Graduate Education

College of Health Sciences and Education

Department Co-Chairs Susan Tomascik, PhD, and Molly Vitale, DEd

Graduate Education Program Philosophy

According to the ASCD (formerly the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development), teacher leaders play an important role in supporting school and student success, and they build the entire school's capacity to improve. Teachers can lead in a variety of ways, and many teachers can serve as leaders among their peers. It is teachers who will take the lead in planning, implementing, and evaluating the educational programs needed in our nation's schools.

The Graduate Education Program is designed to attract experienced and dedicated classroom teachers who wish to become educational leaders. The graduate education program is designed to help teachers gain the knowledge necessary and develop the skills required to function as leaders. While it is expected that graduates of the graduate education program will be highly valued by their school districts and communities, the program is not designed to help classroom teachers become school administrators or to prepare teachers for roles outside their classrooms. The program respects and values classroom teachers; through it, we hope to empower these valued professionals and enable them to take the lead in making important educational decisions.

Graduate Education Program Goals

Graduates of the Graduate Education Programs (GEP) (Instructional Technology, Reading Specialist, and Special Education) will demonstrate the ability to:

  1. Establish mutually respectful relationships with administrators, colleagues, students, and parents based on a solid values system that emphasizes mercy, justice, service, and hospitality.
  2. Effectively communicate with various school communities regarding current educational issues and trends and the principles of teaching and learning, which make schools effective and efficient.
  3. Design, organize, and manage system-wide curriculum that prepares students within areas relating to the goals of quality education.
  4. Coordinate district-wide subject area activities and subject area curriculum development.
  5. Conduct evaluations of curriculum and instruction and apply the results to encourage and facilitate curricular and instructional improvements.
  6. Use an understanding of how learning occurs as the basis for making curricular and instructional decisions that support the intellectual, social, and personal growth of all students.
  7. Use an understanding of individual and group motivation, instructional practices, and assessment to create school environments that foster effective and efficient curricular and instructional practices and procedures, and that enable all students to master curriculum and meet high standards.
  8. Use the tools of research and inquiry to gather and apply information needed to make educational decisions.
  9. Identify how educational technology can be used to facilitate and improve teaching and learning processes.

Graduate Education Admissions (Traditional and Transfer):

Those seeking admission to the Graduate Teacher Education programs must apply through the University’s Admissions Office.

Students are accepted into the Graduate Teacher Education Program with specializations in Reading Specialist and Special Education only if they meet the following criteria:

  • Completion of a state or nationally accredited undergraduate teacher education program, posting a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0. , and having a valid teaching certificate.
  • Demonstration of an interest in and commitment to becoming educational leaders; for example, by participation in curricular, co-curricular, extracurricular and/or volunteer activities with children.

Transfer Students

The graduate education program allows students to transfer up to twelve credits from other accredited graduate programs. All requests for credit transfers must be reviewed and approved by the Chair of the Teacher Education Program.

Graduate Education Advising

The Chair of the Teacher Education Program assigns an academic advisor for all students enrolled in the program. The advisor creates and maintains the student’s advising file used to plan the student’s program and track progress. Each semester, students who participate in the Graduate Education Program must meet with their advisors to plan their next semester. During the meeting, faculty advisors review students’ progress and status and help them select courses for the next semester. While students must meet with their advisors each semester prior to registration to facilitate course selection and receive approval to register, the student is ultimately responsible for the selection and registration of courses.

Graduate Education Program Retention and Advancement

From the date of first enrollment in Graduate Education, in accordance with University policy, students have five years to complete their program. Students who must interrupt their program should reference the Graduate Maintenance of Matriculation/Withdrawal policy for the procedures for doing so.

Graduate students must earn a “B” or better in all education (EDU) classes. A student receiving a grade below “B” must grade replace the course. One graduate course can be repeated for grade replacement; this can happen one time only. When attempting a grade replacement, the second grade, whether higher or lower than the first grade earned in the course, shall stand on the student's transcript. After one grade replacement, an additional grade below a “B” will result in immediate termination from the degree program with no chance of readmission to that program.

