Ph.D. in Language and Literacy

The Doctorate in Language and Literacy (Ph.D.) program prepares you to act as a literacy leader who understands theoretical and instructional models of literacy, recognizes new literacy trends in our digital age, services literacy acquisition, development and instruction, and fosters systemic change in your organization and community.

The Doctorate in Language and Literacy program is designed for educators, professionals and researchers with a background and/or interest in literacy, curriculum and instruction, speech and language or a related field. Faculty members integrate their collective expertise in Reading, Curriculum and Instruction, Writing, Special Education, and Speech and Language Pathology in the design and delivery of our innovative program.

Successful completion of the program may result in Reading Teacher (license #316) and Reading Specialist (license #17) certification from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI). This may require additional coursework depending upon your prior experience, and is subject to approval by the Wisconsin DPI.


Courses Are Available

Face to Face
Main Campus

Program Details

●  Coursework Credits: 54
●  View Tuition and Fees
1. Critique and apply neurological, linguistic, cognitive, and socio-cultural models of literacy as solutions to contemporary literacy issues in four general areas: Oral and written language development; phonological processes; lexical and semantic comprehension processes; and socio-cultural influences on literacy.

2. Summarize, compare and evaluate theoretical and instructional perspectives in relation to current literacy issues.

3. Articulate and apply program content to classroom, district, and community contexts.

4. Construct literature reviews on selected literacy topics.

5. Evaluate and implement multiple ways of designing and collecting data at a classroom, district and community level.

6. Summarize, analyze and design descriptive/qualitative and experimental/quantitative research formats.

7. Design, implement, and evaluate dissertation research that advances the language and literacy knowledge base.

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Application Process and Requirements

Academic and Professional Requirements

Prior Education
  • A master's degree from an accredited college or university.
  • A grade point average of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale in master’s coursework is required, but a lower GPA can be considered on an individual basis. 

Admissions Application and Transcripts

Complete the Admissions Application
  • Submit the admissions application which is free to complete online. Applications for this program are reviewed on a rolling basis so allow sufficient time before the start of your program to be considered for admission.

Request Transcripts
  • Have official transcripts from each college or university you attended delivered directly to the Office of Admissions. Cardinal Stritch University alumni and current students should inquire with the admission counselor about locating transcripts already on file.
  • Transcripts from institutions outside of the United States require a course-by-course evaluation with GPA. Request the official report from ECE or WES to be sent directly to the Office of Admissions. Allow time for the evaluation to be completed since it could take up to 4-6 weeks to be created.

Information for International Students
  • If your prior education was not conducted in English, you must demonstrate proficiency with acceptable scores from the TOEFL, IELTS, or an ESL program. Review the language and academic requirements to know if you are prepared for studying at Stritch. We can also help you obtain an F-1 student visa.

Three Letters of Recommendation with Reference Forms

Three letters of recommendation and reference forms are required. Two letters should be submitted from professionals in your field, and one from a representative of a college or university. References should include their letters of recommendation with the reference forms.

Curriculum Vitae

This document should include the following information:

  • Information on your formal education, major schools attended, degrees obtained, and dates.
  • All professional positions held.
  • Any relevant programs or additional informal education.
  • Any published professional articles (in journals, school/agency publications, organizational newspaper, etc.); include title, date, journal, page number, etc., and attach a copy.
  • Any presentations made to organizations, associations, etc.
  • Any honors/awards received.
  • Memberships in professional and other organizations; include offices held and dates of membership.
  • Any significant/relevant personal experiences.

Formal Essay

Your formal essay should be divided into these four sections:

  • Section 1: Language Development and Literacy
  • Section 2: Language and Literacy Experiences
  • Section 3: Organizational Transformation
  • Section 4: Goals for Doctorate in Language and Literacy Program

The formal essay is an essential aspect of the admission process. Follow the guidelines carefully, addressing all items. The essay will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Content relevance to topic proposed
  • Clarity of presentation
  • Maturity of style
  • Maximum of six double-spaced pages

Formal Essay: Section 1 – Literacy Development

  • Define literacy and describe how literacy is related to language development.
  • Describe your experiences in facilitating the language development and literacy of others.

Formal Essay: Section 2 – Language and Literacy

  • Describe personal experiences in your literacy development.
  • Describe the work of one individual in the field of language and literacy who has particularly influenced your professional practice.

Formal Essay: Section 3 – Organizational Transformation

  • What are the primary needs within the field of literacy?
  • Describe how you have participated in or fostered change in the field of language development and literacy.
  • Describe inhibitors and facilitators of change as you perceived them.

Formal Essay: Section 4 – Goals for Doctorate in Language and Literacy

  • Identify your goals and expectations for pursuing this doctorate.
  • Describe how the attainment of this degree will enhance your ability to transform literacy practice.

Send Application Materials to Admissions

Submit the application online and have additional materials sent to:

Cardinal Stritch University
Graduate Admissions
6801 N. Yates Road, #516
Milwaukee, WI  53217-3985

Funding Your Education

Counselors in our Financial Aid Office know how to help doctoral students identify all options available for funding their education.


Alumni Network

More than 38,000 Stritch alumni are recognized worldwide for their leadership roles in businesses, health care organizations, corporations, educational institutions, entrepreneurial ventures and non-profit organizations. Responsive to the needs of their communities, Stritch graduates are critical thinkers, ethical decision-makers and lifelong learners.

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