PhD in Literacy, Language and Culture

Earn your PhD in Literacy, Language, and Culture in as little as four years, learning from renowned faculty. A minimum of 72 hours of coursework is required. Some courses from a master's may apply. Enjoy the convenience of a hyflex option* or attend in person. Explore literacies, languages and leadership.

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Transforming literacy education toward equity ...

Reading Education doctoral students with Professor Mandy Stewart, PhD

The PhD in Literacy, Language, and Culture supports educators who want to become literacy leaders in school districts or policy contexts, teacher educators or literacy researchers. Our program will help you develop strategies and techniques to help preservice and inservice teachers develop literacy expertise, create and implement comprehensive literacy programs, and research literacy.  

Focus on socially and culturally responsive education at TWU. Through reflective practice and with an innovative spirit, we create responsive programs and partnerships with schools and communities. We transform teaching and learning toward greater equity for people who have been marginalized. To this work, we apply specialized expertise in:

  • Early childhood education: This includes growth and development of the whole child in multiple social contexts
  • Early literacy intervention: Texas Woman's is home to one of only two post-doctoral programs in the United States to train Reading Recovery trainers and the only university training center in the world that offers training in Descubriendo la Lectura (Reading Recovery in Spanish)
  • Elementary, adolescent and adult literacy, and literacy leadership including diverse linguistic, cultural and social literacies

The PhD in Literacy, Language, and Culture program supports educators in achieving their literacy leadership goals. Enjoy flexible and supportive program features:

Doctoral students in Reading Education
  • Summer course offerings, including a summer semester start date
  • Attend classes on the Denton campus or online through synchronous hyflex* instruction
  • Coursework tailored to full-time working individuals
  • Cohort model
  • Small class sizes
  • Personal interaction with professors who have extensive expertise

*The hyflex format allows all students to attend class together using synchronous instruction. Students attend online or in-person, depending on their selected program delivery mode. Students also have the option to attend a week-long intensive summer session with instruction and social activities on the Denton campus.

PhD in Literacy, Language, and Culture Degree Plan


Learn about our programs in a Virtual Open House on the second Tuesday of each month at 4-5 p.m.

Virtual Open House

Faculty expertise and areas of study

Our faculty are internationally renowned for literacy education and intervention. Doctoral students will have the opportunity to study the following topics with faculty:

PhyliciĆ” Anderson, a Reading Education doctoral student, presenting
  • Bilingual/ESL
  • Critical literacy
  • Early literacy
  • Early literacy intervention
  • Adolescent literacy
  • Digital literacy and multimodality
  • Diversity
  • Writing
Financial Aid

Admission Requirements

Admission to the Ph.D. in Literacy, Language, and Culture

Program Contact

Amy Burke, Ph.D., Program Chair

Application Deadlines

March 1: Priority deadline for financial aid and scholarships
April 15: Deadline for summer admission (program has a summer start)

Admission Requirements

  • Minimum 3.0 GPA in previous undergraduate and graduate courses.
  • Collect and submit the following documents into the application:
    • Collect and submit the following documents to
    • Vitae/resume
    • Two professional and/or academic letters of reference from individuals who can speak to your potential for success in a graduate program.
    • Professional writing sample (may be a paper written in a master's class)
    • One to two page statement of professional experience and your goals in pursuing a doctoral degree in reading education
    • A one-to-two page narrative answering the following questions:
      • What does ‘literacy learning’ mean to you?
      • What do you think are the greatest challenges for language and literacy educators today?
      • What do you think current and past colleagues and employers would tell us about you as an educator?

Graduate Admission

Begin by reviewing your program's website to see if there are additional admission requirements and application deadlines prior to applying.  

  1. Apply online.
    Apply to Graduate Programs  via the TWU Online Graduate Application Portal following instructions below.  
  2. Submit transcripts to TWU.
    • Domestic Applicants must submit official transcripts for each college or university attended, both undergraduate and graduate. See the Information on Transcripts website for more details.
    • International Applicants are now required to provide an evaluation prepared by a NACES or AICE member evaluation service. International transcripts should not be sent directly to TWU. See the International Admissions website for more details.
  3. Submit Recommendation Requests
    If your program requires you to submit names for recommendations you will need to do it in the application.
  4. Pay the application fee.
    The $50 fee ($75 fee for International applicants), which applies to all new and returning applicants, can be paid by:
    1. Credit card - Pay Online through the application as the last step before submitting the application. The second portion of the application will not be available until the application fee has been received.
    2. Certified check or money order by mail or electronically - Payable to TWU, sent by mail to:
      TWU Admissions Processing, 304 Administration Drive, Suite 102, Denton, Texas 76204
      (include your full name and ID number).
    3. Cash (no personal checks) - Pay at the Bursar's Office. After paying, bring the receipt to Admissions Processing (down the hall in ACT).
    4. Fee Waivers - Graduate applicants who are certified McNair Scholars are eligible for a McNair Scholar Application Fee Waiver. TWU Alumni may be eligible for the Alumni Advantage Fee Waiver. Check your eligibility here: If eligible submit the request using the Application Fee Waiver Submission
    5. Following fee payment return to the application dashboard where supplemental application documents can be uploaded. The online application will list which documents are needed to fulfill the program admission requirements. You can also check the program's website.

For more information or assistance with the application or graduate admissions, visit the Graduate Admissions website.

Students who wish to apply for a Graduate Assistantship must meet the General Criteria for Appointment of Graduate Assistants

Contact Information

Amy Burke Profile

Amy Burke, PhD
Associate Professor
MCL 901-C 

Page last updated 11:03 AM, May 1, 2024