Master's Degree Programs

Program Overview

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

The Language, Literacies and Learning program provides students with high-quality advanced education in literacy and language research and practice that enables them to better understand and foster children’s, adolescents’, and adults’ development.  The program tailors its curriculum to prepare educators to meet the unique challenges of language and literacy learning and teaching in multicultural, multilingual urban contexts and to address issues of language and literacy development among English learners.  Additionally, it emphasizes the complementary between in and out-of-school language and literacy learning and development and focuses on understanding the diverse processes of critical, semiotic meaning making (e.g., multimodal, digital, making) necessary for 21st century teaching and learning.

Program graduates are taking the lead in making good on the promise of public education for all by building crucial reading and writing skills from early childhood education through adult education, and by serving as educational leaders. The program is intended for students who wish to advance their knowledge of:

  • language and literacy instruction (including ESL, critical digital literacies) in elementary classrooms, secondary classrooms, and alternative settings (e.g., out-of-school contexts, adult education contexts)
  • language and literacy research and its impact on practice and policy
  • strategies for school, district, and curricular leaders to support language and literacy teaching and learning

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 or contact the Office of Student Services at 312-996-4532.  Ready to apply?  Start the application process now.

Degree Requirements

A minimum of 32 semester hours is required for the degree.

Required Courses

  • Select two of the following courses with approval of advisor:
    • CI 450 Societal Bases of Languages, Literacies and Learning
    • CI 481 Foundation and Current Issues in Educating English Language Learners
    • CI 533 Language and Literacy Policy
    • CI 534 Languages and Literacies In and Out of School Electives
  • Select 24 semester hours of electives approved by an advisor.
  • Students seeking the endorsement options will need to consult an advisor for additional course requirements.

Comprehensive Examination: None

Advising Guide

Advising guides offer a checklist for class completion requirements. If you have questions regarding the content of this guide or any questions about the program, please contact Kristine Schutz at or Nate Phillips at

Advising Guide (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.

Graduates also frequently work in out-of-school spaces like museums and non-profit organizations.

Application Process

Application Deadlines

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

NOTE:  you can start taking courses before enrolling in the program and transfer in up to 12 hours. If interested in this pathway, please reach out to the program coordinators (Nate Phillips at and Kristine Schutz at  for more information.

  1. Applicants who are not currently registered graduate students at UIC must complete the UIC Graduate School 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 required addressing the applicant’s academic qualifications, teaching experience, research ability, and ability to carry on advanced degree studies. At least one of these letters must be written by a former professor or supervisor familiar with the applicant’s academic work in an undergraduate or graduate setting.
    • A personal statement, between 500 and 1,000 words, addressing your relevant background, educational goals, professional goals and interests.
    • Resume
    • For the Reading Teacher and Reading Specialist Endorsements, an Illinois Professional Educator License (PEL) is required. In addition, the Reading Specialist requires a minimum of two years of teaching experience.

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?


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.

What funding opportunities and scholarships are available to LLL MEd students?

There are a number of scholarships and grants available to students interested in pursuing this degree. Options can be found on  UIC COE Tuition and Financial Aid page.

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.

Please contact Dr. Nate Phillips ( or Dr. Kristine Schutz ( for additional information.