College of Education > Department of Curriculum and Instruction > Literacies and English Language Arts

Literacies and English Language Arts

Literacies and English Language Arts Degrees

Students engaged in a group discussion

We offer three degree-seeking paths for our graduate students:

Master of Science (M.S.)

The Master's of Science in C&I with an emphasis in Literacies and English Language Arts (LELA) is an academic degree designed to initiate candidates into the theory, research and practice within chosen fields of study. Often students who pursue an M.S. imagine going on to a Ph.D. program. Beyond a shared core of courses with all C&I master's degree candidates, course work is flexible in order to accommodate the student’s interests. The degree requires the completion of a formal thesis and 36 credit hours of course work.


Master of Education (M. Ed.)

The Master's of Education in Curriculum & Instruction with an emphasis in Literacies and English Language Arts is a practitioner's degree for candidates seeking to improve their understandings of and work in classrooms, libraries, and other institutions for children and youth. Programs of study involve a department core of four classes, plus other courses determined by student’s interests and faculty consent, for a total of 30 credit hours. The capstone experience is a research paper or project.

It is also possible to obtain initial teacher certification for grades 7-12 English language arts in conjunction with an M.Ed. program. Specific requirements depend upon the candidate's bachelor's degree. Certification can be obtained through one of two program tracks: a full-time internship via our Professional Development School partnership program or a slightly more flexible pathway via our campus-based program, often preferred by students who need to do some of their program part-time. 


Ph. D. Program

The PhD in CI with an LELA emphasis aims to prepare candidates for teaching and research careers in higher education. The program features theoretically rigorous, self-reflective, and contextual work in the broad fields of Literacies and English/Language Arts. This work is frequently transdisciplinary in nature. Doctoral programs are individually organized around students' interests, making use of our connections with programs throughout the College and University, although all students are expected to take a few core courses. Research and courses span a range of theoretical and methodological approaches, and are often guided by commitments to critical inquiry and educationally and socially transformative practices.

There are three major strands in this program:

  • Children’s and Adolescent Literature Studies 
  • English Education
  • Early, Elementary and Adolescent Literacies

Prospective graduate students (M.Ed., M.S., and Ph.D.) and others interested in our program are encouraged to survey the faculty’s work and make direct contact with the member who most closely addresses your interests.


For more information on our online program, please see the Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction at Penn State's World CampusFor more information on how to apply to our Master's and Doctoral programs, please see Curriculum and Instruction's How to Apply and our Frequently Asked Questions.