The Best Online Master’s in Reading & Literacy Programs

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost % Enrolled Online Location Description
1 University of Florida 78.95 3/5 60% Gainesville, FL

Topping the list of 2017's best reading and literacy master's programs is the University of Florida, a Gainesville-based institution offering both a master of education and a master of arts in education in reading education. Students seeking a master's in reading online will find a nationally accredited, academically rigorous, and supportive program that can be completed in four to six semesters for those who are able to study full-time. While the M.Ed. program is a non-thesis track requiring 36 credit hours, the M.A.E. path calls for 30 credit hours of coursework alongside six hours devoted to the research and writing of a thesis or to a significant capstone project. Throughout both programs, learners focus on five different areas: foundations of reading, classroom reading assessment and supervision, diagnosis and remediation of reading difficulties, language arts and literature, and English as a secondary language.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
2 University of Georgia 67.26 3/5 3% Athens, GA

Organized via its online learning department, the University of Georgia offers a comprehensive online master's in reading education for those who aspire to help pre-K-12 learners increase their reading and comprehension skills. This program, which is overseen by the university's College of Education and the Language and Literacy Education Department, consists of 36 credit hours that are taught in a 12-course sequence to ensure learners gain a strong understanding of the tenets of reading comprehension. When following the sequence, learners can expect to graduate within two years of matriculation. As their time at UGA comes to an end, learners complete a capstone course and a final examination to qualify for graduation. As of 2017, the program is accredited by both the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation. Students entering during the 2016-2017 academic year could expect to pay $26,226 for the entire program.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
3 University of Dayton 60.62 5/5 2% Dayton, OH

Offered as an online master's for reading specialists, the University of Dayton's literacy graduate program is designed to prepare graduates for both further education and/or the opportunity to take up leadership roles in literacy programs. Whether a future literacy teacher is based in UD's home state of Ohio or across the country, the online nature of this program allows any learner the chance to gain the skills required for their future profession. As they move throughout the coursework, students study reading intervention, how to assess and evaluate difficulties, and how to develop a writing classroom. As students near the end of their time at the university, every student must complete either a comprehensive thesis, attend an educational research seminar, or learn about how teachers use data in the decision making process. In order to be accepted to this program, learners should have a 2.75 grade point average, a 149 or higher on the MAT, or a 4.0 or higher on the analytical writing section of the GRE.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
4 Rowan University 59.52 4/5 11% Glassboro, NJ

Serving students at two locations throughout New Jersey alongside a thriving online learning campus, students at Rowan University select from numerous course options when completing their MA in reading education. This 30 credit hour program may be completed by distance learners without ever visiting campus and most students finish their studies within five consecutive semesters. In addition to receiving approval from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator preparation, the International Reading Association has also praised the degree. While applicants aren't required to be certified teachers, they will need to have access to a classroom or school setting in order to complete practicum requirements. As part of their learning requirements within the program's reading practitioner track, all students will learn about instructional methodologies aligned to current Common Core standards within English and language arts classrooms. Out-of-state learners pay $730 per credit hour, but New Jersey-based applicants may apply for discounts via the New Jersey Teacher Outreach Program.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
5 Loyola Marymount University 58.96 5/5 1% Los Angeles, CA

Based in Los Angeles, Loyola Marymount University is a stellar option for prospective students seeking an esteemed private university steeped in Jesuit tradition that also offers online learning opportunities. For those looking for an online master's for reading specialists, it's the perfect fit. The university's MA in reading instruction is a two-year program that prepares graduates for leadership roles in pre-K-12 classrooms, with special emphasis on the inclusion of technology and approaches to working with diverse populations. Comprised of 33 credit hours, this degree was created with working professionals in mind: learners who are able to take two classes during the fall and spring semesters and one class during the summer term can graduate within two years. Additionally, all courses are offered asynchronously to ensure that students are able to complete assignments on their own schedules. While this program doesn't require a thesis or final project, learners will need to pass a comprehensive exam to qualify for graduation.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
6 Nova Southeastern University 58.68 4/5 49% Fort Lauderdale, FL

