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Admissions Information

Application Deadlines

Degree Requirements


Financial Assistance







Ross, Steven J., Full Member


DeKeyser, Robert, Full Member

Long, Michael H., Full Member

Associate Professor

Gor, Kira, Full Member

Jiang, Nan, Full Member

Research Scientist

Doughty, Catherine J., Adjunct Member

Zukowski, Andrea, Full Member

Affiliate Professor

Carruthers, Peter, Full Member

Idsardi, William, Full Member

Lidz, Jeffrey, Full Member

Lissitz, Robert W., Full Member

Phillips, Colin, Full Member

Ratner, Nan Bernstein, Full Member

Affiliate Associate Professor

Newman, Rochelle, Full Member

Scullen, Mary Ellen, Full Member

More SLPH Faculty Information

Second Language Acquisition (SLPH)   

Program Title and Classification

Second Language Acquisition

Graduate Degree Program

College: Arts and Humanities


The Ph.D. program in SLA at the University of Maryland aims to train students to conduct research on second language acquisition processes. It has a strong cognitive focus. 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 Human Development, Linguistics; Measurement, Statistics, and Evaluation; Hearing and Speech; Philosophy; Psychology; and Curriculum and Instruction.

Admissions Information

General Requirements:

Program-Specific Requirements:

  • Letters of Recommendation (3)
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
  • Writing Sample: Demonstrated evidence of ability and interest in undertaking scholarly research; could be published paper or M.A. thesis.
  • Interview may be required (in-person/by phone)

Please consult the program’s web site for more information.

For more admissions information or to apply to the program, please visit our Graduate School website:

Application Deadlines

Type of Applicant FallSpring
Domestic Applicants:
US Citizens and Permanent Residents
17 Jan29 Sep
International Applicants:
F (student) or J (exchange visitor) visas
A,E,G,H,I and L visas and immigrants.
1 Feb29 Sep

Other Deadlines: Please visit the program website at

Degree Requirements

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Core Requirements

Doctoral students are required to take 3 credits of SLAA 649R within their first year. In addition, students choose two courses from two different specializations for a total of 4 courses. Specializations available include Second Language Learning, Second Language Instruction, Second Language Measurement and Assessment, and Second Language Use. Students are also required to complete 2 courses in quantitative and/or qualitative research methods, as well as 12 credits of SLAA 899: Doctoral Dissertation Research.


The Ph.D. has 4 areas of specialization: Second Language Learning, Second Language Instruction, Second Language Measurement and Assessment, and Second Language Use. Students select 2 courses each from 2 of these areas (for a total of 4 courses) and are expected to take 2 additional electives in the area of their proposed dissertation work. In addition, all students are expected to take 2 courses in quantitative and/or qualitative research methods. The 8 courses (total) represent the minimum coursework requirement. Some students may need remedial coursework prior to undertaking their 8 courses, and many will wish to take courses beyond the minimum 8 based on their interests. Additionally, all students are strongly encouraged to take a course in the philosophy of science. Before graduation, all students completing the PhD in Second Language Acquisition must demonstrate three types of experience with non-native language: learning a non-native language, using a non-native language, and teaching a language to non-native speakers of that language. All three types of experience will be verified through official documentation and/or assessment as follows:

1. Language Learning. Students must have spent at least two semesters as a student of a non-native language in a post-secondary classroom environment (6 total credits minimum). Verified through transcript. SLLC will provide this experience for any student who needs it.

2. Language Teaching. Students must have taught a language to non-native speakers of that language for at least 1 semester, or the equivalent of 45 hours. Verified through contract, letter, etc. SLLC will provide this experience for any student who needs it.

3. Language use. Students must show that they are able to communicate in a non-native language at the intermediate-low level on the ACTFL scale through an Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI). Students whose native language is not English will be able to satisfy this requirement through their competency in English. These three requirements do not necessarily have to be met in the same language. Before the PhD dissertation, two qualifying papers are required. Please see the program website for more details.


Facilities and Special Resources

In addition to the University graduate library, the SLA program offers research facilities and resources to facilitate research and materials development, including a multimedia SLA Lab, the Language House, The Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning, the Office of Information Technology, and the Center for Teaching Excellence.

Students completing coursework with affiliate faculty in the Departments of Psychology, Communication, Linguistics, and Education as well as the Center for Advanced Study of Languages may have access to their respective resources.

Financial Assistance

Most students admitted to the Ph.D. program will be funded, either via graduate or teaching assistantships or via research assistantship on grants and contracts, all providing tuition waiver plus stipend. Some students may receive a Graduate Assistantship from the UMCP-affiliated Center for the Advanced Study of Language (CASL) or the National Foreign Language Center (NFLC, a unit within the College of Arts and Humanities (ARHU).

Contact Statement

The SLAA web site offers more information on the program. For further questions, please contact Dr. Steven J. Ross, Graduate Director of the program, at or at (301) 405-4246. Alternatively, if you have a particular interest in the research of an individual faculty member, you are welcome to contact that person directly via email.



Dr. Steven Ross Professor & Graduate Director

Second Language Acquisition Program University of Maryland 2103 Jimenez Hall

MD, 20742

Telephone: 301-405-4246

Fax: 301-314-9752


Associated Information












second language learning; second language instruction; foreign language; applied linguistics; task-based language teaching; needs analysis; critical period,language processing,language testing, program evaluation.