PhD in Literacy Program

Advisement/Program Planning

Planning your Program of Study

The PhD in Literacy consists of four major components:

  1. Coursework
  2. Comprehensive Exam
  3. Research Tools Requirement
  4. Dissertation

Assignment of an Advisor

When you enter the program you will be assigned an advisor to guide you through the coursework phase of your studies.Your advisor’s role is to provide guidance based on his/her experience regarding selection of courses, preparation for examinations, completion of appropriate forms, and to help solve problems you encounter during the program. After you have passed the Comprehensive Examination, your advisor's responsibilities end, and your dissertation chair's responsibilities begin. Your advisor may or may not be your dissertation chair.

Your first step should be to set up an appointment with your advisor and start to plan your program of study. But before you take any courses, you need to decide, in consultation with your advisor, which graduate courses you've already taken you wish to apply to your PhD in Literacy program. This is called "Advanced Standing." It's the same as transfer credit.

Your advisor will help guide you through your program. The PhD Program Planning Worksheet will help both you and your advisor keep track of your progress.

Advanced Standing

You can bring up to 30 hours of previous graduate credit into the program. The grades of these transferred courses do not affect your doctoral grade point average. The courses are normally brought into the minor program area termed “allied” or “research” categories since the Literacy category will centrally require taking the core program courses. There is no statute of limitations for these courses; however, the Department reserves the right to deny applying courses taken over ten years prior to admission into the advanced program, as well as courses deemed inappropriate for transfer. In conjunction with your advisor, each student should complete the Application for Advanced Standing Credit in a Doctoral Program.

Continuous Enrollment

Students in the PhD in Literacy program must follow the University regulations regarding continuous enrollment:

"All students enrolled in doctoral programs must maintain continuous registration for each fall and spring session (except for periods of official leave of absence prior to candidacy) until they have completed all program requirements. Minimum registration consists of 3 credits of approved course work, registration for dissertation load (899 courses only), or registration for other field work courses that have been approved as full-time by the Dean of Graduate Studies or the Graduate Academic Council.

Summer enrollment cannot be accepted in lieu of registration for fall and spring sessions. A student who neither registers for each fall and spring session nor has received an official leave of absence is subject to termination unless good cause not to do so is shown by the student after notification of such pending action" (excerpt from Graduate Bulletin).

Note that students with assistantships must enroll for a minimum of 9 credits per semester (Fall and Spring only). International students who are full-time must enroll for 12 credits per semester. An international student with an assistantship enrolls for 9 credits minimum (as opposed to 12 credits).


In order to facilitate doctoral students' career development, for 2016-17, the department will provide financial support to current doctoral students who are presenting an approved research paper at a national conference. Students are eligible for one conference per year, up to $1000/person. There is a limit of $2000 total for 3 or more students presenting the same paper, or in the same session. Eligibility requires the student is enrolled (not on leave). To seek approval for conference travel, the student should submit the conference proposal and an email request to the department.  In the request, please include details on any other funding sources for the requested conference.