EdD in Developmental Studies—Literacy & Language Education

The doctoral program in Literacy & Language Education offers candidates the opportunity to develop specialized knowledge of literacy and language education while achieving an understanding of related disciplines. Doctoral students may specialize by discipline or domain (cognitive, literacy, linguistics), and they may focus their study by population (age, grade, or stage of development), or by educational setting (urban, preschool, elementary, middle, or secondary school; college/university; workplace; community; clinic).

Most of the students who enroll in the Literacy & Language Education specialization at the doctoral level are interested in teaching, research, and policy-making in public or private institutions of higher education or in leadership positions in Pre-K–12 education and policy settings. Those who enter the program are diverse in background experience: some are licensed educators with experience in public school settings; others hold graduate degrees in fields other than education and have had experiences in various educational settings, including private or community education settings or organizations such as Peace Corps and Teach for America. Many are international students whose experiences are in public or private school settings in their own countries.

Students who choose the specialization in Literacy & Language Education are also diverse in their primary area of interest, and in addition to those whose interest is literacy, the population of students also includes those with interests in TESOL, Bilingual Education, and Deaf Studies.

A program of 60 credits must be completed, and these include six courses from one of the two core areas (Literacy or Language Education), four courses in research, and one of the school-wide courses in the intellectual history of education. The remaining credits will be earned through guided inquiry (independent study, dissertation advisement, and research apprenticeship) or electives. In addition, each doctoral student is required to complete successfully three qualifying tasks that are designed to give students experiences that will be critical to future academic and professional activities (e.g., publishable literature review and research report, fundable grant application). Finally, each doctoral student proposes, conducts, reports, and defends an original research study (the dissertation).

During the period of doctoral study, students must spend at least two consecutive semesters in full-time study (enrolled in a minimum of 12 credits during each of the two semesters); the remaining time of study can be completed on a part-time basis.

SED Core Coursework (4 credits)

Students select one course in Intellectual History from the following list.

  • SED ED 700 Intellectual History of Education I (4 cr)
  • SED ED 701 Intellectual History of Education II (4 cr)
  • SED ED 702 Intellectual History of Education: Development over the Life Span (4 cr)
  • SED ED 703 Intellectual History of Education: Plato, Rousseau, James, and Huxley (4 cr)
  • SED ED 704 Intellectual Foundations of Education (4 cr)

Program Coursework (24 credits)

Students complete six courses in the field of study and related disciplines. The course sequence is chosen in consultation with an academic advisor.

Literacy Education Specialization

5 literacy courses from the following:

  • SED BI 621 Bilingualism and Biliteracy (4 cr)
  • SED LS 690 Contexts for Literacy: Oral & Written Discourse (4 cr)
  • SED LS 725 Discourse, Narrative, and Literacy (4 cr)
  • SED LS 727 Topical Seminar in Literacy and Language (4 cr)
  • SED LS 790 Seminar in Classroom Literacy Assessment (4 cr)
  • SED LS 792 Reading and Writing in the Content Areas (4 cr)
  • SED LR 780 Processes of Reading (4 cr)
  • SED LW 781 Processes of Writing (4 cr)
  • SED LR 782 History of Reading Research (4 cr)
  • SED LS 902 Seminar in Early Literacy (4 cr)

1 language course from the following or an elective alternative:

  • SED LS 566 Language Acquisition (4 cr)
  • SED LS 658 Second Language Acquisition (4 cr)
  • SED LS 726 Discourse Analysis: Theoretical and Methodological Approaches (4 cr)
  • SED LS 750 Cognitive Development and Language (4 cr)

Language Education Specialization (substitutions are permitted with the approval of an advisor)

Prerequisite: You must have taken one of the following courses or its equivalent. This course does not count toward degree requirements.

