Literacy & Second Language Studies : Online


Why study Literacy & Second Language Studies : Online?

The Literacy and Second Language Studies graduate degree program, at the University of Cincinnati, is an online program that is designed to encourage professional educators to broaden and deepen their understanding of the social, cultural, linguistic, and institutional factors that contribute to a person’s ability to communicate in a first or second language. The master's program offers a comprehensive study for students interested in exploring literacy and language processes.

Our area of emphasis includes:

  • The effective design and implementation of literacy curricula.
  • The assessment and evaluation of literacy difficulties.
  • Practice with a variety of instructional methods to foster the literacy learning of diverse student populations.
  • Strategies for critically analyzing foundational and current research in the field of literacy and second language studies.

Our literacy graduate program offers two general concentrations:

  • PreK-16 Literacy and Learning Instruction
  • PreK-12 Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL) Focus

Additional courses of study include Postsecondary Literacy Instruction and International/ Adult TESL. Concentration-specific courses, practica experiences, and a culminating activity in the form of either a master’s project or a master’s thesis are also required to complete the degree.

Admission Requirements

The following are requirements for admission:

  1. The applicant must possess a Baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university.
  2. The applicant must have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 at the undergraduate level leading to the Bachelor Degree. The applicant who possesses a master’s degree prior to admission must have a graduate grade point average of at least 3.0 in any graduate level work undertaken before admission. All calculations are based on a 4.0 scale.
  3. In rare instances, candidates who graduated from a non-accredited college or university or who do not meet the minimum grade point averages requirement for admission may be admitted based upon an evaluation of evidence submitted by the candidate. As a minimum, the evidence must address mastery of the knowledge prerequisite to the courses required by the program, acceptable writing skills, the ability to engage in critical thinking, and a personal commitment to completing the program. The evidence, very often including Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores, must convincingly demonstrate the candidate's potential for success in graduate level work.
  4. GRE scores are optional for admission to the Master's degree program, but are highly recommended to strengthen applications that may be weak in other areas. For example, applicants wtihout a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 should include GRE scores with their application.

Please note:  Applicants who are not accepted for admission may reapply once they have addressed the weaknesses identified during their initial application review. During that period, such applicants may be encouraged by the program to enroll in appropriate course work to develop the knowledge, skills, and values deemed necessary for admission into the program, or to demonstrate that the applicant already possesses such qualifications. Whether such course work may apply to the degree program is left to the discretion of the program. Applicants may also be encouraged to take or re-take the GRE. However, completion of recommended course work or the GRE does not guarantee admission into the program.

Please note: It is highly recommended that students applying to the PreK-16 Literacy Learning and Instruction have at least 2 years of teaching experience.

Application Deadline and Procedures

Prospective students will complete the on-line application for their requested program by the posted application deadline. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that all required materials and support documents are successfully submitted. Incomplete applications will not be processed or reviewed.


Providing academic records during the application process. All applicants are required to upload their unofficial transcripts during the application process. The university defines “unofficial” transcripts as transcripts that have been in the hands of students, are typically printed on plain paper, and do not have a college seal or registrar's signature. Applicants should NOT send official transcripts as part of the application process.

Providing academic records after admission. Once an applicant has been extended an offer of admission to the University of Cincinnati and has accepted the offer, s/he must submit an official transcript showing conferral of a baccalaureate degree or higher as soon as possible to the address below. The university defines “official” transcripts as transcripts that have been received from a secure, authenticated issuing institution and bears validation (e.g., a seal, logo, or watermark), including a date, and an appropriate signature. Official transcripts MUST be sent forward in their original, sealed envelope. The absolute final deadline for submission of official transcripts is one week before the start of the student’s first semester. Students will NOT be allowed to complete a full semester without providing verification of an earned baccalaureate degree or higher. Any discrepancy later found between student-provided unofficial transcripts and official transcripts will be grounds for dismissal. Official Transcripts should be sent to one of the following addresses:

Regular U.S. postal mail: Delivery via parcel delivery service (FedEx, DHL, UPS, etc.):
Graduate School
University of Cincinnati
110 Van Wormer Hall
P.O. Box 210627
2614 University Circle
Cincinnati, Ohio 45221-0627
Graduate School
University of Cincinnati
2614 University Circle
110 Van Wormer Hall
Cincinnati, Ohio 45221-0627


UC Alumni

Students who have received degrees from the University of Cincinnati do not need to submit official paper copies of their UC transcripts.

