PhD in Language, Literacy, and Culture

Word cloud of the most popular topics studied in the program

This word cloud was created by using the first two pages of recent LLC faculty publications. We captured the words that emerged most frequently from analyzing those texts.

The Language, Literacy, and Culture (LLC) PhD is focused on the study of cultural, linguistic, social, psychological, and political perspectives on teaching, learning, and teacher education.  LLC is an expansive scholarly landscape that provides opportunities for students to conduct research that will transform education. Doctoral students in the LLC program pursue their questions and interests and collaborate with faculty on research projects and in teaching undergraduate and graduate courses.

Quick Facts

  • Program Duration: 4 to 5 years
  • Time Commitment: Full time
  • Term of Enrollment: Fall
  • Application Deadline: December 1
  • Course Requirements: 90 credits
  • Application Requirements: GRE exam is not required

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Program Details

View Program Flyer >> (PDF)

The dissertations and milestone papers listed below indicate the range of research interests and topics pursued by current and former LLC students:

  • Susanna Benko: Teaching to the Task: Preservice Teachers’ Instruction for Cognitively Demanding Writing Assignments
  • Melissa M. Brydon: The Effect of Rich Instruction on the Vocabulary Acquisition of Preschool Dual Language Learners
  • James S. Chisholm: Leveraging Adolescents’ Multimodal Literacies to Promote Dialogic Discussions of Literature in One Secondary English Classroom
  • Michelle Cianciosi-Rimbey: An Investigation of a Cross-Content Academic Vocabulary Intervention in an Urban Middle School
  • Kristin Davin: Group Dynamic Assessment in an Early Foreign Language Learning Program: Tracking Movement through the Zone of Proximal Development
  • April Mattix Foster: The Orphan Among Us: An Examination of Orphans in Newbery Award Winning Literature
  • Maria Genest: The Nature of Cooperating Teacher Feedback about Preservice Teachers' Read Aloud Enactments 
  • Hyeju Han: Middle School Students' Use of Cognitive and Sociocultural Resources During an Examination of a Contested Topic in a Digital Space
  • Jessica Haselkorn: Investigation of Pre-Service Social Studies Teachers’ Beliefs about Global Education: Evidence from Personal Narratives of Learning and Teaching
  • Corey Humphrey: "I am from the hills of West Virginia": A Case Study of Literacy Teaching and Learning in a Rurban West Virginia High School English Classroom
  • Adam Loretto: How Sponsors Influence Students’ Writing Practices in an Eighth Grade English Language Arts Classroom
  • Erika Abarca Millán: Equitable Access to Higher Education in Chile: An Analysis of Special-Access Students’ Reported Experiences at University
  • Chris Olshefski: Functions of Religious Literacy in Literary Discussions of National Board-Certified English Teachers
  • Kathleen A. Ramos: Teaching Persuasive Argument Essay Writing to Adolescent English Language Learners through the Reading to Learn Approach
  • Karen Rissling: The Perceptions of High School Students from Refugee, Immigrant, and visiting Professional Families about Their School Experiences in Pittsburgh
  • Terrence Zhang: How Feedback on Writing Quality and Feedback on Prior Revisions Shape Post-Secondary ESL Students' Revisions on an Expository Writing Task

Affiliated Faculty

Clicking on the links below will take you to faculty webpages where you can see faculty research and scholarly pursuits.

*These faculty will consider accepting advisees for the 2023-2024 admissions cycle.

Degree Requirements

View the PhD in Language, Literacy, and Culture Student Handbook for full information on degree requirements.

Additional Information:



There are no specific prerequisites for this degree, but interested students should verify that they fulfill the admissions requirements.

Career Pathways

Through a combination of coursework, research collaborations with faculty, and teaching and supervision practicum experiences, students are prepared for careers such as:

  • Research and teaching universities
  • Research institutes
  • Educational non-profits
  • Educational consulting