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Second Language Acquisition M.A.

The Second Language Acquisition M.A. 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 M.A. is intended primarily as a two-year program for full-time students. A limited number of part-time students would also be admitted. The M.A. 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.  
 
The courses taken by M.A. students cover such areas as cognitive processes in SLA; language teaching methodology and pedagogy; psycholinguistics; language processing; individual differences in age, aptitude and working memory; second language analysis; heritage learner; language assessment; second language research methods; and task-based language teaching.

Requirements, Courses and Admissions

Requirements for the M.A.

The M.A. in SLA is a 30-credit program with two tracks: Plan A, by coursework and thesis, and Plan B, by coursework only. These two tracks are meant to accommodate two slightly different populations—those planning to immediately apply to the Ph.D. program (Plan A) and those for whom the M.A. will be an interim degree (plan B).


Plan A Courses:

  • SLAA610: “Introduction to SLA”
  • SLAA611: “Fundamentals of Language Acquisition and Instruction”
  • SLAA630: “Second Language Testing”; SLAA640: “Psycholinguistics”
  • SLAA650: “Second Language Analysis”
  • SLAA620: “Second Language Research Methodologies.”
  • Two electives (6 credits) to include any SLA course, or a course chosen from offerings in another department. All electives will be chosen in consultation with and with the approval of the program advisor.
  • Thesis (6 credits)

Plan B: Coursework only:

Five required core courses (15 credits), all taught in English

  1. SLAA610: “Introduction to SLA”
  2. SLAA611: “Fundamentals of Language Acquisition and Instruction”
  3. SLAA630: “Second Language Testing”
  4. SLAA640: “Psycholinguistics”
  5. SLAA650: “Second Language Analysis.”

Five electives (15 credits), any appropriate combination of SLAA courses and courses in other departments. All electives will be chosen in consultation with and with the approval of the program advisor.

It is expected that students admitted to the SLA M.A. will come with outside sponsorship.

Courses

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

Admissions

M.A. 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. Applicants 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 M.A. in SLA program is suitable for them, why they are suitable for it and how they would expect to use the training received.

Students whose native language is not English must satisfy the Graduate School’s English proficiency requirements (visit https://gradschool.umd.edu/admissions/english-language-proficiency-requirements).

Verbal and quantitative GRE scores will be required of all native speakers of English, and are recommended for non-native speakers as well.

General information about the admissions process to the University of Maryland is available at the Graduate School. However, some details specific to our program differ from what is posted on that site, so please be sure to follow the instructions below regarding where these materials should be sent, and what is required for admissions consideration.

Admission Deadlines (all documentation MUST be in by this date!)

  • January 15 (Fall domestic)
  • February 5 (Fall international)

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 (https://gradschool.umd.edu/artshumanities/slph).

Students whose native language is not English must satisfy the Graduate School’s English proficiency requirements (visit https://gradschool.umd.edu/admissions/english-language-proficiency-requirements). 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. Three 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 program at the University of Maryland is suitable for you, and you are suitable for it, and how you would expect to use the training received at UMD. 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 will be required of all native speakers of English, and are recommended for non-native speakers, as well. Please have ETS send your GRE scores directly to the university; the institutional code for the University of Maryland is 5814.

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.

Completed applications are reviewed by an admissions committee in each graduate degree program. The recommendations of the committees are submitted to the dean of the Graduate School, who will make the final admission decision. Students seeking to complete graduate work at the University of Maryland for degree purposes must be formally admitted to the Graduate School by the dean. For questions related to the admissions process, prospective students may contact the Graduate School.
 
 

Program Director

Kira Gor

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

(301) 405-4246