Jun 22, 2024  
Fitchburg State University 2020-2021 Graduate Catalog 
Fitchburg State University 2020-2021 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Interdisciplinary Studies: Reading Specialist Concentration, CAGS

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Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study (CAGS)

General Philosophy

Fitchburg State University’s CAGS programs are designed to meet well-defined career needs of professionals who have earned an appropriate master’s degree and who wish to attain greater competency in a combination of areas of study within one of the major CAGS fields offered.

General Description of Program

Each student’s CAGS program is planned under the direction of an advisor and is built on the academic background, professional position, and career goals of the student. CAGS programs consist of an integrated core curriculum, supervised professional practice, an internship, and elective courses.

General Program of Study

Upon acceptance into the program, the student’s plan of study is developed with and approved by an advisor, who works with the student over the course of study. A minimum of 30 approved graduate credits is required to complete the CAGS with the following restrictions:

  • CAGS courses may not repeat work previously accomplished by the student in other graduate degree study
  • CAGS credits must be earned in graduate-level courses
  • 6000-level professional development courses may not be taken or transferred in as part of the CAGS program of study

Details regarding the CAGS curricula, including information about required and elective courses, may be found in the specific CAGS program description which follows.

CAGS in Interdisciplinary Studies: Reading Specialist Concentration


Meg O’Hearn-Curran, Ph.D.

Program Requirements

Students choosing to study the fields of Fundamentals of Reading Instruction and Assessment and Leadership in Literacy Instruction as part of the CAGS in Interdisciplinary Studies work with an advisor from the Graduate Reading Specialist program to develop a plan of study. CAGS consists of an integrated core curriculum, research, supervised professional practice, and a capstone experience. Students choosing the disciplines of Fundamentals of Reading Instruction and Assessment and Leadership in Literacy Instruction complete a practicum and seminar as their capstone experience, which leads to initial licensure as a Reading Specialist.

The integrated core curriculum consists of:

  • Two common courses, Critical Inquiry in Interdisciplinary Studies and Research in Reading Education.
  • Twelve advanced graduate credits (7000 level and above) in each of two declared disciplines.
  • A 6 credit practicum and seminar capstone experience. This capstone experience allows the student to demonstrate specified competencies in the two fields studied.

Admissions Standards and Criteria

To apply for enrollment in the CAGS in Interdisciplinary Studies Program, a student must submit documents as outlined in the graduate admissions section as well as:

  • Official transcript of a master’s degree from a regionally accredited institution
  • Official transcript of a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution
  • MAT/GRE/GMAT exams are not required
  • Applicants to graduate initial licensure teacher preparation programs must successfully complete the literacy and communication subtests of the Massachusetts Test for Educator Licensure (MTEL) and submit passing scores as part of their application process.
  • Initial Licensure in Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle School or Special Education
  • Personal Statement

Students must complete an essay of no more than one page in response to one of the following questions/statement:

  1. Tell about a positive situation in which you helped a person and made a significant difference in that person’s life.
  2. What are the most important factors in establishing a long-term working relationship with students, friends, etc.?
  3. Tell us about a significant event that involved you in a teaching or helping role.
    • Describe the situation as it occurred at the time.
    • What did you do in that particular situation?
    • How did you feel about the situation at the time you were experiencing it?
    • How do you feel about the situation now?
    • What would you change, if anything?

Program of Study

Program Prerequisites

  • Literature for Children or Young Adults (or equivalent)
  • Child Growth and Development (or equivalent)
  • Principles and Practices of Teaching Reading (or equivalent)
  • An initial teaching license as outlined above

In addition, students must successfully pass the appropriate content exam(s) of the MTEL prior to the practicum experience. For this program it is the Reading Specialist exam.

Total for CAGS 36 cr.


* Candidates must successfully pass the Stage Review prior to enrolling in the Practicum and Practicum Seminar; the Stage Review includes a passing score on the Reading Specialist MTEL.

Sheltered English Immersion (SEI) Endorsement Course

Prior to completion of the program of study, initial licensure candidates are required to take the Fitchburg State University ESE-approved SEI course, if needed, in order to be endorsed for licensure.  Please note that SEI endorsement occurs following the completion of the program, not before. Please note that the DESE requires that the SEI course include at least 30 contact hours face-to-face to meet their requirements.

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