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Concentration: Literacy and English Language Arts Education (LELA)

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Program: Teacher Education and Learning Sciences
in Department of Teacher Education and Learning Sciences (TELS)
Delivery Method: On Campus

Apply by Dec.

Brief Description

The Ph.D. in Teacher Education and Learning Sciences: Literacy and English Language Arts (LELA) Education concentration is designed for individuals with interests in literacy, reading development, new literacies, and English Language Arts education research, scholarship, and teacher preparation.

The concentration prepares students for roles as teacher educators and researchers in higher education or instructional leadership roles at school, district, and state levels, or education-related private industry. Individuals seeking admission to this concentration should have a strong background in this area and a desire to conduct original research in these fields.

This concentration addresses

  • Literacy or English Language Arts content specialization
  • Models of reading and language development with implications for classroom instruction, assessment, and intervention
  • Theory and research in literacy
  • Preparation for professional roles as researchers and teacher educators

Concentration Details

The LELA concentration faculty conducts research in a variety of areas, including: teaching English Language Arts (ELA) in the digital age; reading comprehension, assessment, and intervention; digital literacies; preparation of literacy and ELA educators; writing and technology; visual and content analyses of children’s and young adult literature; content-area knowledge and literacy development; vocabulary and academic language instruction; coaching professional development; evidence-based practices in literacy instruction; community-based research; underserved students including immigrant and refugee youth; global perspectives of culture and literacy; and trauma-informed family literacy.

Our concentration includes a network of strong relationships with local public schools and community partners, such as pre-service teacher field placement partnerships; professional development partnerships with school districts across the state; collaboration on research with students and teachers in local public schools; and community partners including Refugee Hope Partners, Juntos NC, and CORRAL Riding Academy. Connections to the public schools and community organizations help to foster interdisciplinary field-based research projects, which provide opportunities for our doctoral candidates to work with faculty in mentored research initiatives. Faculty and doctoral students in the LELA concentration also collaborate on projects with partners across the College and University, including the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation and the Center for Family and Community Engagement.

Virtual Open House

Join us for our Virtual Open House: Inside the Graduate Student Experience on Nov. 9 from 6:45-8:15 p.m. The virtual format allows attendees to gain a broad overview of the College of Education, reviewing resources for graduate students, and receiving insight from a panel of current graduate students 


Admission Requirements

  • Completed application to the NC State Graduate School
  • Master’s degree from an accredited institution of higher education
  • 3.0 grade point average or higher at the Master’s level
  • GRE Score
  • 3+ years of teaching experience at the K–12 level in literacy, reading, English language arts or related areas (preferred)
  • 3 Letters of Recommendation, including at least one from a professor who can attest to your academic work
  • Statement of Purpose should be 2-3 pages (max.) and include research interests
  • Academic Writing Sample (Master’s thesis if applicable)

Course of Study

Concentration Handbook

The TELS Ph.D. requires 72 credit hours, including a minimum of 60 hours beyond a master’s degree. The LELA concentration requires the following specific course of study:

College of Education Scholar-Leader courses (6 hours)

  • ED 755 Diversity & Equity in Schools and Communities (3 hours)
  • ED 756 Systemic Change in Education (3 hours)

TELS core courses (6 hours)

  • ECI 735 Seminar on Teaching and Teaching Education (3 hours)
  • ECI 736 Learning Sciences (3 hours)

LELA required courses (6 hours)

  • ECI 745: Literacy Theory and Research (3 hours)
  • ECI 803: Advanced Studies in Literacy Research (3 hours)

Research methods courses (15 hours)

  • ED 710: Applied Quantitative Methods in Education (3 hours)
  • ED 730: Qualitative Methods in Education (3 hours)
  • Additional 9 hours of advanced research methods

LELA electives (18 hours):

  • Courses are to be chosen within the program area of study, as well as other programs throughout the department, college, and university.

Dissertation Research (9 hours)

        Innovations in Teaching Literacy and English Language Arts

        Faculty in the NC State College of Education are engaged in literacy research, teaching and outreach activities that help translate scientific evidence into high-quality teacher preparation and reading, writing, and English language arts instruction for children in grades K-12.

        The Literacy Space

        Tuition and Fees

        Review the Estimated Cost of Attendance for information on tuition and fees set by the university. Students are funded through a variety of opportunities, some of which cover tuition and fees. Stipend and length of appointment varies based on funding source. 

