PhD in Literacy Coursework falls into three areas:

  • Core Literacy Content Courses (24 credits minimum, 700 or 800 level courses)
  • Research Methods Courses (12 credits minimum)
  • Elective Courses (27 credits, including MS level transfer courses)

Core Literacy Content Courses

The PhD program is organized around three overlapping and interconnected domains, each associated with a set of core courses:

  1. The Nature and Acquisition of Literacy Across the Lifespan
    emphasizing what literacy is (multiple views including psychological and sociocultural) and how it is acquired (or “emerges”, or “develops”, sometimes with difficulty) throughout the lifespan. Core courses for the domain are:
    * ELTL 781: Literacy Learning and Development Across the Lifespan
    * ELTL 782: Psycholinguistics and the Reading Process
  2. Literacy and Schooling
    emphasizing how we think about the practical, interactional, and institutional aspects of literacy. The focus is schooling and schooled literacy and institutional practices like instruction, assessment, differential treatment, classification, organization of instruction for children with difficulties, curriculum, teacher education, in schools and other institutions. Core courses for this domain are:
    * ELTL 756: Texts and Teaching in Literacy Learning
    * ELTL 757: Research on Preparing Literacy Teachers
  3. Literacy and Society
    emphasizing how literacies are situated social and cultural practices, includes critical social theory, critical literacies, sociological perspectives, anthropological perspectives, social policy perspectives, and the entanglements of literacy and society such as class, gender, disability, and culture. Core courses in this domain are:
    * ELTL 710: Literacy as Social Practice
    * ELTL 711: Literacy as Social Reproduction and Transformation
    * ELTL 732: Theory and Research in Teaching Literature

Cross-domain courses

You are required to take a minimum of two courses from the department in each domain, although you may designate a “cross-domain” course to fulfill one of the required two courses in any given domain. The domain in which you designate the course will depend primarily on the emphasis you have taken in the course in projects and optional readings. New courses developed by department members will be designated as fulfilling particular domain requirements. All courses address historical aspects and critical reading of research. The cross-domain courses are:

  • ELTL 732: Theory and Research in Teaching Literature
  • ELTL 762: Current Research in Literacy
  • ELTL 773: Seminar in Reading Disability and Related Disorders
  • Special Topics Courses. These occasional courses might include, for example, the History of Literacy Research. The department will designate these as core courses in specific domains.

Research Methods Courses

The Department of Literacy Teaching and Learning expects you to demonstrate a broad understanding of the design and analysis of both quantitative and qualitative research. You must demonstrate that you are a competent researcher in your selected area, and at least a critical consumer in other areas of research. To that end you are required to take a minimum of 12 credit hours of research methods coursework, and to write a substantive description of the ways your coursework and research experiences have helped you to become competent at conducting and critiquing literacy research. In accordance with university guidelines, research course credits may NOT be counted toward the minimum of 54 credits needed to take the comprehensive exam.

If you expect to do dissertation research involving primarily quantitative designs and analyses, then 9 credit hours will be in quantitative methods and 3 credit hours in qualitative methods. If you expect to do dissertation work involving primarily qualitative designs and analyses, then 9 credit hours will be in qualitative methods and 3 credit hours in quantitative methods. The department must approve your research tool statement before you present your dissertation proposal. Methodology courses offered regularly by the Department include:

  • ELTL 715: Analysis of Written Discourse
  • ELTL 743: Practitioner and Participatory Action Research
  • ELTL 779: Quantitative methods in Literacy Research
  • ELTL 777/ETAP 777: Qualitative Methods I
  • ELTL 778/ETAP 778: Qualitative Methods II
  • The Department also offers a doctoral seminar--ELTL 891: Research Practicum on the conduct and writing of research
  • Other relevant methodology courses are offered by other departments in the School of Education. Check with your advisor regarding the appropriateness of these courses for your program.

Elective Courses

In the PhD program, 27 credit hours of coursework will come from elective courses. An elective course is any course deemed suitable for your program in consultation with your program advisor. Courses taken at other universities may be applied to this area. In many cases, this requirement is met through courses brought in from previous degrees, through advanced standing.