Doctoral Degree: Language, Literacy and Culture Concentration

The Language, Literacy and Culture (LLC) community brings together faculty and students with interests in the areas of first and second language acquisition, ESL, bilingual and world language education, reading, writing, children’s literature, multicultural education, multiliteracies, oral communication, information processing, critical thinking, media literacy, multimodality, creativity/innovation, global awareness, cultural competency, problem-solving, teamwork/collaboration, self-directed learning and leadership. We strive to create a dynamic synergy among these areas in order to better address the needs of all learners in a diverse society.

The LLC community seeks students committed to researching language, literacy and culture as negotiating participation in communities, expressing and developing social identities, and the study of ideologies and power relations to transform schools, communities, and the broader society.

The LLC community promotes adopting a scholarly engagement approach to research; a teacher-as-researcher stance to professional development; a critical and functional view of language and language learning; and a recursive focus on issues concerning social justice and the institutional and political contexts influencing public education.


The LLC Practitioner Program is nationally recognized by National Council for Accreditation in Teacher Educators (NCATE), Teachers of Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) and the International Association of Reading (IRA). 

Additionally, LLC faculty have formed the ACCELA Alliance (Access through Critical Content and English Language Acquisition), an award-winning, federal and state-funded professional development collaboration among UMass Amherst, the Springfield, Holyoke and Amherst, Mass., public school districts, and several community organizations in western Massachusetts. ACCELA supports academic literacy development of linguistically and culturally diverse students attending public schools by providing their teachers with data-driven professional development opportunities.

Program of Study

The Program of Study for theLanguage, Literacy and Culture Doctoral Concentration consists of:

Six (6) required core courses totaling 18 credits:

  • One (1) course in the Foundation Core Area
  • Three (3) courses in the Reading Research Core
  • Two (2) courses in the Writing Research Core

Three (3) LLC Specialization Electives totaling 9 credits

Four (4) Elective courses totaling 12 credits

With the required eighteen (18) dissertation credits, the total number of required credits is 57.

As a doctoral student in LLC, you also need to select courses to meet your own scholarly and professional goals (usually 12 to 18 credits). These may include courses across campus and independent studies. In addition to LLC special seminars that may be relevant, LLC-affiliated faculty offer a host of courses that may address your goals and areas of interest. Students are strongly encouraged to take courses from departments outside the College of Education to expand their scholarly base and to become acquainted with faculty who may later serve as the outside member of your Dissertation Committee. (Dissertation Committees must include a faculty member from a department outside the College of Education.)

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Contact Information

Concentration Coordinator:  Maria José Botelho (Associate Professor)

Associated Faculty

Theresa Austin (Professor), Maria Jose Botelho (Associate Professor), Barbara Hruska (Lecturer), Denise K. Ives  (Associate Professor), Marie Christine Polizzi (Lecturer), K.C. Nat Turner (Associate Professor), and Laura Valdiviezo (Department Chair)