Individualized program of study for practitioner-scholars in reading, writing, and literacy.

The Ed.D. program in Literacy Studies features a strong commitment to educational practice and preparing practitioner-scholars. Students take part in courses and seminars, both those specifically designed for Ed.D. students and others in Penn GSE or across the university. Students work with their advisors to construct their own individual course of study.

This program was previously known as Reading/Writing/Literacy Ed.D. Beginning in Summer 2024, this program will be titled Literacy Studies Ed.D.

What Sets Us Apart

  Flexible, customized program of study: Choose from electives across the University
 Penn GSE is a top-ranked Graduate School of Education by U.S. News & World Report
  Full-time and part-time options

About the Program

In the Ed.D. program in Literacy Studies, students tailor their course of study to their individual interests. Of 20 required courses, 11 of them are electives, allowing students to work with their advisors to develop a program that is best suited to the individual’s areas of interest.

Application deadline
Closed for Fall 2024. The application for Fall 2025 will be available September 1, 2024.
Entry term(s)
Course requirements
20 courses (9 required; 11 electives)
Typical course load

3 courses per semester (fall/spring)

Transfer courses acceptedUp to 8 courses with approval

Culminating experienceComprehensive examination and dissertation

Duration of program4–6 years

  • Full-Time
  • Part-Time

The Ed.D. program in Literacy Studies emphasizes the interrelationships and integration of theory, research, policy, and practice. Doctoral students construct individual programs of study with their advisor to suit their interests, combining core courses with additional coursework in research methodology and electives. 

This program features a strong commitment to educational practice and preparing practitioner-scholars. Ed.D. applicants are required to hold a master’s degree and are expected to have experience in educational practice. Students can register as full-time or part-time students.


In the Ed.D. program in Literacy Studies, students tailor their programs of study. Students are encouraged to develop one or more areas of concentration. Options include, but are not limited to:

  • Teacher education and professional development
  • Literacy policy and leadership
  • Postsecondary learning environments
  • Adult literacy education
  • Reading, writing, and literacy across elementary, middle, and secondary curricula
  • Children’s and adolescent literature
  • Literacy practices with families, schools, and communities
  • Urban education
  • Digital literacies and technologies for teaching and learning
  • Critical literacies

The program includes six required courses, three research courses, and 11 electives. All students take part in courses and seminars specifically designed for Ed.D. students across Penn GSE and select an Ed.D. cognate of study. For more information on courses and requirements, visit the Literacy Studies Ed.D. program in the University Catalog.

Our Faculty

Our faculty are renowned scholars who are committed to educational practice and to supporting practitioner-scholars.

Penn GSE Faculty H. Gerald Campano
Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania
Penn GSE Faculty Vivian L. Gadsden
William T. Carter Professor of Child Development and Education
Ed.D., University of Michigan
Penn GSE Faculty Jen McLaughlin Cahill
Lecturer in Educational Practice
Ph.D., Teachers College, Columbia University
Penn GSE Faculty Amy Stornaiuolo
Associate Professor
Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley

"I reached a point where I wanted to understand the research and theory around adult literacy and learning. And to do the type of work I wanted to do, I knew I would need a more advanced degree. Penn GSE checked both boxes and opened doors I didn’t know existed."

Ryan Miller

Reading/Writing/Literacy Ed.D., 2016

Our Graduates

The Ed.D. program in Literacy Studies trains practitioner-scholars for positions involving the practice of education in schools, school districts, colleges and universities, government agencies, foundations, entrepreneurial ventures, and consulting organizations. 

Alumni Careers

  • Assistant Professor, Clemson University
  • Assistant Professor, Ithaca College
  • Assistant Professor of English, Temple University
  • Coordinator/Instructor, Teacher Academy
  • Faculty Affiliate, Haverford College Writing Center
  • Gifted Support Teacher, Great Valley School District
  • Language Arts Literacy Teacher, Flemington-Raritan School District
  • Literacy Consultant/Professional Developer, Philadelphia Out-of-School Time Literacy Initiative
  • Middle School Division Head, Woodlynde School
  • Urban Education Professional, Center for Inspired Teaching
  • Associate Professor, Teacher College, Columbia University
  • Director of Community Literacy, University of New Hampshire

Admissions & Financial Aid

Please visit our Admissions and Financial Aid pages for specific information on the application requirements, as well as information on tuition, fees, financial aid, scholarships, and fellowships.

Contact Information

Contact us if you have any questions about the program.

Office of Admissions and
Financial Aid

Graduate School of Education
University of Pennsylvania
3700 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
(215) 898-6415

Program Contact

Tamika Easley
Program Manager
(215) 898-3245

Kemba Howard
Administrative Assistant

Please view information from our Admissions and Financial Aid Office for specific information on the cost of this program.

Penn GSE is committed to making your graduate education affordable, and we offer generous scholarships, fellowships, and assistantships.