Language & Literacy Learning in Multilingual Settings, Ph.D. – School of Education & Human Development

Language & Literacy Learning in Multilingual Settings, Ph.D.

Teaching & Learning

Language & Literacy Learning in Multilingual SettingsPh.D.

Teaching and Learning Ph.D.
Specialization in Language and Literacy Learning in Multilingual Settings (LLLMS)

This specialization is designed for students with a strong interest in research and its application to understanding language and literacy-related phenomena that intersect with issues of linguistic and cultural diversity in education. The LLLMS faculty conduct research on a variety of topics including teaching English as a second language (ESL), bilingual education, literacy practices, digital literacies, with a focus on culturally and linguistically diverse student populations.


  • 60 semester hours of study beyond the undergraduate degree plus 12 credits of dissertation research
  • 24 semester hours of study from a master’s degree may be transferred to a Program of Study (pending approval)

Our Students’ Career Objectives

  • Tenure-track faculty, clinical faculty, and literacy teacher educators at different types of institutions (research university, teaching university, and community college)
  • District level administrators for preK-12 literacy programs and school-wide curriculum specialists
  • Administrative positions in educational foundations

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More Info

The following is a summary of coursework. Please reference the Doctoral Student Handbook and Course Bulletin for specific program of study.

Core Language and Literacy Courses (12 credits)

TAL 731: Language and Literacy Policy and Planning (K-12)
Seminar that focuses on analyzing literacy, institutional discourse, practices, and policies in the context of social-political and economic demands.

TAL 733: Applied Linguistics
Study of phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics of language systems and pragmatics of oral and written discourse with a focus on linguistic theories and their application to second language/dialect acquisition.

TAL 734: Theory and Research in Reading
Seminar that focuses on reading, critiquing, and synthesizing the research literature on reading theory and reading instruction to formulate testable hypotheses and explanations.

TTAL 735: Theory and Research in Writing
Seminar that explores the complementary between reading and writing through the reading and analysis of theoretical and research literature on writing theory and writing instruction.

Interdisciplinary Topical Seminars on Language, Literacy, and Learning in Multilingual Settings (9 credits)

Depending on students' career goals and differential needs of the program, previous coursework taken, work experiences, and research interests, a set of on-demand interdisciplinary topical seminars will be offered. The seminars will also be appropriate for students of complimentary disciplines, providing opportunities for students from various programs to collaborate with faculty engaged in work on selected topics.

For example, seminars may focus on topics such as Psychological Perspectives on Bilingualism and Second Language Acquisition, Theories of Second Language Acquisition, Childhood Bilingualism, The Design of Instructional and Measurement Tools, Digital and multimodal literacies, and Intersections between the Acquisition of Language, Literacy, and Neuroscience

Coursework in Diversity (6 credits)

TAL 703: Issues and Trends in Multicultural Education
The study and critical examination of the theory and practice of multicultural education. Development of a personal theory of effective education for pluralism.

In addition to TAL 703, students will take at least two graduate-level courses organized around thematic topics involving diversity in its various manifestations. The courses may be taken from different departments (e.g., psychology, sociology, modern languages, law) or may be part of a master's degree program; nonetheless, they should form a coherent whole. The student and advisor shall determine which courses from across the University of Miami campus can be used to meet this requirement. Topics in diversity that are considered acceptable for thematic study include: (a) poverty and social class, (b) gender, (c) race and ethnicity, (d) exceptionality, (e) culture, (f) urban issues, (g) rural issues, (h) emigration, and (i) international issues.

General Teaching and Learning Requirements (6 credits)

TAL 702: The Social and Cultural Foundations of Education
This course is an interdisciplinary seminar reviewing the major literature in the Social and Cultural Foundation of Education. Classic, Modern and Post-Modern texts will be read with an emphasis on the literature written after 1980 (Post-Modern). Emphasis will be placed on the exploration of key policy questions, as well as the analysis of key sociological concepts related to the field such as hegemony, cultural reproduction, social capital and privilege. The course is intended to provide a "baseline" for understanding the field.

TAL 704: Introduction To Learning Theories/ Learning Sciences
This course explores perspectives and research on domain-specific and domain-general learning in and out of schools. It examines various perspectives researchers use to inform their work and how these perspectives provide insight into what it means to learn and know.

TAL 700: Proseminar
Consists of a series of interactive sessions at which faculty, doctoral students, and guest speakers have the opportunity to discuss current topics in education research. Its purpose is to enhance the culture of scholarship and collegiality within the Department and to provide informal guidance to doctoral students on research and career directions in education. All students are required to take the proseminar, which will be offered once per year, for a total of 3 credits (1 credit per seminar).

Research Methods Competencies (15 credits)

TAL 710: Introduction To Research In Education
This course focuses on diverse philosophies and epistemologies of research and the scientific enterprise, and the various methodologies that arise from these to conduct research in education. Students will develop an understanding of and appreciation for complementary yet unique educational research traditions brought to bear on substantive local, national, and international educational issues to be able to participate meaningfully and critically in multiple discourse communities that employ and/or produce educational research.

