Advanced Graduate Certificate in SLA

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Program Focus and Structure

The Advanced 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. It is also open to faculty members and visiting scholars from overseas institutions. 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.

The Certificate requires 18 credit hours of course work in required core courses (15 credits), all taught in English. SLAA 610: Introduction to SLA 2. SLAA 611: Fundamentals of Language Acquisition and Instruction 3. SLAA 630: Second Language Testing 4. SLAA 640: Psycholinguistics 5. SLAA 650: Second Language Analysis One elective (3 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.

Existing Courses in Second Language Acquisition*

AREA 1: Second Language Learning
SLAA 610 Research And Theories Of SLA
SLAA 611 Fundamentals Of Language Acquisition And Instruction
SLAA 740 Research Issues In Second Language Learning
SLAA 741 Cognitive Processes In Second Language Learning
SLAA 742 Second Language Processing
SLAA 743 Interlanguage Studies
SLAA 744 Age Effects/Maturation Constraints
SLAA 749 Special Topics In Second Language Learning

AREA 2: Second Language Instruction
SLAA 750 Instructed SLA
SLAA 751 SLA Classroom Research
SLAA 754 Task Based Language Teaching
SLAA 759 Special Topics In Second Language Instruction

AREA 3: Second Language Assessment And Research
SLAA 620 Second Language Research Methodology
SLAA 630: Second Language Testing and Assessment
SLAA 760 Reseach in Second Language Assessment

AREA 4: Second Language Use
SLAA 770 Sociolinguistics In Second Language Acquisition
SLAA 771 Developmental And Cross-Cultural Pragmatics
SLAA 772 Bilingualism And Multilingualism
SLAA 773 The Heritage Language Speaker

Requirements for Admission

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 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, and they 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 within the previous three years, students whose native language is not English must provide a TOEFL score of 600 or higher on the paper-based version (250 or higher on the computer-based version; 100 on the internet version) or an IELTS score of 8. The TOEFL or IELTS must have been taken within the last two years for the scores to be valid. Verbal and quantitative GRE scores will be required of all native speakers of English.

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. 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.


Fall admission deadline: January 16th (all documentation MUST be in by this date!)

Materials Required for all UMCP Applicants

1.      An application form is available at ApplyYourself. 
Please use the code "SLMA" to indicate your choice of program.

2.      A non-refundable $75 application fee. If you use a credit card, you can pay for the fee online when you submit your application. Otherwise please submit the fee to the Enrollment Services Office by regular mail. Their address is:

University of Maryland College Park
Enrollment Services Operations
Application for Graduate Admission
Rm 0130 Mitchell Building
College Park, MD 20742

3.      College/university transcripts from all institutions previously or currently attended. These should be submitted to the Enrollment Services Office.
Each transcript must bear the signature of the Registrar and the seal of the granting institution, and should include the years of attendance, courses taken, grades received, class standing and the degree, certificate, or diploma received. [If you attended the University of Maryland, College Park, the Graduate School will obtain your records of courses completed on the College Park campus, but you must send the Office of the Registrar a written authorization to release the transcripts.] To facilitate the processing and review of an application, unofficial copies of transcripts from institutions other than the University of Maryland, College Park may be used for review processes.
Official transcripts are required before full admission can be granted.

4.      A Maryland In-State Status form, if you wish to apply for Maryland residency status. Students who apply online do NOT have to submit this form in hardcopy as well. Note that F-1 visa holders are not eligible for this status. For questions regarding eligibility, please contact the Residency Classification office at (301) 405-2030.

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. 
Be certain that your full name is included on each recommendation. 
You may download blank recommendation letter forms on the Graduate School website or set up electronic submission through the ASF.

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.

4.      A TOEFL score of 600 or higher on the paper-based version [260 or higher on the computer-based version; 100 on the internet version; IELTS rating of 8] for students whose native language is not English, unless they completed their master's degree at an English-medium university within the previous three years. The TOEFL must have been taken within the last two years for it to be valid.>Applicants should arrange for scores to be sent directly to UMCP by ETS; the institutional code for UMCP 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.

The electronic submission of application materials helps expedite the review of an application. 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.  To ensure the integrity of the application process, the University of Maryland authenticates submitted materials through TurnItIn for Admissions.

Applicants are encouraged to contact the Hobsons online application’s helpdesk for any technical issues.  For questions related to the admissions process, prospective students may contact the Graduate School.

Information for International Graduate 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.


Prof. Kira Gor, Graduate Director