College of Education and Human Development

Department of Curriculum and Instruction

Literacy education MA / PhD

We are a politically committed program, with particular emphasis on literacy and teaching practices that contribute to racial and climate justice. Our faculty investigate:

  • the power of children's literature and media to help build climate literacy and accelerate a transition to an ecological civilization
  • culturally and linguistically responsive early literacy assessment and instruction
  • the creation of multimedia stories that participate in social justice and climate literacy through embodied learning, youth participatory action research, and visual literacy 
  • processes of racialization in K-12 school and classroom environments to foster anti-racist teaching
  • literature, performance, and the arts that center the perspectives of those most affected by environmental injustice and that advance inclusive environmental literacy and place-based education 
  • methods by which educators and youth can resist and heal from racial trauma 
  • the preparation and ongoing development of future teachers who are committed to radical transformation of educational spaces and enacting anti-racist/anti-oppressive pedagogies 
  • the promise and problems of progressive and critical writing pedagogies 
  • how white people learn to be white 

We are committed to working with students to support them as they search for the answers that they and their communities need. As a faculty, we do not claim to know all of the answers and we encourage students to engage in a variety of perspectives and methods in their study of literacy education. Graduates are prepared to assume leadership roles in local, national, and international organizations, as well as assume faculty positions in literacy education and teacher education.

Our mission is to:

  • engage in research, teaching, and outreach that supports culturally and linguistically diverse learners 
  • advance the understanding of children's and young adult literature as a force for social transformation, multicultural awareness, and Earth citizenship 
  • develop literacy teachers and leaders in diverse schools
  • apply multiple theoretical and research perspectives to problems and questions central to the field of literacy 
  • advocate for racial literacy, climate literacy, environmental literacy, justice literacy, digital literacy, and other new literacies as tools that empower us to face global challenges
  • strive to influence literacy policies that address inequities and benefit all learners

Quote from Anna Jennerjohn

The faculty are very passionate about humanizing research in education; each class I take has deepened my understanding of both the how and the why of research in education.

Anna Jennerjohn PhD 2021

    Annette Beauchamp Annette Beauchamp

    Annette Beauchamp’s work focuses on fostering inclusive environmental, cultural, and historical literacy through BIPOC and multilingual storytelling, critical global media literacy, relational pedagogy, and ethnic studies.

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    Abby Boehm-Turner Abby Boehm-Turner

    Abby Boehm-Turner is a lecturer in English education and the Licensure Program Lead for the secondary English education licensure program.

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    Abby Boehm-Turner

    Linda Buturian Linda Buturian

    Stories and students inspire my teaching. I am sustained by the process of analyzing and creating narratives, from literature to students’ stories.

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    Linda Buturian

    Justin Grinage Justin Grinage

    The focus of my research centers on analyzing processes of racialization in school and classroom spaces through several areas of inquiry including critical whiteness studies, Black education, neoliberal multiculturalism, and critical literacy.

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    Justin Grinage

    Timothy Lensmire Timothy Lensmire

    Teaching and learning writing as a democracy My past research focused on the teaching of writing in schools and how this teaching might better serve democratic ends.

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    Timothy Lensmire

    Marek Oziewicz Marek Oziewicz

    • Professor - Literacy Education, Sidney and Marguerite Henry Professor of Children’s and Young Adult Literature, Director of the Center for Climate Literacy
    • he, him, his
    • 612-625-3310
    • mco@umn.edu

    I believe that literature is the most complex vehicle for sharing stories. Literature matters because stories are humanity’s oldest technology for social transformation. Stories are how we learn, how we know, and how we care.

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    Marek Oziewicz

    Crystal Wise Crystal Wise

    Dr. Wise’s work as a kindergarten and second-grade teacher informs her research and post-secondary teaching in early literacy, culturally responsive pedagogies, and historical and contemporary literacy practices of African Americans.

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    Crystal Wise
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    How to apply

      Application deadline and instructions

      Priority deadline: December 1 for admission to the fall of the following year
      Admissions decisions: January

      Applications submitted after this date are considered on a case-by-case basis and may not be reviewed until the following year. Faculty review applications in mid-late December, and the Graduate School will notify applicants about admission decisions shortly thereafter. Final admission decisions are based on complete applications. All application materials must be included for the application to be released for review.

      Before applying online, go through the application checklist to ensure you have all the required materials. We are here to help! If you have questions, please contact the Graduate Studies Coordinator. If you are a returning Graduate School student, follow the Readmission guidelines. If you are a current Graduate School student and need to change your program, follow the Change of Status guidelines.

