This is the preliminary (or launch) version of the 2024-2025 VCU Bulletin. Courses that expose students to cutting-edge content and transformative learning may be added and notification of additional program approvals may be received prior to finalization. General education program content is also subject to change. The final edition and full PDF version will include these updates and will be available in August prior to the beginning of the fall semester.

Program goal

The certificate program is designed for students who wish to gain state licensure as a reading specialist in kindergarten through high school settings. Applicants are required to have at least three years of teaching experience in a reading-related field setting if they want to be recommended to the Department of Education for endorsement as a reading specialist in Virginia. This program is available in an online format.

All requirements for admission to graduate school apply to applicants for the Post-master’s Certificate in Reading Specialist. All state department requirements for reading specialist (specifically the 12 hours of graduate or undergraduate work in selected areas) must be met.

Students are required to earn a minimum of 24 graduate hours beyond their current master’s degree, including the required reading courses, an approved reading selective and an elective in the School of Education that has been approved by the adviser. Advisers will recommend selective courses based upon student experience and goals. During the last semester of course work, students must complete a reading portfolio documenting their work in the program and related work experiences. Candidates must receive a passing score on state-mandated licensure/endorsement assessments as a graduation requirement.

Persons completing the program are expected to demonstrate:

  1. An understanding of the reading language learning process
  2. The ability to critique, adapt and model use of a variety of reading instructional strategies, methods and programs
  3. Expertise in developing and providing for continuous assessment of an individual and groups
  4. Ability to implement schoolwide developmental, creative and intervention reading/language arts programs
  5. Ability to understand and apply theory to practice within a variety of cultural contexts

Student learning outcomes

  1. Demonstrate content knowledge to support literacy and language learning
  2. Effectively plan instruction or fulfill other professional responsibilities that attend to learner differences
  3. Effectively apply knowledge, skills and dispositions in practice

VCU Graduate Bulletin, VCU Graduate School and general academic policies and regulations for all graduate students in all graduate programs

The VCU Graduate Bulletin website documents the official admission and academic rules and regulations that govern graduate education for all graduate programs at the university. These policies are established by the graduate faculty of the university through their elected representatives to the University Graduate Council.

It is the responsibility of all graduate students, both on- and off-campus, to be familiar with the VCU Graduate Bulletin as well as the Graduate School website and academic regulations in individual school and department publications and on program websites. However, in all cases, the official policies and procedures of the University Graduate Council, as published on the VCU Graduate Bulletin and Graduate School websites, take precedence over individual program policies and guidelines.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on academic regulations for graduate students.

Graduation requirements

As graduate students approach the end of their academic programs and the final semester of matriculation, they must make formal application to graduate. No degrees will be conferred until the application to graduate has been finalized.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following graduation requirements as published in the Graduate Bulletin for a complete list of instructions and a graduation checklist.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on graduation requirements.

Apply online today.

Admission requirements

Degree: Semester(s) of entry: Deadline dates: Test requirements:
Certificate Fall Feb 1
Spring Oct 1
Summer Feb 1

In addition to the general admission requirements of the VCU Graduate School, the following requirements represent the minimum acceptable standards for admission:

  1. Master’s degree in any specialty area related to education
  2. Must have an active renewable teaching license
  3. Have at least three years of successful classroom teaching experience in which the teaching of reading was an important responsibility
  4. Three letters of recommendation addressing the student’s potential for graduate study in education
  5. Statement of intent
  6. Transcripts of all previous college work

Please visit the School of Education website for further information.

Degree requirements

In addition to general VCU Graduate School graduation requirements, students are required to complete course work in core and elective courses.

  1. Credit hour requirements: Students are required to complete a minimum of 21 credit hours.
  2. Grade requirements: Receipt of a grade of C or below in two courses constitutes automatic dismissal from the program. Courses with a grade below C cannot be used to satisfy degree requirements.
  3. Testing requirements: Students must present passing scores on state-mandated licensure/endorsement assessments for graduation.
  4. Endorsement requirements: Students must meet all Virginia Department of Education requirements to be recommended for endorsement.

Curriculum requirements

Course Title Hours
READ 600Analysis and Correction of Reading Problems3
READ 605Organizing and Implementing Reading Programs3
READ 672Internship3
READ 700Externship3
TEDU 561Literacy Foundations: Sociological/Psychological Perspectives3
TEDU 562Reading Instruction in the Content Areas3
Approved literacy elective
Select one of the following:3
Teaching Language Arts
Word Study
Media Literacy in the K-12 Classroom
Methods for Teaching Multilingual Learners
ESL Assessment and Trends
Total Hours21

The minimum number of graduate credit hours required for this certificate is 21.

Enrollment Management
(804) 828-3382

Additional contact
Valerie Robnolt, Ph.D.
Associate professor and graduate program director
(804) 828-1305

Program website: