Doctor of Philosophy in Language and Literacy Education (PhD)

Overview

Doctoral students focus on critical and contemporary issues at the intersections of language and literacy learning and cultural and societal transformation. Students in our programs are teachers and other professional educators who engage in courses, conversations and research addressing a broad range of issues and contexts – in and out of schools, nationally and internationally, and across the lifespan.

Students will gain expertise in topics such as identity and language/literacy, cultural literacy and language practices, interculturality, Indigenous languages and literacies, family and community literacy practices, literature and new media, digital cultures, poetry, literacy in global contexts, literacy development across the lifespan, educational linguistics, discourse and multimodal analysis, critical perspectives on literature and cultural texts for children and youth, EAL (English as an additional language) literacy, assessment, teacher education. drama and theatre education, creative/arts-based approaches to literacy learning, and communication ecologies/studies. Students with a specific interest in language education will engage with topics in applied linguistics and critical applied linguistics, second/additional language theory and practice, bi-/multilingual pedagogies, second language acquisition and reading/writing/vocabulary learning, language socialization, technology integration in language education language policy and planning, assessment of second language learning as well as related research methods.

What makes the program unique?

Literacy studies [MEK1] [WM2] have expanded dramatically in recent years and our internationally known Faculty draw on many disciplines, knowledge systems and worldviews that inform the study of language and literacy education, including Indigenous, cognitive, linguistic, anthropological, cultural, literary, critical and post-structural perspectives and drawing on First Peoples Principles of Learning, sociolinguistics, linguistic anthropology, social psychology, cultural studies, and other related fields. In our courses we invite students to reflect critically on contemporary language and literacy practices in and out of schools, spanning Indigenous, local, national and global contexts.

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Program Enquiries

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Admission Information & Requirements

1) Check Eligibility

Minimum Academic Requirements

The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies establishes the minimum admission requirements common to all applicants, usually a minimum overall average in the B+ range (76% at UBC). The graduate program that you are applying to may have additional requirements. Please review the specific requirements for applicants with credentials from institutions in:

Each program may set higher academic minimum requirements. Please review the program website carefully to understand the program requirements. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission as it is a competitive process.

English Language Test

Applicants from a university outside Canada in which English is not the primary language of instruction must provide results of an English language proficiency examination as part of their application. Tests must have been taken within the last 24 months at the time of submission of your application.

Minimum requirements for the two most common English language proficiency tests to apply to this program are listed below:

TOEFL: Test of English as a Foreign Language - internet-based

Overall score requirement: 92

Reading

22

Writing

22

Speaking

22

Listening

22

IELTS: International English Language Testing System

Overall score requirement: 7.0

Reading

6.5

Writing

6.5

Speaking

6.5

Listening

6.5

Other Test Scores

Some programs require additional test scores such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Test (GMAT). The requirements for this program are:

The GRE is not required.

Prior degree, course and other requirements

Prior Degree Requirements

Master’s degree with high standing in a relevant educational discipline

Document Requirements

- Master’s degree with high standing in a relevant educational discipline,

- Sample of work demonstrating an ability to undertake research and scholarly writing (max. 30 pages),

- CV or resume outlining work experience and academic history.

- Well-written 500 word (maximum) Statement of Intent to describe your proposed doctoral research.  Be sure to indicate how your previous education, professional experience, and research have prepared you to undertake your proposed research, and note which people in the department have expertise in your intended area of study.

- The support of three referees including an assessment by at least two university instructors, preferably one of whom is the supervisor of the masters thesis.

- Scanned copies all official transcripts (including a key to transcript grades and symbols) and degree certificates from all post-secondary institutions attended outside UB

Other Requirements

Awards; fellowships; scholarships; and distinctions.

Relevant professional and academic experience including conference presentations, professional workshops, and publications.

At least two years of successful teaching experience or equivalent.

 

Applicants who received a degree from a North American university are not required to submit their English test scores. Similarly, applicants who completed their degree outside North America from an institution in which English was the primary language of instruction of the entire university (not just a program) are not required to provide English test scores as part of their application.

