Literacy Leader Graduate Certificate (Literacy Specialist Track)

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The Literacy Leader Graduate Certificate (GCERT) is offered as a partnership between the Curriculum Studies and Special Education Departments. The program prepares literacy specialists to ensure all students achieve their maximum potentials as readers, writers, listeners, speakers, and practitioners of 21st Century literacies (e.g., digital, media, visual, critical).

This 18-credit program is designed for those who:

  1. Are already licensed teachers and wish to pursue a graduate certificate for career advancement, or
  2. Desire a graduate certificate without teacher licensure, such as those working in non-classroom- based services/settings and private schools.

The Literacy Leader GCERT is completely online, except for an orientation during the first summer and one celebration day in the second summer. Students who are not on Oʻahu will receive up to $200 stipends to cover travel costs for both trips. Non-residents of Hawaiʻi may attend the celebration day online.  The nature of this mostly online program requires a moderate amount of computer literacy and comfort. It also requires self-discipline to maintain the pace of the course between classes. If you are unsure of your comfort in working online or your ability to maintain progress, consult an advisor prior to applying.

The graduate certificate program addresses both International Literacy Association Standards for Reading Professionals: Reading Specialist/Literacy Coaches and International Dyslexia Association Knowledge and Practice Standards for Teachers of Reading.


Completers of the 18-credit program receive a graduate certificate, which appears on their transcripts.   

Graduates of the 30-credit MEd in Curriculum Studies program are eligible to add the field, Literacy Specialist, to a Hawaiʻi teaching license. Students who have already taken MEd-CS core courses may apply those credits toward the add-a-field.


  • Grade Point Average: 3.0
  • 3 years of K-12 teaching experience by program start date
  • Access to groups of students needed to complete some applied projects
  • Access to a computer (Windows 7 or later; or Macintosh OSX 10.8 or later; or a current Linux); Office productivity suite software (i.e. MS Office, LibreOffice), printer, and an Internet connection are required
  • It is strongly recommended that the above resources are available in the student’s home or at a location that has consistent/adequate internet service and is free from distractions.

Delivery Options

  • Accommodates candidates who are employed
  • Classes taught online with possible synchronous online sessions, via interactive web-based course delivery (Blackboard Collaborate & Laulima)


Cohorts begin annually during Summer semester. Each cohort will span one academic year, plus the preceding and following summers (i.e., Summer 1, Fall, Spring, Summer 2).


  • SPED 637 Topics & Issues in Reading Difficulties (3)
  • EDCS 647 Classroom and School Literacy Assessment (3) 
  • SPED 638 Fundamentals of Language & Literacy (3)
  • EDCS 605 Literacy Coaching and Leadership (3) 
  • SPED 639 Advanced Fundamentals of Language & Literacy (3)
  • EDCS 607 New Literacies Leadership (3)

Master’s Degree Option

The program may be applied to either the MEd-Curriculum Studies or MEd-Special Education. If applying for MEd-CS or MEd-SPED, please see those programs’ web pages for additional prerequisites and requirements. To receive both the graduate certificate and MEd degree, you will need to file a Concurrent Graduate Certificate Program Application Form.


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Quick Facts

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