Research courses offered by Department of Education and Psychological Studies (EPS). Course Bulletin for course descriptions.

  • EPS 553: Introduction to Statistics
  • EPS 650: Meta-analysis
  • EPS 660: Generalized Linear Model (every other year if this new course is approved)
  • EPS 661: Measurement and Psychometric Theory
  • EPS 662: Item Response Theory
  • EPS 670: Introduction to Research Methods
  • EPS 671: General Linear Modeling
  • EPS 672: Applied Multivariate Statistics (every other year)
  • EPS 673: Introduction to Structural Equation Models
  • EPS 674: An Introduction to Multilevel Modeling (every other year)
  • EPS 675: Qualitative Research Methods I 
  • EPS 676: Qualitative Research Methods II
  • EPS 690: Advanced Topics in RME

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The following factors are considered when selecting doctoral students for admission:

  • At a minimum, completion of a bachelor’s degree with an outstanding record from an accredited institution.
  • Acceptable and recent (within 5 years) Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores. The target minimum is a score of 1100 combined on verbal and quantitative (or 302 on new GRE scoring system) and at least a 4.0 on writing.
  • International applicants whose native language is not English must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and the Graduate Record Examination. TOEFL scores are valid for two years after test date.
  • Professional experience relevant to degree program.
  • Undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.0 (4.0 scale).
  • Graduate grade point average of at least 3.5 (4.0 scale).
  • Three letters of recommendation. At least two of the three letters of recommendation should include specific evaluation of the candidate’s potential to engage in scholarly research required for this program.
  • The written statement of intent (in the UM online application) should describe how the candidate’s specific interests and obtaining a Ph.D. in this area of study fits into his/her career goals.
  • Available student space in the program and someone willing to advise the student. Applicants are encouraged to contact faculty in the Language and Literacy Learning area to inquire about the match between the applicant’s interests and the faculty’s areas of scholarly research.
  • A personal or phone interview may be required. Applicants will be notified as appropriate.
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Does this program prepare students to be research professors?
Yes, this program is designed to prepare candidates to do research in a variety of educational contexts, such as schools. However, our program graduates have taken different kinds of positions that are not research-focused.
When is the application due?
The deadline to submit applications for fall admissions is June 30. However, review of applications will begin in January. Applicants are therefore advised to submit their applications as early as possible.
Where can I find information about assistantships?
This information can be found here.
What are the GPA and GRE scores required to be accepted?
- Acceptable and recent (within 5 years) Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores. The target minimum is a score of 1100 combined on verbal and quantitative (or 302 on new GRE scoring system) and at least a 4.0 on writing
- Undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.0 (4.0 scale) and graduate grade point average of at least 3.5 (4.0 scale)
I’m an international student. Do I need to submit TOEFL scores?
If you are an international student who completed a graduate program in an English-speaking country (e.g. United States, Canada, Australia), you do not need to submit TOEFL scores. If you are new to a graduate program in the U.S., then you need to submit TOEFL scores. The minimum TOEFL score is …
How many hours are required to earn a Ph.D.?
The program requires 60 semester hours of study beyond the undergraduate degree.
Do I need to have earned a Master’s degree prior to entering the program?
A Master’s degree is not required for admission.
How many graduate level semester hours can I transfer from my Master’s degree?
With approval of the Program of Study Committee, a student may transfer a maximum of 24 graduate level semester hours to a Program of Study.
What is a Program of Study and when should it be submitted?
- A Program of Study for the Ph.D. degree in the Department of Teaching and Learning are individualized based on the student’s career goals, previous academic and professional background, and faculty recommendations.
- Students are required to file a Program of Study and a Course Sequence Plan prior to the end of the second semester of study, which are developed in collaboration with a faculty advisor and a supervisory committee.
Do I have to be a full-time student?
All students entering the Ph.D. program are intended to be full-time students.
How do I choose which courses to take?
Courses in the major field of study are selected in consultation with a faculty advisory committee.
Can I take courses in other program areas as part of my doctoral degree?
Yes, this is negotiated with your advisor and supervisory committee. Students create a plan of study that includes program requirements and students’ interests.
How long does it usually take to complete the program?
The time to complete the doctoral program for full-time students may range from 3 to 5 years, with most finish in 4 years. It is almost always much longer for part-time doctoral students.
What are admission decisions based on?
We base our admissions decisions on an applicant’s total application folio; so please be sure to submit everything in a timely manner. We suggest the following:
- Your letters of recommendation should speak directly to your academic potential as a student in a demanding doctoral program who will be expected, over time, to assume increased responsibility for independent learning.
- Your statement of purpose should address how your career aspirations match our goals for program graduates.
- If you have any extraordinary accomplishments that we should know about, please submit them with your applications materials.
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Program Director

Dr. Batya Elbaum

Acting Chair and Professor,
Department of Teaching and Learning

305 284 4218

Room: Max Orovitz Building, 308A