Ph.D. in Education: English Language Learners

The doctoral program in English Language Learners (ELL) prepares students for careers as teacher educators, researchers, and leaders in K-12 and adult ELL instruction. With the growing number of English language learners in public schools worldwide, experts with a terminal degree in the field are in high demand.

Rolling Admissions with Grad School Deadlines
Spring 2018: November 15, 2017
Fall 2018: February 1, 2018

(expand Admissions section for details)

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The ELL curriculum includes advanced studies into contemporary research on teaching methods, issues, and topics in second language acquisition and multilingual education, as well as specialized topics in applied linguistics, sociocultural perspectives on language acquisition and identity, and issues in teacher preparation. Students will be mentored by experienced faculty members on conducting scholarly research and will have a chance to collaborate with a diverse group of doctoral students and faculty members across the College of Education.

The ELL area of emphasis is guided by the general framework found in the Doctoral Program in Education Application Manual. This page will provide you with general information for the Ph.D. along with with specific details unique to this strand.


Applications at the program level are reviewed on an ongoing ("rolling") basis. However, please note that the Graduate School has specific deadlines (November 15 for spring; February 1 for fall). Materials and criteria for the ELL area of emphasis are as follows:

  • Undergraduate and graduate GPA of 3.00 or higher
  • Graduate Record Exam score (GRE)
  • Resume or curriculum vitae
  • Statement of Intent that includes a Philosophy of Education
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • One sample of scholarly writing
  • Program application, checklist, and signed disposition form (last 5 pages in the Application Manual)
  • International students: TOEFL score of 550, unless you have a college degree from a U.S. institution

To get started on the application process, please contact any of our program faculty. Your main program application, checklist, and signed disposition form must be scanned and emailed to with the subject line "Application Materials for Literacy Studies PhD." You may also print and mail them to:

College of Education Doctoral Program Coordinator
Mail Stop 278
University of Nevada, Reno
Reno, NV 89557-0278

All other materials must be sent through the University's application portal. Once you create your account, go back to MyNevada to log in and start your application. You must apply to both the College of Education and to the Graduate School. Please reach out to our faculty if you have any questions.

Program Structure

Consistent with guidelines and requirements described in the Doctoral Student Advising Manual, the doctorate in ELL requires students to complete 24 credits in the emphasis area of ELL, 21 credits in the research, 24 credits in a second area of emphasis (e.g., linguistics, rhetoric/composition, equity & diversity, or another related discipline), and 24 credits in dissertation.

Tuition, Cost, and Graduate Assistantships

Please see the University tuition and fee rates for information regarding costs and financial aid.

Graduate assistantships are available on a competitive basis through the College of Education, and applications are accepted through February 1 for fall of that year (September 1 for spring semester). Prospective students who indicate their interest in a graduate assistantship will be interviewed for one of multiple positions within the department following their application. Several highlights of a graduate assistantship include:

  • 20-hour work week
  • Stipend of approximately $1700/month (before taxes)
  • Tuition fee waiver (does not include fees such as room/board, textbooks, etc.)
  • Health insurance coverage through United Healthcare
  • In-state Nevada resident status
  • Funding to present at conferences through the support of the Graduate Student Association

Program Faculty

Rod Case, Associate Professor
Fares Karam, Assistant Professor
Fares Karam
Amber Warren, Assistant Professor
Amber Warren

Related Degrees and Programs

Contact College of Education

Phone (775) 784-4345 (Main)
Fax (775) 784-6298
Location William J. Raggio