PhD in Language, Literacy, and Culture

Explore the impact of teaching and learning through the interconnection of culture, language, and literacy.

The PhD in Language, Literacy, and Culture (LLC) 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.

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Program Facts

Degree Type

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


90 credits



Time Commitment



4 to 5 years on average

Enrollment Term


Admissions Deadline

December 1

Admissions Requirements

No GRE Exam is required

Program Overview

The PhD in Language, Literacy, and Culture is for students who aim to conduct research on the interconnection of culture, language, and literacy in both formal and informal educational settings.

The goal of the LLC program is to develop interdisciplinary knowledge complemented by specialized knowledge of teaching and learning in foreign and second language, literacy, social studies, and early childhood education.

We frame the exploration of teaching and learning within perspectives that promote equity, social justice, and democratic values. Students engage closely with and learn from faculty who conduct research in the field and have a strong commitment to high-quality teaching.

Word Cloud – Publications


Word cloud of key words in 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

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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”


The PhD major in Language, Literacy, and Culture (LLC) is a 90-credit program.

The curriculum consists of study through research methods, first-year seminars, research and teaching practicums, electives, writing workshops, and an original dissertation created by the student.


Degree Requirements

The degree requirements are found in the Language, Literacy, and Culture Student Handbook (PDF)


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