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Literacy, Language, and Learning Graduate Diploma

Program calendar icon Program Length

  • 2 Years

Program credential icon Credential

  • Graduate Diploma

Program location icon Location Offered

  • Nanaimo

The Literacy, Language, and Learning Graduate Diploma Program

The goal of the Literacy, Language, and Learning Graduate Diploma (LLLGD) is to provide research informed theoretical foundations supported with pedagogical understanding of learning processes, strategies, resources, and practices to those interested in language and literacy development for children, in classrooms, and in community. The program is particularly appropriate for practicing teachers, but may also be of interest to early childhood educators, English language instructors, adult educators, and those supporting Indigenous language revitalization through literature and language learning practices.

The program is designed for those interested in understanding and supporting literacy development, second/additional language acquisition, and learning that is embedded in four key principles: 1) Literacy and language learning are complex processes that require an understanding and application of evidence based theory and practice; 2) Texts have power to inform and influence. Critical literacy-focused pedagogy can contribute to recognizing positionality of texts, and to equitable representation of diverse voices, cultures, places, genders, abilities, languages, and dialects; 3) Learners require instructional practices that recognize and respond to neurodiversity in literacy acquisition, and individual student needs; 4) Literacy, language, literature, and learning have transformative potential for social justice, inclusion, self expression, decolonization, reconciliation, and student success.

The program provides knowledge and skills in the complex processes of literacy learning; typical and atypical literacy development; children’s and young adult literature and multi-modal text-based instruction; critical issues related to social justice and literacy; English language learning (as a second or additional language or additional dialect); Indigenous language decline, loss, and revitalization; literacy/linguistic concepts; and pedagogical literacy acquisition practices.

The LLLGD is offered as a 30-credit two-year blended program consisting of two summer residencies and online part-time course work through the fall and spring terms. The program begins as a cohort model in Summer term, with entry possible at other points if space is available. Coursework consists of 6 required courses (18 credits) and 4 elective courses (12 credits), allowing specialization in topics of interest.

Students who have attained their LLLGD can apply to ladder into either the Master of Education in Educational Leadership (MEDL) or Master of Education in Special Education (MEDS) programs. Each of these options will require specific elective courses. MEDL will require LLL 513: Leadership in Literacy. MEDS will require GDSE 692: Individual Intervention Planning and GDSE 693: Individual Assessment.

Year 1


Summer Semester (Nanaimo and Online) 
LLL 501 - (Literacy Development Theory) (Nanaimo)3
LLL 502 - (English Language Form and Structure: Reading) (Online) 3
LLL 503 - (English Language Form and Structure: Writing) (Online)3
Fall Semester (Online) 
LLL 504 - (Critical Literacy)3
Spring Semester (Online) 
One of the following: 
LLL 508 - (Emergent Literacy)
LLL 509 - (Second or Additional Language Acquisition)
LLL 510 - (Engagement in Literacy Learning)

Total Credits

Year 2


Summer Semester (Nanaimo and Online) 
LLL 505 - (Neuro-typical and Neuro-diverse Literacy Learning) (Online)3
One of the following:
LLL 506 - (Planning and Teaching with Children’s Literature and Texts) (Nanaimo)
LLL 507 - (Planning and Teaching with Young Adult Texts) (Nanaimo)
Choose from the following:
LLL 513* - (Leadership in Literacy and Language) (Online), or
GDSE 692** - (Individual Intervention Planning) (Online) and GDSE 693 - (Individual Assessment) (counts as 2 electives), or
LLL 512 - (Educational Technology for Literacy, Language, and Learning) (Online)
Fall Semester (Online) 
One of the following:
LLL 511 - (Language as Art)
LLL 512 - (Educational Technology for Literacy, Language, and Learning)
LLL 514 - (Special Topics in Literacy, Language, and Learning)
Spring Semester (Online) 
One of the following:
LLL 508 - (Emergent Literacy)
LLL 509 - (Second or Additional Language Acquisition)
LLL 510 - (Engagement in Literacy Learning)

Total Credits


Total Program Credits


*Required for laddering into Master of Education in Educational Leadership
**Required for laddering into Master of Education in Special Education


Further Studies

Upon successful completion of the LLLGD program, an option is available for graduates to pursue a Master of Education degree at VIU. Laddering into the Master of Education in Educational Leadership (MEDL) can begin in Fall and entails completing three MEDL courses (MEDL 550, MEDL 680 and MEDL 690). Laddering into the Masters of Education in Special Education (MEDS) begins in Spring and entails completing three MEDS courses (MEDS 540, MEDS 630 and MEDS 640).  

Completion Requirements

Grades for individual courses are given in the manner described under the Grading Policy of this Calendar. The program has minimum standards as follows:

  • All course work must be completed with a minimum grade of "B" or “CR” in each course.

