Application Review


Applications are reviewed by Graduate Admissions and the Department of Literacy Teaching and Learning. Graduate Admissions checks to see that all the required documents (application form, letters of reference, transcripts, etc.) are complete. Folders are not forwarded to the Department for review unless they are complete.The Department reviews the applications as follows:

  • Each application is reviewed independently by two faculty members, using a review process that assesses each candidate in several areas (academic performance to date, subject matter knowledge, pedagogical knowledge, teaching skills, academic writing ability). Diversity is taken into consideration, but it is not weighted. Each candidate is given an overall rating. Prior to Summer 2014 the rating was scored from 1-6 (1= falls far below expectations, 6=far exceeds expectations). Starting with the Summer 2014 admission class, the rating was scored from 0-5 (0-insufficient data, 1=does not meet expectations, 2=minimally meets expectations, 3=acceptably meets expectations, 4=exceeds expectations, 5=far exceeds expectations).

  • If the two reviewers' ratings are within 2 points (e.g., 4-4. or 5-4), then the two scores are averaged to make the final rating.

  • If the two reviewers' ratings are two or more points apart (e.g., 5-3, or 2-6), then a third reviewer reads the application, without knowledge of the prior scores. The most discrepant score is dropped, and the average of the remaining scores counts as the final rating. However, the Department reserves the right to make a final rating based on a careful review by all members of the committee.

  • Candidates for each program are rank-ordered, and offers are made to candidates, starting with the top scores, and working down to the number of seats available in that program. Starting with Summer 2014, applicants with average scores lower than 3 are denied, or accepted conditionally, depending on the Department's recommendation.

The review process usually takes 4-6 weeks after the application deadline. The Department accepts candidates unconditionally, accepts them conditionally (certain required courses have to be taken and passed before proceeding to other courses), or denies them.


Our programs are highly sought after, and we have a limited number of seats in each of our programs; we have to turn away many qualified applicants. If your application is not successful, you may apply again in the next round, but there's no guarantee of acceptance because the competition may be equally strong again. Having an alternative plan for another MS program is always a good strategy.

An unsuccessful candidate does have the right to appeal the Department's decision, but unless new and compelling information is presented, appeals are not successful. For example, simply stating that you have to complete your studies by a certain date, or that you have successfully taken graduate courses (even at UAlbany), or that your undergraduate major was above 3.0 while your overall was below, are not grounds for appealing our decision. However, serious omissions or errors in the original application might be (for example, someone else's transcripts were sent by mistake). Appeals have to be made in writing (not email) to: Chair, Department of Literacy Teaching and Learning, ED-334, University at Albany, Albany NY 12222. A letter presenting new and compelling information beyond the original application has to be enclosed. The department reviews appeals and renders a decision within one month of receipt.

Please do not ask faculty members or the department coordinator to discuss with you reasons why your application was denied. Department policy forbids this. Each application is given a thorough review, and all aspects of the application (undergraduate academic record, letters of reference, responses to our questions, etc.) are carefully considered. We do not deny an application based on the GPA alone.