Literacy Studies, PhD

The Ph.D. in Literacy Studies program prepares scholar-practitioners for positions in research universities and other educational organizations with a primary mission related to furthering knowledge in literacy and literacy education.

Students focus on developing their understanding and expertise in particular aspects of the field (e.g., teacher education, pedagogy and curriculum, leadership, policy, urban education, multicultural education, adult and community based literacy in and out of school, literacy in international contexts, etc.) and in learning to conduct research on critical issues and problems in literacy. Students are encouraged to develop one or more areas of concentration. Students choose electives from across the divisions in GSE and from other departments in the university.


The total course units for graduation is 20. The requirements include 7 core courses, 3 additional research courses, 1 distribution course, and the remainder your choice of elective courses.

Core Courses
EDUC 7323Multicultural Issues in Education1
EDUC 8334Critical Literacy: Reading the self, texts and the world1
EDUC 7337Research in Teaching Writing1
EDUC 7324Literacy: Social and Historical Perspectives1
EDUC 9320Proposal Writing Seminar (Research Course)1
Select three courses (Attribute: GDRR)3
May be waived for a research requirement1
Select eleven electives (5000 level and above)11
Total Course Units20

Required Milestones

Qualifications Evaluation (Also known as Program Candidacy)

A Qualifications Evaluation of each student is conducted after the completion of 6 but not more than 8 course units. The evaluation is designed by the specialization faculty and may be based on an examination or on a review of a student’s overall academic progress.

Preliminary Examination (Also known as Doctoral Candidacy)

A Candidacy Examination on the major subject area is required.  The candidacy examination is a test of knowledge in the student's area of specialization, requiring students to demonstrate knowledge and reasoning in the key content areas in their specialization as defined by their academic division. This examination is normally held after the candidate has completed all required courses.

Oral Proposal

All doctoral candidates must present their dissertation proposals orally and in person to the dissertation committee.

Final Defense of the Dissertation

The final dissertation defense is approximately two hours in length and is based upon the candidate’s dissertation. 

The degree and major requirements displayed are intended as a guide for students entering in the Fall of 2024 and later. Students should consult with their academic program regarding final certifications and requirements for graduation.