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Literacy, Doctor of Philosophy

Our vision in the PhD Literacy program is to create an academic community of literacy practitioners and leaders who intend to address real-life social problems through scholarship. The program is designed to develop research skills applied in the field of literacy to learn about the role of reading and writing in schools and everyday life.

Literacy is the foundation of all learning. Our vision in the PhD Literacy program is to create an academic community of literacy practitioners and leaders who intend to address real-life social problems through scholarship. The program is designed to develop research skills applied in the field of literacy to learn about the role of reading and writing in schools and everyday life. Drawing on St. John’s Vincentian mission, we strive to provide an excellent education for all, especially for those individuals lacking economic, social, and educational advantages. In this program, students will learn about historical and theoretical approaches to literacy in our core courses and will develop robust methodological expertise to conduct original research. While studying in the School of Education, students will learn to understand literacy as intricately connected to identity and power and will develop the skills to leverage research to advocate for equity and social justice.


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Degree Type
Area of Interest
Associated Colleges or Schools
Program Location
  • Online
Required Credit Hours

Experienced Faculty: Faculty in the Ph.D. in Literacy program undergo rigorous training in online learning, design, and teaching, and strive to make online content relevant to geographically dispersed educators with diverse cultural and professional backgrounds and aspirations. Every course is designed to provide opportunities for interaction with classmates and instructors. We provide supportive learning environments where learning spaces encourage personalized and interactive experiences.

Personalized Online Experience: Our program is tailored to offer you a personal experience where you get to know your instructors and classmates through engaging coursework and events. Faculty are invested in your professional growth.

Students in our program participate in many professional experiences in literacy education and leadership, including, but not limited to, cowriting and co-presenting research with faculty, and attending conferences and virtual events with other students and faculty throughout the year.

Engaging Learning Opportunities: All of the courses in the Literacy Ph.D. program are highly interactive. You have opportunities to create multimodal literacy projects; receive feedback from instructors and classmates on proposed research studies and classroom projects; engage with colleagues in the field; expand your professional network, and attend extracurricular online events specifically designed for literacy Ph.D. students.


Graduate Admissions
[email protected]

Applicant will submit their undergraduate and graduate transcripts for review.  The minimum requirement for an undergraduate GPA is 2.5. Graduate GPA is 3.2.

1) Submit a completed application and $70 application fee to The School of Education's Admissions Office online. Supporting documents include:

  • Official transcripts of all previous course work (A minimum GPA of 3.2 in a master’s level program is required),
  • A Statement of Goals for doctoral study,
  • A professional résumé or curriculum vitæ,
  • Miller Analogies Test (MAT), satisfactory score (generally the 50th percentile) and/or
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Analytical Written Section, satisfactory score (of at least 4)
  • Interview (as applicable)

Please upload documents to the application portal.

Please view the School of Education Graduate Admission Application Requirements for detailed admission information.”

  • EDU 3281: Foundations of Literacy Inquiry and Professionalism
  • EDU 3282: Models & Processes of Reading & Writing Acquisition & Competency
  • EDU 3290: Analysis of Current Topics in Literacy
  • EDU 3291: Seminar in Literacy for At Risk, Diverse Populations
  • EDU 3283: Literacy Leadership
  • EDU 3295: Research Perspectives in Literacy
  • EDU 7900: Qualitative Research: Methodology and Analysis
  • EDU 7211: Educational Research and Data Analysis II
  • EDU 7901: Educational Research and Data Analysis III
  • EDU 38200: Mixed Methods
  • EDU 3292: Dissertation Seminar
  • EDU 3293: Dissertation Seminar Continued
  • EDU 3220: Approaches, Materials, and Performance Evaluation, K-12
  • EDU 3270: Theories of and Strategies for Teaching Literacy in Content Areas
  • EDU 3280: Digital Literacies
  • EDU 3210: Research & Practice of Teaching Writing in General Inclusion Education B-6
  • EDU 3215: Research & Practice of Teaching Writing in General Inclusion Education 5-12
  • EDU 3217: Research & Practice of Teaching Writing in General Inclusion Education B-12
  • EDU 9001: Foundations of Bilingual and Special Language Education
  • EDU 9003: Literacy Development for First and Second Language Learners
  • EDU 9010: Linguistics for Teachers of English Language (ELL) nd Exceptional Learners

Career Outcomes

The literacy programs enable teachers to develop a repertoire of literacy strategies that enhance teaching and learning in general education, special education, resource room, and English-language learning environments. If you already have a master’s degree in these areas, the literacy strategies you learn will improve your ability to teach a diverse population of students.

