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Doctorate in Language and Literacy

Program Overview

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 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 #1316) and Reading Specialist (license #5017) 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.

Admission Requirements

To be considered for admission into the program, candidates must submit the following:
Application for admission
  • Official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended, including evidence of master’s degree completion
  • Evidence of grade point average (GPA) of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale in master’s coursework
  • Portfolio consisting of, but not limited to, the criteria listed below
  • Curriculum vitae that documents formal education, professional work experience, honors, achievements, and activities related to education.
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • A writing sample consisting of a formal essay with a maximum of six double-spaced pages--see below for details
The formal essay should be divided into these four sections:
  • Section 1: Language Development and Literacy 
    • Define literacy and describe how literacy is related to language development.
    • Describe your experiences in facilitating the language development and literacy of others.
  • Section 2: Language and Literacy Experiences
    • 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
  • Section 3: Organizational Transformation
    • What are the current needs within the field of literacy?
    • Describe how you have participated in or will foster change in the field of language development and literacy.
    • Describe inhibitors and facilitators of change as you perceived them.
  • Section 4: Goals for Doctorate in Language and Literacy Program
    • Identify your goals and expectations for pursuing this doctorate.
    • Describe how the attainment of this degree will enhance your ability to transform literacy practice.
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
Applicants educated outside of the U.S. must follow academic admission procedures relating to English ability and credential evaluation as described on the International Admissions webpage.

For more information please contact admissions or the program faculty.

Nicole M. Horvath

Assistant Director of Admissions for Adult and Professional Studies

Enrollment Management - Admissions Graduate

(414) 410-4709

Joseph C. Moylan

Chair - Leadership Education|Faculty - Leadership Doctorate

Leadership EducationLeadership Education

(414) 410-4328