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Second Language Acquisition Graduate Certificate

The Advanced Graduate Certificate in Second Language Acquisition is intended primarily as a one-year program for full-time students, or a two year program for part-time students.

The Advanced Graduate Certificate is also open to faculty members and visiting scholars from overseas institutions. The Advanced Certificate program provides students with rigorous, comprehensive training in the theory and research of second (including foreign) language learning, teaching and testing, and related areas. The program prepares its graduates to work in education, government and non-profit organizations, and industry. The research agenda centers on English as a foreign language, as well as commonly and less commonly taught languages (LCTLs), including East-Asian, Middle-Eastern, and modern European languages.

Requirements, Courses, Admissions and Information for International Students

Requirements for the Certificate

The courses taken by Advanced Certificate students cover such areas as 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; heritage learner; language assessment; second language research methods; and task-based language teaching. The Advanced Certificate requires 18 credit hours of coursework (6 courses) that include five core courses (15 credits) plus one elective course (3 credits), with all courses taught in English.


AREA 1: Second Language Learning

  • SLAA610: Research and Theories of SLA
  • SLAA611: Fundamentals of Language Acquisition and Instruction
  • SLAA740: Research Issues in Second Language Learning
  • SLAA741: Cognitive Processes in Second Language Learning
  • SLAA742: Second Language Processing
  • SLAA743: Interlanguage Studies
  • SLAA744: Age Effects/Maturation Constraints
  • SLAA749: Special Topics in Second Language Learning

AREA 2: Second Language Instruction

  • SLAA750: Instructed SLA
  • SLAA751: SLA Classroom Research
  • SLAA754: Task Based Language Teaching
  • SLAA759: Special Topics in Second Language Instruction

AREA 3: Second Language Assessment and Research

  • SLAA620: Second Language Research Methodology
  • SLAA630: Second Language Testing and Assessment
  • SLAA760: Research in Second Language Assessment

AREA 4: Second Language Use

  • SLAA770: Sociolinguistics in Second Language Acquisition
  • SLAA771: Developmental and Cross-Cultural Pragmatics
  • SLAA772: Bilingualism and Multilingualism
  • SLAA773: The Heritage Language Speaker


Advanced graduate certificate students may enter the program in the fall semester only. Prior to admission to the program, applicants must have successfully completed a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university in a relevant field, e.g., linguistics, applied linguistics, psychology, foreign languages, cognitive science, anthropology or education. They must provide two letters of recommendation from academic and/or professional referees. They must submit a detailed statement of purpose describing their academic and career background and future plans, specifying why they believe the SLA Advanced Certificate program is suitable for them, why they are suitable for it, and how they would expect to use the training received. Unless they already hold a Ph.D., or have completed a prior degree at an English-medium university, students whose native language is not English must comply with the English language proficiency requirements of the Graduate School for international students ( 

Foreign scholars (faculty at overseas institutions) may waive the above admissions requirements and need only submit a detailed statement of purpose describing their academic and career background.

General information about the admissions process to the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP) is available at the Graduate School. For the specific information regarding the application requirements for the Advanced Graduate

Certificate in SLA please refer to Graduate Admissions ( 

An admissions interview may be required and will be conducted in-person or by telephone. On your application, please be sure to provide a current telephone number and e-mail address where we can reach you.
Fall admission deadline: (all documentation MUST be in by this date!)

  • August 20 (Fall domestic)
  • May 13 (Fall international)

Materials Required

Materials Required for all University of Maryland Applicants
For the information about the application process and the materials required for all University of Maryland applicants, please visit the Graduate School website (

Students whose native language is not English must satisfy the Graduate School’s English proficiency requirements (visit Applicants should arrange for TOEFL, IELTS or PTE scores to be sent directly to the University of Maryland; the institutional code for the University of Maryland is 5814.

Supplemental Materials Required by the SLA Program
The SLA program requires the following supplemental materials to be uploaded as part of the application:

  1. Two letters of recommendation, preferably from faculty members who have taught you recently and who can attest to your scholarly potential in the field of SLA. References from those who know you professionally are acceptable as well. 
  2. A statement of purpose, in English, describing your academic and career background and future plans, specifying why you believe the SLA Advanced Certificate program is suitable for you, and you for it, and how you would expect to use the training received at College Park. The statement of purpose is in lieu of the separate "Statement of Goals and Research Interests" and "Statement of Experiences" listed on the Graduate School website.
  3. Verbal and quantitative GRE scores are required for all applicants. Please have ETS send your GRE scores directly to the university; the institutional code for UMCP is 5814.

For questions related to the admissions process, prospective students may contact the Graduate School.

Information for International Students

The University of Maryland is dedicated to maintaining a vibrant international graduate student community. The office of International Students and Scholars Services (ISSS) is a valuable resource of information and assistance for prospective and current international students. International applicants are encouraged to explore the services they offer and contact them with related questions.

The University of Maryland Graduate School offers admission to international students based on academic information; it is not a guarantee of attendance. Admitted international students will then receive instructions about obtaining the appropriate visa to study at the University of Maryland which will require submission of additional documents. Please see the Graduate Admissions Process for International applicants for more information.

Program Director

Kira Gor

Professor, School of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures
Professor and Program Head, Second Language Acquisition

(301) 405-4246