Ph.D. in Curriculum & Instruction: Concentration in Literacy Studies

Program of Study

The Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction: Concentration in Literacy Studies is an individualized program tailored to students’ interests and experiences in literacy. Each student, in collaboration with the program committee, selects literacy specialization courses based on the student’s research goals.

Each student also selects a secondary concentration or cognate — a series of courses to further her or his understanding of literacy studies through fields as broad as Measurement & Statistics, Qualitative Methods, Women’s Studies, Second-Language Learning, Psychology, and many others.

The Program of Study also includes required courses in philosophies of inquiry and research methods. Each course in the program promotes Carnegie’s notion that the purpose of doctoral education is to develop a set of habits of mind as “stewards of the field.”

There are five major components in the Literacy Studies doctoral program: coursework within the program of studies, mentored research experiences, an annual review process, the qualifying exam, and the dissertation.



Students complete a series of specific courses to acquire foundational knowledge of research design and multiple methodologies. Students also engage with faculty members in conducting collaborative research that advances knowledge of literacy studies, leading students over time toward independent scholarship and personal research agendas.


Literacy Studies Courses (21 HOURS minimum: Students select 7 courses)

  • RED 7745: Research in Reading Instruction (3)
  • LAE 7868: Symbolic Processes of Multimedia Literacy (3)
  • LAE 7794: Survey of Research on Writing Development and Instruction (3)
  • RED 7640: Research in Trans-disciplinary Texts and Teaching (3)
  • LAE 7717: Foundations of Linguistics in Literacy (3)
  • EDG 7046: Trends and Issues in Educational Policy: Literacy and Teacher Education (3)
  • LAE 7747: Literary Theory and Research in Education (3)
  • RED 7931: Special Topics in Reading (3)

Professional Development Courses: (12 HOURS minimum)

  • EDG 7938: Advanced Graduate Seminar: Introduction to Research (3)
  • EDG 7939: Advanced Graduate Seminar: Research in Progress
  • EDH Supervised Teaching I (3)
  • EDH Supervised Teaching II (3) 

Cognate Courses (9 HOURS minimum)

The cognate can be described as a secondary concentration or sub-specialization area.  Coursework must be taken at the graduate level, and the cognate is developed in consultation with the major professor and the doctoral committee.  The coursework in the cognate is developed in support of the student’s research objectives. 

The Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction: Concentration in Literacy Studies prepares research scholars with expertise in literacy processes, literacy instruction, and literacy teacher education. We recognize the social, cultural, and developmental factors that affect literacy teaching and learning. Therefore, we encourage doctoral students to explore fields of study that broaden their knowledge of other disciplines and that offer a different lens through which students may understand and explore literacy studies. We ask students to identify a minimum of three courses to form a cognate.


Our program includes 20 hours of coursework in research methods and tools as well as 6 hours of seminar courses that specifically apprentice students into the research role. In addition, our annual review process ensures that students engage in research throughout their programs and they receive mentorship from faculty. As a result, we have set the dissertation hours to reflect the minimum needed for enrollment during one academic year.

TOTAL PROGRAM HOURS:  69 hours minimum

Timeline for Completion

Doctoral students may pursue both full-time and part-time study. Doctoral degrees must be completed within seven (7) years from the student's original date of admission for doctoral study.