School of Education - George Mason University

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Education, PhD - Specialization in Literacy(ies), Culture, and Reading

The Literacy(ies), Culture, and Reading specialization prepares scholars for careers in research and teaching at colleges and universities as well as roles in public policy and school leadership.

What Will You Learn?

The specialization features course work and applied internships that enable you to learn:

  • Theory and research in reading and literacy across the developmental spectrum
  • Foundational knowledge about literacy teaching and learning at all levels
  • Research methodologies to address a variety of literacy topics
  • Specialized knowledge in literacy related to your area of interest

How Will You Learn?

Your advisor will guide your doctoral experience by supplementing course work with professional experiences, including:

  • Attending and/or presenting at professional conferences
  • Graduate Research assistantships or internships
  • Independent study
  • Teaching and/or co-teaching
  • Writing, editing, and reviewing for scholarly journals

Where Can This Degree Take You?

Graduates of this program work to improve literacy education and public policy while advancing the global conversation on the topic of literacy. They hold professional positions such as:

  • Academic faculty at postsecondary institutions
  • Consultants with private companies, education and research think tanks, and NGOs
  • Curriculum leaders in major K-12 school districts
  • Literacy policy analysts for the National Education Association
  • Research fellows at the Fulbright Institute
  • Senior researchers at the American Institutes for Research

Who Will You Work With?

Faculty in the Literacy(ies), Culture, and Reading specialization have research interests spanning teachers’ beliefs, literacy coaching, teacher education, professional development, adolescent literacy best practices, social equity through science education, adaptive teaching, digitally supported reading and writing, urban teacher education, social justice education, elementary students and fiction reading, and coding literacy. They have served as president of the Association of Literacy Educators and Researchers, led international literacy education boards, published dozens of articles and books, served as educational consultants at school systems at home and overseas, garnered numerous awards for literacy learning research, and been awarded millions in research grants from the National Department of Education.

Program Structure

The program requires a minimum of 85 credits of study beyond the baccalaureate degree or a minimum of 55 credits beyond the master's degree. However, an individual's program typically requires 10 more credits depending on the person's goals, program requirements, and previous preparation. Students have five years to complete all course work and the portfolio reviews. Five additional years are allowed to complete the dissertation. Most students complete the entire program in five or six years.

Course Work

General Culture (3 credits)

  • EDUC 800: Ways of Knowing (3 credit hours) ( OR EFHP860. EFHP 860 is for Kinesiology concentration students only. Other students should select EDUC 800. Course should be taken 1st semester.)

Research Methods (15 credits)

Literacy Specialization Courses (18 credits)

Secondary Emphasis (18 credits)

Students have a number of options for secondary concentrations including concentrations within the School of Education, within other George Mason University departments, interdisciplinary concentrations, or using the master's degree as part of the secondary concentration requirements.

Dissertation (12 credits)

Portfolio

Students complete an educational portfolio as part of the requirement of the Ph.D. program. The portfolio is an organized, selective collection of documents designed to facilitate a student's academic and professional development, and to provide a basis for evaluation of degree progress. The portfolio represents the scope and depth of a student's goals, plans, and accomplishments in coursework, independent study, research, internships, and other advanced learning activities. The portfolio thus provides both a vehicle for self-reflection and a comprehensive record of a doctoral student's experiences and ongoing progress toward academic and professional goals.

Contact the Ph.D. Program for additional information.