Doctor of Philosophy Degree Program

The Language and Literacy Studies Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) program focuses on the study of literacy and the English Language Arts. This includes important developmental skills such as reading, writing, and related fields. The program emphasizes the relationships among language, literacy, culture, identity, and social justice.

As one end goal, the Ph.D. program strives to prepare teachers, teacher educators, and researchers who have the commitment and capacity to use literacy as a tool for social change. Degree plans are individually designed to increase your knowledge of curriculum and instructional issues both broadly and in a gradually focused way, based on your background and goals. The program includes coursework in language and literacy studies as well as research methods, foundational courses, and electives within the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. 

Our program includes clinical work within our teacher education programs and many research opportunities, including collaborations with faculty. To ensure that you experience the full quality and range of experiences in the program, one year of residency as a full-time student is strongly encouraged.  Upon graduation, you will be prepared to be professors in colleges and universities, advanced degree teachers of your subject in elementary and secondary schools, and literacy supervisors or coordinators in school districts.

Applicant Requirements

Applicants to the Language & Literacy Studies Ph.D. program must be certified teachers with at least three years of teaching experience. Those seeking employment (e.g., teaching assistantships, undergraduate intern supervisors) during their degree program, PreK-12 teaching experience in the USA is necessary for most of the work opportunities in the department.

Total minimum hours: 66 hours (including minimum 6 hours of dissertation)

General C&I Requirements (Minimum 21 hours)

Foundation Requirements (9 hours required)

  • EDC 380F Sociocultural Foundations
  • EDC 381F Introduction to Teaching and Teacher Education
  • EDC 383F Curriculum Theory

Research Methodology Requirements (12 hours minimum)

To be taken in sequence:

Step 1 (3 hours)

  • EDC 381R Introduction to Systems of Human Inquiry

Step 2 (6 hours in any order)

  • EDC 385R Introduction to Quantitative Research
  • EDC 386R Introduction to Qualitative Research

Step 3 (3 hours, one course topic from either category or an advisor-approved advanced research course)

  • EDC 387R Advanced Quantitative Research
  • EDC 388R Advanced Qualitative Research

Directed Research (Minimum: 12 hours)

EDC 396T Directed Research in Curriculum & Instruction (6 hours minimum)
Two additional courses that include a substantial research component approved by the advisor.

Please Note: EDC 396T can be taken more than once for credit.

LLS candidates are required to take:

  • EDC 396  Research in English Language Arts
  • EDC 396  Research in Reading
  • EDC 396T  Directed Research (two sessions, 6 hours total)

Specialization Requirements (Minimum 21 hours)

You will take 21 hours of which 9 need to be taken in Language and Literacy Studies. The remaining hours should be classes related to your program of study which will be selected with the assistance and approval of the area program advisor. You are encouraged to select courses from other clusters in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction that align with your career goals.

Courses Outside the Department (Minimum: 6 hours)

Coursework from sections General Requirements, Directed Research, and Special Requirements may fulfill this requirement (thus hours in this section may already be counted as credit towards total hours).

Dissertation (Minimum 6 hours)

You are required to continuously register for at least three credits of dissertation once they have advanced to candidacy

You must register in X99W (399, 699 or 999W) in each semester of candidacy until you graduate.

Please Note: Students receiving fellowships, assistantships, or other financial aid, may be required to take 9 hours of dissertation credit each semester.

Additional Information

Forms and a program checklist are available on our wiki.

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