Field of Literacy Education

MPEd | Field of Literacy Education

Designed to support and challenge educators who are engaged in literacy education in an era of rapid technological, demographic, cultural and linguistic change. Graduates of the MPEd in the field of Literacy Education will have received sustained opportunities to critically explore and develop knowledge and the ability to apply that knowledge in practice relative to a breadth of curricular and pedagogical issues.

Please note that the MPEd in Literacy Education is not being offered in 2019.


Key topics include: historic and contemporary definitions of literacy; digital literacies; art and other multimodal forms of literacy; curriculum and pedagogies for the acquisition of reading and writing, including for learners who struggle; content area literacies; culturally and linguistically diverse learners and literacy acquisition; interdisciplinary literacy; and literacy assessment and evaluation across formal and informal learning contexts. These topics are considered across the lifespan, from early childhood to elder-status.

Unique Features:

  • Direct access to experienced language and literacy education researchers who specialize in literacy education research and its application in a wide variety of domains (both formal and informal; from early years to graduate and elder contexts).
  • Links to the Language & Literacy Education Research Cluster, and its international affiliates.
  • The ability to work through problems of practice with other practicing educators.
  • The tools to create innovative curriculum and pedagogies that can engage learners in meaningful literacy practices and help them acquire facility with a range of modes so as to expand their language and literacy repertoires and foster well-being.

Important Note

The successful completion of a Master of Professional degree does not lead to certification with the Ontario College of Teachers (OCT).


The objective of the MPEd in Literacy Education is to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary for advocacy and leadership relative to Literacy Education in professional practice which calls for:

  1. initiative and professional responsibility in curricular endeavors;
  2. critical decision-making and problem solving in a variety of curriculum situations;
  3. intellectual independence and curiosity required for continuing professional learning;
  4. ethical behaviour consistent with academic and professional integrity and the use of appropriate academic and professional guidelines and procedures for responsible conduct of inquiry, research and scholarship; and
  5. the ability to critically appreciate the broader implications of applying knowledge to Literacy Education practices.
  • Students will be able to demonstrate an ability to effectively communicate ideas, concepts, issues, and arguments about Literacy Education through multiple modes, media, and genres pertinent to their professional context(s).
  • Students will gain cognizance of the complexity and implications of Literacy Education in professional practice, including the potential contributions of a diversity of interpretations, methods, and disciplines.


The MPEd is designated as a full-time program. Full-time status requires that students complete four half-courses in one year. MPEd students will complete one course per semester (fall, winter, intersession, summer) for two years. Full-time students have access to all student services at Western. See SGPS for details.

This program of study is a course-based cohort model. Approximately 20 students will be admitted to each cohort. This cohort structure will provide ongoing support within the course work, enabling students to develop a professional community of practice. To ensure the integrity of the cohort model, continuous enrollment is required, and will necessitate that students complete all the required courses within the timeframe stipulated.


Year 1 Fall
ED 9535A Understanding Language and Literacy Curriculum, Pedagogy, and Learning in a Changing World

Introduction to the field of Literacy Studies. Topics include: the history and expansion of literacy in educational curricula, literacy in national and international educational settings and everyday activities, overview of diverse traditions in literacy research and scholarship, ways in which literacy research informs and is informed by national and transnational policies.

Year 1 Winter
ED 9492B Understanding Multiliteracies Pedagogy

Introduction to the relationship between textual conventions, the contexts of their use, and critical reflection on those relationships. Students will engage with multiple textual forms and contexts, including digital texts, to learn how they can be utilized to expand communication options. Issues of assessment in multiliteracies pedagogies also explored.

Year 1 Summer - Intersession
ED 9581L Understanding Writing, Reading & Representing Across the Curriculum

Content area literacy is examined from the viewpoints of English studies, psychology, linguistics, content area disciplines, and the multiliteracies movement. The nature of representations and their role in the construction and communication of knowledge is a central theme. Implications for curriculum planning, instructional methods and assessment are critically considered.

Year 1 Summer - Summer Session
ED 9493L Understanding Multiliteracies and Student Diversity

Critical consideration of various aspects of student diversity that can make a difference in language and literacy education (e.g., cultural and linguistic diversity, Indigenous learners, socio-economic status, gender, and learners who struggle with print literacy). Includes practical suggestions for how multiliteracies curriculum and pedagogy can capitalize on diversity.

Year 2 Fall
ED 9496A Understanding Research Methods for Educational Practice

An introduction to curriculum research as an innovative process with emphasis on designs involving students, educators, community members, and/or educational practitioners. Topics may include theoretical understanding and practical application of various research designs, relating to the topic of curriculum, including quantitative and qualitative methods to offer guidance in developing inquiry/questions of practice and reading/interpreting research. 

