Program Description

The Advanced Studies in Teaching and Learning (ASTL) program incorporates National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) guidelines to help teachers think and practice as leaders and board-certified educators. This program is designed for teachers with one or more years of teaching or education-related experience who want to continue growing professionally. Coursework covers foundational knowledge, instructional and assessment strategies, and preparation for literacy coaches and staff developers. This program leads to eligibility for K-12 Reading Specialist licensure.

What it costs

The cost is $630.75 per credit hour for VA state residents or $536.14 per credit hour for VA state residents who are eligible and apply for the 15% PreK-12 VA Educators Discount. All out-of-state students qualify for an automatic 40% discount and a cost of $830.75 per credit hour. Fees include a $35 per credit hour Distance Learning fee. New Student and other mandatory university and course fees may apply.

Application Deadline

This program has rolling admissions, meaning that students can apply at any time.

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Program Summary

75 Percent Online

Program: Curriculum and Instruction

Concentration: ASTL: Literacy: Reading Specialist

Degree: MEd

College/School: College of Education and Human Development

Credits: 33 total

Who should apply?

Experienced teachers with or without a master’s degree may apply for this 33-credit ASTL program, which includes 21 credits in literacy and 12 core credits in Advanced Studies in Teaching and Learning (ASTL). Leading to a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in ASTL Literacy, successful completion of this program results in eligibility for K-12 Reading Specialist licensure. Please note, additional licensure requirements include three years of full-time teaching experience and a passing score on the state licensure exam.

If you already have a master’s degree and are interested in completing coursework for eligibility as a K-12 Reading Specialist, please see the Literacy: K-12 Reading Specialist, Graduate Certificate program profile.

Why choose George Mason?

  • Mason’s literacy program has been a “Nationally Recognized” program by the International Literacy Association since 2003.
  • This program can be completed in as little as 2 years or on a part-time basis.
  • Several fully online and hybrid online course options are available to reduce the number of required in-person meetings and allow for flexibility in your schedule.
  • Face-to-face courses are offered in the late afternoons or evenings and at all three Mason campuses – Fairfax, Arlington, and Prince William – to fit best into your schedule and nearest your location.
  • Successful completion of this program leads to a Master of Education and eligibility for licensure as a K-12 Reading Specialist.

Program requirements are subject to change; please refer to the Mason Course Catalog for the most up-to-date requirements. See the Literacy: K-12 Reading Specialist Concentration form for further details.

Several courses required for this program are offered in fully online or hybrid format and offerings vary by semester. Contact your advisor for more information.

Requirements: 33 credits total

  • 12 credits ASTL core courses
  • 21 credits literacy concentration courses

ASTL Core Courses

  • EDUC 606 Education and Culture | 3 credits
  • EDUC 612 Inquiry into Practice | 2 credits
  • EDUC 613 How Students Learn | 3 credits
  • EDUC 614 Designing and Assessing Teaching and Learning | 2 credits
  • EDUC 615 Educational Change | 2 credits

Literacy Concentration Courses

These courses must be taken in sequence.

  • EDRD 630 Literacy Foundations and Instruction for Diverse Populations: Birth through Middle Childhood | 3 credits
  • EDRD 631 Literacy Foundations and Instruction for Diverse Populations: Adolescence Through Adulthood | 3 credits
  • EDRD 632 Literacy Assessments and Interventions for Groups | 3 credits
  • EDRD 633 Literacy Assessments and Interventions for Individuals | 3 credits (Co-requisite: EDRD 637)
  • EDRD 637 Supervised Literacy Practicum | 2-3 credits (Must register for 3 credits) (Co-requisite: EDRD 633)
  • EDRD 634 School-Based Leadership in Literacy | 3 credits
  • EDRD 635 School-Based Inquiry in Literacy | 3 credits

Tuition (2018-2019)

Virginia Resident$630.75 plus fees
Virginia Resident and Prek-12 VA Educator
enrolled in a CEHD graduate program
Non-Virginia Resident enrolled in a CEHD
graduate program
$830.75** plus fees
Distance Learning Fee$35
Graduate New Student Fee$60 (non-refundable, one-time fee)

*For Virginia Educators: Starting in Fall 2014, PreK-12 educators in Virginia may receive a 15% discount off of the university’s approved tuition rate for in-state CEHD graduate students. For application deadlines and requirements, see

**For Out-of-State Students: Starting in Fall 2014, out-of-state CEHD students may receive an automatic discount of approximately 40% off of the university’s approved tuition rate for out-of-state graduate students. For further details, see

Please refer to the Students Accounts Office website for more information on tuition and fees.

Financial Aid

For information on loans and scholarships, visit the Office of Student Financial Aid. For information regarding grants, tuition waivers and other merit aid, please inquire with your graduate department. Also, many school districts offer tuition reimbursement options. Speak to your employer for more information.

Career Enhancement

This program develops research-focused, student-centered teachers and leaders. Aligned with the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS), the program pairs literacy coursework for a strong foundation in literacy and reading instruction with ASTL coursework. Your studies will provide you with a strong foundation in literacy instruction and will develop your literacy leadership and coaching skills. Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to focus on the knowledge and abilities needed to begin making a profound difference in the reading, writing, and language development of diverse learners.

Graduates of this program often find positions as reading specialists or literacy coaches in schools all over the state of Virginia. Key employers include public schools in Fairfax, Prince William, Falls Church, Loudoun, Arlington, Alexandria, Manassas City, Manassas Park, Stafford, Spotsylvania, and DC.

As a Mason student, you may contact George Mason Career Services for more career information and counseling.

Further Studies

Literacy is also available as a specialization or secondary emphasis in the Ph.D. in Education program.

Program ContactsRebecca Fox
Phone: (703) 993-4123

Jennifer I. Hathaway
Phone: (703) 993-5789
Academic Program OfficesAdvanced Studies in Teaching and Learning
Graduate School of Education
Phone: (703) 993-2794

Literacy and Reading
Graduate School of Education
Phone: (703) 993-7611
Program Website
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All applicants should review the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) Admissions page. For international applicants, see guidelines for International Graduate Requirements.


  • Hold a Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution
  • Maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or GPA of 3.0 in the last 60 hours of study (Some applicants with a lower GPA may be admitted provisionally if there is sufficient evidence of potential success)
  • One year of documented, successful teaching or related educational experience

Application Materials

  • Graduate application
  • Application fee
  • Goals statement (750-1000 words) that addresses reasons for choosing this ASTL program
  • Sealed official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended (applicants do not need to send in transcripts for courses taken at George Mason University)
  • Two letters of recommendation from professional references targeting applicant’s teaching skills and academic abilities
  • Writing sample
  • ASTL Departmental Form

If you have any questions during the application process, please contact the CEHD Admissions Office at or (703) 993-2010.