Literacy Education, M.A.

Graduate Degree
Graduate Degrees
Literacy Education, M.A.
The Literacy Education, M.A. degree program has an online option. Learn more about Online Learning at Marshall University.

What is Literacy Education?

Students who cannot read or write face major challenges in developing the skills, knowledge and abilities to take full advantage of life’s opportunities. Teachers who are well-trained in literacy education can empower students and other learners to be well-equipped to seek out information, grasp new concepts, gain a deeper understanding of the world, and build successful careers and strong futures.

Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia, offers a Master of Arts (MA) in Literacy Education, a graduate degree program designed to meet the unique needs of literacy professionals. Marshall also supports the vital field of literacy education with this program and a graduate certificate in Literacy Education.

Students in the master’s degree program in Literacy Education will further their knowledge and gain important tools to effectively teach reading across all content areas in the classroom. This specialized Literacy Education master’s degree enables graduates to pursue careers as classroom teachers, literacy specialists and coaches, and Title I literacy teachers.

Why Study Literacy Education at Marshall?

The MA in Literacy Education is offered through Marshall’s College of Education and Professional Development (COEPD). Accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) since 1954, COEPD is the oldest academic unit within Marshall University, dating back to 1867. COEPD offers 16 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs, and 32 educational certifications ranging from early childhood and elementary education to secondary education and administration.

Accreditation and Recognition

The College is adept at meeting the needs of adult learners who are primarily fully employed students. COEPD was recognized in 2019 for the best online master’s teaching degree programs. The MA in Literacy Education is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).

The Literacy Education graduate degree program is committed to reaching typically working students who wish to continue their graduate education. The MA in Literacy Education at Marshall is a 36-hour graduate degree leading to a West Virginia Reading Specialist Certification (Pre-K to Adult). Distance education students who reside outside West Virginia should contact their state licensure agencies for information about their state requirements.

Flexible Study

Literacy Education MA classes are offered online in a hybrid format, using a combination of synchronous (real-time video/virtual participation) courses and fully online asynchronous courses. Several courses in the MA program are delivered as fully online courses and several are taught with 3-5 class meetings over the course of the semester; the remaining content is offered online. Face-to-face classes are taught in the evening (4 pm or later) and are available on one or both of MU’s campuses in West Virginia: Huntington and South Charleston.

Full-time students typically complete this master’s degree program in two years; part-time students complete their Literacy Education MA in two-and-a-half to three years. All program courses must be completed within seven years of the start date with a maintained minimum GPA of 3.0.

Hands-on Experience

The MA in Literacy Education program at Marshall is rooted in extensive field experiences that enable candidates to develop both the theoretical and practical knowledge needed by specialists in the field of literacy education.

Literacy Education MA courses are offered on a semester schedule: fall, spring and summer. Only practicum courses are not offered in the summer term. These include: Teaching Struggling Readers; and Reading Instruction for Literacy Facilitators. Other Literacy Education courses include:

Developmental Reading
Content Literacy
Writing the Literacy Curriculum
The Use of Technology for Literacy Instruction
Literacy Assessment
Aligning Assessment and Instruction
Current Issues and Problems in Reading

Financing Options

Marshall University has many resources to support the cost of graduate education. Financial aid staff are ready to guide students through options to finance graduate education.

The Federal TEACH Grant is available to students who intend to teach in a public or private school that serves students from low-income families for four years and within eight years of completing their degree leading to a career in teaching.

Career Outlook for Literacy Education Majors

Graduates with an MA in Literacy Education achieve important learning outcomes that fully prepare them to advance in the teaching field or pursue new opportunities. Learning outcomes include developing the abilities to:

Construct lesson plans to teach reading and writing across all content areas
Provide professional development to their staff
Assess students, analyze the data, and construct lessons to apply to students learning
Coach staff on literacy interventions and programs
Conduct school-based research

Most Marshall graduates with an MA in Literacy Education already have a teaching job. This degree allows them to pursue specialized positions such as literacy interventionist and literacy coach. Marshall graduates are typically employed by County School Boards in West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky.

Career Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that employment in education, training and library occupations is projected to grow 5 percent through 2029, faster than the average for all occupations. About 441,000 new jobs are projected to be added through 2029. Student enrollment is projected to increase; therefore, postsecondary teachers and preschool, elementary and secondary school teachers will be needed to meet the demand. Education, training and library occupations can, however, be affected by state and local budgets, and budgetary restrictions may limit employment growth.

The median annual wage for education, training and library occupations was $52,380 in May 2020, which was higher than the median annual wage for all occupations of $41,950.

Opportunities for Literacy Education Majors

The College of Education and Professional Development provides an array of degree and professional development programs, continuing education opportunities and services that fully address the needs of adult learners who are primarily fully employed students. The College provides professional/technical expertise for students and is actively involved in addressing regional and state-level educational, mental health and social issues.

Student Resources

The MA in Literacy Education program provides students with affordable and convenient options of online courses. However, graduate students can count on access to Marshall’s library, computer labs and study rooms, as well as excellent support staff to meet their needs.

Literacy Education graduate students also can participate in action-research projects in their schools or classrooms. Virtual observations are conducted by Marshall faculty members who provide students with feedback.

Marshall’s partnership with the Central West Virginia Writing Project (CWVWP) affords rich professional development opportunities for candidates in the MA in Literacy Education graduate degree program.

The mission of the CWVWP is to create professional learning communities where educators can collaborate to deepen their understanding of writing and the teaching of writing. Through its professional development model, CWVWP recognizes the primary importance of teacher knowledge, expertise and leadership that has a positive impact on students, schools and the community. Central to the Project’s mission is the development of programs that recognize that lives, practices and writing are enriched when we interact with diversities of race, gender, class, ethnicity and language.

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