The Ph.D. in Second Language Acquisition requires 72 semester hours, of which a maximum of 33 semester hours may be earned in work toward the master’s degree. The program is interdisciplinary and focuses on languages other than English; entering students are required to have a professional level of proficiency in academic English and in their language of specialization. Students who enter the program already hold an M.A. in a related field (e.g., linguistics, foreign language education), or they must have equivalent academic experience. Students begin the program in the fall semester.
The program is divided into foundation courses (13 courses, or 39 s.h.); courses in the chosen specialization area (5 courses, or 15 s.h.); and dissertation work (18 s.h.). A course may be used to fulfill only one requirement. Each of the components of the curriculum is described in more detail below. A full list of courses available to students may be found on the program website.
Students take three required foundation courses: Topics in Second Language Acquisition Research and Theory I and II; and Multimedia and Second Language Acquisition.
They also take two Topics in SLA courses, offered on a rotating basis. For the remaining eight foundation courses, students select one course from eight of the following areas: curriculum; quantitative research tools; qualitative research tools; testing, evaluation, and measurement; pedagogy; phonetics and phonology; morphology or syntax; general linguistics.
specialization & elective courses
Our students specialize in one of three areas: linguistics, language program direction, or technology. Students take five courses in coherence within their area of specialization.
For the remaining 18 s.h. in the program, students may register for thesis hours, take additional courses, or work individually with a faculty member by registering for a Special Topics, Readings, or Special Projects course.
EXAMINATION AND DISSERTATION REQUIREMENTS
The program requires a comprehensive examination upon completion of course work, a dissertation prospectus defense, and a formal dissertation defense. The comprehensive examination is designed to get students on a fast track to the dissertation, which we expect them to complete in two years
The comprehensive examination consists of three parts:
- a 25-35 page critical review of the literature on a topic of the student’s choice, in consultation with appropriate faculty;
- two written examinations, one on SLA theory (including technology) and the other on the student’s specialization area;
- an oral examination
The reading list for the SLA theory exam is produced by the program faculty for all students; and the reading lists for the specialization exams are created jointly by the students and their advisors.
The oral exam consists of two parts:
- a defense of the literature review paper and the written exams;
- a presentation by the student on plans for the dissertation, followed by faculty discussion and suggestions.