Ph.D. Concentration

Student Success

Earning a doctorate is different than any other degree. Our doctoral students are expected to read deeply, engage in research, and communicate their scholarship through academic publication. Most of this work is done outside of course hours. The successful completion of a doctoral program requires academic talent, strong analysis skills, and writing competence as well as the investment of a great deal of time and effort. These attributes are developed through thought, reflection, and diligence and under the mentorship of faculty.

The Literacy Studies faculty mentor students in the following ways:


The Doctoral Program Coordinator (Dr. Jenifer Jasinski Schneider) serves as the initial advisor to doctoral students. Dr. Schneider guides students in their initial selection of courses, advises students as they select committee members, and supports students in their teaching and research endeavors.

The coordinator also directs many aspects of the doctoral program. The coordinator reviews applications and interviews applicants, secures funding and assistantships for students, monitors policy changes from the College of Education and USF, guides the development of courses, and monitors the residency experiences of students.

Throughout the program, doctoral students may seek advice and support from the Doctoral Program Coordinator and any member of the faculty.


Within the first year of the program, students select doctoral committee members who challenge and guide their course selection and research opportunities. The committee includes a major professor from literacy studies, a faculty member who represents the cognate field and at least two other faculty members. Students select the committee members. If need be, students may change their committee membership based on changing interests, different areas of expertise, or faculty availability.

For further details on committee membership and the accompanying forms please read the Graduate Catalog.


Doctoral students are only admitted in the Fall of each year. As a result, cohorts begin to form among the newly admitted students. Similarly, collegial relationships form among students from earlier cohorts. Students tend to position themselves in relation to their admission in the program and their progress in the program of study. New students are brought together with existing students through informal monthly meetings, faculty meetings and office assignments.


As scholars in the field of literacy studies, department faculty conduct extensive research that addresses important questions in the field. Our next responsibility is to announce this research so that the findings may be shared with other scholars, practitioners, and policy makers. Membership in various literacy associations gives doctoral students the opportunity to read research journals and to engage in professional conversations with literacy scholars.


Doctoral students are expected to begin their own focused lines of research and to publish original research in scholarly journals. Doctoral students must also attend national conferences to learn from other scholars. There are several funding sources available to support doctoral student conference travel. Please see our "Cost" page (link to this) and also visit the USF Student Council Website (link to this. 

There are many forums for research publication and presentation. Below, is a selection of several major associations and journals.

Associations & Journals
Association Journals Conference
American Educational Research Association
  • Educational Research
  • Review of Educational Research
Association of Literacy Educators and Researchers
  • Literacy Research and Instruction
Children's Literature Association
  • Children's Literature Children's Literature Association Quarterly
College Reading & Learning Association
  • Journal of College Reading and Learning
Conference on College Composition and Communication
  • College Composition and Communication
International Reading Association
  • Reading Research Quarterly
  • Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy
  • The Reading Teacher
  • Journal of Reading Education
Literacy Research Association
  • Journal of Literacy Research
National Council of Teachers of English
  • Research in the Teaching of English Voices from the Middle Language Arts
Reading Recovery Council
  • Literacy Teaching and Learning: An International Journal of Early Reading and Writing
  • The Journal of Reading Recovery