CAGS in Developmental Studies

Literacy & Language Education

The Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study (CAGS) is designed for professionals who hold a master’s degree in education or a related field and who wish to increase their knowledge of research, theory, and practice in literacy and language.

A program of 32 credits comprises study of literacy and language acquisition and at least one research course. A final project that affords the candidate the opportunity to apply research and theory to practice completes the course of study.

About the Literacy & Language Specialization

The Literacy & Language Education specialization is designed for graduate students interested in research and practice in literacy and language in public and non-public education settings. The course of study addresses research and theory that informs the acquisition, development, and use of language and literacy in home, school, and community settings.

Most of the students who enroll in the Literacy & Language Education specialization are interested in practice, research, or policy-making in public or private educational settings. Those who enter the program are diverse in background experience: some are licensed educators with experience in public school settings; others hold undergraduate or graduate degrees in fields other than education and have had experiences in various educational settings, including private or community education settings or organizations such as Peace Corps and Teach for America. Many are international students whose experiences are in public or private school settings in their own countries.

Unlike the Reading Education Program, the Literacy & Language Education specialization does not offer students the opportunity to meet state licensure requirements. Therefore, although there is substantial overlap with the Reading Education Program in the course of study, students in Literacy & Language Education are not required to complete the field experiences required to meet licensure requirements. For those who do not intend to practice in settings that require licensure, this is an important difference in the course of study.

Program Requirements

Core Coursework (28 cr)

In consultation with your academic advisor, students design a course of study based on the following list of offerings:


  • SED BI 621 Bilingualism and Biliteracy (4 cr)
  • SED BI 652 Reading and Writing in a Second Language: Development, Assessment, and Instruction (4 cr)
  • SED LS 627 Children’s and Young Adult Literature (4 cr)
  • SED LS 690 Contexts for Literacy: Oral and Written Discourse (4 cr)
  • SED LS 725 Discourse, Narrative, and Literacy (4 cr)
  • SED LS 790 Seminar in Literacy Assessment: Research/Theory/Practice (4 cr)
  • SED LW 736 Teaching Writing in Elementary, Middle, and Secondary Schools (4 cr)
  • SED LS 792 Teaching Adolescent Literacy (4 cr)
  • SED LS 902 Seminar in Early Literacy (4 cr)


  • SED LS 565 Introduction to Language and Linguistics (4 cr)
  • SED LS 566 Language Acquisition (4 cr)
  • SED LS 595 Child Second Language Acquisition (4 cr)
  • SED LS 658 Second Language Acquisition (4 cr)
  • SED LS 725 Discourse, Narrative, and Literacy (4 cr)
  • SED LS 726 Discourse Analysis: Theoretical and Methodological Approaches (4 cr)
  • SED LS 727 Topical Seminar in Literacy and Language (variable cr)
  • SED LS 750 Cognitive Development and Language (4 cr)

Research Coursework (4 cr)

All graduate students in the Wheelock College of Education & Human Development are required to take one research course. Students choose from the following:

  • SED RS 600 Introduction to Research (4 cr)
  • SED RS 652 Qualitative Research Methods (4 cr)
  • SED RS 653 Quantitative Research Methods (4 cr)

Comprehensive Examination

CAGS candidates must complete a comprehensive task as a capstone experience. The task is intended to advance the candidate’s application of theory and research in a school or community-based setting. It is designed collaboratively with the candidate’s advisor, and may take the form of a thesis, an action research project, a comprehensive plan for a professional development series, or a curriculum-related project.