Reading and Language Arts

Pawley Hall, Room 490A
456 Pioneer Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4482
(location map)
(248) 370-3054

A woman standing at a table with open books, with shelves of books behind her.

Ph.D. in Literacy, Culture and Language

The Ph.D. in Literacy, Culture and Language (LCL) is a 60-credit doctoral program for graduate students who want to know more about literacy and apply that knowledge to make an impact in the community, in higher education and/or in schools. The LCL program provides the flexibility needed to earn a degree while still working full-time.

This program is designed around a vision of providing doctoral-level challenges within the context of collaborative relationships between the doctoral students and the faculty. The Department of Reading and Language Arts faculty is committed to involving our doctoral students in the process of scholarly inquiry. Students have the opportunity to relate to a variety of faculty members who have different areas of expertise.

With a small ratio of doctoral students to department faculty, faculty members can give significant individual attention to the students. Specific examples of this attention may include encouraging and helping students participate in conference presentations, special assignments that involve developing or extending research skills, and working collaboratively with professors and fellow students on projects that may lead to publishable outcomes.

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Admissions Requirements

Doctor of Philosophy in Literacy, Culture, and Language - Graduate Catalog

Admission to the Ph.D. program is based on letters of recommendation, prior university course work, writing ability and performance on either the GRE or the Miller Analogies Test (MAT). Before an applicant’s file can be reviewed for full program admission, all application documents must be received in Graduate Admissions by February 15.

Students are admitted in the fall semester only.

Application Items:

  • Application for admission to graduate study
  • Supplemental application
  • Personal or goal statement describing what motivates the applicant to pursue a doctoral degree
  • Writing ability as revealed through a personal essay or academic paper that speaks directly to why the student wants to pursue a degree in literacy in particular
  • Three letters of recommendation in addition to completing the recommender forms
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Official scores for either the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) or the Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
  • Official transcripts
Applicants who are not U.S. citizens or have foreign academic credentials may also be required to submit the following:
  • Permanent residency / current visa status
  • English translation of foreign transcripts
  • Foreign transcript evaluation — general report
  • Official TOEFL test scores

Assistantships are sometimes available, on a competitive basis, to superior applicants who wish to learn firsthand about teaching and research while pursuing a degree.

Doctoral Coordinator:
Gwendolyn Thompson McMillon
490G Pawley Hall
(248) 370-4158
Faculty & Alumni
Since 1979, faculty and graduates of the program have won awards and made outstanding achievements. 

OU Faculty
  • Seven OU Excellence in Teaching recipients
  • Three OU Excellence in Research recipients
  • Two Albert Harris Award recipients
  • Oscar Causey Award
  • The IRA Outstanding Teacher Educator in Reading Award 
  • A Reading Hall of Fame member
  • Edward B. Fry Book Award from the Literacy Research Association
  • Albert J. Kingston Award from the Literacy Research Association
  • Outstanding Michigan Educator Award (both faculty and graduates)
  • Reading Recovery and other grants
OU Graduates
  • Ph.D. graduates have twice earned the IRA Outstanding Dissertation award, and five doctoral graduates have been finalists.
  • Albert Harris Award
  • Ph.D. graduates serve as teachers, administrators, literacy leaders, professors and researchers around the globe.
  • Ph.D. graduates have twice earned OU's Most Outstanding Dissertation Award-Non STEM, and the IRA Outstanding Dissertation award including five doctoral graduate finalists.