Online Master’s Programs In Reading And Literacy

This guide provides an overview of the best online master's in reading and literacy programs, including common course offerings and ways to finance school.

Updated September 20, 2022

Reviewed by ACO Rankings Team
Online Master’s Programs In Reading And Literacy

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Earn an Online Master's in Reading

Current educators who wish to advance their career in literacy education should consider earning an online master's in reading. Typically framed as a master of education or a master of science with an emphasis in reading or literacy, this degree prepares educators to teach reading in a K-12 classroom setting, tutor students who struggle with reading, create literacy curriculums, or teach English as a Second Language (ESL).

To meet the demands of rising school enrollment, the BLS projects kindergarten and elementary school teaching jobs will increase 7% from 2016-2026. Having an advanced degree will help teachers compete for these job openings. For educators who already hold a full-time job, earning a master's in reading and literacy online may serve as a flexible, affordable way to move into a higher-paying position.

This guide provides an overview of the best online master's in reading and literacy programs, including common course offerings and ways to finance school. It also delves into what students can expect after graduation, including career paths and annual earning potential.


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What Can I Learn in an Online Master's in Reading Program?

Students who earn their master's in reading online learn how to teach reading to students of different ages, levels, backgrounds, and abilities. As part of this process, students learn how to improve students' reading habits, how to assess their learning abilities, and how to diagnose learning disabilities. Coupled with assessment and diagnosis, students also consider curriculum building and remedial instruction. Some programs may offer courses on teaching ESL learners or students with reading-specific disabilities like dyslexia. Students may also study related subjects like children's literature and linguistics.

Most literacy programs require 30-38 credit hours of coursework, meaning full-time students typically earn their degree in two years. This amount of time depends on incoming credits, course load, and program format. Accelerated courses, for instance, may allow students to complete course requirements in less time. Despite providing online courses, many online programs require an in-person practicum, project, or fieldwork experience that students can fulfill at a nearby location.

What common courses are offered in a master's in reading program?

Although courses differ from program to program, many online master's in reading programs offer similar foundational courses critical to the discipline, such as the following:

What exams or projects should I expect?

Most online master's in reading programs require that students complete some kind of internship, project, or practicum experience at a local school, community center, or clinic. This experience typically requires that students spend at least one semester working with individual students or groups of students, either tutoring, implementing remedial instruction, or testing for learning difficulties. Students typically partner with area programs or schools, allowing them to gain experience working alongside other literacy professionals and educators. Some internship or practicum experiences may require a written component in which students document and synthesize their experience. Other programs may require that students complete a separate and additional thesis or final portfolio project.

What specializations are available in a master's in reading program?

Programs that offer specializations allow students to focus on a specific area of study within the greater field of reading and literacy, which can help them stand out in a pool of job applicants. Although specializations differ from program to program, a sample appears below.

What Can I Do with a Master's in Reading Degree?

Students who earn their master's in reading online can enter various career paths relating to education and literacy. In addition to teaching jobs at the kindergarten, elementary, middle, high school, and postsecondary levels, graduates can also enter positions relating to curriculum development and adult literacy. Although a graduate degree in literacy certainly makes applicants more competitive for jobs relating to reading education, it may not necessarily qualify applicants for all of the careers listed below. Some of these careers may require additional state certifications or licensures in addition to a master's degree.

Professional Organizations

Professional organizations allow recent graduates, educators, and veteran reading specialists to connect. In addition to networking opportunities like chat rooms, workshops, and conferences, members enjoy discounts on insurance, hotels, and travel. Most professional organizations also provide practical resources like job boards, awards, lesson plans, and publications.

Committed to helping those with dyslexia, IDA connects educators, parents, and researchers from across the world. The organization offers a teacher and professional membership tier. Professional members join a list of service providers and gain access to publications, conference discounts, and insurance. ILA connects more than 300,000 literacy professionals and advocates from around the globe. Members enjoy access to literacy publications, teaching tips, and lesson plans. They also receive discounts on insurance, hotels, and admission to ILA's annual conference. AAE boasts three types of membership: professional, student, and retired educator and supporter. Members enjoy benefits such as liability insurance, legal protection, newsletters, scholarships, and classroom grants. They also gain access to training resources and professional development opportunities. ALER connects and advocates for literacy students, teachers, and reading specialists of all levels and backgrounds. Members enjoy publications, discounts on conference registration, and networking opportunities to connect educators and researchers alike. NCTE members customize their involvement, joining as an elementary, middle, secondary, or college teacher. Educators at all levels connect with a community of their peers, sharing resources, advice, and research. Members receive publications, awards, and admission into NCTE's annual convention.