Year 2 Winter
ED 9497B Understanding Curriculum Leadership for Educational Practice

Focus on leading the development, implementation, and evaluation of positive curricular change. Emphasis on ways of conceptualizing curriculum leadership and advocacy and professional learning and reflective practice to promote equitable and enabling environments for all. The course will give students opportunities to explore curriculum leadership in their MPED focus.

Year 2 Summer - Intersession & Year 2 Summer - Summer Session
ED 9498 Capstone Course

The Capstone Course provides students with an opportunity to expand breadth of experience and to gain working knowledge of applied theories in a real-world education setting. Students will develop a project to apply their learning to practice, investigate and reflect on their findings, write a project report, and gain practical experience under the guidance of a supervisor and/or instructor.

Faculty Research

Program Coordinator

Mi Song KimView Profile


Isha DeCoitoView Profile

Rachel HeydonView Profile

Kathryn HibbertView Profile

Zheng ZhangView Profile



  • A four-year degree (20 full courses or equivalent) from an accredited university.
  • Minimum "B" standing (70%) or equivalent in the final two years of study.
Notes & Exceptions:
  • Bachelor of Education and Additional Qualification course grades are not used in calculating admission averages.
  • Applicants with 3-year degrees will be considered on a case-by-case basis if seats are available in programs. Successful experience as an educator in a professional setting may be considered in the selection process.
  • Probationary Status:  If an applicant does not meet all of the minimum admission requirements (e.g. average below 70% and/or has only a 3-year degree plus B.Ed.) the applicant may be offered admission as a Probationary Student with Conditions.
  • Conditions:  Applicants will be required to maintain a 75% average in each of these courses to clear conditions.
  • The successful completion of an MPEd degree does not lead to certification with the Ontario College of Teachers (OCT).


Tuition amounts are set each year by Senate and then published on the Office of the Registrar's Fees Schedules web page. Fees are assessed once each term (Fall, Winter, Summer).

Current students can access fee information by logging into the Student Centre (use your Western email log in and password). Students are notified each term once fee amounts have been posted in the Student Centre; it is each student's responsibility to log into the Student Centre and pay fees by the due date indicated. Failure to do so may result in a late payment fee or deregistration.

For questions about fees, including how to pay fees and the methods of payment that are accepted, students should go to the Student Financial Services pages of the Office of the Registrar's web site or contact Student Financial Services (Office of the Registrar) at 519-661-2100.


The Faculty of Education recognizes the financial commitment required to pursue professional graduate studies.

Students accepted into the Master of Professional Education in Multiliteracies are eligible for a new $5000 scholarship called the AER scholarship for literacy studies in education.

Please call the Graduate Program Office at 519 661-2099 for details on this scholarship and other awards for which you might be eligible.

As the majority of our programs are fully online, we offer students flexible learning that allows them to fund their education by remaining in their current employment. Some employers offer subsidization or time release opportunities for the professional learning of their employees. As a result, internal funding is not available for these programs.

There are also many external funding opportunities for competitive candidates in our professional programs. Download this PDF file for an additional list of over 30 external awards (see more information below). Also, visit online sites that contain numerous award opportunities.

Please note that students must apply for these awards individually. Read the qualifications carefully, and contact the award provider for more criteria and award information. Some application support is available from the Research Office for research-based awards only.

Many private financial institutions offer financing options (with particular rates and payment plans) to full-time students. Please contact a representative of your preferred financial institution for more information.

Provincial governments offer a variety of loan programs to help students finance their studies. Ontario residents may be eligible to apply for OSAP.

The Government of Canada's CanLearn website provides a listing of contact information for the offices of all government student financial assistance programs. Please visit CanLearn to find your province or territory listing. The Government of Canada implemented the Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP) to encourage higher education and training. The LLP allows you to withdraw up to $10,000 a year from your registered retirement savings plan (RRSPs) to finance training or education for you or your spouse or common-law partner. For further information on this plan, visit the government's website at


Online and onsite courses are available via the Sakai OWL platform, although instructors of onsite courses use this tool to varying degrees as well. Access to a course in Sakai OWL is typically opened the first business day of each term. Please note that although your own access may be granted prior to the first business day, course content may not be posted until closer to the scheduled term start. Your Western University login and password is required to access the course (your Western email without the and its accompanying password). Access to Sakai OWL is found here:

For online courses, students are required to have access to the following:

  • High speed Internet access
  • Access to a computer that enables connection to outside websites (flexible firewall restrictions)
  • Multimedia playback capabilities (video/audio)
  • WebCam
  • Computer capable of running a recent version of Internet Explorer, Safari, or Firefox; and/or Cisco MOVI client for PC or Mac
  • Audio headset and microphone for computer