Master of Arts: Language and Literacy

Requirements for the Master of Arts

Requirements for a master's degree include a minimum of 30 credit hours but vary according to the major and emphasis area. Regardless of program length, at least 60 percent of the coursework on the degree program must be numbered 5500 or above. At least a 3.0 GPA must be maintained, with no grade lower than a C earned in any 5500-level course. Any courses on the 300 and 400 level to be included in a master of arts program must be taken for graduate credit and only by arrangement with the advisor. No grade lower than B- may be earned in any 300- or 400-level course to be used toward a graduate degree. In addition, 80 percent of the credits for the degree must be passed with a grade of B (3.0) or better.

As soon as possible after regular admission to graduate study, the student should meet with a faculty advisor to develop a program of study. This program must be filed with the Education Student Services Office prior to the completion of 50% of applicable degree coursework for further approval by the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies and filing with the Registrar. Program revisions may be requested later but also must be approved by the student's advisor, the dean's representative, and the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies.

Twenty percent of resident graduate coursework may be transferred from other accredited universities' graduate programs. A maximum of 49 percent of acceptable graduate work (no grade below B) may be transferred from other campuses of the University of Missouri. Credits are transferred only with the recommendation of the advisor and the consent of the dean's representative in the School of Education, Social Work, and Psychological Sciences. Transfer credit must not be more than seven years old at the time of program completion.

Transfer credit may be allowed for correspondence courses, provided the credits meet the above criteria. A maximum of six semester hours of continuing education courses that have been taken for graduate credit (workshops, special topics) may be included on a master's program. Students must provide a letter from the transfer institution clarifying the grade equivalent for transfer work posted as "credit" or "pass."

For regular courses taken through continuing education at UMKC to apply on degree programs, the student must be admitted to graduate study and have an approved program on file, including the continuing education courses.

Credit more than seven years old at the time of degree completion must be validated. To validate a course, the student must meet with the instructor of the current equivalent course to devise a plan in which the student's current knowledge of the coursework can be assessed. Faculty may ask the student to write a paper, review current literature, or take examinations to determine whether the student's knowledge of the subject is acceptable. A maximum of 30 percent of the student's program of study may be validated under this procedure. All validation must be completed prior to the completion of the final semester of enrollment for the degree.

A thesis is not required for the master of arts degree, although the option for a thesis is available. A final integrating experience or independent or group research study may be required of those not selecting the thesis option.

Requirements for Retention

Students must:

  1. Meet all admission requirements.
  2. File a planned program of study in consultation with a faculty advisor, securing approvals from the dean's representative and the School of Graduate Studies. 
  3. Complete all coursework listed on the approved program of study.
  4. Maintain an acceptable graduate GPA with no grades below B- (3.0) in 300- or 400-level courses, no grades below C (2.0) in any 5500-level course, at least 80 percent of the degree program completed with a grade of B (3.0) or above, and a 3.0 average maintained in all graduate coursework, regardless of whether the courses are on the actual degree program.
  5. Apply for the degree (graduation) by the posted deadline during the final term of enrollment.
  6. Enroll in at least one credit hour during the term they intend to graduate.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students graduating from this program will:

  • Candidates synthesize major theoretical, conceptual, historical, and evidence-based foundations of literacy and language, the ways in which they interrelate, and the role of the reading/literacy specialist in schools.
  • Use foundational knowledge to design literacy curricula to meet needs evaluate small-group and individual evidence-based literacy instruction for learners; collaborate with teachers to implement effective literacy practices. of learners, especially those who experience difficulty with literacy; design, implement, and
  • Candidates evaluate, select, and use valid, reliable, fair, and appropriate assessment tools to screen, diagnose, and measure student literacy achievement; inform instruction and evaluate interventions; assist teachers in their understanding and use of assessment results; advocate for appropriate literacy practices to relevant stakeholders.
  • Candidates synthesize research, relevant theories, pedagogies, and essential concepts of diversity and equity; the ways in which these interrelate with themselves and others as cultural beings; create classrooms and schools that are inclusive and affirming; advocate for equity at school, district, and community levels.
  • Candidates use a variety of print and digital materials to meet the developmental needs of all learners; engage and motivate all learners; integrate digital technologies in appropriate, safe, and effective ways; and collaborate with school personnel to foster a positive climate that supports a literacy-rich learning environment.
  • Candidates collaborate with colleagues to use evidence to design and facilitate literacy interventions in school- or community-based settings; evaluate, revise, and improve their practice; develop their leadership and facilitation skills; and advocate on behalf of teachers, students, families, and communities.