How Much Can I Make with a Career in Reading?

The chart below illustrates the types of jobs that master's in literacy graduates typically pursue. Although a graduate degree in reading and literacy does not necessary qualify a student for these positions — individual states, schools, and organizations may require additional certifications and experiences — it can potentially lead to work in these areas. Whatever job they decide to pursue, students who hold a graduate degree often appear more competitive in job searches than their counterparts who only hold an undergraduate degree.


Career Salary Potential
Job Title Lowest 10% Earned Annually Median Annual Salary Highest 10% Earned Annually Job Growth 2016-2026
Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers Less than $34,840 $56,900 More than $83,920 +7%
Middle School TeachersLess than $38,540$57,720More than $91,670 +8%
High School TeachersLess than $39,080 $59,170 More than $95,380+8%
Instructional Coordinators Less than $35,550 $63,750 More than $101,500 +11%
Adult Literacy and High School Equivalency Diploma Teachers Less than $31,310 $52,100 More than $87,160 -5%

Source: BLS

To accommodate an increase in student enrollment numbers, the BLS projects that from 2016-2026, elementary, middle, and high school teaching positions in the U.S. will grow 7-8%. This rate parallels the average rate of growth for all occupations in the country, which currently hovers around 7%. In coming years, a large number of teachers will reach retirement age, presumably creating new job vacancies in the field. However, some public school districts and schools may limit or expand their hiring pool depending on budgetary restrictions or allowances.

Educators in all subjects, including literacy, tend to earn different salaries depending on their degree. Generally, educators who boast a graduate degree earn more on average than their peers with bachelor's degrees. For example, from 2009-2013, elementary school educators who held a bachelor's degree earned a median annual salary of around $42,000 while those who held a graduate degree earned around $57,000. Similarly, early childhood educators who held a bachelor's degree earned an average of $39,000 annually while those who held a graduate degree earned an average of around $53,000.

Online Master's in Reading Program Accreditation

When selecting an online master's in reading, students should make sure the school boasts regional accreditation. Accrediting agencies review programs to determine whether they meet certain standards of academic quality. Between the two types of institutional accreditation — regional and national — most consider regional accreditation more prestigious. Whereas some schools may not recognize credits earned at a nationally accredited schools, all schools, employers, and state certification programs recognize academic credits earned at a regionally accredited school.

Students should also consider whether their program boasts programmatic accreditation. Similar to institutional accreditation, programmatic accreditation means that an outside accrediting organization completed a review of a particular program and determined it met a standard of quality within that field of study. When it comes to online master's of reading programs, students should look to see if their program boasts accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation for Educator Preparation, the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), or the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC).

How to Pay for a Master's in Reading Degree

Students pursuing their master's in reading online can finance their degree through financial aid, scholarships, fellowships, and loans. The kind of financial support a students receives depends on a few factors. Some schools, for instance, offer more scholarship money than others, and eligibility for federal financial aid depends on each student's level of need. Below, you can find a sample of various funding sources.

Online Master's in Reading Programs 2022

#1

American College of Education

School Information
Location Indianapolis, Indiana
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission

American College of Education delivers online and in-person graduate programs from its Indianapolis, Indiana, campus. Learners throughout the country can pursue an online master of education in literacy at the private institution. Master's graduates often qualify for promotions or raises.

Faculty advisors help degree candidates customize their academic experience and explore issues facing professionals in the reading field. The program's rigorous curriculum provides foundational knowledge through core coursework. Enrollees develop industry-specific analytical and leadership skills.

The school charges online learners affordable tuition rates. Financial aid counselors help degree-seekers explore funding options. The school's affordable tuition rates make graduate studies more accessible.

American College of Education at a Glance:

Online Master's Programs: 16

Total Online Programs: 32

Average Per-Credit Cost: Not Known

Graduate Tuition In-State: $4,894

Graduate Tuition Out-of-State: $4,894

Permits Transfer Credits: No

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#2

Arkansas Tech University

School Information
Location Russellville, Arkansas
Admission Rate 95%
Graduation Rate 38%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 50% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Located in Russellville, Arkansas Tech University delivers academic programs online and on campus. Online learners can pursue the school's distance education programs. One option includes a master of education in K-12 literacy.

