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Language Education in Multilingual Contexts: Ph.D. - Doctor of Philosophy in Education

Students of the Ph.D. in education-language education in multilingual contexts program do research that plays a key role in advancing knowledge and serving the needs of multilingual students and their teachers in Virginia, the nation, and the world.

At a Glance

Program Results

Ph.D. - Doctor of Philosophy in Education

–Language Education in Multilingual Contexts

Program Type

  • Full Time


  • In-Person

Application Deadline

December 1



About This Program

The Ph.D. in education with a concentration in language education in multilingual contexts program provides opportunities for students to pursue research interests related to teaching and learning in preK-12 second language, foreign/world language, and bi/multilingual educational settings.

Students in this program have rich research and teaching experiences at UVA and become part of a national network of new-generation researchers. They become researchers on day one of the program and continue to partner with faculty in research and teaching experiences that prepare them to succeed in their careers as educational scholars.

Students attend classes, work on mentored and collaborative research, and engage in a range of teaching and supervisory roles. They build theoretical, methodological, and empirical expertise through coursework focused on language education as well as hands-on research with faculty researchers in multilingual preK-12 school contexts.

Career Opportunities include:

  • University settings – conducting research in research intensive universities, teaching and/or conducting research in all types of higher ed institutions
  • School districts - directing programs or conducting professional development in preK-12 second language, foreign/world language, and bi/multilingual educational settings
  • Government educational agencies – developing language policies and programs
  • Non-governmental agencies (NGOs) – conducting research and/or professional development

Program Overview

Admission Requirements

Admission requirements that apply specifically to this program are listed below:

  • We recommend – though do not require – that applicants have completed a master’s degree and have three years of preK-12 teaching experience with multilingual students in public or private schools (or other informal schooling contexts).
  • Prospective students often ask what aspects of the application are given the most weight when being considered for acceptance into the program. Each application is looked at as a whole. One factor that is consistently important is the statement of professional goals. This reflection is the best way to communicate who you are and how you would fit into the program.
  • Applications must include a professional goal statement (four double-spaced pages suggested) and a writing sample (10 to 15 double-spaced pages suggested) from the applicant’s master's program or equivalent.

Visit our Graduate Admission page for the full admission process.

Graduate Admission

Application for admission is made to the School of Education and Human Development Office of Admission & Enrollment. For more information about the graduate admission process, please visit our Graduate Admission page.


To learn more about specific courses taken as part of the completion of this degree, visit the graduate record website. These webpages represent the official repository for academic program requirements. A link to these publications can be found in the Curriculum Information section at the bottom of this page.

The Ph.D. in education – language education in multilingual contexts program requires a minimum of 72 hours, including at least 54 credits of coursework. The 54 credits include content courses and research methodology courses. In addition, students must complete 6 research apprenticeship credits and 12 dissertation credits. At least 36 course and apprenticeship credits must be completed after admission to the program. (Students entering the doctoral program with a master’s degree can apply up to 24 hours of credit to their doctoral studies, provided that the faculty advisor and program committee members agree that the courses are comparable to specific courses required in the doctoral program.)

Additional courses will be determined according to the student's area of specialization in coordination with the program committee and faculty advisor.

Required core courses include:

  • EDIS 7842: Teaching ELLs: Theory, Policy and Practice  
  • EDIS 7840: Discourse Analysis in Educational Settings
  • EDIS 8855: Education & Diversity
  • At least one 3-credit course taken outside the School of Education to draw upon the interdisciplinary nature of Language Education and expertise across UVA grounds.

Strongly recommended core courses include:

  • EDIS 7886: Comprehension of Texts
  • EDIS 7845: Writing: Research, Teaching & Learning
  • EDIS 8810: Policy Perspectives on Teaching and Teacher Education
  • Research Requirements: A minimum of 24 semester hours of core coursework is required.

Required research courses include:

  • EDIS 7852: Reading the Research
  • EDLF 7300: Foundations of Educational Research  
  • EDLF 5330: Educational Statistics I
  • EDLF 7420: Experimental Design or EDLF 8310: Correlation and Regression Analysis
  • EDLF 7404: Qualitative Analysis  
  • At least 9 hours of additional courses in research design, methods, measurement, and/or statistics. These will be determined in consultation with the faculty advisor and program committee.

Course Descriptions

Information on courses that are part of the Ph.D. in education with a focus in language education in multilingual contexts curriculum can be found on the UVA graduate record website.

Program Life

Ph.D. in education-language education in multilingual contexts students engage in a range of activities through the program, including working on research with other students and faculty members; taking courses in educational research, language education, and related fields; preparing presentations and papers for conferences; teaching or supervising pre-service teachers; attending talks at the School of Education and Human Development and across UVA; and working alongside practitioners.

Benefits that are unique to the School of Education and Human Development are:

  • Flexibility – students can personalize the program by choosing courses that focus on their future career track and particular interests in language education.
  • Interdisciplinarity – course selection is drawn from a range of programs in order to build comprehensive knowledge.
  • Course selection – students can learn from experts across UVa by taking one or more courses from other schools in the university outside of the School of Education and Human Development.
  • Faculty expertise – the faculty who lead and teach in this program are leaders in the multilingual education field.
  • Advising is 1:1 - faculty work extensively with students on research and other Ph.D. milestones.

Students will complete all program milestones currently required of Ph.D. students in the Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education (CISE) Department, such as the preliminary exam, Qualifying Paper, Comprehensive Exams, Dissertation Proposal, and Dissertation Defense, in keeping with current departmental and school guidelines.


Departmental fellowships and assistantships are provided to a select number of applicants each year. A typical funding package includes funding for nine months in a combination of wages and stipends, tuition and all mandatory fees, and funds to cover student health insurance costs. The University also offers a limited number of competitive fellowships for which students enrolled in Ph.D. programs may apply.

Visit the Fellowships, Scholarships, and Awards page for additional funding opportunities.

Program Faculty

Chris Chang-Bacon

Chris Chang-Bacon

  • Assistant Professor

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