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Language and Literacy, Ph.D.

What will I study?

Within the program, you will discuss and critique theories and methods related to current topics in literacy education through critical and cultural perspectives. You will choose from a variety of research methodologies, complete pilot studies, engage in research internships and complete dissertation research. Within the program, you will choose an area of specialization related to your academic interests.

Our faculty believes literacy educators and specialized professionals must engage with communities in ways that value community literacies within social, historical, political, and cultural contexts. Literacy educators strive to advocate for equality in education and society. They make a difference by extending the existing knowledge base about literacy into the fields of teacher education, research, and educational policy analysis and development.


What kinds of work will I be able to do?

The doctoral program in Language & Literacy will prepare you to become a specialized literacy professional within school district, state, or federal literacy programs, and to engage in scholarly teaching, research, and publication in a university setting. Graduates of the Language and Literacy program are often sought after for faculty positions in higher education. You might teach in literacy education programs using your grade-level experiences such as primary, elementary, middle or secondary to prepare the next generations of literacy educators.  If you choose to focus on literacy certification courses, you could pursue positions such as reading/literacy specialists, literacy coaches, or literacy coordinators at the district, state, or federal level. Our graduates contribute to the body of professional knowledge in the field through their scholarship, publications, presentations and leadership activities.


What kinds of research will I be able to do?

You will choose research areas of interest based on your experiences. You may work with faculty to develop research projects within classes or in research internships. A variety of qualitative and quantitative research courses are available for your program of study.



If you wish to be considered for funding, we highly recommend you submit your application by February 15. 

Please stipulate in your cover letter and materials the term in which you wish you to begin.


Typical Coursework

Courses in Language and Literacy Major (21 semester hours)
Through 12 hours of coursework, you will develop a foundation in critical and sociocultural perspectives on literacy education. The remaining nine hours may be used flexibly to pursue your specific interests within Language & Literacy.

Electives (3 semester hours)
You will work closely with your advisor to determine specialized course work related to your research interest.

Research (18 semester hours)
You will develop an overall understanding of research methods through 6 hours of course work focusing on both qualitative and quantitative research methods. You will choose from a variety of courses for the remaining 12 hours as you develop your research focus.

Internships (6 semester hours)
You will complete one research internship and one university teaching internship. You will work with your advisor to determine the type of internships that will be most useful for your future career.

Dissertation (12 semester hours)
The doctoral dissertation serves as the academic capstone project for your Ph.D. degree. In your dissertation, you will work with your dissertation chair and committee to conduct independent research on a topic that will make a significant contribution to the professional literature. Because of the quality of research in our program, your dissertation can be a springboard for your career as a researcher, giving you opportunities to participate in national presentations and publications.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.