Program Description

This Advanced Studies in Teaching and Learning (ASTL) 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 Virginia K-12 Reading Specialist licensure. The courses, aligned with the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, help teachers think and practice as board-certified teachers. The program develops teacher-leaders who practice reflection through action-research, problem-based learning, and self-inquiry, and teacher expertise in a concentration that will identify the teacher as a potential leader in that area.

What it costs

The cost for this program is $693.25 per credit hour for VA state residents, $893.25 per credit hour for Non-VA residents. There is a 15% PreK-12 VA Educators Discount available for VA state residents who are eligible and apply. See the Cost tab below for a breakdown of tuition and fees. All of Mason’s tuition rates and fees can be found on our Student Accounts site.

Application Deadline

This program has an application deadline of April 1 for Fall and November 1 for Spring. For all application information and deadlines, see the CEHD Admissions site. 

Request Info

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 (2021-2022)

Virginia Resident$543.00
Non-Virginia Resident $743.00
Mandatory Student fee $150.25
Total Cost for Virginia Residents per Credit $693.25
Total Cost for Non-Virginia Residents per Credit $893.25
Graduate New Student Fee$60 (non-refundable, one-time fee)

Please Note: In addition to the tuition and fees described below, various course and lab fees may be assessed depending on the course(s) in which the student is enrolled. Please refer to the Students Accounts Office website for more information on tuition and fees. Internship courses will incur a higher CEHD course fee to fund on-site assistance involving intensive clinical training/supervision.

*VA state residents who are eligible must apply for the 15% PreK-12 VA Educators Discount in order to take advantage of the lower tuition. Discount applies to tuition and mandatory student fees only.

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 ContactJennifer 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
Follow CEHD on Twitter @MasonCEHD
“Like” CEHD on Facebook

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 US institution that is accredited by one of the organizations found here
  • 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
  • Unofficial transcripts from all colleges and universities attended (applicants do not need to send in transcripts for courses taken at George Mason University). Official transcripts are required after admission.
  • Two letters of recommendation from professional references targeting applicant’s teaching skills and academic abilities
  • Writing sample
  • For International Applicants:
    • Copies of unofficial university transcripts and any earned degree, translated to English and evaluated by the Mason Office of Admissions or through a verified external evaluation service. Please visit this page for more information.
    • Verification of English language proficiency. Please see the English Proficiency Requirements page for more information.

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