Cultural Studies Concentration

PhD in Education

The Cultural Studies concentration in Teacher Education and Leadership is an interdisciplinary program that examines social, cultural, philosophical, and historical issues in education and society. The critical nature of this program gives attention to race, gender, class, language, sexuality, and ability in the contexts of schooling, culture, and society. In the USU Cultural Studies program, students examine perspectives on equity, marginalization, privilege, and power from a variety of disciplines including Education, Sociology, Information Technology and Learning Sciences, and Special Education. This broad approach enables doctoral students to apply various perspectives on Cultural Studies to their analyses of students, education, and schooling in local and global contexts. TEAL Cultural Studies faculty have expertise in Anthropology, History, Social Studies, Language, Linguistics, and Literacy, as well as qualitative and quantitative research methodologies.

Given its interdisciplinary nature, the Cultural Studies concentration in Teacher Education and Leadership consists of 15 credits in Cultural Studies course work taken across the USU programs and 9 credits of electives. Because of its rigorous nature, 12 credits of research course work are required in addition to 12 credits in Curriculum and Instruction.

Considering applying to the Cultural Studies Concentration?


We are glad you are considering applying to the USU Cultural Studies in Education PhD Concentration. The Cultural Studies concentration in Teacher Education and Leadership is an interdisciplinary program that examines social, cultural, philosophical, and historical issues in education and society. The critical nature of this program gives attention to race, gender, class, language, sexuality, and ability in the contexts of schooling, culture, and society. 

Your application is enhanced when it is clear that you understand the program well and it aligns with your own interests and goals. It is a good idea to mention these items in your application materials. The list below provides advice for potential applicants interested in the Cultural Studies concentration.


  • Review profiles of faculty in the CS program. Then, pick one or two faculty whose research aligns with your interests and review their profiles and a few of their publications in more detail.
  • Contact the faculty members that you may be interested in working with and inform them of your potential research interests and background. They will be happy to meet with you and learn more about you.
  • Carefully prepare for and take the GRE. Consider using a study guide to help improve your scores.
  • Work to understand some broader issues of equity that are inherent to the Cultural Studies Ph.D concentration.
  • These materials give you a glimpse of the kinds of things scholars in Cultural Studies in the field of education study. It is possible to combine these kinds of equity-oriented topics with pedagogical areas such as literacy, language education, STEM education, social studies education, and more.
  • If your own areas of interest are not reflected in the Cultural Studies concentration description, think about whether this is the right program for you. If you believe it is, be sure to articulate how your own interests connect to the larger program. Help the CS faculty understand how you would be a good fit in the program.


Find complete guidelines in the application guidelines document.

You can also contact any Cultural Studies faculty member and learn more about them and their research through the links to the right.

Program Director

Ryan Knowles

Ryan Knowles

Associate Professor, Social Studies Education

School of Teacher Education and Leadership

Phone: 573-514-5134
Office Location: EDUC 335