Education College of DistinctionBecome a Culturally-Responsive Reading Specialist

If you are a certified teacher, this online M.Ed. will prepare you to pursue a career as a literacy professional. You will earn the skills needed to assume a leadership role in assessment, research and policy-making firms. You will also graduate from this program prepared to pass the Pa. state teaching certification exam for reading specialists.

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About the Critical & Cultural Literacy Program at Seton Hill

The Critical & Cultural Literacy Program is part of the School of Education & Applied Social Sciences at Seton Hill. This program is dedicated to the preparation of literacy professionals who:

  • affirm their students’ identities, 

  • honor their experiences, and

  • challenge them to question assumptions, consider multiple perspectives, and take socially-responsible action.

As a graduate of this program, you will be able to:

  • Provide reading instruction to students (PreK-12) across the curriculum. 

  • Maintain multi-tiered systems of support for readers at all proficiency levels. 

  • Collaborate with allied professionals to provide coaching and remediation. 

  • Advance a critical approach to literacy that empowers students to take action. 

  • Implement culturally-responsive reading instruction, assessment and intervention.

  • Develop critical, cultural, spiritual and visual literacy programs. 

Why Earn Your M.Ed. at Seton Hill?

  • No GMAT or GRE required for admission.
Faculty Dedicated to Your Success
  • Flexible 8-week online sessions.
Expert education faculty with classroom experience.

  • Personal academic and career support.

  • Career-relevant learning experiences.

  • Aid for graduate students.


The M.Ed. in Critical & Cultural Literacy is composed of 10 online courses, including a practicum with in-person components. Courses take a critical, research-based, culturally-responsive approach to literacy. Instruction is rooted in progressive theories of language and social development, such as the Science of Reading, and is aligned to both the Pa. Department of Education Guidelines for Reading Specialists and the International Literacy Association Standards for Reading Professionals.A Degree in 1 Year

Time Commitment & Program Calendar

You can complete this program in one calendar year as a full-time student. Full-time students take two online courses during each eight-week session from August to April (Sessions M1 – M4), as well as an online seminar and an in-person practicum from April to June (Session M5). You can also complete this program in an extended time frame as a part-time student. All students begin in August, and complete the final seminar and practicum from April - June. View the academic calendar.

Reading Specialist Certification PreparationTeaching Certification Preparation Program

Upon completion of this degree program (including the field experience), you will be eligible to sit for the Pa. teaching certification exam for reading specialists. Seton Hill is the only university offering a path to this certification in the context of a critical, research-based, culturally-responsive approach to literacy. You also have the option of preparing for teaching certification only, without earning the complete master's degree.  Learn more about preparing to become a certified reading specialist at Seton Hill.

Field Experience

There are 60 hours of fieldwork associated with the Reading Specialist Practicum. We will provide you with local mentors and placement sites. (You also have the option to propose a placement site.) Our program faculty vet all mentors and sites. Appropriate clearances and insurance are required.Aid Available

Tuition Discounts & Aid

This program qualifies for tuition discounts and aid.  Find out more here.

Your Career as a Literacy ProfessionalCareer Development Center

Instructional coordinators earned more than $66,000 annually as of 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In addition to becoming certified reading specialists, graduates of this program are also eligible to teach at the college level. The coursework also prepares graduates for doctorate programs in fields such as Higher Education and Education Administration. Seton Hill's award-winning Career and Professional Development Center can help you move forward in your career.

Admission Requirements

  • A completed graduate study application. (Apply online now for free! )

  • A bachelor's degree and a minimum GPA of 3.0 from a regionally accredited institution.
No GMAT or GRE Required
  • Official undergraduate transcripts from all institutions attended.

  • Official transcripts from any institutions in which postbaccalaureate or graduate coursework was completed.

  • One letter of recommendation written by an appropriate professional.

  • A current resume.

  • A personal statement explaining how the Seton Hill graduate program can help you accomplish your professional goals.

  • Copy of Instructional I teaching certificate from the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Ready to Apply?Apply Now!

Apply online now for free! 

Need More Information? 

To learn more about this program, register for an upcoming virtual information session. 

Register for an Information Session

Although individuals may be eligible to seek reading specialist teaching certification after completing Seton Hill University's Critical and Cultural Literacy program, please note that the program was not developed with the sole intention of obtaining teaching certification in Pennsylvania or to meet other states' professional licensure or certification requirements. If you are planning to seek professional licensure or certification, it is strongly recommended that you contact the appropriate licensing entity in the state in which you are, or plan to be, located in order to seek information and guidance regarding licensure or certification requirements and how the education you receive at Seton Hill University may assist you in your efforts to gain licensure or certification in that state.

To contact the Office of Graduate and Online Studies, please call us at (724) 838-4208 or email us at