DOCTORAL

Literacy, Language, and Culture

Overview & Requirements
Applying
Careers & Internships

How do students make sense of the texts they encounter in and outside of school? How do cultural systems of meaning and community practices influence these interactions? How can teachers best foster students' communication of their ideas? What happens when these processes do not work smoothly? How can we bridge gaps between literacy research and practice to foster the development and educational success of children and adolescents?

In the Literacy, Language, and Culture concentration you will explore these and other questions as you focus on the following areas: 

  • Issues of formal and informal ways of learning about language, literacy, and culture in school and community settings;
  • The intersection of language and cultural identity in a globalized world;
  • The learning and use of multiple literacies among diverse groups of people.

We approach these issues from a range of perspectives, including sociocultural, cognitive, and developmental theories and methods, and an interest in the contexts within which these processes are situated. Students are encouraged to both develop a familiarity with a range of perspectives and issues, and a focus on a particular specialization.

Your fellow students in this interdisciplinary program will be members of nationally-funded research groups engaged in cutting-edge scholarship to advance educational theory and practice. You will also participate in school and university seminars, university teaching internships, national conferences, and other outreach efforts.

Our internationally recognized faculty brings multiple theoretical perspectives (e.g. cognitive, sociocultural, critical, and feminist) to the study of literacy and language among children, adolescents, and adults. Faculty members have expertise in disciplines such as psychology, linguistics, anthropology, and sociology.

Examples of current faculty projects include:
  • Developing instructional supports for text-rich experiences in project-based social studies and/or science lessons.
  • Documenting and analyzing youth cultural, identity, and literacy practices to inform the development of learning opportunities for adolescents in underserved communities.
  • Analyzing youth cultural texts and their relationship to disciplinary learning in middle and high school settings.
  • Analyzing the affordances of functional linguistics metalanguage in supporting the academic language development of English language learners
  • Studying the discourse of classroom instruction and professional development to develop robust classroom learning environments and opportunities.
  • Using video records of practice to increase teacher education students' understanding of the complex work of teaching in secondary content area classrooms
  • Analyzing the connections between media literacy, digital citizenship, and 21st Century skills.
  • Exploring the way young people understand historical injustice as it relates to their social and civic identity development

Additional Certificate and Endorsement Opportunities
Learning Experience Design Certificate

Requirements

Core courses will familiarize you with theoretical perspectives that have informed literacy research and teaching practices over the last 100 years, as well as with current perspectives on literacy research and practice. In addition, faculty offer special seminars related to their specific research interests on a rotating basis. Such courses are designed to provide in-depth treatment of particular areas of literacy theory, research, and practice.

Total Credit Hours Required
60

Core credits

19

Students complete the following courses:

  • EDUC 790 – Foundations of Schooling (3 credits)
  • EDUC 791 – Foundations of Teaching & Learning (3 credits)
  • EDUC 792 – Methods of Educational Research: Qualitative (3 credits)
  • EDUC 793 – Introduction to Quantitative Methods in Educational Research (3 credits)
  • EDUC 898 – Professional Development Seminar (1 credit); need 4 credits total
  • An advanced research methods course (3 credits)

Concentration credits

12

Students complete the following courses:

  • EDUC 500 – Foundations of Literacy 
  • EDUC 525 – Language Development in Home and School Contexts 
  • EDUC 703 – Historical Perspectives on Literacy Research 
  • EDUC 706 – Issues in Research on Literacy

Elective credits

12

A minimum of three credits must be literacy-related. Students choose from the following courses:

  • EDUC 704 – Contemporary Perspectives on Literacy Research 
  • EDUC 706 – Seminar: Issues in Research on Literacy Topic: Youth Literacy Culture Identity 
  • EDUC 706 – Seminar: Issues in Research on Literacy Topic: Disciplinary Literacy 
  • EDUC 706 – Seminar: Issues in Research on Literacy Topic: Pedagogy of Literacy Teacher Education
  • EDUC 706 – Seminar: Issues in Research on Literacy Topic: New Literacies and Media 
  • EDUC 706 – Seminar: Issues in Research on Literacy Topic: Intro to Systemic Functional Linguistics OR EDUC 737 – Topics in Educational Studies Topic: Intro to Systemic Functional Linguistics 
  • EDUC 706 – Seminar: Issues in Research on Literacy, Topic: Secondary Writing Research with Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students OR EDUC 737 – Topics in Educational Studies Topic: Secondary Writing Research with Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students 
  • EDUC 733 – Reading and Writing Development of Young Children
  • EDUC 737 – Topics in Educational Studies, Topic: The Education of Latin@s in the US 

Cognate credits

6

Cognates are defined as graduate, non-Education courses. Cross-listed, meet-together courses with Education can be elected to fulfill the cognate requirement. With advisor approval, students may choose Higher Education courses.