Nova Southeastern University, a Florida-based institution, provides a master of science in education with a specialization in reading education for aspiring literacy specialists in pre-K-12 schools. In addition to its status as an approved program for Florida residents seeking an add-on teaching certification, this program is also approved by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. Unlike other degrees requiring a thesis or culminating project, learners instead take 12 classes focused on educational measurements, reading supervision, and selecting appropriate literature for child and adult learners. At the end of their first year, students complete a supervised reading practicum in individual remediation. This prepares them for the classroom upon graduation. While the online nature of the program makes it possible for students throughout the country to enroll, interested students should first check with their state department of education to ensure that the program qualifies for certification or licensure in their area.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
7 University of South Florida-Main Campus 57.09 3/5 49% Tampa, FL

Joining the ranks of other Florida institutions in this ranking is Tampa's University of South Florida, a comprehensive public research institution offering significant online learning opportunities. The school's online master's for reading specialists is provided as an MA in reading K-12. Learners who already hold a professional teaching certificate or hold a certification degree from a state-approved program are encouraged to apply to this two-year program. The degree is taught in three blocks, and each block ends with a transition point project to ensure learners have a firm grasp on the concepts taught during that time period. By the time students have moved through all three blocks, they'll have completed between 33 and 36 credit hours, including a practicum in reading designed to provide students the opportunity to gain real-world experience. In addition to promising a reasonable tuition rate, the College of Education offers a range of scholarships to its online students.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
8 Concordia University-Nebraska 55.92 3/5 15% Seward, NE

For prospective learners looking for a particularly focused graduate degree program, Concordia University's M.Ed. in literacy with a reading specialist emphasis provides a nuanced study of this prolific area of teaching. Requiring 36 credit hours and allowing learners to complete all coursework requirements from the comfort of their home, students at Concordia benefit from the opportunity to learn from some of the best in the field while also juggling busy lives. And because courses are taught in eight week blocks, students enjoy the potential to finish their degrees more quickly than those taught on a semester schedule. Before being cleared for graduation, all learners must take EDUC 631: Creating a Case Study in Literacy. This field-based program requires learners to interact with students in a supervised manner while keeping reflective journals and providing a research paper on a topic or issue observed during their time in a primary or secondary classroom. Online learners can expect to pay $550 per credit hour for this degree.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
9 University of North Carolina at Charlotte 54.62 3/5 18% Charlotte, NC

As one of North Carolina's preeminent universities, students at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte have the opportunity to complete an innovative master of education in reading to prepare them for literacy roles in K-12 classrooms. Comprised of 33 credit hours, this program is taught via Moodle in a part-time format to ensure all learners, regardless of busy schedules, have the opportunity to complete further education. Unlike other programs, however, UNC Charlotte's master's in reading online is taught synchronously--meaning students will need to log-in via Saba Meeting at specific times. As students move into coursework, they'll soon learn that classes are divided into four content areas: foundations of literacy and technology, developmentally appropriate assessment and instruction, expanding content and pedagogical knowledge, and reflective leadership. In-state learners can expect to pay approximately $8,000 for this program, while those who live out-of-state should plan for an average of $28,000 in total.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
10 East Carolina University 54.32 3/5 34% Greenville, NC

The College of Education at East Carolina University's master's in reading online is an online-only program designed to propel graduates into meaningful literacy and reading comprehension leadership roles at K-12 schools. Individuals seeking reading teacher jobs will receive all the skills and knowledge they need to thrive in this program, which requires learners to complete 39 semester hours. As part of the curriculum, graduates receive a reading specialist license to better prepare them for the classroom. Although learners may decide not to visit the school's Greenville campus while studying, that doesn't mean they won't have access to internationally recognized faculty members who have contributed significant research in areas of literacy, best teaching practices, and the use of technology. And just because this program requires more credit hours than some others, that doesn't mean it will take longer to complete: most students are able to graduate within two to three years, even while teaching full-time.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
11 University of Northern Iowa 52.55 3/5 18% Cedar Falls, IA

