Frequently Asked Questions

What do you look for in a prospective applicant?

  • An Inquiry Stance : We are an inquiry-based and practice-oriented community. We and our students and graduates challenge assumptions and complacency and embrace a stance of inquiry toward the interrelated roles of learner, teacher, and leader in birth through sixth grade education.

  • A Curricular Stance : Negotiating among multiple perspectives on culture, content, and context, our graduates strive to meet the needs of diverse learners, both students and other adults, in their school communities.

  • A Social Justice Stance : Our graduates choose to collaborate across differences in and beyond their school communities. They demonstrate a commitment to social justice and to serving the world while imagining its possibilities.

How long does it take to complete the program?
The Literacy Specialist program involves 32 credits of coursework. Most full-time students can complete the program in one full calendar year with ideally, a week or two of the first summer. If a student enters the program in January, then that student will not be able to finish for eighteen months, as the Master’s Action Research Project must begin in the fall and encompasses two semesters. Part-time students can progress at their own schedule.

What types of careers do graduates of the program pursue?
Graduates pursue varied career paths in both educational and professional settings upon completion of the program. Some return to the classroom as highly skilled teachers, lead teachers, or grade-level leaders. Others become literacy specialists, curriculum coordinators, or administrators in schools. Still others enter the fields of educational publishing, consulting, advocacy, or research. Finally, some graduates choose to pursue doctoral study following the completion of their master’s degree.

Does the program lead to certification?
Students who complete the Literacy Specialist program will have also completed the program requirement for the initial New York State Certification as a Literacy Specialist (Birth – Grade 6). Other requirements for Initial Certification as a Literacy Specialist .

Do I need to have teaching experience before being accepted into the Literacy Specialist program? What about a teaching certificate or license?
The Literacy Specialist Program is best suited to students who have taught, and now want to develop their expertise as Literacy Specialists. However, on occasion, the program does admit some very promising students who have not yet been the sole teacher in a year-long teaching position. Thus, everyone entering the program will have taught in one capacity or another. All students need to be certified to teach before entering the program.

Can I work full-time while I’m a student in the program?
Yes. Most courses at TC are offered in the evening to accommodate educators who teach during the day. In fact, about half of the students in the Literacy Specialist program are typically classroom teachers by day and Master’s students by night. We do not recommend taking full-time coursework if you are working full-time since the amount of work involved may become overwhelming. Consult with your advisor about an appropriate number of credits to take each semester. Full-time students will be involved in fieldwork placements and must schedule accordingly.

Is financial aid available?
Teachers College students will have access to a variety of different types of financial aid. From institutional scholarships and grants, to federal student aid, several possibilities exist for the express purpose of helping a student pay his or her (on and off-campus) education-related expenses. Students are encouraged to work independently, as well as collaboratively with the Financial Aid office, to explore these many options. For more information, see the Financial Aid website .

Can I transfer any graduate credits from another school?
No. TC does not accept transfer credits for MA programs.

When is the application deadline?
Students may apply in spring, summer, or fall terms. The deadlines are: Spring: Nov. 1, 2014 Summer/Fall (Early): Jan. 15, 2015 Summer/Fall (Final): Apr. 15, 2015 More information on deadlines .