Master's Degree Programs

Program Overview

MEd in Language, Literacies and Learning (LLL) with Licensure Option

“If you cannot read and write, you are under assault in your educational experience.  There is no social and emotional development if you lack language, the ability to read and the ability to write, because it is painful as hell not knowing how to read.  Your humanity will not be intact.”

-College of Education Dean Alfred Tatum, PhD

The Language, Literacies and Learning program provides students with high-quality advanced training in literacy and language education that enables them to understand and foster children’s and adolescents’ development.  The program tailors its curriculum to prepare educators to meet the unique challenges of language and literacy learning and teaching in urban contexts and to address issues of language and literacy development among English learners.  Program graduates are taking the lead in making good on the promise of public education for all by building crucial literacy skills from early childhood education through high school and serving as educational leaders.

The program is intended for students who wish to advance their knowledge of:

  • language and literacy instruction in elementary classrooms, secondary classrooms, and alternative settings
  • language and literacy research and its impact on practice
  • strategies to support teacher inquiry in language and literacy

While earning their MEd, students can also simultaneously work toward one or more of four possible endorsements:

  • State of Illinois Reading Teacher Endorsement
  • State of Illinois Reading Specialist, grades K to 12
  • State of Illinois Bilingual Education Endorsement
  • State of Illinois English as a Second Language Endorsement

For more information, sign up for our email list below, review degree requirements, submit a question to program advisor Ana Valenta at agarci5@uic.edu or contact the Office of Student Services at 312-996-4532.  Ready to apply?  Start the application process now.

Degree Requirements

A minimum of 39 semester hours of course credit are required for the degree, of which at least 9 hours must be at the "500" level. Independent Study Courses and any 597 or 598 courses do not count toward the required 9 hours of 500 level coursework for the MEd. A comprehensive examination covering all coursework in reading must be passed upon completion of the required courses.

Strand A - Classroom Literacy Instruction

Core Curriculum (19 hours)

Education Core (6 semester hours)

  • Philosophy or History of Education (Education 402 or 403 - 3 hours)
  • Educational or Developmental or Adolescent Psychology (Education 421 or 422 or 445 - 3 hours)

Literacy Core (13 semester hours)

  • Literacy & Society (CI 450 - 4 hours)
  • Advanced Foundations of Literacy Instruction (CI 503 - 4 hours) OR Advanced Foundations of Secondary Literacy Instruction (CI 504 - 4 hours)
  • Studies in Literacy Research and Teacher Inquiry (CI 535 - 4 hours)
  • Colloquium on Literacy (CI 536 - 1 hour)

Area of Specialization (20 semester hours)

  • Assessing Literacy in Classroom Contexts - CI 528 - 4 hours)
  • Improving School/District Literacy Achievement (CI 542 - 4 hours)
  • Assessment for Teachers (EPSY 553 - 4 hours)

Choose TWO courses from the following four courses:

  • Oral Language: Its Development and Role in Literacy Instruction (CI 541 - 4 hours)
  • Foundations of Writing (CI 544 - 4 hours)
  • Children’s and Adolescent Literature (CI 546 - 4 hours)
  • Integrating Literacy Instruction (CI 547 - 4 hours)

Upon completion of all required course work, students must complete a written examination that covers all coursework in the program.

Strand B - Reading Specialist

Core Curriculum (19 hours)

Education Core (6 semester hours)

  • Philosophy or History of Education (Education 402 or 403 - 3 hours)
  • Educational or Developmental or Adolescent Psychology (Education 421 or 422 or 445 - 3 hours)

Literacy Core (13 semester hours)

  • Literacy & Society (CI 450 - 4 hours)
  • Advanced Foundations of Literacy Instruction (CI 503 - 4 hours) OR Advanced Foundations of Secondary Literacy Instruction (CI 504 - 4 hours)
  • Studies in Literacy Research and Teacher Inquiry (CI 535 - 4 hours)
  • Colloquium on Literacy (CI 536 - 1 hour)

Area of Specialization (20 semester hours)

  • Assessment and Instruction for Struggling Readers Part I (CI 525 - 4 hours)
  • Assessment and Instruction for Struggling Readers Part II (CI 526 - 4 hours)
  • Reading Specialists as Literacy Leaders (CI 527 - 4 hours)
  • Elective #1 (4 hours)
  • Elective #2 (4 hours)

NOTE: The State of Illinois requires one course in children's literature from pre-service or graduate programs.

