A teacher handing a student a pencil at a classroom table

Reading Education: Professional Learning

UVA's fully online Graduate Certificate in Reading Education helps educators to strengthen their knowledge about the science of reading.

At a Glance

Program Results

Professional Learning


Best Suited To

  • Licensed teachers in preK-12 public and private school settings
  • Individuals who already hold a master's degree in teaching or a related education field, and who are seeking to add a Reading Specialist Endorsement to their teaching license.

Career Outcomes

  • Endorsed Reading Specialist in preK-12 schools. 

Program Type

  • Part Time


  • Online

Estimated Length

Completion time is flexible based on your needs.

  • For the fastest completion time, begin coursework in the summer. Complete the certificate in 4 semesters (approx. 1 year) by taking 2 courses each semester.
  • Complete in 1.5-2.5 years by taking 1-2 courses each semester, starting summer, fall, or spring.

Application Deadline

Spring entry: December 1

Summer entry:

  • February 1 (priority deadline)
  • May 1 (final deadline)

Fall entry:

  • March 1 (priority deadline)
  • July 1 (final deadline)



About This Program

The online graduate certificate in Reading Education is designed for educators who already hold a license issued by the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) with a master’s degree in teaching or a related education field.

  • The program is designed to develop knowledge about science-based reading instruction and effective and efficient reading assessment and instruction at both the elementary and secondary levels.
  • The program develops students as literacy leaders in their schools and districts and prepares individuals for literacy work in community colleges, industry, adult education programs, commercial education centers, and private practice.

In the graduate certificate in Reading Education program, through a series of online asynchronous courses and a summer practicum experience, students will learn how to:

  • Apply their understanding of science-based reading instruction and the cognitive underpinnings of reading development to their work with students
  • Implement evidence-based reading assessment and instruction
  • Address heterogeneous learning needs and understand the broad range of reading profiles for students in school settings
  • Use data to drive instructional decision-making
  • Integrate reading research and theory into practice
  • Lead a school site in the implementation of evidence-based core literacy instruction, as well as supplemental instruction for students who have difficulties learning how to read

Reading Specialist Endorsement

  • This graduate certificate is a state-approved program for adding the Commonwealth of Virginia’s K-12 reading specialist endorsement to a professional teaching license. Please note that a master’s degree is required to add the endorsement. If you do not have a master’s degree, see our M.Ed. in Reading Education program. Please see the Reading Specialist Endorsement tab below for additional requirements.


The University of Virginia grants reduced tuition rates to eligible preK-12 educators who teach in Virginia schools. 

Opportunities are available for school districts to sponsor a cohort of teachers to complete the program. Reach out to the contact listed below for more information.

Program Overview

Admission Requirements

Students may enter the program during the summer, fall, or spring semesters. For fastest completion time, begin coursework in the summer. Admission requirements that apply specifically to this program are listed below: 


A current, valid Virginia professional teaching license (or a plan to obtain one)

Admission requirements that apply specifically to this program are listed below:

All applicants must submit the following as part of the online application: 

  • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended, verifying proof of a baccalaureate  and master's degrees from a regionally accredited institution (or international equivalent).
  • A current resume or CV.
  • A short personal statement detailing the ways in which the applicant believes the program will help them meet their professional goals.
  • An academic writing sample (review the writing sample guidelines tab on this page).
  • Contact information for at least two people who can act as references for the applicant, including at least one direct supervisor.

Transferring Credits

Students may transfer in up to six (6) credits of equivalent graduate coursework, provided they attained a minimum of a B- in the course; and the coursework is no older than five (5) years at the completion of the certificate coursework and has been approved by the program director. 

Visit our Graduate Admission page for the full admission process.

Graduate Admission

Application for admission is made to the School of Education and Human Development Office of Admission & Enrollment. For more information about the graduate admission process, please visit our Graduate Admission page.


The Graduate Certificate in Reading Education is a 21-credit program. It is a state-approved curriculum for preparing teachers for the Commonwealth of Virginia’s K-12 reading specialist endorsement. Embedded in the curriculum is a summer field-based practicum through which students will demonstrate their ability to provide evidence-based reading intervention.

