Second
Language
Acquisition

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The Ph.D. program in SLA at the University of Maryland, College Park has a strong cognitive science and research focus for students working in languages other than English. A major program focus includes preparation for those working, or intending to work, in programs for tertiary students and adults studying less commonly taught languages (LCTLs), e.g., East-Asian and Middle-Eastern languages, and such modern European languages as Spanish, French, Italian and German. The program draws upon the expertise of a distinguished cadre of faculty in the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, and in affiliate departments such as LinguisticsMeasurement, Statistics, and Evaluation; Hearing and SpeechPhilosophyPsychologySociology; and Curriculum and Instruction.

There are four areas of specialization: second language learning, second language instruction, second language assessment, and second language use. Students select two courses in each of two areas (for a total of four courses), plus two additional electives in the area of their proposed dissertation work. In addition, all students will take two courses in quantitative and/or qualitative research methods. The eight courses (total) represent the minimum coursework requirement; some students may need remedial coursework prior to undertaking the set of eight courses, and many will wish to take courses beyond the minimum eight, based on their interests. Additionally, all students are encouraged to take a course in the philosophy of science.

 

The M.A. is intended primarily as a two-year program for full-time students. A very limited number of part-time students would also be admitted. It will provide students with rigorous, comprehensive training in the theory and research of second (including foreign) language learning, teaching and testing, and related areas. A major program focus includes preparation for those working, or intending to work, in programs for tertiary students and adults studying less commonly taught languages (LCTLs), e.g., East-Asian and Middle-Eastern languages, and such modern European languages as Spanish, French, Italian and German. Areas of particular faculty expertise include cognitive processes in SLA; language teaching methodology and pedagogy; psycholinguistics; language processing; individual differences in such factors as age, aptitude, and working memory; second language analysis; interlanguage studies; heritage learners; needs analysis; syllabus design; materials writing; learner training; language assessment; program evaluation; second language research methods; task-based language teaching; and uses of technology in language learning and testing.