Academic Programs Catalog

College of Arts and Letters

Graduate Study

Second Language Studies - Doctor of Philosophy

The Doctor of Philosophy in Second Language Studies seeks to provide students with a deep understanding of how second and foreign languages are learned and ways of thinking about the application of this knowledge in a pedagogical context. The program is designed to prepare students for university-level faculty and administrative positions in the fields of language learning and/or teaching. Students will be prepared to conduct research and contribute to the future development of these fields.

Because teaching and research are integral to this program, every effort will be made to provide students with research and teaching experience in the form of graduate assistantships. Teaching experience may include classroom teaching or related activities, such as program and curriculum development.

In addition to meeting the requirements of the University and of the College of Arts and Letters, students must meet the requirements specified below.


Preference for admission will be given to those with a Master of Arts degree in a related field. All admission decisions will be made by the Advisory Committee in consultation with other relevant faculty.

To be considered for admission to the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Second Language Studies, an applicant must submit the following along with an application.

  1. The results of the Graduate Record Examination General Test .
  2. A statement of research interests.
  3. A writing sample, preferably an essay or other product that reflects the degree of the applicant’s familiarity with applied linguistics.
  4. Three academic references from faculty who are able to address the applicant’s academic background and/or professional experiences.
  5. The results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) for non-native speakers of English with a total score of 600 (paper version) or 250 (computer version), with no subscore below 58 (paper version) or 23 (computer version) or 100 (iBT Internet-based Test)

Requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Second Language Studies

Complete 24 to 44 credits of course work. The student’s program of study must be developed in cooperation with and approved by the student’s guidance committee and must include the requirements specified below.

1. Complete the following courses (27 credits):  
  LLT 807 Language Teaching Methods 3
  LLT 808 Assessment for Language Teaching and Research 3
  LLT 860 Second Language Acquisition 3
  LLT 872 Research Methods for Language Teaching and  
        Foreign/Second Language Learning 3
  LLT 873 Quantitative Research in Second Language Studies 3
  LLT 874 Qualitative Research in Second Language Studies 3
  LLT 861 Advanced Topics in Second Language Acquisition 3
  LLT 862 Advanced Research in Second Language Acquisition 3
  LLT 864 Second Language Psycholinguistics 3
2. Complete five courses selected from the following, with not more than two from CEP:  
  CEP 920 Construction of Psychoeducational Instruments 3
  CEP 921 Psychometric Theory I 3
  CEP 922 Psychometric Theory II 3
  CEP 923 Item Response Theory 3
  CEP 934 Multivariate Data Analysis I 4
  CEP 935 Advanced Topics in Multivariate Data Analysis II 4
  LIN 824 Phonological Theory I 3
  LIN 825 Phonological Theory II 3
  LIN 834 Syntactic Theory I 3
  LIN 835 Syntactic Theory II 3
  LIN 837 Advanced Studies in Semantics and Pragmatics 3
  LIN 850 Advanced Studies in Child Language Acquisition 3
  LIN 855 Advanced Studies in Neurolinguistics 3
  LIN 871 Advanced Studies in Sociolinguistics 3
  LIN 875 Advanced Studies in Computational Linguistics 3
  LLT 992 Seminar in English as a Second Language 3
3. Within one year of completion of the course work, students must write two qualifying research papers in two separate areas. One of those papers must be presented publicly in an appropriate venue approved by the student’s guidance committee. The second paper must be defended to the student’s guidance committee.  
4. Write and successfully defend a dissertation proposal including a description of the dissertation, a tentative outline, methodology, where appropriate, and a tentative bibliography.  
5. Pass a final oral examination in defense of the dissertation.  

Guidance Committee

The Program Director will serve as the initial advisor. By the end of the first semester, two advisors will be assigned to each student, with input from the student. By the end of the first year of study, the student will select a guidance committee. This committee will be comprised of four members, including two core second language studies faculty members.

Academic Standards

In order for the student to be considered in good standing, the student must:

  1. Maintain a cumulative grade-point average of 3.5 in all courses.
  2. Receive a grade of at least 3.0 in courses to be considered as  satisfying any requirement.

Any required examination, pre-dissertation or dissertation defenses, can be repeated only once and must be completed the semester following initial failure.