Frequently Asked Questions

What is the TLSI Program?

The TLSI Program is a job-embedded graduate degree program with 3 major program goals: helping educators become master classroom teachers, teacher leaders, and teacher researchers. It is an inquiry-based program that places a priority on developing teachers who can ensure students’ success in school. In this graduate program, learning is directly related to classroom outcomes as teachers learn new strategies, implement them in their classrooms with guided assistance, collect evidence of student learning, and then reflect on and adapt practices.

The program is delivered teaching and learning is embedded in the routines and structures of the school. TLSI seeks to improve teacher practice, increase student achievement, and serve as powerful mechanism to assist high need schools to recruit, retain, and develop a cadre of high quality educators.

How is this different from a traditional Graduate program?

In a traditional graduate program, learning is an individual activity where knowledge is gained, but not necessarily translated into practice in the classroom. In the TLSI Program, individuals participate in an online professional learning community where there is an emphasis on classroom practice. Each graduate program participant will be required to examine his/her practice, participate in critical reflection, offer critical/supportive dialogue with others, read about and implement innovative practices, collect evidence of student learning, and share learning. Graduate students will not only acquire and apply new knowledge, but also share it with others within their community.

Who is the TLSI program better suited for?

The TLSI Program is designed for educators at many levels, who work all over the world. This program does not help you earn certification, so it is only for those who are already fully certified for the current positions. Educators in this program must have the desire and courage to engage in a collaborative, inquiry-based learning community where practice is made public and craft knowledge is shared freely. We welcome teachers, principals, coaches, guidance counselors, district leaders, educational consultants, and anyone with a full time education position who desires to improve.

What is the difference between a Masters and Specialist degree in this program?

In the TLSI program, you can earn a Masters (M.Ed.) in Curriculum and Instruction which takes 36 credits. Or, if you already have a Masters degree in an education-related field, you can apply for a Specialist degree (Ed.S.) in Curriculum and Instruction, which is also 36 hours, but includes a course called EDG 6910 Supervised Research for 5 credits of the 36. You will also be asked to do more extensive readings beyond assigned readings in some courses. In both programs you will complete a portfolio as a culminating project. Masters students will have an oral exam with your portfolio advisor, and Specialist students will have an oral exam with a committee of faculty at UF. Both oral exams can be done via video conference so there is no need to come to campus unless you wish to.

How much will it cost?

For the most current tuition information please visit:

How long will it take?

This is a 2 and a half-year, 36-credit Graduate program. You will take one class at a time, ideally, unless you have financial aid requirements for minimum registration, which is sometimes two courses a semester.

Is this fully online?

Classes are all online. There may be scheduled synchronous sessions, depending on the course, but those arrangements will be made with individual course instructors. Portfolio defenses are all  done virtually.

What are the selection criteria?

Applicants will have to meet all University graduate school entrance requirements in order to be selected. Current entrance requirements include an upper division undergraduate GPA of 3.0 and GRE scores that average around 148-158 verbal and 142-147 math. Three letters of recommendation are required as well, with one of those being from a principal or other school administrator who can speak to your commitment and teaching abilities. A statement of purpose essay will also give the committee a sample of your writing ability, so spend time and effort preparing and proofing that submission with your online application. We also require a resume so we can ensure you have a full time education job.

What courses will I take?

Core Courses in Teacher Leadership and School Improvement:

• Guided Teacher Inquiry
• Instructional Coaching
• Teacher Leadership and School Change
• Transforming the Curriculum
• Culturally Responsive Classroom Management
• Meeting the Educational Needs of Students Living in Poverty
• Portfolio Practicum (three credits related to classroom implementation of course content and creation of a portfolio with evidence)

Specialization Areas:
• Reading (courses lead to K-12 reading endorsement)
• Educational technology
• Media Literacy (literacy skills for 21st century learners)
• Secondary (6-12th) Mathematics
• Secondary (6-12th) Science
• Interdisciplinary (can include your choice of any specialization coursework)

Will my degree help me get a raise in the public school system in which I am employed?

You will definitely need to check with your employer prior to enrolling if this concerns you. Districts control salary schedules and how they handle advanced degrees. This program will result in a Masters (or specialist) in Curriculum and Instruction. We are happy to write a letter of support to your district after graduation that denotes your specialization and/or level focus (elementary/middle/secondary) if that is helpful.