Ph.D. in Reading/Writing/Literacy

Part of the Literacy, Culture, and International Education Division

The Ph.D. program in Reading, Writing, and Literacy prepares scholar-practitioners for careers in research and teaching at colleges and universities. The program emphasizes the interrelationships and integration of theory, research, policy, and practice.


Fast Facts


  • Entry terms: Fall
  • Course Requirements: 20 courses (6 Required Courses; 4 Research [Including EDUC 920]; 10 Electives)
  • Transfer Courses Accepted: Up to 8
  • Typical Course Load: Fall: 4 courses; Spring: 4 courses; Fall: 4 courses; Spring: 4 courses; Fall: 4 courses
  • Culminating Experience: Comprehensive Examination and Dissertation


View Admissions Requirements



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. Students are encouraged to develop one or more areas of concentration. Options include teacher education and professional development, leadership and policy; postsecondary learning environments; adult literacy education; reading, writing, and literacy across elementary, middle, and secondary curricula; children’s and adolescent literature; literacy policy, families, schools, and communities; and urban education.

The Ph.D. program prepares scholar-practitioners for positions in research universities and other educational organizations with a primary mission related to furthering knowledge in literacy and literacy education. In addition to the core doctoral courses, students focus on developing their understanding and expertise in particular aspects of the field (e.g., teacher education, pedagogy and curriculum, leadership, policy, urban education, multicultural education, adult and community based literacy in and out of school, literacy in international contexts, etc.) and in learning to conduct research on critical issues and problems in literacy. Students choose electives from across the divisions in GSE and from other departments in the university. The Ph.D. degree is a full-time program.

Program of Study

Core Courses

Please click here to download the Reading/Writing/Literacy Ph.D. Program of Study.

  • EDUC 713 Responding to Literature
  • EDUC 723 Multicultural Issues in Education
  • EDUC 724 Literacy: Social and Historical Perspectives
  • EDUC 737 Research in Teaching Writing
  • EDUC 834 Theories of Reading
  • EDUC 836 Issues in Instructional Leadership in Reading and Writing
  • Choose four Research Courses
  • EDUC 920 Research Seminar in Reading and Writing-Core Research Course


Standing Faculty

Gerald Campano, Ph.D.

University of Pennsylvania

Vivian Gadsden, Ed.D.

University of Michigan

Amy Stornaiuolo, Ph.D.

University of California, Berkeley

Ebony Elizabeth Thomas, Ph.D.

University of Michigan

Affiliated Faculty

Diane Waff, Ed.D.

University of Pennsylvania


Literacy, Culture, and International Education Division

University of Pennsylvania
Graduate School of Education

3700 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Tamika Easley
Program Manager
(215) 898-3245

Lorraine Hightower
Admissions Assistant
(215) 898-8435