The secondary education program offers a degree that grants P-12 certification with Reading Specialist certification in Alabama. This program prepares you to meet the International Literacy Association’s (ILA) Standards for Reading Professionalsat the reading specialist/literacy coach level, and the requirements for Alabama P-12 certification.

Our program is designed to teach you about the various facets of literacy research and instruction. You will learn how to think critically about research and practice, ground instructional decisions upon student needs, and understand student needs through more than one perspective. Through reflection on theory, research, and practice, the program will enable you design appropriate literacy programs for all students, particularly students who struggle to achieve success in literacy learning.

The Reading Specialist P-12 Certification program at The University of Alabama is a truly valuable experience for any educator looking to improve student literacy and student achievement. The coursework and assignments are incredibly relevant and applicable to the issues and topics current educators face. I was able to take much of my coursework and implement it directly into my classroom lessons. Additionally, the department instructors provide individualized support and effective feedback. They are privy to the needs of their students, and I was able to successfully complete this program while also raising a family and teaching full time. As a result of this program, I now have more opportunities to work collaboratively with the educators in my school system to address student needs.  –Ashley Lawley 2015 Graduate, Secondary Education Language Arts Teacher/Reading Teacher, Bibb County High School

While looking for graduate schools, the University of Alabama caught my attention because they offered a flexible online program that included a Master’s degree in Secondary Education with P-12 reading specialist certification at an affordable price. From the beginning of the program, my advisor and professors were helpful, available, and responsive to my questions and needs. Each course provided me with a variety of experiences and resources so that I could understand what I was learning through different viewpoints. I enjoyed the group projects and field-work which allowed me to apply what I was learning to real life situations and contexts. Through these experiences, I was able form a clearer understanding of the world of reading and how to guide my students towards success. Overall, this program has made me a more effective educator in the classroom.  –Danielle Lewis 2017 Graduate, 4thGrade Teacher, Holy Family School, Huntsville, Alabama

Program Coordinator: Dr. Latrise Johnson

Admission Requirements

The following requirements must be met to be eligible for admission into the program:

  • Alabama Class B certification or equivalent
  • Two full years of K-12 classroom teaching experience
  • Complete the Supplement EXP form to verify two full years of teaching experience.  Send the form to: The University of Alabama, Attention: Dawn Bryant, College of Education, Student Services and Certification, Box 870231, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0231
  • A minimum GRE score of 300 (verbal and quantitative combined) or an MAT score above the 50th percentile
  • An overall undergraduate GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, or a 3.0 average for the last 60 semester hours in a degree program

Application Process

Prospective students must begin the application process by completing a graduate distance learning program application. https://bamabydistance.ua.edu/degrees/ma-in-secondary-education-reading-specialist/

Program Requirements

The program is offered via an online format that provides educators with an opportunity to pursue a new career path within education while continuing to work as a classroom teacher. The program requires a total of 30 credit hours. Enrolled students will also complete a series of intensive practicum experiences across a variety of P-12 settings. Students who complete the program receive a master’s degree in secondary curriculum, teaching, and learning.

*Students who are not residents of Alabama, must also check their own respective state requirements for the Reading Specialist Certification.

Reading MA Program of Study

Students are required to take the following courses*:

  • CIE 577  Second Language Acquisition: Issues & Implications
  •  CRD 511  Beginning Reading in PK-Primary Grades
  • CRD 593  Practicum in Literacy Coaching – covers students in a variety of grade levels
  • CRD 595  Practicum – covering PK-2nd grade
  • CRD 510  Expanding Reading in the Elementary Grades
  • CRD 695  Advanced Practicum in Reading Education – covering 3rd – 6th grade
  • CRD 696  Advanced Reading Specialist Practicum – covering middle and high school students
  • CRD 590  Seminar in Literacy Coaching
  • CRD 654   Assessment & Instruction of At-Risk Readers
  • BER 500  Introduction to Educational Research  or BER 550 Evaluation of Classroom Learning (only for those who have not taken an evaluation of classroom learning course)

All courses are offered online.

Additional Requirements

  • Special education survey course (if not previously completed)
  • Foundations course (if not previously completed)

In order to receive Alabama Class A Reading Specialist P-12 certification, individuals must hold Alabama Class B certification and complete the course requirements including 300 clock-hours of supervised practicum. Additionally, students must pass a comprehensive exam and the Praxis  for Reading Specialist.

*Please note that courses are subject to change.

Comprehensive Exams

Comprehensive Exam for Reading

Course Offerings

If you plan to complete this program in a timely fashion, you must take the courses as they are offered each semester. Some courses and pairs of courses are only offered every two years. Please take the time to look over the rotation below.

Reading Course Offerings


The University of Alabama’s Literacy Education Program faculty is a diverse group of individuals with a wide range of research interests, service learning projects, and teaching expertise. All faculty, have dual appointments—one in Literacy Education and the other in Elementary, Secondary or Special Education as demonstrated by their certification areas. Given that all graduates of this program earn a P-12 certification, our faculty expertise ranges from those with experience in PreK, elementary, secondary and special education settings.

Elementary Education

  • Julianne Coleman, Ph.D.
  • Cailin Kerch, Ph.D.

Secondary Education

  • Latrise Johnson, Ph.D.
  • Miguel Mantero, PhD.
  • Karen Spector, Ph.D.
  • Elizabeth Wilson, Ph.D.

Special Education and Multiple Abilities

  • Carol A. Donovan, Ph.D.
  • Nicole Swoszowski, Ph.D.