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College of Arts and Letters | Michigan State University

Welcome to the SLS Ph.D. Program at Michigan State University

Message from the Director


Welcome to the Ph.D. Program in Second Language Studies (SLS) at Michigan State University. The SLS Ph.D. Program is for researchers and teacher-researchers interested in second language acquisition (SLA), applied linguistics,  bilingualism, sociolinguistics, pragmatics, second or foreign language testing and assessment, and other areas of SLA. Our program provides students with a firm foundation in a range of research techniques and approaches. Students also focus on ways to apply current SLA theories to foreign and second-language (L2) pedagogy. A cornerstone of our program is student-faculty interaction, whether in the classroom as students (where students further their knowledge and develop their skills in SLA and applied linguistics), or outside the classroom in joint research projects.  Students graduate with an outstanding skill set that allows them to contribute to the ongoing scholarly debates in the field of SLA and applied linguistics. Simply put, graduates become leaders in the broader discipline of second language studies and in their future place of employment.

We encourage you to contact us at should you have further questions. 

  • Susan Gass, University Distinguished Professor
  • Director, Second Language Studies


Intro to SLS Program from Susan Gass on Vimeo.


Congratulations to Dr. Bill VanPatten, whose article, "Foundations of processing instruction" is in the International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching!
--Aug. 26, 2015

On the SLS-Member Spotlight Page, we are now featuring Dr. Dongbo Zhang, assistant professor in the MSU Department of Teacher Education and SLS affiliate. Read about his current work and interests here:
--August 10, 2015

SLS alumna Dr. Hyojung Lim and Dr. Aline Godfroid's article "Automatization in second language sentence processing: A partial, conceptual replication of Hulstijn, Van Gelderen and Schoonen's 2009 study" appears in the latest issue of Applied Psycholinguistics. Congratulations to the authors!
--August 10, 2015

Congratulations to Dr. Patti Spinner who has been promoted to Associate Professor with tenure!
--June 26, 2015

Dr. Peter De Costa's edited volume, "Ethics in Applied Linguistics Research" is available for pre-ordering on the Taylor & Francis publishing group website. Congratulations, Peter!
--June 10, 2015

Congratulations to Dr. Paula Winke and SLS alumnus Dr. Hyojung Lim, whose article, "ESL essay raters’ cognitive processes in applying the Jacobs et al. rubric: An eye-movement study" is in the current issue of Assessing Writing! See their AudioSlideShow here.
--June 4, 2015

Congratulations to Dr. Peter De Costa, whose article, "Reenvisioning Language Anxiety in the Globalized Classroom Through a Social Imaginary Lens" is on early view in Language Learning!
--June 3, 2015

News Archive

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Upcoming Events

EuroSLA 2015 Aix-en-Provence, France
Aug. 26-29, 2015

MSU Graduate School Resource Fair and Cookout
Sat. Aug. 29, 10 AM to 3 PM, MSU Union (for the fair) and Linton Hall Lawn (for the cookout). See more info at

New SLS Student Orientation
Aug. 31, 11 AM, B243 Wells Hall. Lunch for faculty and all students to follow. SLS Potluck in the evening at Sue's. Directions & ride-sharing info given at orientation.

TBLT Practice Talk
Jongbong Lee, "Task-based performance differences in foreign language writing: A corpus-based study." Sept. 4, 3 PM, B243 Wells

SoSLAP Discussion Surviving Grad School
B342 Wells Hall, Fri. Sept. 11, noon to 1 PM.

Task-based Language Teaching (TBLT) conference, 2015, Leuven, Belgium
Sept. 15-18, 2015

SLS Discussion: Going on the job market, with Susan Gass & Paula Winke
Sept. 25, 1:30 PM, B243 Wells Hall

ECOLT & Consortium on Useful Assessment, 2015
Washington, DC, Oct. 9-11, 2015 

Second Language Research Forum (SLRF) 2015
Georgia State University, Oct. 29-31, 2015

ACTFL 2015, San Diego, CA, Nov. 20-22, 2015

TESOL 2016, Baltimore, MD, April 5-8, 2016

AAAL 2016
Orlando, FL, April 9-12, 2016.