  • Baccalaureate (undergraduate) degree in Education or a related field (such as Child and Youth Care, Social Work, Arts), from a recognized university that is acceptable in content to the Faculty of Education with either:
    • a cumulative grade point average of “B” in the final two years and/or
    • demonstration of academic excellence
  • Submission of official transcripts for all post-secondary coursework/studies.
  • Applicants whose previous degree was obtained in a country where English is not the primary/official language and from a university where English was not the language of instruction must meet one of VIU’s English Language requirements for Graduate Programs.

Flexible Admission

In exceptional circumstances, a student may be admitted with lower formal qualifications when there is significant professional experience relevant to the proposed area of scholarship. The objective of flexible admission is to recognize prior learning accomplishments and to ensure a high probability of successful program completion. Applicants must show evidence of having sufficient knowledge, skills, and attitudes to complete a demanding academic course of study. Applicants seeking Flexible Admission will be required to:

  • Provide a personal statement of intent; 
  • Provide a detailed résumé; 
  • Provide two or more letters of reference; 
  • Provide official transcripts of all post-secondary coursework;

In limited cases, applicants may also be required to:

  • Provide a portfolio containing evidence of applicable prior learning;
  • Appear for an interview;
  • Take a qualifying course; and/or
  • Provide additional documentation as may be required to adjudicate the application.

Notes on Admission

  • Experience working in educational environments recommended for success in the program.
  • Preference will be given to candidates with stated interest and experiences in literacy and language learning topics.
  • Criminal records check may be required for some courses.
  • Students who meet or exceed the minimum admission requirements may not necessarily be admitted to the program.

Transfer from other institutions

Applicants may apply to the Dean for possible transfer credits from other accredited graduate programs.

Notes on Program Progression

For program progression, all course work must be completed with a minimum grade of "B" or “CR” in each course.

Students who find it necessary to interrupt their program can apply for a leave of absence. Students are advised to consult with the Program Coordinator and/or Program Chair to discuss options.

  • As a post-graduate program, the Literacy, Language, and Learning Graduate Diploma offers opportunities for specialized school district positions in literacy and language learning, instruction, and supports.
  • Positions in the field of English language linguistics and acquisition.
  • The LLLGD program offers opportunities for those in the following fields to further deepen their learning and explore leadership and professional development:
    • adult basic education and adult literacy programs.
    • Indigenous language revitalization and text creation, instructors and tutors who support students with dyslexia, dysgraphia, and other diverse text processing abilities.

Domestic Fees

Tuition and Other Mandatory Student Fees

When applying to the program, applicants will be charged a non-refundable application fee.

When applying to graduate, students will be charged a non-refundable graduation and alumni fee.

Some courses have additional fees to pay for extraordinary class–related expenses.

Cost per year Amount
Tuition (15 credits x $443.88 per credit) 6,658.20
Student Activity fee (15 credits x $9.98 per credit) 149.70
VIU Students' Union fee (8 months x $27.60 per month) 220.80
Health and Dental Plan fee ($265.00 per year) 265.00

The Literacy, Language and Learning Graduate Diploma is a two-year program (30 credits total).

The VIUSU Health and Dental Plan fee is assessed for all students enrolled in 6 credits or more per term, or in Trades/Vocational programs of 5 months or longer.  

Textbooks and/or course packages are required for each course. Contact the Education Department at 250.740.6223 for further information regarding books and supplies. 

All fees are subject to change without prior notice and are expected to increase by 2% each year on April 1.

Domestic (Canadian)

Program Start Date Accepting Applications Campus
Next Intake(s):

Next session starts July 8, 2024.

Application Fee:
Admissions Assistant:
Name: Jenna Milne
Phone: 250.753.3245 ext. 2234
Chair Contact:
Name: Marian Riedel
Co Chair Contact:
Name: Ana Vieira
Phone: 250.753.3245 ext. 2565
Document Deadline:

All requested transcript and supporting documents are due by April 15, 2024.

Late applications submitted after March 31, 2024 must submit requested transcripts and supporting documents by June 28, 2024.


The first course of this program (LLL 501) is running in person/face-to-face at the Nanaimo VIU campus from Monday, July 8 to Friday, July 12, 2024.

Kindly ensure travel to Nanaimo and attendance for these dates is available to you.

Campus accommodation can be booked through the VIU Student Residences Portal. If you have questions regarding accommodation or booking, please call 250.740.6640 (available 8 am to 11:30 pm Sunday to Thursday, and 24 hours on Friday and Saturday).

Further information on this program can be found on the Department website.

Visit the Department Website

Previous versions of this program can be found in the Program Archive.