Students with degrees received in China

Applicants who have received degrees in China will upload their unofficial transcripts during the application process. The university defines “unofficial” transcripts as transcripts that have been in the hands of students, are typically printed on plain paper, and do not have a college seal or registrar's signature. Unofficial transcripts do NOT need to be verified at this stage of the application process.

After being accepted to join a graduate program

Applicants who have earned a degree in China must submit an English-version verification report from the China Academic Degrees and Graduate Education Development Center (CDGDC) of their final transcripts and degree certificates.  All verification reports must be sent to the University of Cincinnati directly by the CDGDC to be considered official. No other verification will be accepted. Applicants with Chinese transcripts must contact the CDGDC after their degree is completed and request that their degree verification report be submitted directly to the University of Cincinnati. Students who request a verification report prior to degree conferral will be required to submit a second report after conferral.

Verification reports can be ordered at the following websites:

Verification reports are due to the Graduate School one week prior to the start of the student’s first semester. Failure to submit verification reports on time will result in a student being placed in non-matriculated status and loss of his/her student visa status. Verification reports should be sent to one of the following addresses:

Regular U.S. postal mail: Delivery via parcel delivery service (FedEx, DHL, UPS, etc.):
Graduate School
University of Cincinnati
110 Van Wormer Hall
P.O. Box 210627
2614 University Circle
Cincinnati, Ohio 45221-0627
Graduate School
University of Cincinnati
2614 University Circle
110 Van Wormer Hall
Cincinnati, Ohio 45221-0627

Successful applicants:

  • Hold a Baccalaureate Degree from an accredited college or university
  • Have a GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for undergraduate coursework*
  • Have basic familiarity with computers and the Internet

*International University credits must be converted to U.S. 4.0 grading scale.

  • The PreK-16 Literacy Learning and Instruction concentration meets the International Literacy Association’s 2010 Standards for Reading Professionals. Students who hold a valid teaching certificate or license are eligible for the Ohio Reading Endorsement upon completion of the degree requirements. Career possibilities include: PreK-16 Reading Specialist, Reading Curriculum Coordinator, or Literacy Educator.
  • The PreK-12 Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL) concentration meets the international TESOL standards and is geared toward individuals who are licensed in a single or multiple subject areas and are interested in teaching English as a Second Language (ESL). Career possibilities include: ESL educators, curriculum developers, and consultants, or program administrators for public and private schools.

Students will be assigned individual academic advisors upon admission into the Master’s degree program. Inquiries about the program should be directed to Dr. Hye Pae.

The Master’s degree program in Literacy and Second Language Studies importantly offers students flexibility in selecting the disciplinary concentration that applies most directly to his/her individual educational and professional goals. Additionally, the program’s fully online format enables students to complete all degree requirements without having to relocate to the greater Cincinnati metropolitan area. All Literacy and Second Language Studies faculty are well-trained in distance learning pedagogies in accordance with the Quality Matters (QM) standards. Specialized practica further provide students with critical hands-on instructional experiences necessary to be competitive in the job market.

Students may graduate at the end of any semester if they meet the necessary degree requirements and all program and University deadlines. Students should confer closely with their advisors regarding graduation as they approach the completion of their degree requirements. The initial step in the graduation process consists of a formal application for graduation. This must be done by the announced deadline (usually during the semester prior to the semester of anticipated graduation) and is completed online.

A complete list of important deadlines and responsibilities that must be met prior to graduation, as well as further instructions and guidelines for completing the application for graduation can be found at the Graduate School website

The student must be registered for at least one graduate credit in their program in an academic year, after having met minimum degree/candidacy requirements in order to be considered a graduate student throughout the academic year. Further, students must be registered for at least one graduate credit during the academic year in which they will graduate.

Before graduation for all students, submission of Notification of Removal of all NG, N, I, UP, SP, and F grades must be sent as well as posting of all satisfactory grades for the graduation semester.

Satisfactory completion of all applicable College and program requirements is provided by the student’s advisor filling out the Checklist for Completion of College/Departmental Requirements for Graduation and sending it to the Graduate School. Students completing a thesis must deposit a copy of the thesis with the Graduate School according to the most current detailed instructions on the Graduate School website.

Courses taken prior to admission into the master’s degree program in Literacy and Second Language Studies may be eligible for transfer into the program, if taken within 5 years prior to admission. All transferred courses must have approval of the program faculty. Official paperwork is required to complete the transfer of courses; forms are available from the Director of Graduate Studies. Upon approval, students may transfer up to 10 graduate semester credit hours into their degree program course of study.

