Graduate Certificate

Typical Length 13 months

Delivery Online

The Literacy Specialist Graduate Certificate is an 18-credit online program and 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) based on International Literacy Association and International Dyslexia Association Standards for Reading Professionals.

Who should consider this program

K-12 educators with at least 3 years of teaching experience who are interested in becoming leaders in Literacy curriculum and instruction in their classrooms, schools, and districts.

Common Careers

Graduates of this program are positioned to take up Literacy leadership positions in their school, district, state, and beyond. Students are eligible to earn a Literacy Specialist add-a-field to existing Hawaii teaching licenses when the certificate is paired with a Master’s degree from either the Department of Curriculum Studies OR Department of Special Education at UHM.

Admission Requirements

Must have graduated from an accredited, four-year institution of higher education recognized by the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (UHM), prior to beginning the Literacy Leader: Literacy Specialist program.

An Undergraduate Cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.

A transcript from each post-secondary institution attended.

A written statement of objectives as part of your application.

Your resumé or CV.

Two (2) letters of recommendation

Applicants who are not native English speakers may need to take the TOEFL or IELTS (Academic) tests. For more information view the Graduate Division website.

International students that have been admitted are required to submit a copy of their Identification documents (i.e. Passport or Identification Card)

International applicants need to show proof of sufficient funding to cover all educational and living expenses

How to Apply
Application Deadlines


Starting Semester General Admission International Students Admission
Fall March 1 *

We are currently not admitting international students residing outside of the US into our hybrid or online programs due to legal and tax implications. For more information, please contact Graduate Division at

How to Apply
Tuition & Funding

The Certificate – Teacher Leader is offered through Outreach College and UHM regular day school. For the most current information, always refer to the Graduate Division website, UHM regular Tuition & Fees or UHM Outreach College Tuition & Fees.

Financial assistance may be found at:


  • Department of Curriculum Studies Merit-based Giving Tree Scholarship (Notices come out in March)

College of Education

University of Hawaiʻi



Delivery & Format

The Literacy Leader Graduate Certificate pathway is conducted totally online with some courses offered synchronously (where everyone is online at the same time), asynchronously (where work is done on your own time), or some combination of the two. Candidates will also be invited to attend a face-to-face weekend orientation at UHM in April prior to beginning the program and a capstone orientation at the end of the of the program. Cohorts begin annually during Summer. Each cohort runs for one year and will span two summer terms and two academic semesters (i.e., Summer, Fall, Spring, Summer).


The Literacy Leader Graduate Certificate is a 18-credit graduate program consisting of the following:

  • 6 Literacy courses (18-credits)
    • EDCS 605: Literacy Coaching and Leadership (3)
    • EDCS 607: New Literacies Leadership (3)
    • EDCS 647: Classroom and School Literacy Assessment (3)
    • SPED 637: Fundamentals of Language & Literacy (3)
    • SPED 638: Advanced Fundamentals of Language & Literacy (3)
    • SPED 639: Topics and Issues in Reading Disabilities (3)

Note: Requirements for each School Level and Track are found in the MEd-CS Handbook 1: Prospective and New Students.

Advising & Faculty

Our faculty and staff will provide you with guidance and resources to support your success from beginning to end. You will receive a dedicated faculty advisor to partner with you on your journey.

Program Coordinator
Photo of Amanda Smith

Amanda Smith

Associate Professor of Literacy Education