      Tuition and funding

      We have several funding options to support students full-time through program completion. Support is available in the form of:

      • Teaching Assistantships. The majority work as student teaching supervisors for MEd initial licensure students. Daytime availability, a teaching license, and teaching experience are required
      • Research Assistantships
      • Fellowships. Based on a departmental nomination process. You will be notified by the Director of Graduate Studies if you are being considered for a fellowship. Decisions are made by April 15.
      • Graduate students are also eligible to apply for fellowships and graduate assistantships through other University departments. Visit the University's employment page or fellowships through the Graduate School's Graduate Fellowship Office.
      • Find more detailed federal financial aid and graduate tuition information.

      Application requirements

      What we look for

      Admission to our master's of arts and doctoral programs are competitive and we look for candidates whose goals and interests align with the program’s research and scholarship. Program faculty make admissions decisions based on the candidate’s experience and research competencies, along with compatibility of research goals.

      Please look at our current faculty members’ research interests.

      Our masters and doctoral candidates display

      • Evidence of strong interest in research and in the development of research competencies
      • Evidence of substantial experience in the discipline
      • Strong writing skills
      • Bachelor's degree from an accredited U.S. institution or foreign equivalent

      Required application documents

      1. Unofficial transcripts.Upload your transcripts into the application system. Please include all transcripts from any institution you have attended, even if you did not earn a degree or certificate. Please do not mail your transcripts. Official transcripts are required only after you are admitted. Tips for uploading your transcript(s).
      2. Resume.
      3. CI Application Form. Upload in the graduate program additional materials section.
      4. Three letters of recommendation. Ask professors, employers, or supervisors to speak to your potential for successfully completing your degree; they will upload their letters directly into the online application.

      The GRE is being waived for those applicants applying for Fall 2024.

      Required written statements

      1. Personal statement.Upload to the Applicant Statements section of the online application. (Most statements are 1.5-3 pages, single spaced). Please trace how you became interested in research in this discipline, as well as what problems interest you the most and why. Be sure to speak to:
        1. Why you want to study in our department
        2. What strengths, expertise, and research experience would contribute to your success in our program
        3. Your professional goals for pursuing a research-focused degree
      2. Diversity statement.Upload to the Applicant Statements section of the online application. Identify the distinctive qualities, characteristics, and life experiences you would contribute to our community. You may wish to include examples that address your contribution to the diversity of the student body and illustrate your motivation to succeed by setting high standards for accomplishing intellectual and other goals, overcoming obstacles to achievement, and/or helping others to gain access to the resources necessary for success. (please do not exceed one page in length)
      3. Short writing sample.(Optional except for Literacy Education applicants). For example, an excerpt from a term paper or research paper for publication. No longer than five pages in English.
      4. Common Ground Consortium Fellowship. (Optional) The primary purpose of the CGC is to assist graduate programs in the College of Education and Human Development to recruit exceptional students with the distinct experience provided by HBCUs or similarly distinguishing contexts, provide these students with financial assistance support during their graduate studies, and assistance with career development and job placement afterwards. It offers a pipeline to excellence and an opportunity to diversify perspectives in the academy. If you wish to apply, submit a statement that describes how your participation as a CGC scholar would a) enhance your graduate student experience, b) prepare you for your chosen career, and c) benefit the public. Upload to graduate program additional materials section.

      Additional admissions information

      Application checklist

      Before applying online, go through the application checklist to ensure you have all the required materials. We are here to help! If you have questions, please contact the Graduate Studies Coordinator.

      If you are a returning Graduate School student, follow the Readmission guidelines. If you are a current Graduate School student and need to change your program, follow the Change of Status guidelines.

      Transfer credits

      MA students must complete at least 60 percent of their coursework (not including thesis credits) within our program. PhD students may transfer no more than 15 credits from an outside institution.

      A maximum of 12 graduate course credits taken as non-degree seeking or non-admitted status at the University of Minnesota can be transferred; this is counted separately from the maximum 60 percent or 15 non-UMN credits. For example, a PhD student could transfer a maximum of 27 credits (15 non-UMN and 12 non-degree from UMN).

      If you earned a MA at the UMN, please contact the Graduate Studies Coordinator to discuss transfer procedures. Thesis credits cannot be transferred.

      After you are admitted, you will work with your adviser to determine which credits may transfer.

      International applicants

      International applicants may also need:

      • An English translation of your transcripts, if the transcript is not in English. Please note: the Graduate School Admissions Office will not accept an evaluation of your international coursework by an outside agency such as ECE or WES; they only accept the original transcripts.
      • TOEFL/IELTS or MELAB. You may qualify for an exception if you have completed 16 semester or 24 quarter credits within the past 24 months in residence as a full-time student at an accredited institution of higher learning in the United States or other country where English is the official language (i.e. U.K, Canada). Score requirements and submission guidelines

      Request information

      We’re here to help. Simply complete one of these forms and a member of our department will be in touch