The program requires in-depth coursework, and enrollees benefit from academic and career advising. Busy learners benefit by completing academic requirements around their schedule. Full-time degree-seekers typically need 1-2 years to earn their degree.

Students with financial need can submit the FAFSA to apply for federal grants, loans, and work-study programs. Of the school's enrollees, 36% use student loans to pay for their education. Additionally, 96% of learners receive financial aid.

Arkansas Tech University Fast Facts:

Total Programs: 168

Number of Online Programs: 29

Online Master's Programs: 27

Number of Online Students: 5,885

Per-Credit Tuition: N/A

Religious Affiliation: Non-Affiliated

Transfer Credits Toward Degree: No

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#3

Baldwin Wallace University

School Information
Location Berea, Ohio
Admission Rate 73%
Graduation Rate 65%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 11% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Baldwin Wallace University delivers respected graduate degrees in a variety of fields, including a master of arts in education in literacy. While many of the institution's students pursue their degree on campus in Berea, Ohio, 374 students attend online classes. Busy learners balancing work and school can benefit from online programs' scheduling flexibility.

Degree-seekers develop field-specific knowledge and skills that apply to many professional reading roles. Graduate students consult with faculty mentors to select classes aligning with their interests and career goals. The program's flexible scheduling options make earning a master's more convenient for busy learners. Degree candidates currently employed in the literacy field can pursue promotions or raises after earning their master's degree. The institution offers career services to help master's students efficiently transition from their studies into the workforce.

Online learners benefit from affordable tuition rates and can apply for institutional funding to further reduce their financial burden. In addition to federal funding, learners can secure private scholarships and institutional fellowships. The institution's cost per credit is unknown.

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#4

Belhaven University

School Information
Location Jackson, Mississippi
Admission Rate 49%
Graduation Rate 50%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 48% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Belhaven University delivers high-quality online programs for distance learners. With 36 online programs, including 14 online master's programs, the private Jackson, Mississippi, institution educates students throughout the country. Degree-seekers can enroll in the school's master of education in reading literacy. With flexible enrollment options, the online program appeals to working professionals.

The graduate-level curriculum features specialized reading classes and foundational core coursework. Students can select electives and pursue practical learning experiences to prepare for careers in specific areas of the industry. Full-time master's degree-seekers typically require 1-2 years to complete their program. An admissions advisor can provide specific application details, including requirements and deadlines.

Online learners at the school pay affordable tuition rates, making graduate studies more accessible. Graduate tuition rates at the institution average $10,170 for Mississippi residents. Enrollees with financial need can apply for federal grants and loans. The school reports that 95% of students fund their education through financial aid.

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#5

Black Hills State University

School Information
Location Spearfish, South Dakota
Admission Rate 84%
Graduation Rate 38%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 58% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

South Dakota-based Black Hills State University educates degree-seekers online and at its Spearfish campus. Learners can pursue any of the school's two online bachelor's programs and five online master's programs.

The institution's online master of education in reading is ideal for degree-seekers interested in reading careers. Learners who are new to the field and those with established reading careers can benefit from the graduate program. Faculty advising, career counseling, and experiential learning programs prepare graduates for the workforce.

Enrollees pursuing online graduate programs benefit from the school's affordable tuition rates. The institution holds accreditation, which means students can receive federal grants, scholarships, and loans. Master's degree candidates can research additional financial aid options, including private scholarships and fellowships. 

Black Hills State University Facts:

Tuition Per Credit: N/A

Students Receiving Aid: 91%

Students Receiving Loans: 43%

Total Master's Programs: 7

Total Online Master's Programs: 7

Permits Transfer Credits: No

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#6

Bowling Green State University-Main Campus

School Information
Location Bowling Green, Ohio
Admission Rate 72%
Graduation Rate 61%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 33% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Learners can enroll at Bowling Green State University-Main Campus to pursue a variety of respected master's degrees, including a master of education in reading. The public institution's student population includes degree-seekers studying on campus in Bowling Green, Ohio, along with 5,815 individuals pursuing online studies. Online classes are ideal for learners with busy schedules.

Master's candidates develop field-specific knowledge and skills that apply to many professional reading roles. Graduate students consult with faculty mentors to select classes aligning with their interests and career goals. The online program prioritizes flexible scheduling and career-specific training. After earning the master's degree in reading, graduates can apply for positions in the field or advance their current career. Enrollees can use the institution's career services to develop a plan for achieving their professional goals after graduation.