Career Opportunities

  • Reading specialist and diagnostician
  • Private practice as a multisensory instructor
  • Resource room teacher
  • Conference presenter
  • Literacy coach or supervisor
  • University or college professor with Ph.D.
  • Curriculum/staff developer

Online Learning

Earn Your Degree Online

Pursue your St. John’s Ph.D. in Literacy degree entirely on your computer. Our fully accredited Online Learning programs allow you to take courses electronically. Log in at your convenience to enter our virtual classrooms, learn from our accomplished faculty, and engage with classmates.

Our online courses offer the same high academic quality that students experience on campus. Professors deliver lectures and post assignments via Blackboard, our electronic course management system. Students use it to attend virtual classes, share documents, take exams, and exchange ideas with faculty and classmates.

A Fully Academic Experience

You also enjoy the outstanding services available to all St. John’s students, for example:

  • Eligibility for scholarships and financial aid
  • Tuition and fees identical to those for on-campus courses
  • Access to library collections, career services, mentoring, and other academic resources.

Frequently Asked Questions

Submit a completed application through the St. John’s University Office of Admissions. Supporting documents include:

  • official transcripts of all previous course work (undergraduate and graduate) that document a minimum GPA of 3.2 in a master’s level program,
  • at least two letters of recommendation from professors and/or supervisors,
  • a statement of goals for doctoral study,
  • a professional résumé or curriculum vitae,
  • documentation of full-time teaching experience,
  • a satisfactory score on the Miller Analogies Test (MAT), (generally the 50th percentile) and/or
  • a satisfactory score (of at least 4) on the Analytical Writing section of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). (Scores on the other sections of the GRE are not required for admission to the Ph.D. Program in literacy).

Most full time college and university teaching and research positions require a doctorate.  Some junior colleges may not.  At times part-time faculty members, called adjunct faculty members, may be hired by some colleges without degrees if they have extraordinary knowledge or skill.  Additionally, while K-12 teaching positions may not require a doctorate, knowledge acquired from doctoral courses will enhance your classroom instruction. With higher level education, salaries tend to increase.

All of the classes are online, so you can complete the program while you work. We also have two summer sessions for your convenience. It is possible to take time off from the program should the need arise, but this will likely delay your completion. You may maintain matriculation for up to two semesters and pay a “maintaining matriculation” fee after which you must reapply and meet entrance requirements once more.


It will featuring prestigious faculty at St. John’s University and from adjunct faculty from around the globe assisting with the instruction remotely.


You must take a minimum of 42 doctoral level credits at St. John’s. If you have a credits beyond a first master’s degree in literacy from an accredited college  or university, it is likely, although not guaranteed, that up to six of those credits can be transferable. You can submit official college transcripts and course descriptions for evaluation.  We allow up to six graduate credits at the doctoral level to transfer as long as they were not used towards a degree.

For financial aid information, please visit Financial Aid.

Cohorts are groups of individuals who enter the program at the same time and take the same sequence of courses. Admissions are in the summer, fall and spring terms.

You will meet with your advisor at least once a term, but as much as you would like.

The program’s mission, consistent with the University’s mission, is to graduate students who are sensitive to the needs of and advocate for at-risk (economically, socially, and physically disadvantaged) elementary, secondary, and post-secondary learners.  The influence of poverty on learning is, therefore, an overriding theme.  However, you are free to pursue your own professional interests in the field of literacy.

You must maintain at least a B in every doctoral course, throughout your program. 

Yes, you will take a comprehensive examination that includes two parts: first, there is a research-based scenario where your abilities to design, collect data, and analyze it will be evaluated across quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods through an application-based exercise; and second, your historical knowledge of literacy as it pertains to emerging topics and issues along with your ability to identify gaps in the extant literature will be evaluated through an essay.

This depends on how efficient you are as a student.  You take two courses for seven consecutive semesters, including summer. (This is two full years and one semester of coursework.)  Then you start your dissertation study. (Assuming you have done well in the courses and are successful writing the three annual portfolios.)

Yes. Learn more about financial aid here. There are also occasional opportunities for funding to conduct and present research.

Yes, many of our students copresent and cowrite with faculty.

Yes. Throughout the year, we may host virtual synchronous events such as office hours, Q&A sessions for major events, study sessions, writing retreats, guest speakers, ceremonies, dissertation defenses, etc.

Department Contacts

Ekaterina Midgette

Associate Professor

Sullivan Hall Queens


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