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The Language and Literacy Ph.D. At The University of South Carolina Knowledge Base

In the last 40 years, there has been an explosion of new knowledge about literacy learning and literacy education. We now understand that literacy is tied to social, historical, political, and cultural contexts. Reading, teaching and learning are seen as constructivist events. Learners are seen as inquirers and the learning process is seen as an inquiry process.


Four beliefs form the foundation of our doctoral program. First, we believe that doctoral students, like all learners (including children) learn through inquiry. Therefore, within our doctoral program, students engage in inquiry and learn practices consistent with an inquiry-based orientation. Second, we believe that doctoral students must be well prepared to contribute new knowledge and new theory that improves the human condition. They must also develop the ability to reflect on their own teaching and to assist others in doing so. Therefore, our students learn how to interpret and conduct both quantitative and qualitative research and our program focuses on creating a forum for rigorous professional conversation and scholarship. Thirdly, we believe that reading as a process is not separate from but connected to oral and written language and the cultural contexts in which language is used. Therefore, throughout the Ph.D. program, students explore relationships among language, thinking, and culture. Fourth, we are committed to theory which is practical and practice which is theoretical and therefore provide opportunities for our students to participate in and support partnerships with other educational institutions and agencies.


The Doctoral Program in Language and Literacy is designed to provide in-depth knowledge within a clearly defined field of study. The program is designed to prepare candidates to: (1) engage in scholarly teaching, research, and publication at a major research institution and/or (2) fulfill leadership roles in positions related to policy making, institutional practice, curricular change, or supervision of school district, state, and federal literacy programs. The primary goal of the program is to prepare educators who will make a difference in professional practice by extending the knowledge base about literacy into the fields of teacher education, research, and educational policy analysis and development.

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Columbia, SC 29208 • 803-777-7000 •