Diverse group of friends discussing a book in library.

Doctor of Philosophy

Literacy (On Campus + Online)

Program of Study

The PhD program accommodates full-time students as well as working teachers with part-time or full-time enrollment options, including online and evening class schedules.

Core Courses

The Nature and Acquisition of Literacy Across the Lifespan

  • Literacy Learning and Development Across the Lifespan
  • Language Foundations for Learning

Literacy and Schooling

  • Texts and Teaching in Literacy Learning
  • Research on Preparing Literacy Teachers

Literacy and Society

  • Literacy as Social Practice
  • Literacy as Social Reproduction and Transformation
  • Theory and Research in Teaching Literature

Elective Courses

Choose 27 credits with your advisor's consent. Graduate transfer credits may count toward the elective requirement.

Research Tools/Methodology

To understand research design and analysis, you must earn 12 credits in research methods (minimum). Please note that these credits are not included in the 54-credit minimum required for the comprehensive exam.

Credit distribution is based on the primary method of inquiry involved in your dissertation project; either take 9 credits in quantitative methods and 3 credits in qualitative methods, or take 9 credits in qualitative methods and 3 credits in quantitative methods.

Sample courses include:

  • Analysis of Written Discourse
  • Practitioner and Participatory Action Research
  • Current Research in Literacy
  • Quantitative methods in Literacy Research
  • Qualitative Methods I and II
  • Doctoral Research Practicum

Comprehensive Exam  


Professional Development

As a doctoral student, you develop professional teaching and research skills by assisting with the teaching of graduate courses or clinical practica, and by participating in faculty research projects. In addition, you gain experience presenting scholarly papers at a variety of professional conferences and submitting academic articles to peer-reviewed journals.


See graduate bulletin for details.

For more information, contact Reisha Rieder at rrieder@albany.edu or 518-442-5100.


Group of college students

Assistantships and fellowships are regularly offered to full-time students when funding is available through the University and/or externally funded projects.

If you are awarded an assistantship or fellowship, you receive a stipend for 20 hours of research or teaching assignments per week, and a tuition waiver for 9 credits of coursework per semester for an academic year (fall and spring).

Some assignments require to you gather information, organize and analyze data, and assist with manuscript preparation, while others may involve teaching activities at the undergraduate or master's level.


Career Paths in Literacy

The PhD in Literacy prepares you for research and teaching positions in universities and colleges, or for positions in P-12 schools, government agencies, and educational organizations that require literacy expertise and strong research and data analysis skills.

Teacher helping student in class

Sample Dissertation Titles


"A Practitioner Research Study Exploring Critical Literacy in a Secondary English Classroom" by Dilnavaz Hushmendy (Chair: Margaret Sheehy)



"Fostering Literacy Learning With Three Middle School Special-Education Students Using Therapy Dogs as Reading Partners" by Donna Lamkin (Chair: Cheryl Dozier)

"Navigating the Complex Nature of Specialized Literacy Professionals in Formalized Teacher Leadership Positions" by Thea Yurkewecz (Chair: Virginia Goatley)


"Postmodern Picturebooks, Gender, and Reading Difficulties: A Phenomenological Exploration of One Boy's Experiences" by Diane Hamilton (Chair: Donna Scanlon)



"Talk to Text: An Application of Discourse Analysis to Text Messaging in Adolescents with Social Communication Disorders" by Wendy Bower (Chair: Margaret Sheehy)

"Understanding the Role of Literature in the Reading Lives of Secondary English Students" by Tracy Peers Pontin (Chair: Kelly Wissman)

"Teachers' Perceptions of the Impact of Education Policy on Their Teaching, Professional Development, and Sense of Efficacy for Literacy Instruction" by David Clickner (Co-Chairs: Virginia Goatley and Donna Scanlon)

Careers and Advisement

The Pathways Into Education (PIE) Center is the central office on campus serving undergraduate, graduate, and prospective students interested in pursuing careers in education and programs leading to teacher certification.

Please call or email to schedule an appointment.

Graduate Advisement:
Email Graduate Advisement
(518) 442-3529