Certificate in Reading Education Courses

  • EDIS 6710: Reading and Writing Foundations for Diverse Learners (3 credits)
  • EDIS 6720: Understanding the Code: The Language Systems of Reading  (3 credits)
  • EDIS 6730: Diagnosis & Remediation I: Word-Based Assessment & Intervention (3 credits)
  • EDIS 6740: Diagnosis & Remediation II: Meaning-Based Assessment & Intervention (3 credits)
  • EDIS 6750: Reading Development, Assessment, and Interventions with Special Populations (3 credits)
  • EDIS 6760: Literacy Leadership and Coaching (3 credits)
  • EDIS 6770: Practicum in Reading Intervention (3 credits)

All certificate students must also pass the Reading Specialist Praxis Test (5302)

Writing Sample Guidelines

The writing sample is designed for two purposes:

  1. To demonstrate your ability to work in an academic graduate program; and
  2. To help us get to know you better by learning about your background knowledge and interests within the field of reading education.

The piece of writing you submit must be your own original and independent work. You may adapt your sample from work that you have already written for another purpose.

If you have questions about the writing sample, please reach out to the contact listed further down on this page.

Compose an essay that explores your position on a current issue in the field of reading or writing education. You should choose a topic that is relevant to your work with students or teachers. You may choose a broad topic (e.g., the role of RTI/MTSS in preventing reading difficulties, the importance of explicit and systematic instruction) or you may choose to focus on a more specific issue (e.g., the role of comprehension strategies vs. background knowledge in comprehension instruction, benefits of using decodable texts in phonics instruction).

Your essay should briefly describe the issue and clearly espouse a point of view. You must support your viewpoint with appropriate vocabulary, details, and sources.


  1. Your essay should be a total of 3-4 pages long (not including reference list).
  2. Your essay should be typed, double-spaced, 12-point font.
  3. You should use a formal writing style, such as APA or MLA, to guide your headers and citations.
  4. You should cite a minimum of 4 sources within the body of the paper and as a reference list at the end. You should select quality resources that are credible and appropriate for your topic. You may choose to include one seminal resource that may be more dated, but otherwise your resources should be recent (generally from about the past 10 years).

Reading Specialist Endorsement

After completing the academic graduate certificate (21 credits), three years of successful teaching during which time the teaching of reading was a major responsibility, and receiving a passing score on the Reading Specialist Praxis test (#5302), a graduate can apply for the Commonwealth’s K-12 reading specialist endorsement to be added to their teaching license. The VDOE also requires that applicants hold a master's degree to add the endorsement. If you are hoping to add the endorsement but do not hold a master's degree, please see our M.Ed. in Reading Education program. Please note that the Graduate Certificate in Reading Education is NOT a route to obtaining an initial teaching license. 

Process for Adding the Endorsement:

  • If you are currently employed by a Virginia educational agency, please work directly with your HR department to submit the paperwork for adding an endorsement to your license after you have completed your degree. You will need two things from UVA to complete this paperwork: 1) an official transcript and 2) a College Verification Form (CVF). Please wait until your degree is conferred to request these items from UVA.
  • You can obtain an official transcript from the UVA Registrar. You may request a paper copy or electronic copy be sent to the VDOE.
  • To obtain the CVF, email [email protected] with your full name (as it appears on your license) and date of birth. Once the dean’s office has confirmed you have completed the necessary coursework, the CVF will be emailed back to you along with directions for what to send the VDOE.

Graduate Certificate in Reading Education News

Contact Us


As a member of the State Authorizations Reciprocity Agreement (SARA), the University of Virginia (UVA) is authorized to provide curriculum in a distance learning environment to students located in all states in the United States except for California. (34 CFR 668.43(a)(6)& 34 CFR 668.72(n)). Although California does not participate in SARA, it allows students to enroll in out-of-state programs.

Upon completion of the graduate certificate in Reading Education program at the UVA School of Education and Human Development, graduates may be eligible for initial professional licensure in another U.S. state by applying to the licensing board or agency in that state.

Please visit the University’s state authorization web pages to make an informed decision regarding which states’ educational requirements for initial licensure are met by this program. (668.43(a)(5) (v)(A) - (C))

Enrolled students who change their current (or mailing) address to a state other than Virginia should update this information immediately in the Student Information System as it may impact their ability to complete internship, practicum, or clinical hours, use Title IV funds, or meet licensure or certification requirements in the new state. (34 CFR 668.402).