Apprenticeship credits

2–6

Students complete a minimum of one and up to three credits in each of the following apprenticeships:

  • EDUC 789 – Research Apprenticeship
    • Graduate Student Research Assistant (GSRA) Position or Apprenticeship to Faculty Member
  • EDUC 798 – Teaching Apprenticeship
    • Graduate Student Instructor (GSI) Position or Apprenticeship to Faculty Member

Preliminary exam credits

2–6

Students complete a minimum of one and up to three credits in each of the following courses:

  • EDUC 991 – Prelims Part A (1 credit minimum) (may be elected more than once) 
  • EDUC 992 – Prelims Part B (1 credit minimum) (may be elected more than once)

Questions?

Questions?

Frequently Asked Questions

Prospective students

Prospective Students

2018 Ed Studies masters cohort poses in front of School of Education building
Discover more offerings from ES

Educational Studies

Associated Faculty

Associate Professor

734-647-6298

Professor

(734) 615-0586

Chair, Elementary Teacher Education; Clinical Associate Professor

734-647-0604

Dean, School of Education; George Herbert Mead Collegiate Professor of Education; Arthur F Thurnau Professor; Faculty Associate, Research Center for Group Dynamics, Institute for Social Research

(734) 647-9571

Chair, Educational Studies; Arthur F Thurnau Professor; Jean and Charles R. Walgreen Jr. Professor of Reading and Literacy

Connect with ES

Contact

Phone: (734) 763-9497
Master's: edstudiesma.info@umich.edu 
Doctoral: edstudiesphd.info@umich.edu  

Location

610 E. University Avenue
Room 4218
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1259

Office Hours

Monday–Friday
8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

Application Deadline

Final
December 1
All students

Application Process

Step 1: Prepare your application materials

To submit a successful application for admission, you need to provide the following:

  • Academic Statement of Purpose
    • The Academic Statement of Purpose serves to demonstrate a fit between your background/interests and the Educational Studies doctoral program philosophy, structure, and offerings. The statement should take the form of a concise and coherent essay, approximately 2-3 pages in length, double-spaced. Please be sure to address the following elements in your statement: 
      • 1. A clear statement about the opportunities, issues, and/or problems of education that motivate you to pursue the Educational Studies doctoral program  
      • 2. A concise summary of relevant academic or professional experience. Please explain the connection between your academic or professional experience and the opportunities, issues and/or problems of education introduced in #1. 
      • 3. An overview of your short-term and long-term career goals. Please introduce how you will go about addressing the opportunities, issues, and problems of education introduced in #1. 
      • 4. A clear statement explaining how you expect that the doctoral program will allow you to better understand the opportunities, issues, and problems of education that motivate your graduate studies and on which you will focus your career. Please make specific reference to details such as course offerings, experiential learning opportunities, campus resources, and the expertise of specific faculty members. 
  • Personal Statement 
    • 500 word limit
    • How have your background and life experiences, including cultural, geographical, financial, educational or other opportunities or challenges, motivated your decision to pursue a graduate degree at the University of Michigan? For example, if you grew up in a community where educational, cultural, or other opportunities were either especially plentiful or especially lacking, you might discuss the impact this had on your development and interests. This should be a discussion of the journey that has led to your decision to seek a graduate degree. Please do not repeat your Academic Statement of Purpose. 
  • Three (3) letters of recommendation
    • We strongly encourage two of your letters come from individuals who are familiar with your academic performance. The third may be from a professional reference.
    • Register your recommenders' names and contact information on the online application so that they will be sent instructions for submitting their letters via the application system. Let your recommenders know that they need to upload a letter and that it is required by the program. 
    • As soon as you click "save" on the page of the application where your recommenders' contact information is entered, they will receive an email with instructions for completing the process. Proceed to this point in the application process as soon as possible to trigger that email.
  • Resume or CV
  • GRE Test Scores (valid 5 years from test date)
    • Provide ETS with the U-M Institutional Code of 1839 and your scores will be sent directly to the university.
  • TOEFL, MELAB, ECPE, or IELTS scores (for non-native speakers of English only; valid 2 years from test date)
Step 2: Create an ApplyWeb account, managed by Rackham Graduate School

Create an account with Rackham Graduate School.

This program, like all of the School of Education's graduate programs, is administered through the University of Michigan's Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies. Rackham offers a host of resources and administrative support to help see you through from submitting your application to completion of your degree.

