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

Admissions Requirements

To apply to the program you should:

  • submit all college transcripts
  • have an undergraduate grade point average of 2.75 or above (*The program admissions committee may consider applicants with an undergraduate GPA below 2.75, only if their personal statement clearly describes how they overcame obstacles and how they will be able to handle rigorous academic work).
  • have a master's degree.
  • submit a minimum of two letters of recommendation
  • submit a personal statement, which articulates your interest in our program and the prior credentials and professional experiences, particular professional or research interests, and your future career goals.
  • Please note that the program does not require the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Tests or the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT).International students submit the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL IBT 80 or above). The Graduate School accepts IELTS scores with a minimum of 6.5 in lieu of TOEFL scores.

Click here for application

* The deadline for submission of all required application materials is January 2.

Contact Information

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

Associated Faculty

Theresa Austin (Professor), Maria Jose Botelho (Associate Professor), Barbara Hruska (Lecturer), Nina Kositsky (Lecturer), Sonia Nieto (Professor Emerita), Marsha Rudman (Professor Emerita), K.C. Nat Turner (Associate Professor), and Jerri Willet (Professor Emerita)