Language and Literacy: MA Degree Program

MA Program Mission

The Language and Literacy MA Degree Program prepares exemplary literacy educators to meaningfully contribute to schools and communities as teachers, leaders, and advocates. Students in this program study literacy from critical sociopolitical, cultural, psychological, historical, linguistic, and literary perspectives, and apply their knowledge in culturally and linguistically diverse classrooms. Students develop and evaluate effective, evidence-based instructional strategies, practices, and programs that support literacy learning and achievement at PreK-12, college, or adult levels. The program curriculum emphasizes collaborative inquiry and innovation, equity, advocacy, and professional leadership and learning.   

The Language and Literacy MA program is aligned with national standards for the preparation of specialized literacy professionals, as established by the International Literacy Association and CAEP. It also reflects principles and rigorous standards approved by Missouri’s State Board of Education.

MA Educational Goals

Goal 1: Candidates will synthesize foundational knowledge related to language and literacy development, including appropriate cognitive, linguistic, motivational, and critical sociocultural theories, relevant research, and essential concepts of diversity and equity.  

Goal 2: Candidates will design, implement, and evaluate literacy curriculum and instruction that meets the needs of diverse learners through effective, evidence-based practices, assessments, and environments.

Goal 3: Candidates will collaborate with a variety of stakeholders, including professional colleagues and families, to positively impact literacy learning and achievement in PreK-12, college, or adult educational contexts.

Goal 4: Candidates will advocate for ethical, equitable, and inclusive literacy practices, assessments, and learning environments that recognize and value diversity in schools and society.

Goal 5: Candidates will engage in professional learning, leadership and systematic and ongoing reflection on their practice.

MA Student Learning Objectives 

Adapted from Standards for the Preparation of Literacy Professionals 2017. Specialized Literacy Professionals Matrix by Roles © 2018 by the International Literacy Association.

SLO 1: FOUNDATIONAL KNOWLEDGE

Candidates synthesize major theoretical, conceptual, historical, and evidence-based foundations of literacy and language, the ways in which they interrelate, and the role of the reading/literacy specialist in schools.

SLO 2: CURRICULUM AND INSTRUCTION

Candidates use foundational knowledge to design literacy curricula to meet needs of learners, especially those who experience difficulty with literacy; design, implement, and evaluate small-group and individual evidence-based literacy instruction for learners; collaborate with teachers to implement effective literacy practices.

SLO 3: ASSESSMENT AND EVALUATION

Candidates evaluate, select, and use valid, reliable, fair, and appropriate assessment tools to screen, diagnose, and measure student literacy achievement; inform instruction and evaluate

interventions; assist teachers in their understanding and use of assessment results; advocate for appropriate literacy practices to relevant stakeholders.

SLO 4: DIVERSITY AND EQUITY

Candidates synthesize research, relevant theories, pedagogies, and essential concepts of diversity and equity; the ways in which these interrelate with themselves and others as cultural beings; create classrooms and schools that are inclusive and affirming; advocate for equity at school, district, and community levels.

SLO 5: LEARNERS AND THE LITERACY ENVIRONMENT

Candidates use a variety of print and digital materials to meet the developmental needs of all learners; engage and motivate all learners; integrate digital technologies in appropriate, safe, and effective ways;  and collaborate with school personnel to foster a positive climate that supports a literacy-rich learning environment.

SLO 6: PROFESSIONAL LEARNING AND LEADERSHIP

Candidates collaborate with colleagues to use evidence to design and facilitate literacy interventions in school- or community-based settings;   evaluate, revise, and improve their practice; develop their leadership and facilitation skills; and advocate on behalf of teachers, students, families, and communities.

Program Requirements

This degree can usually be completed within five semesters.  Coursework is available in online and hybrid formats.

Specific Reading Teaching Knowledge Requirements (21-24 hours)
EDRD 5439Language and Literacy Across the Disciplines3
EDRD 5501Teaching Of Reading3
EDRD 5502Early Literacy and Language Development3
EDRD 5510Adolescent Practicum in Literacy Assessment and Intervention3
EDRD 5511Advanced Literacy Assessment and Evaluation3
EDRD 5520Elementary Practicum in Literacy Assessment and Intervention (*Culminating Practicum)3
EDRD 5601Organizing And Guiding The Reading Program3
EDRD 5650Dyslexia and Related Learning Differences3
EDRD 5530Reading Instruction for K-12 English Language Learners3
EDUC-C&I 5523Advanced Literature For Children3
EDRD 5541Teaching Reading Improvement: Secondary, College, and Adult Levels3
Professional Requirements (9-15 credit hours)
EDUC-SP 5515Applied Behavior Analysis for Teachers: Understanding and Applying Theories of Behavior3
EDUC-SP 5516Collaborating with Families and Other Professionals3
TCH-ED 5404Education of the Exceptional Child and Youth3
EDUC-R&P 5510Child Behavior And Development3
EDUC-R&P 5512Adolescent Development and the School3

 Total: Minimum 30 credit hours required