Please note that we can only accept your English test scores if the test has been taken within the last 24 months at the time of submission of the application. An official test score report ordered from the testing agency has to be sent to UBC. Acceptable English language proficiency tests for applicants to UBC Grad School are:

TOEFL – Test of English as a Foreign Language, minimum score 580 (paper-based) or 237 (computer based), or new minimum TOEFL score of 92 (with a minimum of 22 for each component).

or

MELAB – Michigan English Language Assessment Battery. Minimum overall score 85.

or

IELTS – International English Language Testing System – Academic. Minimum overall band score 7, with no component less than 6.5.

 

2) Meet Deadlines

September 2023 Intake

Application Open Date
02 August 2022
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 01 December 2022
Transcript Deadline: 06 December 2022
Referee Deadline: 15 December 2022
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 01 December 2022
Transcript Deadline: 06 December 2022
Referee Deadline: 15 December 2022

3) Prepare Application

Transcripts

All applicants have to submit transcripts from all past post-secondary study. Document submission requirements depend on whether your institution of study is within Canada or outside of Canada.

Letters of Reference

A minimum of three references are required for application to graduate programs at UBC. References should be requested from individuals who are prepared to provide a report on your academic ability and qualifications.

Statement of Interest

Many programs require a statement of interest, sometimes called a "statement of intent", "description of research interests" or something similar.

Supervision

Students in research-based programs usually require a faculty member to function as their supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.

Instructions regarding supervisor contact for Doctor of Philosophy in Language and Literacy Education (PhD)
Applicants should browse faculty profiles and indicate in their application who they are interested in working with. However, it is not necessary for applicants to contact faculty members prior to their application.

There is no need to find a supervisor prior to applying for the program. If you are successful in the application process, you will be assigned a pro-tem supervisor whose research is closest to your area of interest. However, if you are interested in working with a particular faculty member, you can indicate it in your statement of interest or in the application form.

Citizenship Verification

Permanent Residents of Canada must provide a clear photocopy of both sides of the Permanent Resident card.

4) Apply Online

All applicants must complete an online application form and pay the application fee to be considered for admission to UBC.

Research Information

Research Highlights

The Department takes a critical and social justice approach to theory and research. Faculty members in the Literacy program have expertise in the following areas:

Indigenous languages and literacies

Literature and cultural texts for children and youth

Drama and theatre education in schools and communities

Literary and literacy practices in families, schools, and communities

Digital cultures, multimodality, and communication ecologies/studies

Research Focus

Students in our program engage with critical societal issues that impact topics such as equity and inclusion, immigration and globalization, gender, youth culture, relationships among communities and educational institutions, and public policy. The Department takes a critical and social justice approach to theory and research. Faculty members in the Literacy program have expertise in the following areas:

Indigenous languages and literacies

Literature and cultural texts for children and youth

Drama and theatre education in schools and communities

Literary and literacy practices in families, schools, and communities

Digital cultures, multimodality, and communication ecologies/studies

Program Components

The program consists of 18 to 24 credits of course work (including the LLED 601 and 602 Doctoral Seminars), comprehensive exam followed by an oral examination, a dissertation proposal, and a doctoral dissertation.

Geographic Restrictions

The program accepts well-qualified students from around the globe into a richly international and multicultural academic community.

Tuition & Financial Support

Tuition

FeesCanadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / DiplomatInternational
Application Fee$112.00$168.25
Tuition *
Installments per year33
Tuition per installment$1,767.18$3,104.64
Tuition per year
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
$5,301.54$9,313.92
Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible) $3,200.00 (-)
Other Fees and Costs
Student Fees (yearly)$1,057.05 (approx.)
Costs of living (yearly)starting at $17,366.20 (check cost calculator)
* Regular, full-time tuition. For on-leave, extension, continuing or part time (if applicable) fees see UBC Calendar.
All fees for the year are subject to adjustment and UBC reserves the right to change any fees without notice at any time, including tuition and student fees. Tuition fees are reviewed annually by the UBC Board of Governors. In recent years, tuition increases have been 2% for continuing domestic students and between 2% and 5% for continuing international students. New students may see higher increases in tuition. Admitted students who defer their admission are subject to the potentially higher tuition fees for incoming students effective at the later program start date. In case of a discrepancy between this webpage and the UBC Calendar, the UBC Calendar entry will be held to be correct.

