Information For

Program Details

Master of Arts in Education

The Master’s Program at California State University San Marcos is characterized by its emphasis on critical pedagogy and reflective practice. Its view of the classroom teacher and administrator as an instructional, ethical, and curricular leader places high value on individual empowerment, on multiple ways of knowing, on the construction of meaning and the production (vs. reproduction) of knowledge.

The Master of Arts in Education is designed for classroom teachers, administrators, and other educators who wish to extend or refine their knowledge and skills beyond the level attained in their previous studies. For some, master’s level study is a way to improve their performance in the classroom; others seek preparation for leadership roles at the school or district level; still others may wish to use master’s studies as the basis for graduate work at the doctoral level.

Graduate students will develop skills and knowledge in all aspects of practice related to effectively teaching literacy in schools. Specifically students will:

  • Understand major historical and contemporary  theories and empirical research that describe the cognitive, linguistic, motivational, developmental and sociocultural foundations of reading and writing development, processes and components
  • Create a literate environment that fosters reading by integrating foundational knowledge, instructional practices, approaches and methods, authentic literature, curriculum materials, and the appropriate use of assessment tools
  • Utilize a wide range of texts and a variety of assessment tools
  • Harness students’ primary language to enable them to develop competency and understanding of content across the curriculum
  • Participate in, design, facilitate, lead, and evaluate effective and differentiated literacy programs for students and professional development programs
  • Develop and implement strategies to advocate for equity, excellence and social justice for all

Click here to view the program’s Guiding Principles

In addition to a Master’s degree, graduates of the focus on Literacy program holding a CTC-approved valid teaching credential (or equivalent) may be recommended for the CA Reading and Literacy Added Authorization and the Reading and CA Literacy Leadership Specialist Credential.*

California Reading and Literacy Added Authorization

The School of Education offers a Reading and Literacy Added Authorization Program as a focus area within the General Option in the Master’s Program. Students may complete only the Reading and Literacy Added Authorization Program without completing the MA. The purpose of the Reading and Literacy Added Authorization is to prepare teachers to assist other teachers and administrators in the areas of the language arts – reading, writing, listening, speaking – both in creating literacy programs and across the curriculum. Teachers will become knowledgeable about current reading and writing theory, literacy research and pedagogy, literacy development and learning, children’s and adolescent literature, assessment and curriculum development. Candidates must hold a CTC-approved valid basic teaching credential (or equivalent). Three years of full-time teaching experience is required prior to recommendation for the Reading and Literacy Added Authorization.

California Reading and Literacy Leadership Specialist Credential

The purpose of the Reading and Literacy Leadership Specialist Credential is to prepare teachers to assume classroom, school and district leadership positions in the areas of language arts and curriculum. Candidates will become knowledgeable of current reading and writing theory, research and pedagogy, literacy learning, children and adolescent literature, assessment, and curriculum development. In addition, candidates will learn to assist in the development of assessment instruments and procedures as well as the role and responsibilities associated with leadership in literacy programs. Courses contain information regarding the issues of special populations, multilingual/multicultural, and biliteracy strands, as well as projects that connect academic work to school contexts and address K-12 issues. In addition, research methodology and the utilization of technology as it relates to literacy instruction are infused throughout the courses.

Students may complete the Reading and Literacy Added Authorization Program and Reading and Literacy Leadership Specialist Credential without completing the MA. To complete the Reading and Literacy Leadership Specialist Credential, students must first complete the Reading and Literacy Added Authorization Program. Candidates must hold a CTC-approved valid basic teaching credential (or equivalent), and have three years of experience (or equivalent).

Student Learning Outcomes

The student learning outcomes for the Reading and Literacy Leadership Specialist Credential are defined by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. Reading and Literacy Leadership Specialist Credential authorizes the holder to provide the following services as a reading specialist in any grade level K-12, or in classes organized for adults:

1. Assist and support the classroom teacher in reading instruction and teaching strategies.

2. Select and adapt reading instruction materials; plan and conduct reading staff development.

3. Assess student progress and monitor student achievement in reading.

4. Provide direct reading intervention work with students.

5. Develop and coordinate reading programs at the school, district, or county level.