Comprehensive Examination

Upon completion of all required coursework, students must complete a written examination that covers all course work in the program.

Strand C - Literacy Studies

Core Curriculum (19 hours)

Education Core (6 semester hours)

  • Philosophy or History of Education (Education 402 or 403 - 3 hours)
  • Educational or Developmental or Adolescent Psychology (Education 421 or 422 or 445 - 3 hours)

Literacy Core (13 semester hours)

  • Literacy & Society (CI 450 - 4 hours)
  • Advanced Foundations of Literacy Instruction (CI 503 - 4 hours) OR Advanced Foundations of Secondary Literacy Instruction (CI 504 - 4 hours)
  • Studies in Literacy Research and Teacher Inquiry (CI 535 - 4 hours)
  • Colloquium on Literacy (CI 536 - 1 hour)

Area of Specialization (20 semester hours, which are comprised of electives)

Concentration C: Literacy Studies

  • Elective 1 (4 hours)
  • Elective 2 (4 hours)
  • Elective 3 (4 hours)
  • Elective 4 (4 hours)
  • Elective 5 (4 hours)

Comprehensive Examination

Upon completion of all required coursework, students must complete a written examination that covers all course work in the program.

Advising Guide

Advising guides offer a checklist for class completion requirements. If you have questions regarding the content of this guide, please contact Program Coordinator William Teale at wteale@uic.edu or Mike Herkes at mherkes@uic.edu in the Office of Student Services.

Current guide

Advising Guide for the MEd in Literacy, Language, and Culture (pdf)

Archived guide

Fall 2003 to Summer 2007 - Advising Guide for the MEd in Literacy, Language, and Culture (pdf)

Handbook

Masters handbook (pdf)

Options and Outcomes

LLL graduates are making a difference in the Chicago area and nationwide. Some remain in the classroom, using their advanced skills to better prepare children for the literacy demands of society. Many have become reading specialists or literacy coaches, working with teachers in their schools and districts. Others have opened their own private tutoring agencies or have gone into educational policy positions in local government. A number of graduates have entered PhD programs, including at UIC. In all of these career paths, students have gone on to take leadership roles in professional organizations such as the Illinois Reading Council or International Reading Association; publish articles and book chapters; and make presentations at local, state, and national educational conferences on the teaching of literacy.

Application Process

Application Deadlines

Fall Deadline: March 15
Spring Deadline: October 1
Summer Deadline:  January 15

  • Strand A leads to the MEd and Reading Endorsement.
  • Strand B leads to the MEd and licensure
  • Strand C leads to the MEd only.
  1. Complete the UIC Graduate School application.  (International applicants should use this application).  Submit your application fee when completing the application.
  2. Complete the online College of Education application.
  3. The following documents should be uploaded online upon receiving email instructions after completing the UIC Graduate School application. View the Document Upload Guide for more information.
    • Upload undergraduate transcripts for your last 60 hours of the undergraduate degree and all graduate transcripts.
    • TOEFL or IELTS test scores for international applicants only
    • Two letters of recommendation. These letters should address the applicant's academic qualifications, research ability/experience and ability to carry on advanced degree studies. Letters may be from current or former professors or supervisors. At least one letter should be from someone who can address your experience working with children.
    • A personal statement, between 500 and 1,000 words, addressing your relevant background, educational goals, professional goals and the strand you are interested in.
    • Resume
    • STRAND A AND B ONLY: A copy of your Illinois Teaching License
    • STRAND B ONLY: ISTE Standards Portfolio. You may be asked to submit a portfolio to demonstrate successful achievement of the Illinois Professional Teaching Standards. If you will need to submit a portfolio to satisfy this requirement you will be contacted by the College of Education.
  4. STRAND A AND B ONLY: Submit test scores from the Basic Skills test or Test of Academic Proficiency.  For information on the test, visit this site: www.il.nesinc.com. An ACT or SAT score may be submitted with a waiver; for information on this process, visit the Council on Teacher Education website.

Program FAQs

Apply and attending

Can I apply for admission to any term?

Yes, applications are accepted for admittance in each semester—Fall, Spring, Summer.

Do I have to take the GRE?

No.

How long is the program?

The program is flexible, allowing students to progress at their own rate, depending on whether you attend full time or part time. Most part-time students complete this degree program over a 2-year (2 courses/semester) to 3-year (1-2 courses/semester) period.

Can I still work and complete this program?

Yes, the majority of LLC MEd students still maintain part-time or even full-time employment while pursuing the program.

