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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.


On the SLS-Member Spotlight Page, we are now featuring Le Anne Spino! Read about her current work and interests here:
--Jan. 21, 2015

Congratulations to Dustin Crowther and his co-authors, who have two publications out now: one in TESOL Quarterly, "Second Language Comprehensibility Revisited: Investigating the Effects of Learner Background" and another, "Flawed self-assessment: Investigating self- and other-perception of second language speech," in Bilingualism: Language and Cognition. Bravo, Dustin!
--Jan. 12, 2015

Congratulations to Dr. Charlene Polio, who edited the 2014 volume of the "Annual Review of Applied Linguistics." See her introduction here. The volume includes a review of SLA SEM research by Dr. Paula Winke. Well done, Charlene and Paula!
--Jan. 8, 2015

Laura Ballard and Shinhye Lee have been awarded International Language Testing Association funding to present at the Language Testing Research Colloquium (LTRC) in Toronto. Laura Ballard also won an Albert H. Marckwardt Travel Grant to present at TESOL in Toronto. Congratulations, Laura and Shinhye!
--Jan. 5, 2015

Congratulations to Dr. Charlene Polio, who guest-edited the current (Vol. 26, Dec. 2014) special issue of the "Journal of Second Language Writing." Along with editing, she and SLS alum Dr. Mark Shea have an article in the issue: "An investigation into current measures of linguistic accuracy in second language writing." Well done, Charlene and Mark!
--Dec. 12, 2014

News Archive

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Upcoming Events

Linguistics Talks, always at 4:30 PM in B342 unless otherwise noted.
See the schedule, which includes Rajesh Bhatt, John Grinstead, & Timothy Leffel here.

CeLTA Professional Development Workshop: Language Flagship Proficiency Initiative: Proficiency Guidelines and Articulation
Fri., Jan 30, 12 noon, B135 Wells. See CeLTA's spring workshop schedule here.

Classroom/Pedagogical Talk: Mostafa Papi. Title: Task design and motivation.
Wed., Feb. 4, noon - 1PM, B243 Wells.

Research Talk: Dr. Artemi Romanov, Professor of Russian Studies, from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Talk title: TBA
Thurs., Feb. 5, 1 - 2:30PM, B342 Wells.

Classroom/Pedagogical Talk: Dominik Wolff. Title: The teacher-identity development of native and non-native speaking ESL teachers.
Thurs., Feb. 12, noon - 1PM, A304 Wells.

SLS Annual Spring Symposium, with plenary speakers Drs. Joe Barcroft and Patricia Duff.
Fri., Feb. 27, 9:30 AM - 3:30 PM, B310 Wells & Erickson Hall Kiva. Click here for the flyer.

AAAL/LTRC Practice Talks: Jens Schmidtke; Mostafa Papi & Laurel Waller; Laura Ballard & Shinhye Lee. Talk titles here.
Fri., March 6, 1 - 2 PM, B342 Wells.

LTRC 2015
Toronto, Canada
March 18-20, 2015
Workshops March 16 & 17

AAAL 2015
Toronto, Canada
March 21-25, 2015

TESOL 2015
Toronto, Canada
March 26-29, 2015

Midwest Cognitive Science Conference 2015
Mission Point Resort, Mackinac Island, MI
May 10-11, 2015
Abstracts due March 15.