & Funding section of The Graduate School’s website. Students on graduate assistantships must adhere to the course load limits set by The Graduate School.


Graduate courses carry numbers from 500 to 699 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 these courses in order to make up deficiencies or to fill in gaps in previous education but not to meet requirements for an advanced degree.

Education (EDUC) Course List


Campus Harrisburg
Graduate Program Head Mark S Kiselica
Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) or Professor-in-Charge (PIC) Mary Napoli
Program Contact

Katherine Wimer Martin
Olmsted Building, W331
777 West Harrisburg Pike
Middletown PA 17057
(717) 948-6205

Program Website View