The University of Northern Iowa's online learning programs--known as UNI at a Distance-- provide opportunities to students near and far. Individuals looking for a master of arts in education in literacy education will find a thoughtful, progressive plan of study on offer at the school, all of which can be completed via video conferencing and the school's online learning platform. This online reading specialist degree was developed for currently-licensed teachers looking to gain further reading endorsements. To that end, graduates may choose from three tracks: reading education K-8, secondary reading, or reading specialist. Once enrolled, every student is assigned a cohort of other learners who they'll journey through the coursework alongside, providing both community and support during the two-year program. Aside from required classes, learners also complete a practicum and a thesis to qualify for graduation. For the 2017-2018 academic year, learners paid $486 per credit, but those worried about funding will be pleased to know the Stanley and Norma Reeves Scholarship is available to learners within this program.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
12 Canisius College 52.05 3/5 7% Buffalo, NY

As one of 28 institutions with a Jesuit heritage--and the second in this ranking--in the United states, Canisius College in New York is uniquely positioned to serve the needs of students seeking a private liberal arts education and those seeking a school founded on Catholic tradition. For learners seeking a master's in reading online, Canisius is hard to pass up. Provided via the college's School of Education and Human Services, this online reading specialist degree requires students to visit the Buffalo campus from time to time. Students with initial teaching certification are eligible to gain a literacy certification in birth through grade six or grades five through 12 upon graduation. As part of the program's requirements, students complete two literacy practicums in schools while enrolled.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
13 University of Wisconsin-La Crosse 51.26 3/5 17% La Crosse, WI

Created with the working teacher in mind, the online master's in reading made available by the La Crosse extension of the University of Wisconsin offers numerous tracks for teachers with specific goals in mind. While all programs are offered as a master of science in education, different certifications are available. The 30 credit program prepares students for reading teacher certifications, while the 37 credit program provides an additional reading specialist certification. For learners not seeking certification, another 30 credit program allows students to use their electives to study advanced topics in literacy or Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). Taught as a cohort program, students will enter this degree path with a small number of peers who will take the same courses alongside them for the duration of the degree. Because of this, new students are only accepted for start dates in the fall of each academic year.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
14 SUNY at Albany 51.22 3/5 4% Albany, NY

The Department of Literacy Teaching and Learning at SUNY Albany delivers an MS in literacy for teachers with existing licensure who wish to receive additional certification for B-6, 5-12, or B-12 within the state of New York. Undergoing a complete revision in 2013, the current curriculum relies on the latest in research, policies, and technology to help prepare teachers to move into roles as literacy specialists, coaches, or advanced classroom teachers. Available as either a part- or full-time program, students can rest easy with the assurance that this asynchronous program will allow them to complete projects and assignments around busy schedules. Students have a number of different practicum areas to select from when it comes time to gain experience in the classroom, including adolescent literacies, preventing literacy difficulties, and differentiated instruction/coaching. As of the 2016-2017 academic year, graduate students paid tuition fees of $453 per credit (this price reduces as students sign on for more credits).

Tweet this Share this School Profile
15 Concordia University-Chicago 50.85 3/5 19% River Forest, IL

Chicago's Concordia University, a revered private institution, has recently made available its master of arts in reading education degree online so that students across the country have the opportunity to gain a degree from this venerable institution. Designed for individuals who intend to seek literacy jobs upon graduation, alumni of this program wield the tools, knowledge, and wisdom they need to both serve students and become leaders in the field. Requiring 30 credit hours and 24 months from start to completion, students may also find the fact that the program requires no GRE scores appealing. Unlike other programs that mandate an extensively researched thesis, students at Concordia are instead required to spend a semester in a classroom gaining real-world experience before creating a culminating final project that puts to use all the skills they've built throughout the program.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
16 Hamline University 50.79 4/5 6% Saint Paul, MN