Support services including career advising and financial aid counseling prepare learners to succeed academically and professionally. The school charges online students affordable tuition rates, making graduate studies more accessible. Learners may also qualify for scholarships and fellowships. Information on the school's cost per credit is unavailable.

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#7

Canisius College

School Information
Location Buffalo, New York
Admission Rate 83%
Graduation Rate 73%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 32% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Canisius College offers one online program for distance learners. The university, located in Buffalo, New York, reports that 701 students take online classes. The institution offers an online master's in literacy program. The accredited program provides a rigorous course of study valued by employers. The program builds advanced skills and training for careers in reading. 

The institution reports a student-to-faculty ratio of 11-to-1, giving enrollees one-on-one time with faculty. Students can learn more about online support services at the school's website. The college offers affordable tuition rates and financial aid opportunities. This makes the master's degree an affordable option for degree-seekers on a budget. The institution reports a 73% graduation rate for its programs.

Canisius College at a Glance:

Total Online Enrollment: 992

Number of Online Master’s Programs: 15

Graduate Tuition: $14,760 per year 

Canisius College holds accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

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#8

Capella University

School Information
Location Minneapolis, Minnesota
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission

Based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Capella University educates undergraduate and graduate degree-seekers on campus and online. The private institution delivers an online master's in reading and literacy, which is ideal for busy learners. The affordable, accessible program prepares working professionals to pursue leadership positions.

Graduate students work with faculty advisors during the course of their reading studies. Enrollees develop specialized knowledge in the field and soft skills that apply to many professional roles. Master's students develop analytical skills they can apply to solve complex reading problems.

Learners at the school access affordable tuition rates and institutional funding, which can reduce out-of-pocket expenses. Degree-seekers can consult with financial aid counselors to explore funding options, such as scholarships and grants. 

Capella University Facts:

Online Master's Programs: 76

Total Online Programs: 209

Average Per-Credit Fee: $792

Graduate Tuition In-State: $14,767

Graduate Tuition Out-of-State: $14,767

Transfer Credits Toward Degree: Yes

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#9

Central Washington University

School Information
Location Ellensburg, Washington
Admission Rate 85%
Graduation Rate 58%
Accreditation Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
Percent Online Enrollment 92% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Central Washington University delivers a respected online master's in English with a literary studies and teaching specialization. The Ellensburg-based institution's student population includes 10,718 distance students. Busy learners balancing work and school can benefit from online programs' scheduling flexibility.

Degree-seekers develop field-specific knowledge and skills that apply to many professional reading roles. The master's program features electives, allowing students to tailor the curriculum to their professional goals. The online program prioritizes flexible scheduling and specialized industry skills development. Graduates often benefit from increased reading career opportunities after earning their master's degree. Students and alumni can access career services from the institution.

The school supports online learners through affordable tuition rates and institutional funding. Learners may also qualify for scholarships and fellowships. The school's average cost per credit is unknown.

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#10

City University of Seattle

School Information
Location Seattle, Washington
Graduation Rate 33%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
Percent Online Enrollment 80% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Washington-based City University of Seattle provides academic programs for online and on-campus degree-seekers. The institution's master of education prepares online students to succeed in reading careers.

Learners balancing academics with personal or professional obligations can take advantage of the online program's flexible scheduling options. Degree-seekers enrolled full time typically require 1-2 years to complete their master's program.

The institution holds accreditation, which means students with financial need to qualify for federal grants and loans. Of the student body, 26% fund their education through loans. 

City University of Seattle Numbers:

Total Programs: 52

Number of Online Programs: 50

Online Master's Programs: 17

Number of Online Students: 1,568

Average Per-Credit Tuition: Not Known

Religious Affiliation: Non-Affiliated

Permits Transfer Credits: No

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#11

Clemson University

School Information
Location Clemson, South Carolina
Admission Rate 51%
Graduation Rate 84%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 29% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Clemson, South Carolina-based Clemson University provides graduate programs for online and on-campus degree-seekers. Distance learners can earn an online master's in literacy from the public institution in an online format. Working students often qualify for career advancement after graduation.

Degree candidates can discuss the literacy field and plan their academic track with experienced faculty advisors. The program's rigorous curriculum features core and specialized classes that foster field-specific and transferable skills. Along with foundational reading knowledge, program coursework helps students gain industry-specific analytical and leadership skills.

The school charges online learners affordable tuition rates and offers institutional funding for eligible applicants. Graduate degree-seekers can explore funding options with the help of the institution's financial aid counselors. The school's affordable tuition rates make graduate studies more accessible.

