For Current Students

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For Current Students

For Current Students 

Starting Out

Anyone interested in graduate study in the Department of Literacy & Language is encouraged to make an initial contact with the Graduate Program Coordinator, Dr. Cathy Toll, at She will help you to learn about the available programs and courses and make the right selection.

Some new graduate students take a course or two before being admitted to the program. To do so, register as a special student by completing and submitting the form found by clicking “Course Registration” at

The course schedule can be found on Titan Web at Non-students can view the schedule as a guest. 

Admission to a Graduate Program

The application process is explained on the Apply to a Program page.

Within 48 hours after an application is submitted, you will receive an email providing your UW Oshkosh ID number and your UW Oshkosh email address. Use your ID number to log into Titan Web and the first part of your email address (up to the @ sign) to log into D2L, the course management system. Click here to view information about first-time log-in and accessing your accounts.

Your application materials are collected in the UWO Office of Graduate Studies and then sent to the Graduate Program Coordinator in the Department of Literacy & Language for approval. Your application will not be reviewed/approved until all required materials are submitted. When the application is approved, you will receive an acceptance letter from the Office of Graduate Studies via email.


New students should meet with the Graduate Program Coordinator, Dr. Cathy Toll, to develop a plan of study. Contact Dr. Toll as well when questions arise about program plans, course selection, and all other matters related to your overall program of graduate study. 

Students in all graduate programs leading to licensure are assigned two additional advisors to steer them through the Reflective Journey process. Your first advisor will be your instructor for Literacy 798 – Initial and your second advisor will be a faculty member you choose at the time of your candidacy. These advisors will review your portfolio as you develop it and help you prepare for your final portfolio presentation.


Graduate students apply for candidacy after taking 9 to 12 credit hours and before taking the two clinical courses, Literacy 720 and Literacy 721. When the time comes, the Academic Department Associate will provide graduate students with their candidacy form listing courses taken and courses yet to be taken. Graduate students review and sign the form, asking questions if anything is not clear. The Department faculty members then review all candidacy applications to ensure that students are making good progress and demonstrating positive dispositions. Faculty review of candidacies occurs in November and April. If there are any concerns, they are addressed with the student before candidacy is approved by the Department. From there, the candidacy form is sent to the Office of Graduate Studies for final approval and for a notation on the student’s transcript. A letter is then sent by the Department to the student, informing the student of successful candidacy. This is a signal that the student is approved to take the two clinical courses and to finish the program.

Please note that the form used for this process for students in certificate programs is referred to as the Verification of Program Study rather than Candidacy form. However, the process is the same.

Clinical Courses

There are two clinical courses in the program that involve working with PK-12 students in a supervised setting as part of the course. The Department makes arrangements for these courses outside the school day and provides opportunities for children in local school districts to participate. Therefore, graduate students do not need to arrange their own clinical experiences and do not need to plan for them during their teaching day.


Graduate students in the Department of Literacy & Language are expected to display professional and ethical attitudes and behaviors. This includes being responsible for program requirements, interacting with faculty, staff, and students in a respectful manner, honoring diversity in all forms, and communicating clearly and often as needed. Instructors assume that graduate students are in our program to learn and will support students’ growth, reflection, and innovation.

In each course, graduate students are evaluated for these dispositions:

  • Candidate communicates clearly, effectively, and with respect for all.
  • Candidate is open to new perspectives and willing to challenge existing beliefs and practices.
  • Candidate reads and writes as a critically engaged professional.
  • Candidate is responsible, ethical, and collaborative in all aspects of graduate studies.

Graduate students are encouraged to evaluate themselves on these dispositions throughout the program.


All graduate students are expected to access their UW Oshkosh email account daily. The best way to do so is to link your UWO email account to the email account you regularly use. In that way, you will not miss important messages from the university and your instructors.


Student accounts are posted to Titan Web; students do not receive a bill in the mail. Log into Titan Web to see fees you owe, and check the Student Financial Services website for payment deadlines. 

Foundations of Reading Test for Wisconsin (FORT)

The Foundations of Reading Test for Wisconsin (FORT) is required by Wisconsin law for anyone seeking licensure as a reading teacher or reading specialist. Graduate students must provide a score report indicating a passing score of at least 240 before they can be endorsed for licensure. More information is available at the Foundations of Reading website.

Graduate Assistantships

Graduate assistantships of up to 20 hours per week are available to graduate students who wish to be on campus during the day.

Program Completion and Graduation

Students who complete a certificate program will have that certificate noted on their transcripts; they must submit a completion form for their program to be officially noted and considered finished. Certificate completers do not participate in the commencement ceremony.

Students who complete a master’s degree must apply for graduation. Applying for graduation, which is required, is a separate process from signing up to go through the commencement ceremony, which is optional. The Department does encourage all graduating degree students to participate in the commencement ceremony, to mark this significant accomplishment and to celebrate with family, friends, and faculty.

Click here to find more information on applications for completion or graduation.

The Reflective Journey Process

Graduate students in all programs* are required to engage in the Reflective Journey process.

Students enroll in an initial section of Literacy 798 near the start of their graduate studies. This initial section is a one-credit course that helps graduate students to: reflect upon their professional journey; assess their current strengths; set goals for growth; begin preparing their Reflective Journey portfolios; and learn a bit about the Foundations of Reading Test for Wisconsin (FORT).

Students then enroll in an ending section of Literacy 798 when they are ready to formally present their portfolios in a session that is attended by their advisors and any other interested faculty, staff, or students. This ending section of 798 has no class sessions – i.e. students never meet as a class with an instructor. Rather, enrollment in it is necessary for us to give a grade to the portfolio and portfolio presentation.

One’s enrollment in the ending section of Literacy 798 varies according to which of these groups a person is in:

  • Those students who are seeking only the 1316 reading teacher license or the bilingual reading teacher certificate will enroll in a one-credit ending section of 798 after completing their final course in the 19-credit course sequence.
  • Those students who present their portfolio at the end of their 1316 coursework and then go on for their master’s degree and 5017 reading specialist license will present their portfolio upon completing their 1316 courses and then again upon completing the rest of their courses, meaning they will register for an ending section of Literacy 798 twice. However, when they register for the second ending section of 798, after completing the master’s coursework, they will not take it for credit and will not pay tuition.
  • Those students who complete the coursework for the 1316 reading teacher license but do not plan to apply for that license until after they complete their master’s degree can wait until the completion of the master’s degree, register once for an ending section of Literacy 798, and present their portfolio once at the completion of the master’s degree.
  • Those students who earned their 1316 reading teacher license elsewhere and come to UWO to pursue their master’s degree and endorsement for the 5017 reading specialist license must still enroll in an initial section of Literacy 798 and an ending section, during which they present their portfolio.

*Programs that require Literacy 798 include the MSE – Literacy, the GAP Certificate program, the Reading Teacher License Certificate program, the Reading Specialist Certificate program, and the Bilingual Reading Teacher Certificate. It is not required for the Literacy Coaching Certificate program or the Disciplinary Literacy Program.

Scheduling Classes

Students in on-campus programs register for classes using a registration form (if they do not yet have a student ID) or Titan Web (after being issued a student ID). Students in off-campus cohorts are registered for their courses by the Academic Department Associate. The Graduate Program Coordinator works with cohort students to determine the course schedule.

Transferring Credits

Up to 9 credit hours from another graduate program at an accredited college or university can be transferred into a master’s or certificate program, upon approval by the Graduate Program Coordinator.


Master’s programs must be completed within 7 years. Certificate programs must be completed within 4 years.

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