International student applicants are required to provide specific information about their transcripts or degree programs to facilitate the applicant review process, including transcript translation and evaluation by a recognized translation/evaluation agency. For a list of translation/evaluation agencies accepted by the University of Cincinnati, please contact UC International online or by phone at (513)-556-4278.

The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), IELTS or PTE is required of all applicants whose native language is not English, and must have been taken within the 2-year period of time preceding admission. The following minimum scores must be obtained:

  • TOEFL Internet-Based Test (iBT): 80
  • TOEFL Paper-Based Test (PBT): 550
  • TOEFL Computer-Based Test (CBT): 213
  • IELTS: 6.5
  • PTE: 53

The University of Cincinnati maintains an International Student Services Office (ISSO), which serves international students attending the University. For questions regarding international student information, contact UC International online or by phone at (513) 556-4278.

The University of Cincinnati accepts documentation of successful, recent completion of ELS Level 112 as evidence of English language proficiency. Such evidence may be submitted in lieu of TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE scores.

Application Deadlines

Application deadlines are as follows:

  • Fall Semester - July 1
  • Spring Semester - November 15
  • Summer Semester - July 17

Your application is not considered complete, and so cannot be reviewed, until the Graduate School has received all of the following:

  1. A cover letter clearly stating to which degree concentration the application is being made (e.g., PreK-16 Literacy Learning and Instruction, Postsecondary Literacy Instruction, PreK-12 TESOL, or Adult/International TESL).
  2. A statement of the applicant's academic and professional goals, approximately two pages long. This writing sample will be used as one of the criteria for evaluating the application. The applicant should explain specifically what areas s/he would like to study so that an appropriate advisor can be assigned to the applicant if admitted into the program.
  3. A resume relevant to academic and professional data. It should include the applicant's name, address, phone, email, colleges attended with degrees, dates conferred, and grade point average, employment history, professional experience, present employer, and names of references.
  4. Two letters of recommendation (3 recommended) from people familiar with the applicant’s academic and professional abilities. If possible, at least one letter should be from a faculty member in higher education. Those writing letters should explain who they are, their relationship to the applicant, and what they know of the applicant’s academic and professional abilities. The applicant should be prepared to provide the recommenders e-mail addresses in the electronic application. Since recommenders are not prompted to submit their letters until the electronic application has been submitted, and application fee paid, it is wise to encourage recommenders to prepare their letters in advance so that they can upload them immediately upon receipt of the prompt.
  5. Transcripts showing all undergraduate and graduate course work completed, including degrees granted and dates of degrees. Applicants whose previous degrees were earned at the University of Cincinnati may substitute "on-campus" transcripts.
  6. OPTIONAL: Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Scores. Provide an original copy of scores taken within five years of the date the application. To ensure we receive the scores, both the university and the program to which scores are sent should be indicated on the order form. The code for University of Cincinnati is 1833.

Please note: If you are seeking an endorsement as part of your program, you must include a copy of your current Ohio teaching license.

Notification: The program reviews the applicant's materials and informs the applicant of its decision after completing the review. If the applicant is accepted, applicants must notify the program in writing of their intent to enroll. An academic advisor will be assigned, and it will be the applicant's responsibility to set up an appointment with his/her advisor prior to registering for courses. If the applicant is not accepted, the program will notify the applicant by letter of this decision.

 Please note: Application materials will not be returned to the applicant.  

Program Contact Information:

School of Education
College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services
University of Cincinnati
P.O. Box 210022
Cincinnati, OH 45221-0022
Phone #513-556-3600
Fax #513-556-1001

The University of Cincinnati and all regional campuses are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.


The program is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).

The PreK-16 Literacy Learning and Instruction is aligned with the International Literacy Association’s (2010) Standards for Reading Professionals. The Postsecondary Literacy Instruction concentration is aligned with the WPA/NCTE Framework for Success in Postsecondary Writing (2011) and the International Literacy Association’s (2010) Standards for Reading Professionals. The PreK-12 TESOL concentration and the Adult/International TESL concentration are aligned with the Teaching Standards of the TESOL Organization.


Contact Information

CECH Office of Recruitment
PO BOX 210014
Cincinnati, OH 45221
(513) 556-6308

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Program Code: 18MAS-LSLS-MED-.LSLS-DL