The Doctor of Philosophy in second language acquisition is a research-oriented degree. This interdisciplinary program, which focuses on languages other than English, requires 72 s.h., including a maximum of 33 s.h. earned in work toward a master's degree. Students interested in pursuing the Ph.D. must hold a master's degree in an appropriate field (e.g., linguistics, foreign language education) or have equivalent academic experience.

The required curriculum includes 14 courses, including two foundation courses, three courses in the area of research methods, two courses in the area of language learning, two courses in the area of linguistics, and five courses in a student’s area of specialization. Students may specialize in language learning and postsecondary education, which includes a focus on technology in language acquisition and learning; or in linguistics and psycholinguistics, with focus on phonetics/phonology or on syntax in a particular second language.

Students may extend their interdisciplinary interests by taking relevant elective course work offered by the Departments of Communication Sciences and Disorders, French and Italian, German, Linguistics, Psychological and Brain Sciences, Rhetoric, Spanish and Portuguese, and Asian and Slavic Languages, Literatures, and Cultures in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; and the Departments of Psychological and Quantitative Foundations, and Teaching and Learning in the College of Education. In addition, the Ph.D. requires successful completion and defense of a dissertation representing original research in second language acquisition.

A course may be used to fulfill only one requirement. All courses taken to fulfill program requirements must be taken on a graded basis; no graduate credit is awarded for a grade lower than C-minus. To remain in good standing, Ph.D. students must maintain a cumulative g.p.a. of at least 3.00.

The Ph.D. in second language acquisition requires the following course work.

Foundation Courses

Both of these:
SLA:6901Second Language Acquisition Research and Theory3
SLA:6920Multimedia and Second Language Acquisition3

Research Methods

This course:
PSQF:6243Intermediate Statistical Methods4
One of these:
CHIN:7405Teaching Chinese as a Second Language V: Seminar in Research and Design3
EDTL:7405Research Methods in Second Language Teaching and Learning3
A third course to complement planned dissertation research (consult advisor)

Language Learning

Two of these:
SLA:6950Topics in Second Language Acquisition: Speaking3
SLA:6965Topics in Second Language Acquisition: Writing3
EDTL:6400Fundamentals of Second Language Assessment3
EDTL:6409Cultural Curriculum3
EDTL:6483Second Language Classroom Learning3
EDTL:6484Reading in a Second Language3
EDTL:6497Principles of Course Design for Second Language Instruction3


For students whose language of research is Spanish, it is recommended that the courses be chosen from Spanish, whenever possible.

Two of these:
LING:3005Articulatory and Acoustic Phonetics3
LING:5010Introduction to Syntax3
LING:5020Introduction to Phonology3
LING:6010Syntactic Theory3
SPAN:4100Introduction to Spanish Phonology3
SPAN:4150Introduction to Spanish Syntax3
SPAN:6110Spanish Phonology3
SPAN:6120Spanish Syntax3
Two introductory-level courses—one in phonetics/phonology and one in syntax
A two-course sequence in either phonetics/phonology or in syntax

Specialization Courses

Each student selects one of two specialization areas—linguistics and psycholinguistics or language learning and postsecondary education—and takes five courses (total of 15 s.h.) in one area, not including courses taken above to satisfy requirements. Courses that could be used in these areas are listed below. Each student’s specific specialization area and set of courses will be determined in consultation with the advisor.

Linguistics and Psycholinguistics

LING:6020Phonological Theory3
LING:6080Topics in Second Language Acquisition3
LING:7010Advanced Syntactic Theory3
PSY:3085Language Development3
PSY:3670Language Processes3
PSY:6101Cognitive Science of Language Proseminar I3
SPAN:3190Psycholinguistic Aspects of Bilingualism3-4
SPAN:4170Linguistic Aspects of Second Language Acquisition3
SPAN:6150Topics in Spanish Language Acquisition3
Other courses (chosen in consultation with advisor)

Language Learning and Postsecondary Education

CHIN:5024Teaching Chinese as a Second Language VII: Pedagogical Grammar3
CHIN:7401Teaching Chinese as a Second Language I: Theories and Research3
CHIN:7403Teaching Chinese as a Second Language III: Instruction and Practicum3
CHIN:7404Teaching Chinese as a Second Language IV: Testing and Assesment3
EDTL:6402Second Language Program Management3
EDTL:6403Language Policy and Planning3
EDTL:6480Issues in Foreign Language Education3
EDTL:7015Ph.D. Seminar in Language, Literacy, and Culturearr.
PSQF:6205Design of Instruction3
PSQF:6208Designing Educational Multimedia3
PSQF:6215Web-Based Learning3
PSQF:6265Program Evaluation3
Other courses (chosen in consultation with advisor)

Elective Courses 

Students also may take elective course work relevant to their research interests, including the following independent project courses. 

SLA:7020Readings in Second Language Acquisitionarr.
SLA:7025Special Projects in Second Language Acquisitionarr.


Students must complete a thesis (maximum of 15 s.h., with a minimum of 2 s.h.)

SLA:7030Ph.D. Thesisarr.

Admission is for fall semester; students are admitted only for full-time study. Applicants must meet the admission requirements of the Graduate College; see the Manual of Rules and Regulations of the Graduate College.

Strong applicants hold a master's degree in a related area, have a cumulative g.p.a. of at least 3.50 in master's degree work, and speak and write English and another language at a professional level. Applicants must submit a writing sample that demonstrates their ability to synthesize and analyze information using standard academic English.

Teaching assistantships are available through the Foreign Language Acquisition Research and Education Program (FLARE). Assistantships usually involve teaching elementary or intermediate language courses. Visit the FLARE website for details.