2018-2019 Graduate Catalog 
    Nov 29, 2021  
2018-2019 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Literacy and Cognition, M.A.

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Master of Arts in Literacy and Cognition (B-6, Grades 5-12, and B-12)

S. Mary Ann Cashin, M.S., Chairperson, Child Study, SJC Long Island
Susan Straut Collard, Ph.D., Associate Chairperson, Child Study, SJC Brooklyn
Esther Berkowitz, Ph.D., Director, SJC Brooklyn
Karen Megay-Nespoli, Ed.D. Director, SJC Long Island

Program Description

The Master of Arts Program in Literacy and Cognition addresses the literacy challenges of student in the Birth through Grade Six, as well as secondary students in the Grade 5 through 12. For those graduate students who want to understand the full range of literacy challenges, a Birth through Grade 12 certification is also available. The B-6 and Grades 5-12 programs consist of 36 credits, 12 credits of core courses and 24 credits that link literacy instruction to the New York State Learning Standards. The Birth through Grade 12 is composed of 45 credits. These part-time programs lead to three New York State certifications (B-6, Grade 5-12, and B-12).

Mission and Goals

The Master of Arts Program in Literacy and Cognition is a response to the No Child Left Behind Act and will address the challenges of teachers in the area of Literacy and Cognition. To meet these challenges, the program will include opportunities to examine the issues of literacy and cognition in education from cultural, political, instructional and social perspectives, explore the ways that teachers, reading specialists, administrators, and teacher educators can provide efficient literacy instruction for all students based on the cognitive constructivist theory, design and conduct meaningful research in the area of literacy/cognition, and uphold and advance the principles set forth by the International Reading Association. 

The goals of the Master of Arts program in Literacy and Cognition (Birth-Grade 6, Grades 5-12* and Birth-12*) are as follows:

  1. Candidates will apply the principles of cognitive constructivist theories to the diagnosis, instruction, and assessment of children’s literacy needs.
  2. Candidates will develop differentiated instructional strategies and modify curriculum to meet the diverse needs of children.
  3. Candidates will assume their role as leaders and change agents, by providing support and consultation for teachers, parents and the community.
  4. Candidates will demonstrate proficiency in administration, analysis, and diagnosis using formal and informal assessments for program planning for children with specific literacy needs.
  5. Candidates will apply technology to curriculum development and program planning for children with diverse needs.
  6. Candidates will sustain a positive learning climate by implementing proactive intervention strategies, group motivation and behavior that encourages a positive social learning environment, active engagement in learning, and self-motivation.
  7. Candidates will make informed decisions about children’s needs based upon best practices, collaboration, research, observations, and assessment of data.
  8. Candidates will seek opportunities for professional growth as life-long learners by adding to their understanding of the pedagogy for teaching, learning, and the development of literacy.
  9. Candidates will demonstrate the importance of the integration of reading, writing, listening, speaking, and viewing into the literacy experiences of elementary aged children.
  10. Candidates will synthesize, evaluate, and apply research on literacy as they reflect on best practices.
  11. Candidates will uphold and advance the principles set forth by the International Reading Association and the National Council of Teachers of English.

*These certifications are only available at SJC Long Island.

Program Statistics

For the 2014-2015 academic year, the Literacy CST pass rate was 89% for SJC Brooklyn and SJC Long Island.

Admission Requirements

For applicants who plan to request certification, the applicant must possess provisional/initial/permanent/professional certification from New York State in Early Childhood, Childhood, Early Childhood Special Education and/or Childhood Special Education. All applicants to the Master of Arts in Literacy and Cognition program must possess a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college with an undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.0 (on a scale of 0-4.0).The applicant must also have six credits in reading methods.

Application Procedures

Candidates must submit:

  1. A completed application accompanied by a non-refundable fee of $25.
  2. An updated resume, which includes chronological dates of employment and descriptions of responsibilities.
  3. Two completed Letter of Reference forms. These two letters should include one from an academic source and one from a professional source.
  4. Copies of certificates granted by the New York State Education Department.
  5. Official transcripts of undergraduate and graduate work sent directly to the Office of Admissions.
  6. GRE, Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators: Combined or the MAT (Miller Analogies Test). New York State now requires applicants applying to teacher education programs to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or an equivalent exam. St. Joseph’s College will accept the Praxis Core for Educators: Combined or the MAT as acceptable equivalents to the GRE. Fall 2016 applicants will be eligible for review without official test scores, but scores will be required before a student can be eligible for registration in any of our graduate education programs. To send your official score report to St. Joseph’s College, please use our institutional code:  SJC Brooklyn -  GRE: 2802; Praxis Core: A2802; MAT: 3208   SJC Long Island - GRE: 7487; Praxis Core: 2802 or Miller’s Analogy (MAT) code: 3207.

Admission Process

  1. Applicants must arrange for an interview with the Director of the Master of Arts in Literacy and Cognition by calling the Brooklyn Campus at 718.940.5689 or 718.940.5692 or by calling the Long Island Campus at 631.687.1227. At the time of the interview, the applicant will be required to complete a writing sample on a topic related to literacy and cognition concerns.
  2. The following documents submitted by the applicants will be reviewed:
    1. Certificates granted by the New York State Education Department.
    2. Official college transcripts – undergraduate and graduate.
    3. Three references from academic and professional sources.
  3. New York State requires all students born on or after January 1, 1957 to be immunized against measles, mumps and rubella. Proof of immunity must be submitted to the Office of Admissions prior to enrollment. In addition, students must complete a Meningococcal Meningitis Vaccination Response Form as required by New York State Public Health Law.

Academic Standing

  1. Students must maintain an overall 3.0 GPA in order to continue in the program and to be eligible to be granted the Master of Arts in Literacy and Cognition.
  2. Students are expected to be familiar with the policies described in the Academic Life section of this catalog.

Transfer of Prior Coursework

A maximum of six credits from another accredited graduate program will be considered for acceptance by St. Joseph’s College provided the following conditions are met:

The course(s) is substantially equivalent to a course in the St. Joseph’s College Master of Arts in Literacy and Cognition Program. The Director will make this determination. An official transcript must be provided before a final decision is rendered. A grade of B or better must have been earned within the last five years for the course(s) under consideration. Grades of “P” for Pass are not accepted.

St. Joseph’s College reserves the right to accept credit in a way best calculated to preserve the integrity of its own degree.


Students will not be permitted to register for a class after the first class session. If students have registered in advance but have missed the first two class sessions, they will be encouraged to withdraw from the class. The reason for this is the compressed nature of the Master of Arts in Literacy and Cognition-scheduling configuration and the difficulty encountered by students attempting to make up missed work.

Students should understand that if they insist on staying in the class under these circumstances, they accept the responsibility of their decision. They should also understand that it will be difficult for them to make up the missed work; that the instructor is under no obligation to help them make up the missed material, and that their final grades may be affected both from the standpoint of material missed and class participation opportunities forfeited.


Total: 36 Credits

Grades 5 - 12

This program will enable the graduate student to receive certification to become a Literacy Specialist or Coach in a Middle School or High School. (36 credits) Available at SJC Long Island only.

Birth - Grade 12

This program will provide students with the opportunity to work as a Literacy Specialist or Coach at the elementary or secondary levels. Available at SJC Long Island only. Students will complete the courses listed in the B-6 Program, as well as the following courses, for a total of 45 credits:

Total: 45 Credits

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