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Frequently Asked Questions

Starting the program

Anyone interested in graduate study in the Department of Literacy and Language is encouraged to make initial contact with the Graduate Program Coordinator, Dr. Chelsea Faase, 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 digital learning environment for all courses. 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. Faase as well when questions arise about program plans, course selection and all other matters related to your overall program of graduate study.

  • Graduate students apply for candidacy after taking 9 to 12 credit hours, during the semester when they take Literacy 792: Gateway 2 – Foundational Knowledge.
  • The Academic Department Associate will provide graduate students with their verification of program study form listing courses taken and courses yet to be taken. Graduate students review and sign the form.
  • The department faculty members review all candidacy applications in October and February to ensure that students are making good progress and demonstrating positive dispositions.
  • From there, the 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 a successful candidacy. This is a signal that the student is approved to continue on in the program.
Clinical Courses

Students participate in two clinical courses working with PK-12 students in a supervised setting. Clinical hours are pre-arranged for graduate students and are set outside the school day and provide 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 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)

Those who have a lifetime license as a Wisconsin educator are not required to pass the Foundations of Reading Test for Wisconsin (FORT) in order to obtain licensure as a reading teacher or reading specialist. Those who have not yet obtained a lifetime license can be endorsed if they have a passing score of 240 on the FORT, or they can wait until they obtain a lifetime license.


Progress through the program is gauged at four gateways. The first gateway is admissions. The remaining four gateways occur at key points in the program and are each embedded in a one-credit course, as follows.

Literacy 792: Foundational Knowledge – Taken after Literacy 702, Literacy 705, and Literacy735. At this juncture, candidates demonstrate their foundational knowledge by writing a conceptual paper describing their understanding of literacies and literacy learning. The paper is then presented to a faculty member in an oral presentation.

Literacy 793: Skillful Practice – Taken after Literacy 765, Literacy 720, and Literacy 721. At this juncture, candidates demonstrate their application of what they have learned in making a difference in the literacy learning of an individual, a small group, or an entire class in a PK-12 setting. The candidate presents evidence of student learning to two faculty members in an oral presentation.

Literacy 794: Literacy Leadership – Taken after Literacy 767, Literacy 780, and Literacy 790. At this juncture, candidates demonstrate their ability to lead a literacy program by developing a two-year plan for literacy improvement in a school, supporting the plan with data, research, and theory. The candidate presents the plan to all faculty members of the department in an oral presentation.

Graduate Assistantship

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

Practicum Courses

The MSE-Literacy includes two practicum courses in which candidates can develop their skills as literacy leaders. In Literacy 767: Literacy Coaching, candidates will engage in a literacy coaching partnership. In Literacy780: Leadership, Advocacy, & Planning, candidates will lead a team to conduct a needs assessment in a school.

Program Completion and Graduation

Certificate Programs

Certificate programs must be completed within 4 years. Students who complete a certificate program will have that certificate noted on their transcripts; they must submit a completed form to the Office of Graduate Studies for their program to be officially noted and considered finished. Certificate completers do not participate in the commencement ceremony.

Master’s Degree

Master’s programs must be completed within 7 years. Students who complete a master’s degree must apply for graduation with the Office of Graduate Studies. Applying for graduation, which is required, is a separate process from signing up to go through the commencement ceremony, which is optional. All graduating degree students are encouraged to participate in the commencement ceremony, to mark this significant accomplishment and to celebrate with family, friends, and faculty.

Scheduling Classes

Students in on-campus programs register for classes on Titan Web. If they have not yet received a student ID, they can register using a hard-copy registration form, available from the Office of Graduate Studies. 

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.


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

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.

Contact Us

Dr. Chelsea Faase
Literacy & Language Graduate Coordinator

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