Literacy Specialist MA Initial

Master of Arts in Literacy Specialist leading to Initial Certification

Boys and girls reading in a classroom

Students in the Literacy Specialist M.A. have many opportunities to delve deeply into their own literacy, participate in adult book clubs, in performance-based drama groups, in writing workshops, including one taught by an award-winning author of children’s literature. Students also have the opportunity to intern in schools that are regarded as demonstration sites for the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project and in any of the dozen institutes that the Project offers. Critical literacy is a big focus for the program and graduate students conduct their own critical literacy investigations.

A graduate student smiles while she makes a point in a discussion with her peers at TC.

Admissions Information

Master of Arts

  • Points/Credits: 32
  • Entry Terms: Spring/Summer/Fall


View Public Disclosure Notification

  • NY State Initial: Literacy Specialist Birth-6

Application Deadlines

  • Spring: November 1
  • Summer/Fall (Priority): January 15
  • Summer/Fall (Final): Rolling

* For details about rolling deadlines, visit our admission deadlines page.

Supplemental Application Requirements/Comments

  • GRE General Test
  • Must hold Initial Certification

Prospective Applicants

We are always pleased when our applicants demonstrate a commitment to teaching. Some will have spent summers as camp counselors, others bring a decade of experience as lead teacher—for us, it is important that our students are grounded in a commitment to working with learners.

We are also pleased when applicants show an inquiry stance, a readiness to question and to wonder and to learn. We hope students are ready to learn from children and from colleagues as well as from university faculty. Most of all, we are excited to read applicants to our program because we know that people bring diverse experiences, and that we’ll have the opportunity to learn from them as well as they, learning from us. It’s a great thing to a cohort group take shape and to recognize the breadth of experiences and knowledge bases that people bring with them into the program.

Required Examinations

New York State requires that applicants to the M.A. program take the GRE. While you must take the GRE, applicants should be reassured that this is not a priority item for admission to the program.

Course Requirements

Masters of Arts

Students may enroll in the program full-time or part-time. The basic curriculum for M.A. students includes:

Core: Required of all students (23 points)

  • C&T 4138 Teaching literacy in the early years (2-3)
  • C&T 4139 Constructing critical readers (2-3)
  • C&T 4151 Teaching of writing (2-3)
  • C&T 4200 Fieldwork in curriculum and teaching (6) 3 credits fall; 3 credits spring
  • HBSK 4072 Theory and techniques of reading assessment and intervention (3)
  • C&T 4140 Literature for younger children (2-3) or
  • C&T 4141 Literature for older children (2-3)
  • C&T 5037 Literacy, culture, and the teaching of reading (2-3)

Master’s Action Research Project: Required of all students (1 point)

  • C&T 4502 Master’s project (1)

Completion of Master’s Action Research Project

Out of Program Selectives: Required of all students (4-6 points) To satisfy the college breadth requirement, students must complete two Teachers College courses in addition to HBSK 4072, which is part of the core. (A course for this purpose is defined as one in which a minimum of 2 points is earned outside the program).

  • A&HE 4052 Adolescents and literature (3)
  • A&HL 4001 Sociolinguistics and education (3)
  • A&HT 4077 TESOL classroom practices (3)
  • ITSF 4013 Literacy and development (2-3)
  • ITSF 4015 Introduction to computers, language, and literacy (2-3)
  • ITSF 4028 Teaching literacy in bilingual settings (3)
  • MSTU 4049 Technologies and literacies (2-3)

Within-Department Selectives: Required of all students (4 points) Students must select at least two courses from the following list:

  • C&T 4858 Institute: Teaching of reading (3)
  • C&T 5800 Institute: Teaching of writing (1, 3, 6) Either:
  • C&T 4137 Literacy and learning in the content areas (2-3) or
  • C&T 4842 Institute: Content area literacies (2-3)

New York State Education Department (NYSED) has teacher certification requirements that are needed for program completion and graduation which are listed in the Office of Teacher section of the catalog.

Back to skip to quick links