Ph.D. Program in Culture, Literacy, and Language


Welcome to the Ph.D. Program in Culture, Literacy, and Language at The University of Texas at San Antonio! Please review our site to learn more about our program, faculty, current students, and alumni. Thank you for visiting, and remember, we are only one click away. Should you have any questions, please contact us.


About the Program

The Ph.D. program in Culture, Literacy, and Language (CLL) was established in 2001 and is housed in the Department of Bicultural-Bilingual Studies in the College of Education and Human Development. CLL 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 applied linguistics biliteracy or bilingual education. Faculty and students work in a vibrant interdisciplinary atmosphere with applied linguists, anthropologists, educational researchers, psychologists, and sociologists on topics related to language and literacy socialization, the empowerment of marginalized communities, educational language policy and planning, language and identity, bilingual teacher 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.

The cross-disciplinary work within our academic community is somewhat limitless. We, therefore, provide the following list of topics as a helpful guide:

  • The social, linguistic, and cultural factors affecting language and literacy development
  • Language development in a bilingual and multicultural context and its consequences for literacy 
  • The consequences of cultural and linguistic contact for literacy 
  • Factors affecting academic language proficiency, language policies needed to promote the improvement of preparing teachers for linguistically and culturally diverse schools, and policies needed to address the systemic severe shortage of such teachers 
  • The creation of educational environments that minimize the alienation of traditionally marginalized groups and enhance language and literacy development
  • Ethnographic and qualitative research methods, including discourse and narrative analysis 
  • The relationship of attitudinal factors to the development of language in support of the development of proficiency in language and literacy
  • The impact of technological change on the development of language and literacy
  • The shifting context of global migration and its impact on cultural change and maintenance 
  • Language and literacy problems in the workforce, organizations, communities, and nations 
  • Immigrant student adaptation and ways to bridge family-school relationships
  • Afro-Mexicanidad and transculturation 
  • Community political empowerment and its relationship to schooling and cultural production
  • Cultural, literacy, and language practices among communities in diaspora and other transnational settings 
  • The design and implementation of effective literacy programs for adult learners
  • CLL graduates will be well-grounded in the theoretical, conceptual, and research methodology used to study many of the above-mentioned issues. Alumni often pursue work in academia, school districts, research organizations, or non-profits, both in the U.S. and overseas.

The Ph.D. in CLL is a full-time doctoral program, with the expectation that students will complete 18 semester hours annually, work toward completing Qualifying Exams during their third year, and complete their dissertation within 6 years. Both full-time students and working professionals are encouraged to consider the Ph.D. in CLL.

In order to accommodate working professionals who wish to pursue full-time work, the CLL program offers coursework in the evenings, on weekends, and during the summer. Unfortunately, working professionals are not eligible for fellowship funds because their full-time jobs prohibit them from working on the UTSA campus under an assistantship.

CLL Program Worksheet

How to Apply:
The following guideline should help you in submitting your application to the Ph.D. program in Culture, Literacy, and Language.

Steps in Application Process
1. Complete an online application form at
2. Submit the following application materials to:

The University of Texas at San Antonio
Attention: The Graduate School
One UTSA Circle
San Antonio, TX 78249-0603
  • GRE scores (no older than five years). Use UTSA's University Code: 6919. No departmental code is required. 
  • International students whose master's degree is from a university outside the US must have TOEFL scores of 550 if the test is paper-based or 79 or higher if internet-based. Use UTSA's University Code: 6919. No departmental code is required.
  • Proficiency or experience learning, using, studying, or speaking a language other than English.
  • A master's degree official transcript, documenting a grade point average of 3.5 or higher.
  • Official transcripts from every institution of higher education ever attended, foreign and domestic, including community colleges and colleges and universities where degrees were not granted. 
  • A statement of purpose that describes 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 the statement to five double-spaced pages).
  • A resume or curriculum vitae.
  • A sample of academic writing in the form of papers or a thesis written as part of master's degree requirements.
  • 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.
For more details on requirements, please visit the Graduate School website.

The deadline for submitting all application materials is the proceeding February 1st.

Preference will be given to those with 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. Master's degrees in other fields may be accepted, subject to the approval of the Doctoral Studies Committee.

All application materials will be evaluated by the Doctoral Program Committee, comprised of members selected from the graduate faculty of the Division of Bicultural-Bilingual Studies. All applicants are notified of admission or denial through The Graduate School. It is the intention of the Doctoral Program Committee to make admissions and stipend offer by April 1.

Fellowships and assistantships are available. The amount and type of support will depend on the university budget, faculty research grants, and the need for teaching and graduate assistants.
The Culture, Literacy, and Language program offers stipends and assistantships. The purpose of these awards is to enable students to devote their full attention to studies for the degree. All students who apply and are accepted into the Ph.D. program will be considered for these awards using the same application that was filed for admission. Students who receive an award will be required to work as either a TA (teaching assistant) or RA (research assistant) at UTSA. Moreover, it is the expectation of the Department that those who accept full awards will not engage in employment outside of the university while pursuing their degree. Doctoral students, who are employed by the University in positions other than those reserved for students (e.g. grant coordinators, lecturers), shall be eligible for full stipend support as long as they are employed no more than half-time during the 9-month academic year. Doctoral students who receive support must be registered for 9 semester credit hours during fall and spring and 3 semester credit hours during the summer.

Additional Funding
Students are encouraged to seek outside sources of funding. The Department and the University provide a number of grant-seeking and writing activities during the academic year to support students in this endeavor.

The College of Education and Human Development has limited funding for supporting a graduate student's research development. These funds are available on a competitive basis for many activities related to planning, carrying out, or presenting results of research at academic conferences. The student needs her/his advisor's support when applying for this funding. The student will fill out the form, including a budget and supporting documents, and submit it to one of our student development specialists at The student development specialist will route the form to the Office of the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies in the College of Education and Human Development.
Prospective Student FAQs  
Profiles of Program Graduates  
Selected List of Completed Dissertations  
Student Association - The CLL RSO  

College of Education and Human Development
Main Building | One UTSA Circle | San Antonio, TX 78249
Phone: 210-458-4370 |