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English Education

*Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction



This program is not currently accepting applications at this time. This does not affect students currently enrolled in the ELA Education Doctoral Program.


The English Education programs at Virginia Tech prepare English teachers, teacher educators, and scholars to be successful in the context of increasingly standardized education reforms. Working from the perspective that learning should be a generative act, faculty guide students in the exploration of concepts that make student-centered, dialogic approaches central constructs in the study of teaching and learning. Courses in the program focus on literacy development and consider the roles of language and culture in approaches to teaching that bring classroom content into dialogue with students’ lives in 21st century classrooms. 

The English Education Doctoral Program is primarily designed to prepare researchers, English/Literacy teacher education faculty, and Literacy Curriculum Coaches. The program also serves English teachers who have a desire to take what they’ve learned back to their previous teaching contexts.

The possible career paths could be but are not limited to faculty positions in post-secondary education and for leadership positions in secondary education.

The English Education program at Virginia Tech blends traditional issues of teaching writing, language and literature with newly emerging practices and research in adolescent literacy, new literacies, multimodal technologies and teaching and learning in 21st century classrooms.

an ipad sits atop a pile of books


The School of Education at Virginia Tech offers a doctoral program in Curriculum and Instruction with emphasis in English/Literacy Education at the middle and high school levels. The School of Education at Virginia Tech offers a doctoral program in Curriculum and Instruction with emphasis in English Education. The doctoral program is made up of full time and part-time doctoral students. Every effort is made to secure graduate assistantships for full time students as they complete their one year academic residency requirement (one year as a full-time, on-campus student). Prospective Students should contact  Dr. Trevor Stewart to discuss their application.

The English Education doctoral program emphasizes the following strands of research pertaining to English Education:

  • Dialogic approaches to teaching and learning
  • New literacies and adolescent learning
  • Adolescent literacy
  • The study of literature in K-12 contexts
  • The study of writing in K-12 contexts
  • Literacy development
  • Critical literacy

Students enrolled in the doctoral program must pass four exams and submit a dissertation as part of the degree requirements.

  • Scheduling Exams
  • Qualifying Exam
  • Preliminary Exam
  • Prospectus
  • Dissertation Defense

Plan of Study

During the second semester, and no later than the third semester of enrollment, the student and advisor should develop a proposed Plan of Study to submit to the Graduate School. The Plan of Study for English Education doctoral students must include the following minimum requirements:

  • Research: 15 hours (includes research practicum and required coursework)
  • Foundations: 9 hours
  • Concentration: 12 hours
  • Cognate: 9 hours
  • Dissertation: 30 hours


The Ph.D. degree in Curriculum & Instruction with a specialization in English Education is not awarded solely on the basis of coursework completion. To graduate, each student must also conduct an original research study culminating in the presentation and defense of a dissertation. The dissertation demonstrates the student’s ability to investigate a practical issue in English education agreed upon by one’s dissertation chair and advisory committee. 

The majority of students write their dissertations in the traditional five-chapter format (i.e., as a research paper with an introduction, literature review, methodology, results, and conclusion).  Other options such as a journal article dissertation are available.  Students work with the dissertation chairs and committees to determine the best format for their dissertation.