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Reading Education

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The program prepares certified teachers to meet standards established by the International Literacy Association to become reading specialists, literacy coaches, or reading administrators. After graduation, students who pass the state-issued exam and have at least two years of teaching experience can qualify for the professional reading specialist certificate.

The reading program prepares certified teachers to enhance the language and literacy development of all students in diverse educational settings.

 Contact The Graduate College for general questions about getting started with your application, funding your degree, and more.
If you have program-specific questions after reviewing the program details, we encourage you to contact the following:

Graduate Advisor
Dr. Jesse Gainer
Education Building (ED), Room 3067A

“In addition to providing me with unparalleled knowledge in the field, this program gave me the confidence and ability to do what is best for my students.”

— Danya Gardner, M.Ed. ’13, 6th Grade Technology Applications Teacher, Cele Middle School

Course Work

Most students enter the program to pursue a master of education (M.Ed.) in reading education while preparing to pass the Texas Examinations of Educator Standards (TExES) to receive a reading specialist certificate. The program requires 30 credit hours of course work in reading, including courses in language and literacy development, reading theory and research, teaching literacy from early childhood through grade 16, teaching with literature for children/young adults, teaching reading and writing in a multilingual/multicultural environment and literacy assessment. The program also requires a two-course internship to complete a research and professional development project, as well as a six-hour cognate that is designed in consultation with program advisors.

Degree Certification Hours Thesis Option Minor Option
M.Ed. EC-12 Reading Specialist 30 Non-Thesis No minor
M.Ed. No certification 30 Non-Thesis No minor

Professional Certification Exam
You will be eligible to take the Texas Education Agency reading specialist exam or the master reading teacher exam upon successful completion of specific program requirements

Education building

  Online Availability
The majority of this program may be offered online. If you are not a Texas resident and will not relocate, please visit the Office of Distance and Extended Learning. International students, please visit International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) regarding additional considerations in taking online courses.

Students are scholars and teachers working alongside faculty to investigate tools to strengthen literacy, create innovative curricula, refine instruction, conduct research and learn ways to make their work public.

Program Mission

The reading education program takes its mission statement of “a community of equity-minded literacy professionals” seriously, as evidenced by faculty’s research interests and work with master’s students, in and out of the classroom. Students can expect a rigorous, research-based learning experience in multiple areas of language and literacy development. Course work deepens teachers’ understanding of theory, research, assessment, and practice within culturally and linguistically diverse settings. Faculty regularly present at conferences and publish with students engaged in classroom research. The program’s goal is to strengthen the pedagogical practice of our students and to actively serve the Pre-K-12 students of Texas and beyond.

Visit program website ›

Program Faculty

Faculty are scholars and teachers who work in schools, staying current with today’s classrooms and teachers. Literacy is both a passion and a mission. The M.Ed. courses are taught by full-time, tenured, or tenure-track faculty who are experts in their field and former classroom teachers. Faculty are active scholars who have published in journals such as The Reading Teacher, Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, Bilingual Research Journal, Research in the Teaching of English, Language and Education, Language Arts, and Voices from the Middle.

Meet our faculty ›

Career Options

Career options for reading specialists:

  • classroom or intervention teacher
  • reading specialist for public or private schools
  • district-level director of literacy education
  • literacy instructor for universities, community colleges, or adult education programs
  • reading tutor for students K-16
  • curricula developer
  • director of a reading clinic and/or tutoring company
  • reading consultant for a variety of public/private organizations/publishing companies

Application Process

Step 1

Review Requirements

Application Deadlines

Deadlines U.S. Citizen International
Fall - Priority February 1 February 1
Fall - Standard June 15 June 1
Spring October 15 October 1
Summer I* April 15 March 15
Summer II* June 1 No Admission

*The M.Ed. with no certification does not offer admission in Summer I or Summer II.


Application Deadline
This program has a flexible deadline, which means applications received after the posted deadline may be reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis, with no guarantees for admission consideration.

Funding Information
Applications must be complete by the priority deadline to be considered for certain types of funding. See additional information about deadlines for part-time students.

Decision Timeline
This program reviews applications on a rolling basis after the priority deadline has passed.

Application Requirements

The items required for admission consideration are listed below. Additional information for applicants with international credentials can be found on our international web pages.


  Review important information about the online application.

Application Fee(s)

M.Ed. with EC-12 Reading Specialist Certification

  • $35 nonrefundable Texas Education Agency technology fee (if offered admission to the master's certification program)
    and either
  • $55 nonrefundable application fee
  • $90 nonrefundable application fee for applications with international credentials

M.Ed. with no certification

  • $55 nonrefundable application fee
  • $90 nonrefundable application fee for applications with international credentials

  Review important information about application fees.

Transcripts & GPA

  • baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited university
  • a copy of an official transcript from each institution where course credit was granted
  • minimum 2.75 GPA in your last 60 hours of undergraduate course work (plus any completed graduate courses)

  Review important information about transcripts. Official transcripts, sent directly from your institution, will be required if admission is granted.

GRE Scores

  • GRE not required


M.Ed. with EC-12 Reading Specialist Certification

  • statement of purpose (3–5 pages, double-spaced) describing current teaching of literacy, objectives in enrolling in the program, and goals for improving literacy instruction
  • copy of official teaching certificate (and preferably at least one year of teaching experience)

M.Ed. with no certification

  • statement of purpose (3–5 pages, double-spaced) describing current teaching of literacy, objectives in enrolling in the program, and goals for improving literacy instruction

  Review important information about documents.

TOEFL Scores for all certification applicants

Applicants are required to submit TOEFL scores that meet the minimum program requirements below unless they have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited U.S. institution.

  • official TOEFL iBT scores with minimum individual scores of
    • 22 listening
    • 22 reading
    • 24 speaking
    • 21 writing

TOEFL, PTE, or IELTS Scores for non-certification applicants

Applicants are required to submit TOEFL, PTE, or IELTS scores that meet the minimum program requirements below unless they have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or the equivalent from a country on our exempt countries list.

  • official TOEFL iBT scores required with a 78 overall
  • official PTE scores required with a 52 overall
  • official IELTS (academic) scores required with a 6.5 overall and
    • minimum individual module scores of 6.0

  This program does not offer admission if the scores above are not met.

  Review important information about official test scores.

Additional Information

  Funding Information
The priority deadline is geared toward funding opportunities for full-time students. As most students in the program attend part-time, the standard deadline remains the most important deadline for the reading education program since the timeline part-time funding opportunities varies. The reading program will continue to admit students as long as space is available.