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Culture, Literacy and Language (Ph.D.)

Basic Degree Information/Description

The Ph.D. program in Culture, Literacy, and Language (CLL) ushered in its first cohort of doctoral students in 2001. CLL is housed in the Department of Bicultural-Bilingual Studies in the College of Education and Human Development. The program focuses on the interrelatedness of culture, literacy, and language and is designed to provide a firm foundation in the fields of cultural studies, literacy development, and language learning and use.

Doctoral students often pursue research topics within or across the following three major focal areas: 1) applied linguistics; 2) bi-literacy and bilingual education; 3) Mexican-America, Chicana/o, Latina/o cultures. Faculty and students work in a vibrant interdisciplinary atmosphere with applied linguistics, anthropologists, educational researchers, psychologist, and sociologists on topics related to language and literacy socialization, the empowerment of marginalized communities, educational language policy and planning, language and identity, bilingual teach preparation, TESOL and globalization, cultural validation and community change, second language acquisition, heritage language education, computer assisted language learning, multiliteracies, immigration and transnationalism, among others. 

Why pursue a Ph.D. in Culture, Literacy, and Language?

  • CLL faculty members are nationally and internationally recognized experts in their respective fields.
  • A diverse student body allows for the integration of perspectives.
  • The interdisciplinary program is flexible in terms of foci of study, as well as scheduling designed to accommodate full-time and working professionals.
  • Our three major focal areas include: 1) applied linguistics; 2) bi-literacy and bilingual education; 3) Mexican-American, Chicana/o, Latina/o cultures. 

Admission Requirements and Prerequisites

In addition to the University-wide admission requirements, the minimum requirements for admission to the Doctoral degree program in Culture, Literacy and Language (CLL) are as follows:

  • A master’s degree in an area such as the following: anthropology, applied linguistics, bicultural-bilingual studies, communication, cultural studies, ethnic studies, education (general, bilingual, foreign language, multicultural), history, international studies, linguistics, psychology, sociology, and teaching English as a Second Language. Masters’ degrees in other fields may be accepted, subject to the approval of the Doctoral Studies Committee
  • A portfolio consisting of the following items will be evaluated by the Doctoral Studies Committee, comprised of members selected from the graduate faculty of the Department of Bicultural-Bilingual Studies:
  • A master’s degree transcript documenting a grade point average of 3.5 or better in an approved master’s degree program
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores for exam taken within the last five (5) years
  • Proficiency or experience learning, using, studying or speaking a language other than English
  • For students whose master’s degree is from a non-English-speaking university, submission of a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score of no less than 550 on the Paper-based Test (PBT), 79 on the Internet-based Test (iBT), or 6.5 on IELTS
  • Three letters of recommendation attesting to the student’s academic and personal attributes for success in the program and potential for contributing substantially to a field of study related to the degree
  • Statement of Purpose: A description of research interests, reasons for seeking doctoral study, and connections between the applicant’s interests/professional goals and the program in Culture, Literacy, and Language; please also discuss your proficiency or experience learning, using, studying, or speaking a language other than English. (Limit of five double-spaced pages)
  • Academic writing: A sample of academic writing such as a paper written for a course, a master’s thesis, or a scholarly publication

Career Options Available for Culture, Literacy and Language Ph.D. Graduates

Alumni often pursue work in academia, school districts, research organizations, or non-profits, both in the U.S. and overseas. Please visit our degree's website (above) to learn more about recent graduates of our program.

Research taking place in the Culture, Literacy, and Language Ph.D. program

  • Afro-Mexicanidad, Afro-Latinidad, and transculturación.
  • Anthropology and education.
  • Applied linguistics in multi-ethnic and multicultural settings.
  • Bilingual education, bilingual teacher preparation, dual-language programs. 
  • Bi-literacy, multicultural children's literature.
  • Chicana/o leadership, Chicana feminisms, Chicano/Latino education. 
  • Communities in Diasporas and other transnational settings.
  • Computer-assisted second language acquisition. 
  • Education and language policies and programs for language minority students.
  • Ethnographic and qualitative research methods.
  • Global migration and its impact on cultural change and maintenance. 
  • Heritage language education.
  • Immigration, education, and transnational contexts.
  • International language policy.
  • Language and literacy socialization.
  • Language and literacy problems in the workforce, organizations, communities, and nations.
  • Language maintenance, shift, and loss.
  • Technological change in the development of language and literacy.

Contact Information

Graduate Advisor of Record: Rahnuma Islam
Telephone: (210) 458-6619

Degree Catalog Link:

Degree Website:

Contact the Graduate School: Contact now for more information

Course Scheduling and Offerings

  • Courses are offered in the evenings (6 PM to 8:45 PM) to fit the schedules of both full-time students and working professionals.  We also offer summer courses in the evenings to help students advance in their program.
  • This program is housed on the UTSA Downtown Campus.

Funding Opportunities

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