Financial Support

Applicants to UBC have access to a variety of funding options, including merit-based (i.e. based on your academic performance) and need-based (i.e. based on your financial situation) opportunities.

Program Funding Packages

All full-time students who begin a UBC-Vancouver PhD program in September 2021 or later will be provided with a funding package of $22,000 for each of the first four years of their PhD. The funding package may consist of any combination of internal or external awards, teaching-related work, research assistantships, and graduate academic assistantships.

Average Funding
Based on the criteria outlined below, 19 students within this program were included in this study because they received funding through UBC in the form of teaching, research/academic assistantships or internal or external awards averaging $35,057.
  • 6 students received Teaching Assistantships. Average TA funding based on 6 students was $3,528.
  • 12 students received Research/Academic Assistantships. Average RA/AA funding based on 12 students was $11,003.
  • 18 students received internal awards. Average internal award funding based on 18 students was $23,308.
  • 3 students received external awards. Average external award funding based on 3 students was $31,111.

Study Period: Sep 2020 to Aug 2021 - average funding for full-time PhD students enrolled in three terms per academic year in this program across years 1-4, the period covered by UBC's Minimum Funding Guarantee. Averages might mask variability in sources and amounts of funding received by individual students. Beyond year 4, funding packages become even more individualized.
Review methodology
Scholarships & awards (merit-based funding)

All applicants are encouraged to review the awards listing to identify potential opportunities to fund their graduate education. The database lists merit-based scholarships and awards and allows for filtering by various criteria, such as domestic vs. international or degree level.

Teaching Assistantships (GTA)

Graduate programs may have Teaching Assistantships available for registered full-time graduate students. Full teaching assistantships involve 12 hours work per week in preparation, lecturing, or laboratory instruction although many graduate programs offer partial TA appointments at less than 12 hours per week. Teaching assistantship rates are set by collective bargaining between the University and the Teaching Assistants' Union.

Research Assistantships (GRA)

Many professors are able to provide Research Assistantships (GRA) from their research grants to support full-time graduate students studying under their direction. The duties usually constitute part of the student's graduate degree requirements. A Graduate Research Assistantship is a form of financial support for a period of graduate study and is, therefore, not covered by a collective agreement. Unlike other forms of fellowship support for graduate students, the amount of a GRA is neither fixed nor subject to a university-wide formula. The stipend amounts vary widely, and are dependent on the field of study and the type of research grant from which the assistantship is being funded. Some research projects also require targeted research assistance and thus hire graduate students on an hourly basis.

Financial aid (need-based funding)

Canadian and US applicants may qualify for governmental loans to finance their studies. Please review eligibility and types of loans.

All students may be able to access private sector or bank loans.

Foreign government scholarships

Many foreign governments provide support to their citizens in pursuing education abroad. International applicants should check the various governmental resources in their home country, such as the Department of Education, for available scholarships.

Working while studying

The possibility to pursue work to supplement income may depend on the demands the program has on students. It should be carefully weighed if work leads to prolonged program durations or whether work placements can be meaningfully embedded into a program.

International students enrolled as full-time students with a valid study permit can work on campus for unlimited hours and work off-campus for no more than 20 hours a week.

A good starting point to explore student jobs is the UBC Work Learn program or a Co-Op placement.

Tax credits and RRSP withdrawals

Students with taxable income in Canada may be able to claim federal or provincial tax credits.

Canadian residents with RRSP accounts may be able to use the Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP) which allows students to withdraw amounts from their registered retirement savings plan (RRSPs) to finance full-time training or education for themselves or their partner.

Please review Filing taxes in Canada on the student services website for more information.

Cost Calculator

Applicants have access to the cost calculator to develop a financial plan that takes into account various income sources and expenses.

