• Literacy Studies, Ph.D.
  • Literacy Studies, Ph.D.

Specialized Courses (12 credit hours)

Please note: Courses listed here, within each area of specialization, are examples of those deemed appropriate. However, this list is not exhaustive. Substitutions may be arranged with the permission of a student's program advisor.

Literacy Instruction and Staff Development

This specialization is intended primarily for individuals who already hold licensure or certification in a profession (e.g. school psychology, speech-language pathology) or are credentialed in specialized areas of education (e.g., reading education, special education, and educational administration). The doctorate prepares these individuals for a career in pre-service teacher education and in-service staff development. Instruction and staff development specialists are needed to oversee the changes in literacy education inspired by new research and mandated in new policies. There is a growing need for professionals who can help implement changes, such as RTI, by training new teachers and updating the skills of in-service teachers. This specialization provides additional coursework to enhance graduates' capacity to address important problems within their areas of competence.

RUBRIC/NUMBER COURSE TITLE CREDIT HOURS
CDIS 6000 Language, Speech, and Literacy 3
ELED 7220 Seminar in Early Childhood Education 3
ELED 7250 From Policy to Practice in American Public Schools 3
ELED 7350 Intro to Qualitative Methods 3
LITS 7021 Cognitive Neuropsychology 3
LITS 7330 Special Topics in Literacy 3-6
PSY 6530/7530 The Psychology of Reading and Reading Development 3
READ 6000 Foundations of Literacy 3
SPSE 6140 Teacher Leadership for School Improvement 3
SPSE 6900 Learning Systems & Instructional Design 3
YOED 6680 Issues & Trends in Teaching & Learning 3


Reading Disabilities / Dyslexia

This specialization includes added coursework in dyslexic studies, learning disabilities, and communication disorders in order to prepare master's level professionals (e.g. special education mild/moderate, school psychologists, speech pathologists, etc.) who have specific training and experience diagnosing and teaching children with reading disabilities for a variety of second careers. These careers include college faculty, developing curriculum materials or assessment tools for publishers, or serving as professional consultants to schools, school systems, and State Departments of Education.

RUBRIC/NUMBER COURSE TITLE CREDIT HOURS
CDIS 6000 Language, Speech, and Literacy 3
DYST 6000 Introduction to Dyslexia 3
DYST 6010 Identifying Students with Dyslexia 3
DYST 6011 Interventions with Dyslexia 3
ELED 7350 Intro to Qualitative Methods 3
LITS 7021 Cognitive Neuropsychology 3
LITS 7330 Special Topics in Literacy 3-6
PSY 6530/7530 The Psychology of Reading and Reading Development 3
PSY 6750 Psychology & Assessment of Learning Disabilities 3
PSY 6050 Psychological Testing 3
SPED 6300 Theoretical Perspectives on Mild/Moderate Disabilities 3 d
SPED 6780 Issues in Special Education 3 d
READ 6750 Research Seminar in Reading 3 d


Literacy Measurement and Analysis

This specialization is intended for those who may be interested in a career related to work in the development of assessment tools and curriculum materials under the umbrella of a publishing house, for careers in consulting with school systems on the application of measurements, or with a career in state or national governmental agencies that use measurement to draft, direct, and enforce literacy policies. Preparation in this concentration will enhance skills related to data analysis and test construction as well as adding to background knowledge related to the utilization of assessment in K-12 education.

RUBRIC/NUMBER COURSE TITLE CREDIT HOURS
HHP 7030 Research Sem. in Human Performance 3
HHP 7300 Current Measurement Issues in HHP 3
LITS 7021 Cognitive Neuropsychology 3
LITS 7330 Special Topics in Literacy 3-6
PSY 6750 Psychology and Assessment of Learning Disabilities 3
PSY 7210 Advanced Psychometrics 3
PSY 7550 Structural Equation Modeling 3
PSY 7580 Multivariate Data Analysis 3
PSY 7585 Test Construction and Validation 3
SPED 6310 Issues in Assessment of Mild/Moderate Disabilities 3


Administration / Policy

This specialization includes coursework in law and policy, organizational change, and child development in order to prepare master's level licensed administrators, curriculum supervisors, superintendents, and state agency employees who want to move up in their own administrative system or who want to advance to state and federal-level administrative jobs. This specialization could also serve individuals who have backgrounds outside traditional education domains (e.g. managers holding an M.B.A., Industrial/Organizational psychologists) who would need additional training in order to pursue a second career in district or system educational administration or a second career in state or federal education administration in which policy guides literacy education.

RUBRIC/NUMBER COURSE TITLE CREDIT HOURS
CDIS 6000 Language, Speech, and Literacy 3
LITS 7330 Special Topics in Literacy 3-6
ELED 7220 Seminar in Early Childhood Education 3
ELED 7250 From Policy to Practice in American Public Schools 3
ELED 7350 Intro to Qualitative Analysis 3
SOC 6010 Social Policy Analysis 3
PSY 6570 Psychological Research Methods in Human Resource Management 3
ECON 6430 Seminar on Public Finance 3
SOC 6570 Seminar in Advanced Social Psychology 3
SPED 6780/7780 Issues in Special Education 3


Course Credit Transfers in Areas of Specialization

In cases where an applicant has completed a previous course of study leading to a post-master's degree, and one or more courses in that program are directly related to the area of specialization the student chooses to pursue in this doctoral program, the applicant may request that previous credits be applied to this degree. In most cases, up to twelve (12) hours of formal coursework earned in a previous post-master's degree, within five (5) years preceding admission to this Ph.D. program, may be substituted for courses required in the specialization area chosen. This request must be made within two (2) years of admission to the program.  The recommendation to accept these credits must come from the graduate program director after she or he has made an analysis of the courses requested for transfer. Final approval must be given by the dean of the College of Graduate Studies. Coursework accepted for credit toward a graduate degree at MTSU must represent graduate coursework relevant to the degree, with course content and the level of instruction resulting in student competencies at least equivalent to those of students enrolled in the institution's own graduate degree programs.

Electives: 9 hours

All students will include nine (9) credit hours of electives in their degree plan. These electives may serve to extend credit hours in the area of specialization or add to the knowledge base in another area of interest. Electives will be chosen in consultation with a Program Advisor.

Dissertation: 12 hours

Candidates will design and conduct a research project culminating in the presentation and oral defense of a dissertation.

RUBRIC/NUMBER COURSE TITLE CREDIT HOURS
LITS 7640 Dissertation Research 12


The dissertation is a work of original, advanced research written in partial fulfillment of the requirements for a Doctor of Philosophy degree. A dissertation is a lengthy, unified, coherent work, usually exceeding 100 pages, that makes an original contribution to scholarship in the field. This is the document that secures the candidate's right to enter into the academic profession and provides proof of professional competence.