Doctoral Degree: Language, Literacy and Culture Concentration

The 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). 
The Language, Literacy and Culture (LLC) concentration offers the following degrees:

  • Master of Education (M.Ed.) with a focus on Bilingual/E.S.L./Multicultural Edu.
  • Master of Education (M.Ed.) with a focus on Reading and Writing
  • Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study (CAGS) in Education
  • Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) with a focus on Language, Literacy and Culture

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.

Required Courses

Sociocultural Theories of Language (3 credits) 

  • EDUC 792M: Seminar on Language (3 credits)
    Usually taken in first year

Reading Research in Language, Literacy, and Culture (9 credits)

  • EDUC 734: Understanding Research in Language, Literacy, and Culture (3 credits) Usually taken in Fall of the first year
  • EDUC 796: Independent Reading in Language, Literacy, and Culture (from 3 – 9 credits)
  • EDUC 795A: Literature Reviews in Language, Literacy, and Culture (3 credits) Usually taken in second year

Research and Writing (12 credits)

  • EDUC 815: Researching Language in Educational Settings I & II (6 credits)
    Usually taken in second year
  • EDUC 691D: Writing About Language, Literacy, and Culture for Publication (3 credits)
    Usually taken in third year

Specialization Seminars in Language, Literacy, and Culture (9 credits)
In selecting content seminars and other electives, you need to take at least one course in each of the following three fields (some courses may consider more than one field):

  • Literacy
  • Bilingual/Second Language Development
  • Cultural Diversity

LLC Content Seminars

The following LLC content seminars are offered on a rotating basis over three years, so you will need to check the projected course offerings to see when the courses that interest you will be scheduled.

  • Seminar on Intercultural Communication (3 credits)
  • Seminar on Second Language and Literacy Learning (3 credits)
  • Seminar on Literacy (3 credits)
  • Seminar on Discourse Analysis (3 credits)
  • Seminar on Research in Children’s Literature (3 credits)
  • Seminar on Research in Bilingualism and Society (3 credits)
  • Seminar on Multicultural Education (3 credits)
  • Seminar on Reading (3 credits)
  • Seminar on Writing (3 credits) and/or doctoral level seminars in other concentrations and departments.

Students also need to select courses to meet their 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 School 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 School of Education.)

A complete listing of the required courses, links to course descriptions and the LLC student handbook can be found on the LLC website.

Click here for application

Other important information links

Contact Information

Concentration Coordinator: K.C. Nat Turner (Assistant Professor)

Associated Faculty

Theresa Austin (Professor), Maria Jose Botelho (Assistant Professor), Barbara Hruska (Lecturer), Denise K. Ives  (Assistant Professor), Marie Christine Polizzi (Lecturer), and Laura Valdiviezo (Assistant Professor)