Career Outcomes

14 students graduated between 2005 and 2013: 1 is in a non-salaried situation; for 0 we have no data (based on research conducted between Feb-May 2016). For the remaining 13 graduates:


RI (Research-Intensive) Faculty: typically tenure-track faculty positions (equivalent of the North American Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor positions) in PhD-granting institutions
TI (Teaching-Intensive) Faculty: typically full-time faculty positions in colleges or in institutions not granting PhDs, and teaching faculty at PhD-granting institutions
Term Faculty: faculty in term appointments (e.g. sessional lecturers, visiting assistant professors, etc.)
Sample Employers in Higher Education
Brock University
Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology
University of Victoria
Shippensburg University
Pusan National University
University of Glasgow
University of British Columbia
Sample Employers Outside Higher Education
BC School District (2)
Parissa
Sample Job Titles Outside Higher Education
Theatre Teacher
Writer / Editor
District Principal of Inclusive Education
Creative Mentor
Director
PhD Career Outcome Survey
You may view the full report on career outcomes of UBC PhD graduates on outcomes.grad.ubc.ca.
Disclaimer
These data represent historical employment information and do not guarantee future employment prospects for graduates of this program. They are for informational purposes only. Data were collected through either alumni surveys or internet research.
Career Options

Our programs in Language and Literacy Education engage teachers and other professional educators in the study of rich language and literacy practices from early childhood through adolescence and adulthood. Our focus is on the many rich, multiethnic and multilingual contexts of language and literacy learning in our schools and communities.

Enrolment, Duration & Other Stats

These statistics show data for the Doctor of Philosophy in Language and Literacy Education (PhD). Data are separated for each degree program combination. You may view data for other degree options in the respective program profile.

Enrolment Data

 20212020201920182017
Applications6542333019
Offers65874
New registrations65863
Total enrolment4144454144

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 78% based on 23 students admitted between 2008 - 2011. Based on 23 graduations between 2017 - 2020 the minimum time to completion is 4.00 years and the maximum time is 8.33 years with an average of 6.13 years of study. All calculations exclude leave times.
Disclaimer
Admissions data refer to all UBC Vancouver applications, offers, new registrants for each year, May to April [data updated: 7 April 2022]. Enrolment data are based on March 1 snapshots. Program completion data are only provided for datasets comprised of more than 4 individuals. Rates and times of completion depend on a number of variables (e.g. curriculum requirements, student funding), some of which may have changed in recent years for some programs [data updated: 19 October 2021].

Research Supervisors

This list shows faculty members with full supervisory privileges who are affiliated with this program. It is not a comprehensive list of all potential supervisors as faculty from other programs or faculty members without full supervisory privileges can request approvals to supervise graduate students in this program.

  • Ahmed, Anwar (Languages and literature)
  • Belliveau, George (Theatre; Arts-based research; Drama Education; Research-based Theatre; Interdisciplinary Arts)
  • Bryson, Mary (technology, media, cultural studies, gender, queer theory, deviance studies, post-colonial pedagogies, Sociology, Women's Studies, Education, media and gender, media and education)
  • Corella Morales, Meghan (Other languages and literature; Academic Discourse; Children and youth; Discourse Analysis; Language ideology; Sociolinguistics)
  • Darvin, Ron (development of diverse digital practices for learners of unequal resources)
  • Dobson, Teresa (Media and communications; Literary Education; Digital Literacy; Digital Humanities; Text Visualization)
  • Galla, Candace (what types of technology initiatives (low-, mid-, or high) Indigenous language communities are using to revitalize, maintain, and promote their language)
  • Gladwin, Derek (Other languages and literature; Cultural Studies; Digital & Media Literacy; Environmental & Energy Literacy; Environmental Humanities; Food Literacy; Literary Education; Sustainability Education; Writing & Rhetoric)
  • Gunderson, Lee Paul (Humanities and the arts; reading-research; immigrant-achievement)
  • Hare, Jan (Aboriginal youth mobility, Aboriginal family and community perspectives on early literacy, literature, identity construction and urban Aboriginal youth, Cultural studies, early childhood, first nations education)
  • Henry, Annette (race, language, culture in education; equity and diversity, Cross-cultural education, feminist studies, gender, international perspectives, multiculturalism, policy studies)
  • Jenson, Jennifer (Other languages and literature; Digital Cultures and Education; Digital Games; Game-based Learning; Gender; Online Learning; technology; Technology Implementation and integration)
  • Kendrick, Maureen (literacy, digital literacy, Children and youth, ESL, international perspectives)
  • Li, Guofang (longitudinal studies of immigrant children)
  • Rogers, Theresa (Children's literatures; Other languages and literature; Children's and Adolescent Literature; Digital Literacies; Education; Educational Approaches; Literacy; Youth Studies)

