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 reading and writing 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 and policy
  • 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 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, please contact Program Coordinator William Teale at or Mike Herkes at in the Office of Student Services.

Advising guide for old Literacy, Language and Culture programs

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)


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

  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.

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 for additional information.