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Graduate Interdisciplinary Specializations

GIS Programs

The Graduate Interdisciplinary Specialization in Disability Studies allows graduate students to supplement their major course of study with courses such as Introduction to Graduate Study in Disability Studies; Mental Health and Disability Policy; Inclusive Education Research; Disability and Visual Culture; and more.

Graduate coursework is enhanced through workshops, special events and partnerships with community organizations. Graduate students are leaders in organizations including the Disability Studies Graduate Student Organization and Graduate Association for Mental Health Action and Advocacy.



The GIS requires 14 to 16 credit hours of course work, with a minimum of 3 different courses. Graduate students who wish to complete the GIS should consult with the Director of Disability Studies, Margaret Price, to determine a course of study.

  • At least nine hours must be taken outside the student's home department.
  • Courses taken within the student's home department must be at the 5000-level or above.
  • No more than two courses may be taken from a single department.
  • No more than one course may be an American Sign Language course.
  • A maximum of two hours of DSABLST 5700: Disability Studies Workshop can be applied toward the GIS.
  • A maximum of two hours of DSABLST 5191: Disability Studies Internship can be applied toward the GIS.
  • The student must receive the grade of 'B' (or better) or 'S' in each course comprising the GIS.

From the arts and sciences to education, social work, business, medicine, law and engineering, the Graduate Interdisciplinary Specialization in Literacy Studies extends the educational and research experiences of graduate students who are interested in the broad or specific roles, relationships, processes and products of reading and writing, and who want to designate a secondary field of study.

The goals and opportunities of the Graduate Interdisciplinary Specialization (GIS) in Literacy Studies include:

  • understanding literacy in its specific historical, social, cultural, political and economic contexts
  • recognizing that the origins of literacy lie in language and the uses of language vary from context to context
  • exploring literacy’s place in cognition and communication, and in relation to other modes of communicative competence
  • studying acquisition, uses, practices and consequences of literacy and literacies across age, gender, race, class, ethnicity, geography and media
  • investigating the uses, abuses, complexity and contradictions of literacy as a social practice
  • developing critical approaches to common assumptions about the importance, power and centrality of literacy
  • distinguishing and evaluating the literacies of academic disciplines for their commonalities and differences
  • criticizing and redeveloping communication and understanding across different literacies
  • recognizing that literacy cannot be reduced to one definition, nor to one effect on individuals or societies.

Similar in format to a graduate-level minor, the GIS requires 12-15 semester hours of coursework, ten hours of which must come from outside the student’s major area of study

Students interested in the GIS are encouraged to select their elective courses with a specific focus, considering as a starting point the connections between their primary field of study and areas within literacy studies that are especially relevant and that anticipate important research questions and career opportunities. Some examples of foci include: 

  • Social and Cultural History of Literacy
  • Literacy and Digital Media
  • Literacy in the Community
  • Literacy in the Family
  • Literacy in the Workplace
  • Literacy, Health, Wellness and Medicine
  • Literacy in Science


  • Core Coursework (6 semester hours required)

English 6750.01: Introduction to Graduate Study in Literacy (3 semester hours)

  • Introduction to advanced study of the development of reading and writing, the study of literacy; attention to historical, theoretical, ideological, and technological issues and change. Prereq: Grad standing, or permission of instructor. 

  • Engish 7884.01: History of Literacy (3 semester hours)
    Advanced exploration of the history of literacy; its relationship to societies, cultures, and change; the acquisition, practice, and impacts of literacy in historical contexts. Prereq: Grad standing, or permission of instructor. Cross-listed as History 7884.

  • English 7883.01: Seminar in Literacy Studies (3 semester hours)
    Study of a special topic in literacy studies; topics vary but may include race, popular culture, gender, technology, or globalization. Prereq: Grad standing, or permission of instructor. Repeatable to a maximum of 9 cr hrs. 

  • Elective Coursework (6-9 semester hours)

    • Numerous courses across the graduate curriculum focus on literacy or otherwise concern the study of making, communicating, and understanding meaning. The student will establish a cohesive emphasis for and approach to the elective coursework in consultation with her faculty advisor and the specialization coordinator.
    • There are two options:
      • Option 1: 6 hours in elective courses and a critical or research paper of publishable quality. This first option is intended to encourage students to integrate, extend, and apply the insights of different disciplines to a specific issue, question, or inquiry.
      • Option 2: 9 hours in elective courses. This second option is intended for students whose goals are best served by additional coursework.


Please contact Dr. Beverly Moss (.1) with any questions about the Literacy Studies GIS.

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