  • SED LS 565 Introduction to Language and Linguistics (4 cr)
  • CAS LX 250 Foundations of Language (4 cr)

One course selected from the following:

  • CAS LX 502 Semantics (4 cr)
  • CAS LX 521 Morphology (4 cr)
  • CAS LX 522 Syntax I (4 cr)

One course selected from the following:

  • CAS LX 510 Phonetics (4 cr)
  • CAS LX 513 Phonology (4 cr)

Two courses selected from the following:

  • SED BI 621 Bilingualism and Biliteracy (4 cr)
  • SED LS 566 Language Acquisition (4 cr)
  • SED LS 658 Second Language Acquisition (4 cr)
  • SED LS 726 Discourse Analysis: Theoretical and Methodological Approaches (4 cr)
  • SED LS 750 Cognitive Development and Language (4 cr)
  • SED SAR CD 708 Language Theories, Acquisition, and Analysis (4 cr)
  • SED SAR CD 735 Child Language Disorders (4 cr)

One literacy course selected from the following or an elective alternative:

  • SED LS 690 Contexts for Literacy: Oral and Written Discourse (4 cr)
  • SED BI 620 Educational Issues in Bilingualism (4 cr)
  • SED LS 626 Intercultural Education: Theoretical and Methodological Approaches (4 cr)
  • SED EN 518 Linguistic Problems in TESOL (4 cr)
  • SED LS 725 Discourse, Narrative, and Literacy (4 cr)
  • SED LS 790 Seminar in Classroom Literacy Assessment (4 cr)
  • SED LR 780 Processes of Reading (4 cr)
  • SED LW 781 Processes of Writing (4 cr)
  • SED TL 835 Seminar in TESOL (4 cr)
  • SED LR 782 History of Reading Research (4 cr)
  • SED LS 792 Reading and Writing in the Content Areas (4 cr)
  • SED LS 902 Seminar in Early Literacy (4 cr)

One elective course from the following:

  • SED BI 620 Educational Issues in Bilingualism (4 cr)
  • SED LS 626 Intercultural Education: Theoretical and Methodological Approaches (4 cr)
  • SED TL 835 Seminar in TESOL (4 cr)
  • SED EN 518 Linguistic Problems in TESOL (4 cr)

Guided Inquiry Coursework (12 credits)

Guided inquiry courses are taken with a faculty member who is well suited to support students in completing the comprehensive tasks and dissertation proposal and research. Students are required to complete a minimum of 12 credits of guided inquiry from the courses listed below. Each course may be taken more than once.

  • SED LC 900 Independent Study (generally taken while preparing the comprehensive tasks or the dissertation proposal) (4 cr)
  • SED LC 999 Dissertation Advisement (generally taken while writing the proposal and the dissertation) (4 cr)

Research Coursework (16 credits)

Prerequisite Course

  • SED RS 600 Introduction to Research (or equivalent) (4 cr)

Research Core (4 courses)

Required Sequence
  • SED RS 652 Qualitative Research Methods (or equivalent) (4 cr)
  • SED RS 653 Quantitative Research Methods (or equivalent) (4 cr)
    (RS 652 and RS 653 may be taken in either order.)
  • SED RS 654 Foundations of Educational Inquiry and Proposal Development (4 cr)
  • SED RS 750 Advanced Research Seminar (4 cr)

Additional Research Courses

(may be selected in lieu of required courses or as elective courses selected in consultation with the advisor)

  • SED RS 751 Program Evaluation (4 cr)
  • SED RS 752 Seminar in Qualitative Research (4 cr)
  • CAS MA 684 Applied Multiple Regression and Multivariate Methods (4 cr)
  • CAS MA 685 Advanced Topics in Applied Statistical Analysis (4 cr)
  • COM CM 724 Sampling Design and Measurement Techniques (4 cr)
  • GRS PO 841 Quantitative Research (4 cr)

Residency Requirement

Every doctoral candidate must spend a minimum of two consecutive semesters in residence at Boston University. Residence is defined as registration for a minimum of 12 credit hours at the University during each of two consecutive semesters. Summer terms may be considered one semester.

Comprehensive Examination

The format of the comprehensive examination varies by program of study. Students should consult with their advisor about the form of the exam, which must be completed successfully before proceeding to the dissertation.

Research Dissertation

Each candidate must demonstrate the ability to design and implement an original study that makes a significant contribution in his or her field and to report this study successfully in a doctoral dissertation.