May 21, 2024  
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog 
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Reading Specialist: Literacy Leadership (RDS) MS 


Program Coordinator: Lisa Buckler

Program Delivery Format: Online (Hybrid delivery, mix of online and in-person, is available for School Partnership cohorts), 8-week sessions.

Total Credits: 36/37


  • TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Language)
  • Dyslexia (Wilson Reding Certification)

Average Completion Time: 24 months

Admission: Fall, Spring, and Summer (two admission options each semester, six entry points a year)

For more information contact:

Graduate Admissions: Crystal Perry, Assistant Director, Graduate Enrollment Management
(410) 857-2516

McDaniel Graduate and Professional Studies - or 410.857.2500.

The graduate program for certification of reading specialists is designed to create contemporary leaders in literacy education. The program offers a comprehensive approach to reading instruction and incorporates current research, theoretical perspectives, informed practice, and thoughtful reflection. Candidates implement a repertoire of assessment procedures and instructional techniques to address the needs of diverse learners. In addition, graduate candidates develop the capacity to coordinate and enhance school-wide literacy through professional development initiatives, literacy coaching, mentoring experiences, and collaboration with professional colleagues, support teams, parents, and students. In addition to core reading specialist coursework, candidates select an area of specialization: teaching English learners or dyslexia.

This comprehensive 36-credit graduate reading program has been evaluated and approved by National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education/Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, International Literacy Association (ILA), and the Maryland State Department of Education. Pennsylvania State Department of Education guidelines are addressed during the advisement process for students seeking employment and/or licensure in Pennsylvania.  The RDS program adheres to the ILA Standards for the Preparation of Literacy Professionals (2017).  Embedded in course content and program level assessments are the seven standards: 1) Foundational knowledge, 2) Curriculum and instruction, 3) Assessment and evaluation, 4) Diversity and equity 5) Learners and the literate environment, 6) Professional learning and leadership, 7) Practicum/clinical experiences.

Admissions Requirements

Candidates must submit:

  • Application for graduate study (online) -
  • Official transcripts conferring bachelor’s degree (minimum of 3.00 GPA*) from an accredited institution; graduate transcripts if applicable.
  • Copy of a Teaching Certificate - Maryland State Department of Education Standard Professional Certificate (SPC I or SPC II). Students with Professional Eligibility Certification or evidence of completion of teacher preparation program and passing Praxis II scores can be accepted in lieu of teacher certification.  Teachers who hold a license or certification from states outside of Maryland must also provide a copy of their teaching certificate.  Students holding provisional or conditional teacher certification would not be eligible for this program and should discuss options for initial certification with the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies.

Please note: Students who have a 2.75 to 2.99 GPA may be admitted provisionally and will be required to maintain a 3.0 GPA in the first 9-12 credit hours. Students with less than a 2.75 GPA will be considered for admission on a case-by-case basis for provisional admission but may be required to provide additional documentation and/or participate in an interview. Admission may also come with additional conditions.


Program Completion

In addition to successfully completing the practicum and fulfilling the 36-credit course requirements with a 3.00 GPA, candidates must pass a comprehensive written examination or complete a thesis as approved by the Program Coordinator. 

Candidates may consider writing a thesis as a culminating experience for program completion. This option is particularly valuable for students considering the pursuit of a doctorate or those with a well-defined research interest. Successful completion of the thesis is used in place of the comprehensive exam and credits earned from work on the thesis may count as the 3-credit program elective.

Total Credit Hours: 36 or 37 (depending on area of specialization)