Program Description

The Literacy Leadership for Diverse Schools concentration is designed for teachers who would like to earn a master’s degree as they develop the expertise needed to serve as literacy leaders.  Coursework helps teachers develop an in-depth understanding of literacy development across the lifespan, instructional and assessment strategies for individuals and groups of students, along with preparation as a Reading Specialist.  There are also opportunities to develop more specialized knowledge to address the needs of diverse learners, including English learners or students served through Special Education programs.  This concentration can lead to eligibility for the K-12 Reading Specialist license in Virginia.

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 a priority application deadline of April 1 for Fall and November 1 for Spring. Applications are accepted on a space-available basis after the priority deadlines. For application information and deadlines, see the Admissions site.

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Program Summary

75 Percent Online

Program: Curriculum and Instruction

Concentration: Literacy Leadership for Diverse Schools: K-12 Reading Specialist

Degree: MEd

College/School: College of Education and Human Development

Credits: 33 total

 Who should apply?

This 33-credit program is designed for teachers with at least one year of teaching experience who would like to earn  a master’s degree while also becoming eligible for the K-12 Reading Specialist license. Additional state requirements for the license beyond the master’s degree include having an initial teaching license, earning a satisfactory score on the Reading for Virginia Educators: Reading Specialist exam, and having at least three years of teaching experience under contract.

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

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 pursued on a part-time basis and completed in three years or less.
  • 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 Science & Technology in Manassas – to fit best into your schedule and nearest your location.
  • For an early start on the program, any student accepted for Fall admission is eligible to begin taking courses in the preceding Summer semester.
  • Successful completion of this program leads to a Master of Education and eligibility for licensure in Virginia 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.

Requirements: 33 credits total

  • 24 credits core courses
  • 9 credits elective courses

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.

Core 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
  • Choice between EDRS 590: Education Research | 3 credits OR EDSE 590: Special Education Research | 3 credits

Elective Courses

Choose 3 of the following:

  • EDAT 510: Introduction to Assistive Technology | 3 credits
  • EDAT 524: Universal Design for Learning | 3 credits
  • EDCI 510: Linguistics for Prek-12 ESOL Teachers | 3 credits
  • EDCI 516: Bilingualism and Language Acquisition Research | 3 credits
  • EDCI 519: Methods of Teaching Culturally & Linguistically Diverse Learners | 3 credits
  • EDCI 570: Teaching Young Adult Literacy in a Multicultural Setting | 3 credits
  • EDSE 501: Introduction to Special Education | 3 credits
  • EDSE 502: Classroom Management and Applied Behavior Analysis | 3 credits
  • EDSE 517: Computer applications for Special Populations | 3 credits
  • EDSE 540: Characteristics of Students with Disabilities who Access the General Curriculum | 3 credits
  • EDSE 619: Applied Behavior Analysis: Principles, Procedures, and Philosophy | 3 credits
  • EDSE 628: Elementary Reading, Curriculum, Strategies for Students Who Access the General Education Curriculum | 3 credits
  • EDSE 629: Secondary Curriculum and Strategies for Students with Disabilities who Access the General Curriculum | 3 credits
  • EDUC 537: Introduction to Culturally & Linguistically Diverse Learners | 3 credits
  • EDUC 595: Perspectives on Exceptl Tching | 3 credits

Note: Check course descriptions for prerequisites. Substitutions must be approved by your advisor. 

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, 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 Opportunities

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 the George Mason Career Services center for more career information and counseling.

Further Studies

The diverse learner courses required for a MEd in Literacy Leadership for Diverse Schools can also help satisfy state requirements for an additional license in Special Education or English as a Second Language.

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

Program AdvisorJennifer I. Hathaway
Phone: (703) 993-5789
Academic Program OfficeLiteracy and Reading
Graduate School of Education
Phone: (703) 993-7611
Program Website
Follow CEHD on Twitter @MasonCEHD

All applicants should review the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) Admissions page. For international applicants, see guidelines for International Graduate Requirements.

Apply for Fall or Spring only. Any student accepted for Fall admission is eligible to take a course in the preceding summer if a required course is available.


  • 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) describing your academic and career goals related to the program that demonstrates basic writing skills
  • 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

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