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 program 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 program in Literacy & Language Education are also diverse in their primary area of interest; the program includes those with primary interests in Literacy, TESOL, Bilingual Education, Modern Foreign Language, and Deaf Studies.

Program of Study

A program of 60 credits must be completed, and these include six courses from a combination of the two core areas (Literacy or Language Education) and four courses in research. 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.

Coursework

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 (28 credits)

A minimum of six literacy courses from the following:

  • SED BI 621 Bilingualism and Biliteracy (4 cr)
  • SED LS 690 Classroom Discourse as a Teaching and Learning Tool in Diverse Classrooms (4 cr)
  • SED LS 725 Discourse, Narrative, and Literacy (4 cr)
  • SED LS 727 Topical Seminar in Literacy and Language (variable cr)
  • SED LS 790 Literacy Assessment to Inform Instruction (4 cr)
  • SED LS 792 Teaching Adolescent Readers and Writers (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)

A minimum of one 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 (28 credits)

Prerequisite: Students 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)

A minimum of 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)

A minimum of one course selected from the following:

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

A minimum of 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)

A minimum of one literacy course selected from the following or an elective alternative:

  • SED LS 690 Classroom Discourse as a Teaching and Learning Tool in Diverse Classrooms (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 Literacy Assessment to Inform Instruction (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 Teaching Adolescent Readers and Writers (4 cr)
  • SED LS 902 Seminar in Early Literacy (4 cr)

A minimum of 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)

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 Educational Inquiry and Proposal Writing (4 cr)
  • SED RS 750 Advanced Research Seminar (4 cr)

Elective Research Courses

In consultation with a major advisor, in addition to or in lieu of required courses, students may select one or more courses from the following offerings.

  • 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)

Guided Inquiry (16 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 16 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)

Residency Requirement

Every doctoral candidate must complete 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. Two consecutive Summer Terms are considered as one semester.

Comprehensive Examinations

Each doctoral candidate is required to successfully complete three comprehensive examinations: one paper reporting a comprehensive, critical literature review; one paper reporting original research; and one of three other tasks (book review, grant proposal, or course design) chosen in consultation with the advisor. These tasks are designed to give students experience that will be critical to their future professional endeavors. The first two (literature review and research paper) serve as qualifying tasks and must be completed before the student is eligible to propose a dissertation study. Some or all of these tasks are likely to have their origins in coursework that the student undertakes in the first year or two of doctoral work.

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.