Recognizing that literacy serves as the backbone for all classroom success, Hamline University in Saint Paul, Minnesota provides a master of arts in literary education. In addition to 24 credit hours taken alongside a cohort class, students are also encouraged to complete 10 elective credits from the School of Education or Hamline's Summer Literacy Institute. The capstone credit, taken during the fourth and final term, allows students to tackle a problem or issue they've identified within literacy pedagogy and use their newfound knowledge to provide a solution. Interested students are allowed to transfer up to five semester credits at the time of matriculation, or 10 credits taken from Hamline. A selective institution, applicants must have a 3.0 average GPA. Once admitted, learners pay a reasonable per-credit hour rate of $452, but learners with exceptional academic merit or existing leadership accomplishments are eligible to receive a renewable $1,500 scholarship.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
17 The University of West Florida 47.89 3/5 47% Pensacola, FL

Rounding out the list of Florida institutions offering an online master's in reading, The University of West Florida in Pensacola is a dynamic public institution catering to approximately 13,000 learners--many of whom elect to complete their studies online. Made available to licensed teachers, the school's M.Ed. in reading education requires students to undertake 36 semester hours--all of which are tailored to meet International Reading Association standards. In addition to a reading practicum requirement, students complete a research-based capstone project during their final semester of studies. Although this program is available to out-of-state applicants, prospective students should review their state's department of education requirements before enrolling. Once a student has been cleared to apply, they'll also need to demonstrate ESOL proficiency and show proof of maintaining a 3.0 GPA at the undergraduate level before admittance.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
18 Olivet Nazarene University 46.62 3/5 12% Bourbonnais, IL

Students seeking an accelerated online master's in reading will find all that they're looking for and more at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Illinois. Delivered via a cohort model, ONU students complete endorsement requirements within one year or a master of arts in education: reading specialist in 18 months. Requirements for the endorsement total 24 credits, while the graduate program requires 32 credits. Teachers planning to work with school-aged children, Kindergarten through 12th grade, typically pursue this program, which provides cutting-edge concepts, case studies, and field-placement opportunities within the curriculum. Students also have the opportunity to apply their learning to real-world situations during the creative project/practicum course during their final semester. As of the most recent academic year, online students pay $440 per credit or $14,180 for the entire master's program. Aside from outside grants and scholarships, the school also offers a few merit and need-based scholarship opportunities for exceptional applicants.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
19 Concordia University-Wisconsin 45.72 4/5 15% Mequon, WI

Built upon a Lutheran foundation, the Wisconsin campus of Concordia University offers a well-respected online master of science in education - literacy program. Throughout the two-year program, students complete three different portfolios to help them review and retain the information they've learned during the previous semester. Meanwhile, the school's graduate capstone project allows students to examine problems within literacy education and develop a comprehensive project to address targeted needs. While the standards set forth by the Wisconsin Department of Education often meet the requirements of other states, students should speak with an administrator before enrolling. The school's 33 required courses cost approximately $18,000 to complete, but the school offers numerous discounts: for example, Christian school educators receive a 25% tuition reduction, while those working for preferred educational partners receive up to 24% off their costs.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
20 California State University-Fresno 43.99 2/5 25% Fresno, CA

The Fresno campus of California State University, Fresno's master of arts in education with an emphasis in reading/language arts degree can be completed within five semesters of study. Requiring 30 credit hours, students with an existing graduate school background also have the opportunity to transfer up to nine credits gained from a different institution. Students are admitted in the fall and continue to take two credits per semester until completing the degree. During their final semester, learners have the option to complete a significant project, a research thesis, or a comprehensive examination. Although students can decide to enroll on a part-time basis, all required classes must be completed within five years of matriculation. In order to be accepted, students must hold an undergraduate degree, must have maintained at least a 2.75 GPA, and must meet the school's undergraduate writing competency exam requirements.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
21 University of North Dakota 43.46 3/5 29% Grand Forks, ND

