DePaul University College of Education > Academics > Graduate > Master's Programs > Reading Specialist (MA/MEd)

Literacy & Specialized Instruction (MA/MEd)

Reading Specialist

Reading specialists have a deep understanding of how diverse students learn to read and the nature of reading difficulties, but they also offer much more: They shape and promote effective school-wide reading policies, provide professional development to school staff and improve reading curricula and programs at the school or district level. They are creative leaders who address state mandates such as Response to Intervention (RTI).

The Reading Specialist master's degree program is designed for licensed teachers with at least one year of teaching experience. This unique program offers a powerful blend of two fields - reading instruction and special education - to prepare graduates to address the needs of struggling readers and those with learning disabilities.

Reading specialists work as literacy experts in urban and suburban, public and private schools. Some teach reading at the college level, while others work in early childhood centers, government agencies or publishing. Private practice and private learning centers provide other career options.

Interested in enrolling in this program? Learn more about the application process and find out how to apply.

Degree Program Options

Master of Arts (MA)
Master of Education (MEd)


The Reading Specialist master's degree program is an Illinois State Board of Education approved program leading to a Reading Specialist endorsement, which can be added to an Illinois teaching license.

Students admitted to the Reading Specialist program have the option to concurrently pursue a Special Education (LBS1) endorsement.

Program Format

To accommodate working professionals, the Reading Specialist program offers courses that meet on weekday evenings. Other course delivery options within the program include hybrid courses (a blend of on-campus and online classes) and fully online courses. In addition, you may choose your pace  through this program, selecting a a full-time course load (two course per quarter) to complete the program in two years, or a part-time course load (one course per quarter) to complete the program in three years.

Program Requirements

The Reading Specialist program includes 13 courses (52 quarter hours) of coursework in Reading and Learning Disabilities as well as Social and Cultural Foundations in Education. In addition, students complete a capstone project during the final year of the program to complete their master's degree.

Candidates complete three on-campus practicum courses in DePaul's Education and Counseling Center (ECC), which offers academic tutoring services for children and adolescents with reading and learning difficulties. The ECC is located on the Lincoln Park Campus.

In addition to these requirements, students who opt to earn an MA must complete one additional 4-credit hour course that requires a thesis and oral defense (56 quarter hours in total.)

Students can opt to earn a Special Education (LBSI) endorsement concurrently with the Reading Specialist endorsement. They will be required to complete an additional four courses (16 credit hours) for the LBSI endorsement, so 17 classes (68 quarter hours) in total for both endorsements.

Want to learn more? For detailed information about program requirements, see the official DePaul University Graduate Catalog.