Academic integrity

Any form of cheating or dishonesty, including plagiarism, is a fundamental violation of the nature and purpose of Misericordia University. Such behavior will not be tolerated and will result in at least lowered grades, possibly failure in a class, program dismissal, and, in the most serious cases, dismissal from the university.

Plagiarism is using someone else’s ideas or words and claiming them as one’s own. Students who use another person’s words must copy them accurately, enclose them in quotations marks, and identify the source clearly. If another person’s ideas are used in a student paper, the source must still be identified and the author of the ideas given credit. Students are responsible to make sure they are using sources properly and documenting them properly.

The responsibility for maintaining personal integrity and honor in academic activities rests with the student. Each faculty member will provide information on academic integrity to students in the course outline at the beginning of the semester, including any necessary explanation of violations, possible infractions of academic integrity and the scope of sanctions, e.g., warning, lowering of the grade on the assignment or course, course failure, or dismissal from the program or university.

Should a violation of academic integrity occur, the faculty member must inform the student of the violation before imposing any sanction. Should the violation be considered serious enough to merit any grade of “D” or lower on any major assignment, or a more serious penalty, such as course failure or dismissal from the program, the faculty member must notify the vice president of academic affairs (VPAA) and supply any supporting evidence. In the case of multiple violations, the VPAA will discuss this issue with the student and may impose additional sanctions up to and including dismissal from the university. In a case where dismissal from the university is contemplated, the VPAA will consult with the faculty member, student’s advisor, department chair/program director, and college dean.

In cases where the student contests the accusations of academic dishonesty, the student may file a grievance under either the undergraduate or graduate grievance procedure, whichever one is applicable.


Students must meet all of the requirements for at least one Graduate Education program to be recommended for graduation. Candidates eligible for graduation must complete an Application for Degree and submit it to the Registrar’s Office by the date specified.

Teacher Certification

The reading specialist specialization has been reviewed and approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education as a professional preparation program. The reading specialist specialization enables teachers who are already certified to obtain a Reading Specialist K- 12 certificate. The Special Education specialization has also been reviewed and approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education as a professional preparation program. The special education specialization enables teachers who are already certified to obtain a Special Education PK-Gr 4 certificate.

The Speech-Language Pathology program at Misericordia University, in co-operation with the Teacher Education program, is approved to provide the Education Specialist: School Speech and Language Pathologist PK-12 Certification, issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, to graduates of the Speech-Language Pathology program. Fieldwork in an educational setting and all coursework specified as part of the certification program are required.

Students who complete the academic requirements set forth by the PA Department of Education in programs that offer professional educator certifications are eligible to apply for the appropriate certifications offered by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. To be considered eligible, they must:

  • complete a state-approved teacher education program that includes a student teaching or intern experience (the university’s programs are state approved);
  • complete all state-required certification tests (A current list of tests required and the qualifying scores are published on the PDE website (;
  • document that they have completed all certificate requirements; and
  • complete PDE’s online application for certification.

For additional information, graduates may contact:

The Bureau of School Leadership and Teacher Quality

Pennsylvania Department of Education

333 Market Street

Harrisburg, PA 17126-0333

Phone: 717-787-3356

Graduates of the university’s teacher education programs may be eligible for certifications offered by other states. Pennsylvania has signed an Interstate Agreement through the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification which facilitates certification in other states. States’ requirements vary; graduates should determine what they have to do to become certified in a state other than Pennsylvania.


Specialization in Instructional Technology

Teachers need to use advanced technology to implement modern curriculum. While they don’t need to become computer programmers or software writers, they do need to know how to use modern technology to plan and deliver instruction. The technology specialization of the graduate education program gives teachers the knowledge and skills they need to implement technology and to improve educational systems. Graduates can function as leaders of local school district instructional improvement teams, technology planning committees, site-based management teams, building-level management teams, and will also be able to otherwise work to improve instruction in their schools by helping their colleagues implement technology.

