Literacy Education

PhD in Teaching and Learning, Focus on Literacy Education

The PhD in Teaching and Learning prepares you to for a career as a researcher and teacher educator in colleges and universities. In this doctoral program, you will focus on Literacy Education, work closely with faculty members to develop your research skills in the areas of language and literacy development, and apply that research to improve literacy instruction in pre-K-12 schools.

What you'll learn
  • Theory and evidence about reading, writing, and oral language development, particularly for students in urban contexts
  • Each step in the process of conducting relevant and rigorous research – from articulating research questions through designing and conducting empirical studies to disseminating results
  • Qualitative and quantitative methodologies and how to apply them to research in literacy education
How you'll learn

Tailor Your Program to Your Research Interests
You will work closely with our doctoral faculty to develop your own research interests and create a research proposal. Our faculty members specialize in a broad range of areas related to language and literacy development. Faculty interests include, but are not limited to:

  • Cognitive, linguistic, and sociocultural perspectives on language and literacy development
  • Reading development and instruction from early childhood through adolescence
  • Reading instruction for children who live in poverty
  • Reading and language development in English language learners
  • School literacy policy and reform 
  • Integrating principles of student agency, choice, and responsibility into theories and models of literacy instruction
  • Language development and instruction in pre-K through middle school classrooms, particularly vocabulary development
  • Interventions for struggling readers and writers

Learn more about our faculty: 
Michael J. Kieffer
Cynthia McCallister
Susan B. Neuman

Conduct Literacy Research in the Dynamic Community of New York City
At NYU Steinhardt, you will have access to a world-class facility for conducting educational research. In addition to working with faculty in Literacy Education, you will learn from faculty across NYU who are engaged with investigating language and literacy from various disciplinary perspectives, from developmental psychology and technology-enhanced education to educational linguistics and policy analysis. You will interact with a close community of fellow student researchers and receive close mentoring from faculty as you pursue educational research in the heart of New York City, one of the most diverse and cosmopolitan cities in the world.

Learn more about our doctoral degree requirements.

How to apply

See application requirements and deadlines for the PhD program in Teaching and Learning. Please indicate your specific interest in Literacy Education on your application.

We offer a competitive funding program for full-time PhD students that supports tuition and living expenses. See more information about the funding program or visit the Financial Aid website.

Applications to the PhD in Teaching and Learning will also be considered for NYU’s Institute of Education Sciences-funded Predoctoral Interdisciplinary Research Training (IES-PIRT) program if the applicants have relevant qualifications and express interests that align with IES-PIRT’s central themes. A separate application is not necessary. See the IES-PIRT program for more information.

Prepare for a career as a
  • Literacy researcher and teacher educator in colleges and universities
  • Leading roles in education, research, and policy, nationally as well as globally
For more information about this doctoral program, please contact

Michael Kieffer
Program Director
East Building, 239 Greene Street
New York, NY 10003