Clemson University Numbers:

Online Master's Programs: 74

Total Online Programs: 49

Number of Online Students: 7,423

Average Fee Per Credit: N/A

Graduate Tuition In-State: $10,600

Graduate Tuition Out-of-State: $22,050

Transfer Credits Accepted: No

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#12

Concordia University-Chicago

School Information
Location River Forest, Illinois
Admission Rate 75%
Graduation Rate 47%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 68% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

A top-ranked school located in River Forest, Illinois, Concordia University-Chicago offers master's programs on its campus and online. The private institution delivers online programs for busy learners, including a master of arts in reading education. Students often maintain employment while enrolled in the flexible program.

Faculty advisors help learners customize their academic experience and explore issues facing professionals in the reading field. Enrollees complete a rigorous curriculum and gain field-specific training. In addition to covering foundational reading knowledge, the curriculum emphasizes career-specific analytical and leadership skills.

The school charges online learners affordable tuition rates, making graduate studies more accessible. Financial aid counselors help degree-seekers explore funding options. Online learners at the school pay affordable tuition rates and can apply for institutional funding to further reduce the financial burden of earning a master's degree.

Concordia University-Chicago Fast Facts:

Online Master's Programs: 48

Total Online Programs: 58

Number of Online Students: 4,222

Average Cost Per Credit: Not Known

Graduate Tuition In-State: $8,910

Graduate Tuition Out-of-State: $8,910

Applies Transfer Credits: No

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#13

Concordia University-Nebraska

School Information
Location Seward, Nebraska
Admission Rate 78%
Graduation Rate 64%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 27% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Concordia University-Nebraska delivers undergraduate and graduate programs from its Seward campus.

Degree-seekers at the institution can pursue an online master's in literacy. Graduates can transition to a reading career or advance their current career in the field after earning their master's degree. The school delivers services including academic advising, experiential learning programs, and career counseling.

Enrollees pursuing online graduate programs benefit from the school's affordable tuition rates. Students with financial need can apply for federal grants and loans. Additional funding options for graduate-level learners include private scholarships and institutional fellowships. In addition to reducing degree-completion time, transferring credits into a master's program can help degree-seekers save money on tuition.

Concordia University-Nebraska at a Glance:

Average Per-Credit Tuition: $433

Students Receiving Aid: 100%

Students Receiving Loans: 47%

Total Master's Programs: 17

Total Online Master's Programs: 17

Transfer Credits Toward Degree: Yes

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#14

Concordia University-Wisconsin

School Information
Location Mequon, Wisconsin
Admission Rate 64%
Graduation Rate 64%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 39% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Based in Mequon, Concordia University-Wisconsin educates degree-seekers through in-person and flexible online programs. Learners with personal or professional responsibilities often enroll in the school's 12 online bachelor's programs or 25 online master's programs.

Degree-seekers at the institution can pursue an online master of science in education. Learners who are new to the field and those with established careers can benefit from the graduate program. The school delivers faculty mentorship and career counseling for graduate students.

Online enrollees pay affordable tuition rates, making graduate studies more accessible. The institution holds accreditation, which means students can qualify for federal financial aid programs. Learners who need additional funding can secure private scholarships and institutional fellowships. 

Concordia University-Wisconsin at a Glance:

Per-Credit Fee: Not Known

Students Receiving Aid: 100%

Students Receiving Loans: 55%

Total Master's Programs: 37

Total Online Master's Programs: 37

Transfer Credits Allowed: No

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#15

East Carolina University

School Information
Location Greenville, North Carolina
Admission Rate 79%
Graduation Rate 66%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 48% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Undergraduate and graduate degree-seekers can pursue East Carolina University's programs online or in person. Distance learners can earn an online master of reading and literacy education at the public institution. The degree can qualify graduates for promotions to leadership positions.

Faculty advisors help enrollees examine complex issues and develop a strong overall understanding of the field. Degree candidates complete core and specialized coursework meeting high academic standards. Master's students develop industry-specific analytical and leadership skills.

The school charges online learners affordable tuition rates. Financial aid counselors help degree-seekers explore funding options. Online learners benefit from affordable tuition rates and can apply for institutional funding to further reduce their financial burden.

East Carolina University Facts:

Online Master's Programs: 72

Total Online Programs: 69

Number of Online Students: 13,890

Average Fee Per Credit: Unavailable

Graduate Tuition In-State: $4,749

Graduate Tuition Out-of-State: $17,898

Transfer Credits Toward Degree: No

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