Ph.D. in Literacy Education: Degree Program Info

Programs in this field may award a Ph.D. in Education with an emphasis in reading and literacy, a Ph.D. in Literacy Studies or a Ph.D. in Literacy Education. Some programs offer students the ability to tailor their coursework to a specific educational focus, as well.

Essential Information

Students may learn about assessing literacy levels, integrating literacy topics into curriculum and teaching reading in elementary and secondary schools. Online programs are available at a few schools, but programs often require supervised practicums in the classroom. Graduates may pursue administrative-related careers at government agencies, research organizations and school systems.

Doctoral degree programs in literacy education require that candidates possess a bachelor's degree and, in some cases, a master's degree. Students also could be required to submit verification of work experience in an educational environment. Applicants might also need to submit a current resume and writing sample.

Doctor of Philosophy in Literacy Education

A Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) program in literacy education prepares students to take on the challenges of incorporating the latest literacy research into education practice in multiple settings. Students are taught concepts related to the foundations of literacy, human development and evaluation methods.

Through studying literacy, students can learn to apply research and theory to a range of complex problems, such as the environmental and motivational differences that play a role in student learning. Specializations in areas like reading disabilities, instruction or literacy measurement can prepare students to design appropriate courses, deliver them in the classroom and assess the progress made by students. Courses could also address issues with literacy policy and the development of successful literacy teachers. Programs may include the following course topics:

  • Effective schools and school improvement
  • Reading development and comprehension
  • Identity and literacy
  • Young adult literature
  • Instructional leadership
  • Advanced reading methods

Popular Career Options

Graduates of Ph.D. programs have a number of options in educational, community or human services settings when choosing a career. The breadth and depth of the training received in the program prepares students for work in policy and administration, instruction or staff development. Some popular career options include the following:

  • Director of disability services
  • Human resources director
  • Senior social worker
  • Professor

A Ph.D. program in literacy education will allow students to specialize in specific research areas pertinent to literacy at various educational levels. Upon attaining this degree, students will be prepared for a variety of educational and administrative careers in public and private schools, government, academia and non-profits.

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