Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Literacy and Language Education

Graduate Programs

The Literacy and Language doctoral program is a research-oriented program culminating with a dissertation. The program focuses on the development of a core knowledge base, with additional coursework to supplement and extend that knowledge base. Working with the advisor and advisory committee, doctoral students have the ability to create this core knowledge base by tailoring their program of study to individual interests and needs. This flexibility and individualization is an important component of the Ph.D. program.

December 1st is the deadline for consideration for Fall admission for this residential program. Applications must be fully complete, submitted, and all application fees paid prior to the deadline in order for applications to be considered and reviewed.

*Those applicants interested in being considered for any available PhD funding should submit completed applications by December 1 for the following Fall semester.


This program does not lead to licensure in the state of Indiana or elsewhere. Contact the College of Education Office of Teacher Education and Licensure (OTEL) at before continuing with program application if you have questions regarding licensure or contact your state Department of Education about how this program may translate to licensure in your state of residence.


View Admissions Information

A completed master’s degree is required prior to admission.

Here are the materials required for this application

We encourage prospective students submit an application early, even if not all required materials are uploaded. Applications are not forwarded on for faculty review until all required materials are uploaded.

When submitting your application for this program, please select the following options:

  • Campus and Program Tab:
    • Select a Campus: Purdue West Lafayette (PWL)
    • Select your proposed graduate major: Curriculum and Instruction
  • First Choice Program Details Tab:
    • Please select an Area of Interest: Literacy and Language Education
    • Please select a Degree Objective: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
    • Primary Course Delivery: Residential

Program Requirements

View Requirements

Applicants with a minimum of three years teaching experience in public or private school classrooms are favorably regarded. Direct experience in the teaching of literacy at the elementary and/or secondary level is preferred.

Students entering the Literacy and Language doctoral program must have an earned master’s degree that fulfills the core requirements found in the Purdue master’s program or complete these core requirements during doctoral study.

The Literacy & Language Education doctoral program requires courses that focus on research and specific cluster areas according to students’ interests. The program typically requires a four year commitment for completion beyond the master’s degree, with a minimum of 60 hours additional credit required beyond master’s study. The following links list and describe the required coursework:

Curriculum and Instruction Foundations Core (15 credit hours)

  • EDCI 50000: Foundations of Literacy
  • EDCI 58000: Foundations of Curriculum
  • EDCI 58500: Multicultural Education
  • EDPS 53000: Advanced Educational Psychology
  • EDPS 53300: Introduction to Educational Research I: Methodology

Curriculum and Instruction Research Core (minimum of 12 credit hours)

  • Qualitative Research (3 credits)
    • EDCI 61500: This course provides a foundation for understanding the philosophical and theoretical underpinnings and procedures used in conducting qualitative research.
  • Quantitative Research (3 credits)
    • STAT 50100 or 51100: Introduction to Statistics. This course provides a foundation for understanding and applying basic concepts of descriptive and inferential statistical research design and analysis. PSY 60000 and SOC 58100 are also acceptable research courses. Consult with your major professor to choose the course most appropriate for your program of study.
  • Advanced Research Study (3 credits)
    Initial courses in qualitative and quantitative research must be followed by an advanced course in either qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods research methods. Students should consult with their major professor to select the most suitable course or courses.

    • Qualitative research courses include EDCI 61600: Advanced Qualitative Research Methods in Education, COM 58300: Research And Assessment In Organizational Communication, ANTH 51900, ANTH 56500, ANTH 60500, SOC 60900
    • Quantitative research courses include STAT 50200, STAT 51200, PSY 60100
  • Research Seminar (3 credits)
    • EDPS 63000: Research Procedures in Education is taken when students are ready to write their dissertation proposal. This course focuses on the design and presentation of educational research. Seminars which focus on qualitative or quantitative studies are offered under the same course number. Students should elect the option that is most suited to their research interests.
    • Theoretical or mixed methods research courses include EDCI 62000: Seminar in Mathematics Education; EDCI 67300: Issues and Methods in Educational Technology Research; ANTH 60500: Seminar in Ethnographic Analysis; ENGL 61800: Research Design; ENGL 62400: Rhetorical History and Theory; ENGL 62500: Empirical Research on Writing; ENGL 63200: Critical Theory; ENGL 68000: Qualitative Research Methods; STAT 51400: Design of Experiments