        • Graduate Research Assistantships: Research assistantships are awarded to students working with a faculty member on an externally-funded research grant. Individual faculty select students for these awards.
        • Teaching Assistantships: Teaching assistantships are rewarded to students with applicable experience to teach undergraduate courses or supervise teacher interns. Students are selected based on department needs.
        • College Fellowships: Offices in the College of Education regularly offer assistantships for research and teaching positions. These are announced each spring.
        • University Fellowships: The Graduate School offers several fellowships for new students, including the University Graduate Fellowship and the Provost’s Fellowship. The Director of Graduate Programs nominates applicants for these awards.
        • External Fellowships: Applicants are encouraged to apply for fellowships from the National Science Foundation and other national programs.

        Eligible students may receive coverage of their tuition and health insurance through the Graduate Student Support Plan (GSSP). Opportunities are available on a limited basis, and vary in: stipend amount; length of appointment; research/teaching area that is your focus; technical, research and teaching skill required; and where you are in your program timeline to completion. Therefore, funding is not guaranteed.
        All applicants are automatically considered for funding opportunities that require department nomination. To express interest in being considered for other departmental funding, please complete the TELS Funding Interest Form.

        Chandra Alston

        Current Doctoral Students

        • Michael Anderson, Research Interests: Visual literacy, Critical Theory, Curricular Theory (Advisor: Dr. Michelle Falter)
        • Sarah Dawson, Research Interests: Writing, Teacher Identity, Linguistic Diversity, Trauma-informed Practices (Advisor: Dr. Angela Wiseman)
        • Robyn DeIaco. Research Interests: Online reading across disciplines (Advisor: Dr. Dennis Davis)
        • Corrie Dobis. Research Interests: Multiliteracies, Visual Literacy, Multimodality, Multilingual Learners (Advisor: Dr. Jill Grifenhagen) 
        • Caitlin Donovan. Research Interests: Critical Digital Literacies, Digital Writing Communities, e-Learning Design, and Teacher Preparation (Advisor: Dr. Crystal Chen Lee)
        • Samantha Duke, Research Interests: Teacher Preparation, Writing Instruction, Transfer of Learning (Advisor: Dr. Carl Young)
        • Jessica Eagle, Research Interests: Computational Methods in ELA Pedagogy, Writing Instruction, Sub-Screenic Literacies, Emotion, Motivation, and Engagement in ELA Learning (Advisor: Dr. Michelle Falter)
        • June Hurt, Research Interests: Gifted Education and its ongoing lack of diversity (Advisor: Dr. Dennis Davis) 
        • Kimberly Kemp, Research Interests: Students with literacy difficulties (Advisor: Dr. Dennis Davis)
        • Bethany Lewis, Research Interests: Writing and Literacy Instructional Methods, Children’s Literature, Diverse Books, Teacher Identity (Advisor: Dr. Angela Wiseman)
        • Jennifer C. Mann, Research Interests: Critical Literacy, Multilingual Education, Marginalized Students (Advisor: Dr. Crystal Lee)
        • Janell Miller, Research Interests: Critical Theory, Critical Consciousness, Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy, Classroom Discourse, Restorative Justice Education (Advisor: Dr. Carl Young)
        • Sarah Montello, Research Interests: Multilingual Learners, Teacher Education, Social Constructivist Pedagogy, Inquiry Based Learning (Advisors: Dr. Jill Grifenhagen & Dr. Carl Young)
        • Katie Peachey, Research Interests: Writing Instruction and Teacher Feedback, Emotion, Motivation, and Identity (Advisors: Dr. Crystal Chen Lee & Dr. Michelle Falter)
        • Beth Poteat, Research Interests:preservice teacher education and identity development, culturally-responsive pedagogies, reading and writing in the middle grades, trauma-informed practices, social-emotional learning, rural education (Advisor: Dr. Carl Young)
        • Courtney Samuelson, Research Interests: Literacy Intervention, Critical Theory, Instructional Coaching (Advisor: Dr. Dennis Davis)
        • Lili Wang, Research Interest: Technology Integration in Language Classes, Media Literacy, Bilingual Education, Project-Based Learning (Advisor: Dr. Hiller Spires)
        • Alicia Whitley, Research Interests: Critical Theory, Multimodal Literacies, Representative Literature and YA (Advisor: Dr. Michelle Falter)

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