Students who specialize in Instructional Technology complete 18 credits of required courses and 18 credits chosen from a group of elective courses.

Required courses in Instructional Technology

EDU 500 Issues in Education Issues OR EDU 567 Issues in Educational Technology

EDU 504 Curriculum

EDU 510 Learning

EDU 515 Research Methods

EDU 565 Staff Development

EDU 595 Professional Contribution

Elective Courses in Instructional Technology (18 credits required)

EDU 552 Multimedia for Instruction

EDU 553 Instructional Design

EDU 554 Videography

EDU 556 Programming for Instruction

EDU 566 Principles of Instructional Design

EDU 568 Distance Education and Hybrid Technology

EDU 585 Special Topics (Focused on a current topic of importance in the field.)

Total: 36 credits

Specialization in Reading

School district superintendents are increasingly emphasizing the need for teachers to have a strong background in the teaching of reading. The Reading Specialist program enables teachers who already hold a PA Instructional certification to obtain both Reading Specialist K-12 certification and a Master's degree in Education with a specialization in reading. The Reading Specialist Certification requires 24 credit hours and successful completion of EDU 645-A Reading Specialist Internship, and successful completion of the state required examinations. The Master of Science in Education with a specialization in Reading requires an additional 12 credits and completion of a culminating experience.

Students who specialize in Reading complete eight required Reading Specialist courses and a supervised internship experience.

Reading Specialist Certificate Courses: 24 credits

EDU 641 Foundations of Language and Literacy

EDU 642 Word Study

EDU 647 Reading and Writing for English Language Learners

EDU 648 Special Education and the Reading Specialist

EDU 649 The Reading and Writing Connection

EDU 650 Reading in the Content Area

EDU 645 Diagnosis, Assessment and Remediation

EDU 645A Reading Specialist Internship

EDU 646 Data Driven Instruction

Additional required courses for Master’s degree candidates (12 credits)

EDU 651 Reading Leadership

EDU 515 Research Methods

EDU 565 Staff Development

EDU 595 Professional Contribution

Specialization in Special Education

Both federal education law and current best practice requires the inclusion of students with disabilities in the regular education curriculum to the fullest extent possible. The Special Education program enables teachers who already hold a PA Instructional certification to obtain both Special Education PK – Grade 8 certification and a Master's degree in Education with a specialization in Special Education. The Special Education Certification requires 27 - 33 credit hours (dependent on prior coursework) and successful completion of EDU 582 Observation and Practice (internship), and successful completion of the state required examinations. The Master of Science in Education with a specialization in Special Education requires an additional 9 credits and completion of a culminating experience.

Certification requirements:

EDU 517 Special Education

EDU 526 Characteristics I

EDU 527 Characteristics II

EDU 528 Methods I

EDU 509 Assessment

EDU 529 Methods II

EDU 519 Inclusion

EDU 539 Learning Strategies

EDU 585 Special Topics in ELL OR EDU 647 Reading and Writing for English Language Learners

EDU 582 Observation and Practice (0-3 credits)

Master’s degree candidates must complete the following additional courses: 9 credits

EDU 515 Research Methods

EDU 565 Staff Development

EDU 595 Professional Contribution

Total: 36-39 credits

Post Baccalaureate Certification Programs

The Teacher Education Department has been approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education to offer initial Instructional I certifications in the following areas to persons holding a Bachelor’s Degree: PK-Grade 4, Middle Level Education and Secondary Education in Biology, Chemistry, Citizenship, English and Mathematics. Transcripts of previous academic work will be evaluated by the Transfer Coordinator to determine the coursework needed to complete the certification requirements.

As per Pennsylvania regulation, candidates for post baccalaureate programs in Special Education must also hold a content area certificate (e.g., Elementary Education, PK-4, Gr 4-8 or other content area).

Those seeking admission to the Post Baccalaureate certification programs must apply through the University’s Admissions Office.