When future literacy teachers elect to complete their online master's in reading at the University of North Dakota, they select from either an M.Ed or MS program. While the first is appropriate for teachers who eventually plan to move into administrative roles, a master of science empowers students who are interested in topics like educational data, instructional technology, and educational evaluation/measurement. Regardless of the path chosen, both degrees require 32 credit hours and two to three years to complete. Tailored to the needs of the working professional, all courses are taught asynchronously and never require students to visit campus. Classes are kept to 15 students or less. Regardless of their residency, online students also enjoy an in-state tuition rate of $360 per credit. More information regarding the program can be found at the Department of Education's active blog and Twitter account.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
22 University of Cincinnati-Main Campus 43.32 4/5 34% Cincinnati, OH

Offering one of the most unique master's in reading online in this ranking is the University of Cincinnati, a mid-sized public institution located in southwest Ohio. The online master's in literacy and second language studies was developed for educators who aspire to work with diverse populations--be they in a traditional K-12 school setting or in an adult literacy program. The degree offers a range of specializations in areas of pre-K-12 literacy learning and instruction, pre-K-12 teaching English as a second language, and adult/international teaching English as a second language. Within each of these areas, learners complete a semester-long practicum at a local school or learning center and submit a comprehensive research paper during their final semester. Applicants require at least a 3.0 GPA to attend this selective institution. GRE or MAT scores are also required as part of the application process.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
23 Old Dominion University 42.02 3/5 32% Norfolk, VA

Old Dominion University may be based in Norfolk, Virginia but students throughout the country take advantage of the school's online master's in reading thanks to ODUOnline, the school's online extension. ODU's online reading education program, which offers a reading specialist concentration, yields a flexible degree that was designed to provide the support and ease needed by full-time teachers working toward higher education. With a focus on equipping teachers to instruct primary and secondary learners, ODU's curriculum emphasizes reading development, student assessment, remediation, and more. Although the majority of the program's 10 required classes are taught asynchronously, prospective applicants should be aware that some classes have scheduled meeting times. The degree also requires practicum component that ensures all learners have the chance to put their newfound skills and knowledge to use in a real-world setting. In addition to its well-respected reputation in the teaching community, this program is also approved by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
24 Wilkes University 40.92 4/5 14% Wilkes-Barre, PA

Wilkes University, in partnership with the National Institute for Professional Practice, provides a 36 credit hour master's in reading online to Pennsylvania students and those further afield. Throughout this degree, learners take courses in areas of literacy leadership, literacy for diverse learners, and instructional strategies from Wilkes and its partner organization. Students complete both a practicum and internship to enhance what the school calls embedded learning--an opportunity for students to immediately apply their coursework to classroom environments. Students should know, however, that if they live outside Pennsylvania they'll be required to find their own school site (which must be approved by the university). The school does offer a reading specialist certification, but only in-state learners are eligible for this add-on. Regardless of their location, every learner pays the same reasonable rate of $454 per credit or $1,362 for each three-credit course.

Tweet this Share this School Profile
25 Minnesota State University-Mankato 39.53 3/5 27% Mankato, MN

Rounding out 2017's ranking of the best online master's in reading is the Mankato campus of Minnesota State University, a competitive public institution recognized within the educational arena for excellence. Whether applying as a teacher or an administrator, learners in this program gain both foundational and nuanced knowledge related to topics like diversity, content area reading instruction, assessment and instruction, and leadership in reading. Upon graduation, students are prepared to meet the Standards for Reading Professionals, as established by the Professional Standards and Ethics Committee for the International Reading Association. As part of the program's practicum requirements, students are required to develop an instructional plan for two learners who have been identified by the lead teacher to struggle with reading. Whether students elect to complete a thesis, a creative project, or an alternate plan paper, this degree requires 34 credit hours.

Tweet this Share this School Profile