Step 3: Complete pages 1-5 of application using ApplyWeb
  • After completing page 5 of the application, you will receive an e-mail with your U-M ID. A U-M ID number will be issued to you via email within 5 business days of completing pages 1-5 and advancing to page 6 of the ApplyWeb application. Having your U-M ID number to include on all your application materials ensures accurate and timely processing, so we encourage you to complete pages 1-5 early in the process.
  • If you need to submit your application before you receive your U-M ID number, you may still complete the application. Include your date of birth and the program’s name on your application materials.
  • Current and former U-M Ann Arbor students, alumni and employees: You do not need to obtain a new U-M ID number. Use your previously obtained U-M ID number.
  • If your personal information has changed (for example, legal name, gender), make sure the personal information you submit with your application matches your previous Ann Arbor campus record. If your previous Ann Arbor campus record does not display your current personal information, contact the Registrar’s Office or the Shared Services Center to change your personal information before you apply.
Step 4: Upload academic statement of purpose, the personal statement, and a curriculum vitae (CV) or resume to the ApplyWeb application

Include at the top of each document:

  • The type of document (Academic Statement of Purpose, Personal Statement, or Curriculum Vitae or Resume)
  • Your name
  • The name of the graduate program
  • Your 8 digit U-M ID (if known)

Make sure margins are at least one-inch so nothing is cropped when you upload the documents to the application.

Step 5: Submit test scores

GRE Test Scores (valid 5 years from test date)

  • Provide ETS with the U-M Institutional Code of 1839 and your scores will be sent directly to the university.

TOEFL, MELAB, ECPE, or IELTS scores (for non-native speakers of English only; valid 2 years from test date)

Step 6: Submit transcripts
  • Upload an electronic version of your official transcript(s) for each Bachelor’s, Master’s, Professional, or Doctoral degree earned or in progress through your ApplyWeb application account (part of the Rackham application system). Do not upload academic records printed from your school’s website or student portal.
  • You are not required to send official transcripts at the time of application. If you are recommended for admission, the Rackham Graduate School will require official transcripts. Admitted applicants will receive an email notification when the official transcripts are required.
  • Students who have studied in a country outside of the U.S. should review the required credentials from non-U.S. institutions. For all degrees obtained at non-U.S. institutions—Request that degree-granting institutions submit official transcripts/records to the Rackham Graduate School at the time of application.
  • Information for submitting official transcripts can be found on the Rackham Graduate School website.
Step 7: Check that letters of recommendation have been submitted
  • We strongly encourage two of your letters come from individuals who are familiar with your academic performance. The third may be from a professional reference.
  • Register your recommenders' names and contact information on the online application so that they will be sent instructions for submitting their letters via the application system. Let your recommenders know that they need to upload a letter and that it is required by the program.
  • As soon as you click "save" on the page of the application where your recommenders' contact information is entered, they will receive an email with instructions for completing the process. Proceed to this point in the application process as soon as possible to trigger that email.
Step 8: Create a U-M Friend Account

Check on your application status. If you’ve been accepted, you will receive an email with information on how to send your official transcripts.

Step 9: Respond to admission offer
Contact us

For general questions regarding the Educational Studies doctoral program:
Chauna Meyer
Educational Studies Business Administrator and Program Manager
chauna@umich.edu

U-M Office of Financial Aid
www.finaid.umich.edu

Quick Facts

GRE general exam required

Yes

Financial aid available

Yes

Starting term

Fall term only

Connect with ES

Contact

Phone: (734) 763-9497
Master's: edstudiesma.info@umich.edu 
Doctoral: edstudiesphd.info@umich.edu  

Location

610 E. University Avenue
Room 4218
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1259

Office Hours

Monday–Friday
8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

Careers

Upon completion of the program, graduates are prepared for a number of positions: 

  • Faculty at research and teaching universities 
  • Research scientists and post-doctoral fellows at research centers
  • Curriculum and professional development leaders in literacy and language education in school districts or community organizations within and outside the U.S.
  • Private consultants

100%

of known graduates found full time employment in education

100%

of known graduates found employment within 12 months

$61K

average first year salary
Graduates typically go into these industries
  • Educational leadership
  • Higher education research
  • Independent research organizations
  • Policy communities at the local, state, and national levels
  • Reform and innovation communities within and beyond K–12 governance

 

Graduates often work as
  • Education Consultant
  • Director of Research
  • Policymaker
  • Professor
  • Research Design Specialist
  • Research Investigator
  • Research Specialist

Recent job titles include

  • Associate Director of Education Research
  • Chief of Research
  • Clinical Professor
  • Deputy Director
  • Director of Enrollment Research and Data Management
  • Director of Mathematics Learning Center
  • Instructional Consultant
  • Principal Researcher
  • Research Scientist

Internships

Although no internship is required, students must satisfy the apprenticeship requirement by completing a minimum of one and up to three credits in each of the following apprenticeships:

  • EDUC 789 – Research Apprenticeship
    • Graduate Student Instructor (GSI) Position or Apprenticeship to Faculty Member
  • EDUC 798 – Teaching Apprenticeship
    • Graduate Student Research Assistant (GSRA) Position or Apprenticeship to Faculty Member