Do I need a degree in Education to be admitted into this program?

No, but you cannot obtain either the Reading Endorsement (Strand A) or the Reading Specialist certificate (Strand B) without Illinois teacher certification.

Can I transfer other coursework I've completed elsewhere into this program?

  1. Up to 12 hours of graduate UIC credit can be transferred into this program, with adviser approval.
  2. Up to 9 hours of non-UIC graduate level credit can be transferred into this program, with adviser approval.

Can I defer enrollment?

Yes, with the program coordinator's approval enrollment can be deferred for up to one year.

Are classes taught on Saturday?

No, classes are offered Monday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Is there financial assistance available?

Yes. For scholarship information, please check with the department for more information. If you are a full-time student, you may want to explore the possibility of a position as a Research Assistant (RA). RAs work anywhere from 10 to 26 hours per week on a research project that education faculty are conducting. This pays a stipend for hours worked and, depending on the position, may also provide tuition and fee remission.

Certification and Endorsement

Do I need a teaching certificate to be admitted into this program?

No and Yes. You can enter the LLC MEd program under Strand C without any teaching certificate and get a degree. But, it is not possible to obtain either a state of Illinois Reading Endorsement or Reading Specialist certificate without Illinois initial teacher certification, as the state considers both the endorsement and the RS certificate as additions to basic certification.

Do I need a teaching certificate to obtain Reading Specialist certification (Strand B)?

Yes; you must have a valid Illinois Type 03 Elementary Education or Type 09 Secondary Education certificate and two years of full-time teaching experience.

I already have a master’s degree in Education. Can I get a Reading Specialist certificate without having to get another Masters degree?

You must still pursue a 39-hour degree in order to achieve this certificate through UIC’s Council on Teacher Education (CTE).

The only possible exception is if you obtained a MEd from UIC within the past three years. If so, your adviser and the MEd program coordinator can discuss options with CTE.

Is there any additional paperwork I need to complete to obtain Reading Specialist certification (Strand B)?

Yes, you should register with the CTE as soon as possible after beginning your program in Strand B.

Is there any additional paperwork I need to complete to obtain Reading Endorsement (Strand A)?

Yes, you should register with the Council on Teacher Education as soon as possible after beginning your program in Strand A.

Completing the Program

Can I take more than one course each semester if I’m working full-time?

Most students find that if they are teaching full time, they get the most out of their program and coursework if they take only one literacy course each semester. Students may find that because of the scheduling availability of courses, they occasionally will take a second course, consulting with their adviser when doing so. When taking CI 525 or CI 526, associated with tutoring in the Reading Clinic, no other courses may be taken if teaching full-time.

Can I count coursework from my undergraduate program or another masters in this program?

If a course has been used to fulfill requirements for another degree, it may not be applied again toward obtaining your M.Ed. in LLC.

Can I count coursework in Reading that I took several years ago? I did not use it in any other degree program.

All coursework applied to the degree must have been done within 5 years of admission, not be counted toward any previously earned degree, and be graduate-level. Thus, if you are admitted for Fall (August) 2013, all coursework must have been completed no earlier than Fall 2009.

How long do I have to complete my degree?

Your degree must be completed in 5 years from term of admission.

Can I switch Strands after I have been admitted?

You can switch strands at any time with adviser approval and by completing the appropriate paperwork with the Office of Student Services. Keep in mind, however, that because requirements for the 3 strands vary somewhat that you must fulfill all of the requirements for the strand from which you graduate. (Also, please note that it can be more challenging to change from Strand A or C into Strand B because the number of students in Strand B is constrained by the space in the Reading Clinic associated courses).

When do I take the Clinical Practicum courses (CI 525 and CI 526)?

In consultation with your adviser, you should arrange to take CI 525 the final fall semester you are in attendance and CI 526 the final spring semester you are in attendance. (Please note that these courses must be take in sequence; you cannot enroll in 526 before completing 525).

When do I take CI 536?

CI 536 is a capstone course that prepares students for the Comprehensive Examination. It should be taken during your final full-length (Fall or Spring) semester.

When do I take the Comprehensive Examination?

You will complete the examination on a Saturday morning during the final full-length (Fall or Spring) semester that you are enrolled in any course required for your graduation or enroll during a Fall or Spring semester for only CI 536 and take the exam. Thus, if you take your last course during a summer semester, you must complete the examination the Spring semester prior to that summer or complete the exam during the following Fall semester.

Please contact William Teale at wteale@uic.edu for additional information.