Prospective Students in Literacy Studies


Our program operates on rolling admissions for fall and spring semesters. Admissions requirements include the following:

  • Undergraduate GPA of 2.75 or higher, or 3.0 or higher for last half of degree
  • Valid elementary or secondary teaching license
  • TOEFL score for international students
  • Two professional letters of recommendation
  • Brief resume of your educational experiences
  • Statement of goals for your master's program
  • Application form and signed dispositions form


Coursework is fully online and utilizes an innovative, virtual reading clinic to accentuate the practicum experience. The program requires students to take and pass 18 credits of core graduate coursework. Students may then opt to earn their degree by taking 12 credits of electives in multiple literacies and a comprehensive exam (for a total of 32 credits), or they can choose to complete a thesis and take 9 elective credits(for a total of 33 credits).

Nevada reading specialist endorsement

Our M.Ed. will help you receive your endorsement as a reading specialist in Nevada. According to the Nevada State Department of Education, you must have the following to apply for an endorsement:

1.  A master's degree
2.  Three years of verified teaching experience in state-approved schools
3.  A valid elementary or secondary teaching license
4.  A minimum of 16 graduate hours in courses in reading, including each
     of the following areas:
              A.  Foundations of reading (EDRL 600)
              B.  Etiology and diagnosis of reading problems (EDRL 700)
              C.  Clinical practice in remediating reading problems (EDRL 701)
              D.  Research in reading (EDUC 771H or EDUC 770)

The application process can be found at the website for the Nevada State Department of Education.

Get started

We encourage you to reach out to us when you're ready to take the next step! Please feel free to contact our program director, Dr. Dianna Townsend, or the Literacy, Language, and Culture program department to set up a time to chat with us about admissions, curriculum, professional benefits, and more.

Dianna Townsend                                           
Associate Professor of Literacy Studies                         
Phone: 775-682-7866                                            

The Online Literacy Studies Master's Program is designed for educators at all levels interested in learning more about current research and practice related to literacy learning. Coursework addresses theoretical and foundational notions of literacy as well as pedagogical application of research and theory. Each course is taught exclusively online by literacy studies research faculty. Students have opportunities to engage in coursework with peers and professors using various technological tools. Our master's degree allows students to gain an endorsement in literacy from the State of Nevada that is attached to their teaching license. The majority of students in our program are licensed teachers. Each graduate class is built on the assumption that students in the online program courses are educators. We do accept students who have degrees or work in areas related to education such as speech therapy or library science. Our courses assume a foundational knowledge of teaching and student learning. We recommend that students fulfill the necessary requirements to gain a teaching license and then apply for our master's program. Literacy Studies graduate courses may be taken without applying to the master's program. If you are interested in taking graduate courses in our program without applying for admission, please contact the Graduate School.

Graduate special

The graduate special classification is for students who have earned a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution and who wish to take graduate courses but do not plan to pursue a program leading to an advanced degree, or for applicants who do not meet the requirements for admission to regular graduate standing. Admission to graduate special status does not constitute admission to graduate standing in the graduate school. With graduate special classification, a student may enroll for undergraduate or graduate credit and may satisfy the teacher certificate requirements. Although there is no limit to the number of credits that may be earned as a graduate special student, a maximum of 9 semester credits may be applied toward a program of study. Graduate Special students are not eligible for financial aid, including student loans. All graduate special students are governed by university regulations, including academic warning and probation, and are encouraged to seek official admission at the earliest possible date.

Applying graduate special credits to a degree

One does not need to "transfer" courses taken as a graduate special or courses taken as part of a previous degree at University of Nevada, Reno. Students who took courses intended for their degree as a Graduate Special student may apply 9 Graduate Special credits towards their degree program. Any application of credits in excess of 9 credits requires an exception to policy to be requested by your Graduate Program Director. Contact the Graduate School if you have any questions or confusion regarding what can or cannot be applied towards your degree.  Download Graduate Credit Transfer Evaluation Request Form

Need help or more information? Call us at (775) 784-6869 or email