World-Improving Research and Creativity

In the Literacy strand of the Ph.D. program, students develop a rich foundation of literacy theory and research. Students are prepared to investigate essential and compelling issues in literacy studies.

Admission Deadlines

The College of Education & Human Development has application deadlines for Spring (November 15). Students wishing to apply for a graduate assistantship for Fall semester must apply for the Ph.D. program and the college graduate assistantship by February 1. Applications for Fall will continue to be reviewed up to July 15.

Ph.D. in Literacy Studies

Possible concentrations for this Ph.D. strand include close study of multilingual students, early literacy, adolescent and advanced literacy, and intersection of literacy with culture and diversity. Upon completion of the program, students are prepared for both research- and teaching-oriented academic positions, as well as educational leadership positions in fields related to literacy.

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

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Program Information

  • Admissions

    Our program reviews applications and admits students for both fall (March 1 deadline) and spring (October 1 deadline). Materials and criteria for the Literacy Studies area of emphasis are as follows:

    • Undergraduate and graduate GPA of 3.00 or higher
    • At least three years of teaching experience
    • 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)

    To get started on the application process, please contact Dr. Diane Barone, graduate program director, at 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 Dr. Barone if you have any questions.

  • Program Structure

    Ph.D. students in Literacy Studies follow a 96-credit program of study coordinated by the student and his or her advisor. Courses include graduate level courses in a broad range of topics related to literacy, a rich research core, and a cognate (secondary emphasis) of the student's choosing. There are also opportunities for clinical experiences, both online and in our reading clinic. With respect to extracurricular scholarship, our doctoral students regularly participate in regional, national, and international research conferences.

    Please see the program manual for a full overview of course requirements. For the Literacy Studies area of emphasis, each student must take a minimum of one course from the following or its equivalent with the approval of the student's committee:

    • A Issues in Teaching in Diverse Educational Settings
    • Foundations of Literacy
    • Special Topics in Educational Specialties
  • Tuition, Cost, and Graduate Assistantships

    Please see the University tuition and fee rates for information regarding costs and financial aid. Graduate assistantships are available through various departments in the College of Education. Prospective students who indicate their interest in a graduate assistantship will be interviewed for one of multiple positions within the department following their application.

Looking for a Graduate Assistantship?

The College of Education & Human Development has a limited number of Graduate Assistantships for full-time students admitted to masters or doctoral programs.

Graduate Assistantship

Program Faculty

Julie Pennington
Julie Pennington, Ph.D.
Professor of Literacy Studies
(775) 682-7871
WRB 3060
Rachel Salas
Rachel Salas, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Literacy
(775) 682-7872
WRB 3056
Dianna Townsend
Dianna Townsend, Ed.D.
Associate Professor of Literacy Studies
(775) 682-7866
WRB 3058