Literacy & Language Education Cluster Areas (minimum of 12 credit hours)

The Literacy and Language doctoral program is currently organized around three different cluster areas: English Language Learning (ELL), Literacy and Human Development, and English Education. Students typically focus their program of study in one cluster area, with a minimum of 12 credit hours from the selected area. However, as students develop their individual program of study with their major professor, students may take courses from any cluster area.

Cluster Area 1: English Language Learning (ELL)
Required courses for the ELL Cluster:

  • EDCI 51900: Teaching Learners of English as a New Language
  • EDCI 52600: Language Study for Educators
  • EDCI 53000: English Language Development
  • EDCI 55700: Assessment of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students
  • EDCI 55900: Academic Language and Content Area Learning

Other possible courses are offered through the Second Language/ English as a Second Language Graduate Program in the Department of English. These include the following:

  • ENG 51600: Teaching English as a Second Language: Theoretical Foundations
  • ENG 51800: Teaching English as a Second Language: Principles and Practices
  • ENG 62900: Seminar in English as a Second Language
  • ENG 63000: Seminar in Second Language Writing

Cluster Area 2: Literacy and Human Development

In addition to EDCI 50000 (Foundations of Literacy), three of the following courses are required for the Literacy and Human Development Cluster:

  • EDCI 50100: Problems in Literacy Acquisition: Evaluation and Instruction
  • EDCI 50400: Children’s Literature as Semiotic, Developmental Resource
  • EDCI 61400: Literacy and the Development of Young Children (online)
  • EDCI 61200: Seminar in Literacy. Possible seminar topics include: Literacy Research Methodologies, Bilingualism and Multilingualism

Cluster Area 3: English Education (Secondary)
Suggested courses for the English Education Cluster:

  • EDCI 50200: Reading in Middle and Secondary Schools
  • EDCI 50900: Writing in Middle and Secondary Schools
  • EDCI 55100: Young Adult Literature
  • EDCI 59500: Advanced Studies in English Education
  • EDCI 61300: Seminar in English Language Arts
  • EDCI 62300: Seminar in Genre Studies

Two variable topic seminars are also offered and may be repeated for credit by graduate students during their programs.

  • EDCI 61200: Seminar in Literacy. Recent topics include: The Development of Academic Language in the Content Areas; An Introduction to Systemic-Functional Linguistics; Teacher Education for Social Justice
  • EDCI 61300: Seminar in English Language Arts. Recent topics include: Teacher Research; Classroom Discourse Analysis; Teaching Bodies; The Reflective Teacher; Young Adult Literature and Identity


View Faculty
Clinical Assistant Professor Literacy and Language EducationDepartment of Curriculum and Instruction
Continuing Lecturer Literacy & LanguageCurriculum and Instruction
Work Phone: (765) 494-7937
Assistant Professor Literacy and Language EducationCurriculum and Instruction
Work Phone: 765-494-2355
Associate Dean for Learning; Coordinator, English Education and Transition to Teaching Programs; Associate Professor of English Education Literacy and LanguageCurriculum and Instruction
Work Phone: (765) 494-2702
Jean Adamson Stanley Faculty Chair in Literacy Literacy & LanguageCurriculum and Instruction
Research Assistant Professor Literacy & LanguageCurriculum and Instruction
Work Phone: 765-494-2214
Associate Professor Literacy and Language EducationCurriculum and Instruction
Work Phone: (215) 495-7027
Associate Dean for Research, Graduate Programs and Faculty Development & Professor and Barbara I. Cook Chair of Literacy and Language Literacy & LanguageCurriculum and Instruction
Work Phone: (765) 494-5670


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