Literacy Education

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Will completion of the program lead to teacher certification?
2. May non-matriculated students take graduate courses for credit before applying to the program?
3. What are the criteria for admissions and when are applications due?
4. Is the program accredited and what does that mean?
5. Once accepted, how long does it take to complete the program?
6. What opportunities for graduate assistantships and scholarships are available?
7. What degrees are available upon completion of the program and how are they obtained?
8. What job opportunities are available upon completion of the program?
9. At what campuses are courses offered?
10. What is the difference between receiving a state endorsement in English as a Second Language and getting a Master of literacy with a concentration in ESL?

1. Will completion of the program lead to teacher certification?
The Master of Science in Education in Literacy Education is an advanced degree program and does not lead to initial teacher certification. The program is primarily intended for classroom teachers, literacy teachers and other experienced educators interested in the field of literacy. Depending on program choice, a licensed teacher may earn a literacy specialist license or English as a second language endorsement from the state. Consulting with an advisor early in the program is critical to be sure licensure requirements are met.

2. May non-matriculated students take graduate courses for credit before applying to the program?
Non-matriculated students can take up to two classes before matriculating into a program. An additional two courses may be taken after submitting an application for acceptance into the program. It is recommended that students speak to a program faculty member before doing so.

3. What are the criteria for admissions and when are applications due?
Candidates should submit all application materials to the Office of Graduate Admissions, 45 Exeter Street, Portland, ME 04104. Admission applications are submitted online. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis with the following priority deadliens: October 1 for spring semester, March 1 for summer semester, and May 1 for fall semester. Full details and instructions can be found within the “Degrees and Certificates” link.

4. Is the program accredited and what does that mean?
The literacy program is an accredited program and courses meet the standards set by the International Reading Association. The accrediting institution for the School of Education and Human Development is TEAC (Teacher Education Accreditation Council ). TEAC is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as the organization to oversee colleges and universities to ensure that qualified, competent people leave our institution. The University goes under a complete external review every five years.

5. Once accepted, how long does it take to complete the program?
Candidates have five years upon acceptance into the program to complete all requirements. Students are also required to maintain continuous enrollment upon acceptance in the program. Therefore, a student must take at least six credit hours per academic year to remain on active status. Individuals should speak to a program advisor if a problem arises.

6. What opportunities for graduate assistantships and scholarships are available?
There are multiple scholarship and graduate assistantship opportunities available to students who are matriculated in the master’s or C.A.S. programs. To find out what is available, visit the School of Education and Human Development financial aid webpage here: http://usm.maine.edu/sehd/financial-aid

7. What degrees are available upon completion of the program and how are they obtained?
The Literacy Program offers a Master of Science in Education in Literacy Education, Master of Science in Education in TESOL (Teaching English as a Second Language), and a Certificate of Advanced Study (post-master’s) in Literacy or in ESL. Completion of the Master of Science in Education in Literacy Education can lead to state certification as a literacy specialist, and completion of the Master of Science in Education in TESOL can lead to state endorsement as an ESL teacher.

8. What job opportunities are available upon completion of the program?
Students completing the program can put their knowledge to work in the regular classroom. With state licensure, an individual can be hired as a literacy specialist, an ESL teacher, or a literacy or language leader in a school district. Other professionals become Title I teachers, literacy support personnel, tutors or consultants.

9. At what campuses are courses offered?
The literacy courses are offered on a regular basis on the Portland and Gorham campuses, and occasionally on the Lewiston-Auburn campus. Some courses are also offered in an online format. 

10. What is the difference between receiving a state endorsement in English as a Second Language and getting a Master of Education in TESOL?
Licensed teachers can take five (5) state required courses and obtain state endorsement for teaching students whose first language is other than English. This route of endorsement does not require matriculation into one of our literacy degree programs and it does not result in a master’s degree. Licensed teachers may earn state endorsement through the Certificate of Graduate Study in English as a Second Language. Students wanting an advanced degree in Teaching English as as Second Language should apply to the master's program and complete the coursework for the TESOL.

Scholarships Available for SPY 627 Course for Spring

Reading Matters to Maine is offering a limited number of scholarships for those enrolled in SPY 627. Are you working in a K-12 classroom? Not receiving financial assistance for classes? Click here for information on how to apply. We have scholarships specifically for literacy students!

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