Doctoral Citations

A doctoral citation summarizes the nature of the independent research, provides a high-level overview of the study, states the significance of the work and says who will benefit from the findings in clear, non-specialized language, so that members of a lay audience will understand it.
Year Citation
2022 Could we use children's various home languages for their school learning? Collaborating with Grade 2-3 children categorized as English learners, and a teacher, Dr. Rajagopal designed practices to include their languages, stories, drawing and photography. Her work highlights systemic inequities and advocates for relational and antiracist pedagogies.
2022 Dr. Hare's arts-based research examined how educators draw on what they are feeling in their bodies to navigate teaching sexual health education. The findings showed how sex educators balance ever-shifting knowledge, realities, and priorities in uneasy but stable ways. The study offered valuable insights for improving pedagogy and practices.
2022 Dr. Ruest's mixed methods study examined the Canadian interprovincial student exchange's impact on adolescents' intercultural development. His research indicates the exchange contributed to participants' intercultural growth, highlights the key role of relationships and offers important suggestions for improving the benefits of exchanges.
2022 Dr. Moanakwena studied the language and literacy skills hairdressers used in a Botswana salon. Contrary to policy notion that English is used in vocational education and work, hairdressers engaged a mixed English and Setswana code in the salon and the training college illuminating the need for training to incorporate workplace linguistic realities.
2021 Dr. McKeon, as a settler person, inquired into her changing spiritual, emotional, physical and mental relationships with land, colonialism and ancestral knowledges. Through story and poetry, this creative and critical work posits that by taking responsibility for our ways of perceiving the world, we can dialogue productively and bring about change.
2021 Dr. Amber Moore's feminist research examined secondary English teacher candidates' responses to teaching and learning about sexual assault narratives. She found that many future educators were committed to combatting rape culture in the literature classroom, which demonstrates the significance of attending to issues of trauma in literacy learning.
2021 Dr. Doherty examined how four long-term adult learners of Chinese were socialized throughout their language journeys into practices and identities that later informed their roles as online language mentors. This study highlighted the rich and complex resources that these experienced learners created for their peers in a digital environment.
2021 Dr. Vincent explored poetic inquiry and discovered its distinctive functions as method, methodology and tool in research and scholarship. He found that poetic inquiry is rhizomatic, appearing across the disciplines, and that it merges the sensibilities of a poet (with literary concerns) with those of a researcher (with epistemological concerns).
2021 Dr. Becker examined how two Chilean-Canadian heritage language learners were socialized to remember their difficult cultural heritage at home and at their Spanish bilingual elementary school. This study sheds light on the sophisticated navigation of uneven cultural terrain by children in heritage language education contexts generations after exile.
2021 Using Poetic Inquiry and Life Writing, Dr. Nish examined how personal stories expand our understanding of Mild Traumatic Brian Injury and the profound effects of this invisible injury on an individual and those in relationship to them. Through this process she demonstrated how critical a person's identity was for recovery and finding resiliency.

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Further Information

Language and Literacy Education focuses on critical and contemporary issues at the intersections of literacy learning and cultural and societal transformation. It covers topics such as identity and literacy, cultural literacy practices, Indigenous literacies, family literacy, literature and new media, digital literacies, poetry, literacy in developing contexts, literacy development across the lifespan, educational linguistics, discourse and multimodal analysis, critical perspectives on children’s and young adult literature, EAL (English as an additional language) literacy, assessment, teacher education and creative/arts-based approaches to literacy learning.

Students engage with critical societal issues that impact these topics, such as equity and inclusion, immigration and globalization, gender, youth culture, relationships among communities and educational institutions, and public policy.

Faculty Overview

Program Identifier

VGDPHD-O5
 

Apply Now

If you don't have a UBC Campus-Wide Login (CWL) please create an account first.
 

September 2023 Intake

Application Open Date
02 August 2022
Canadian Applicant Deadline
01 December 2022
International Applicant Deadline
01 December 2022
 
Supervisor Search
 

Departments/Programs may update graduate degree program details through the Faculty & Staff portal. To update the application inquiries contact details please use this form.

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