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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 Jens Schmidtke! Read about his current work and interests here:
--July 24, 2014

Dr. Paula Winke has been invited by ETS to serve a 4-year term on the TOEFL® Committee of Examiners (COE), a standing committee of the TOEFL Board. Congratulations, Paula!
--July 23, 2014

Congratulations to Dr. Amy Thomson, who was promoted to Associate Professor at the University of South Florida. Dr. Thomson was the SLS Program's first graduate (in 2009) and is the first alumnus to be granted tenure. Congratulations, Amy!
--June 10, 2014

Congratulations to Solène Inceoglu, who passed her dissertation defense on May 1, and to Jimin Kahng, who passed her dissertation defense on May 6. Both defended under the guidance of Dr. Debra Hardison.
--May 6, 2014

Congratulations to Betsy Lavolette who received the AT&T award for "Best Fully Online Course" on April 23, and who also successfully defended her dissertation that same day (under co-advisors Dr. Charlene Polio and Senta Goertler). Double congratulations!
--April 23, 2014

Dr. Bill VanPatten is featured on the College of Arts and Letters "Faculty Stories" website. Read the story and see a related video here.
--April 16, 2014

Congratulations to Jens Schmidtke, whose dissertation study is being funded through a National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Grant. Jen's is using the 15K in funding to support his data collection and dissemination. Three cheers for Jens!
--March 11, 2014

Congratulations to Irene Ahn, whose paper "Effects of interactions among individual differences, feedback type and rule complexity of the acquisition of Korean as a second language" appears in the current issue of Bilingual Research (South Korea).
--March 10, 2014

News Archive

Upcoming Events

AILA 2014
Brisbane, Australia
Aug. 10-15, 2014

New SLS-Ph.D.-student orientation: 11 AM, Wed., Aug. 20, 2014. Room: TBA. Current students join in for lunch at noon.

Pot luck for SLS faculty and students, Friday, August 22. Information on getting to the pot luck will be given out at the orientation session on Wed. Aug. 20.

Graduate School Welcome Fair
MSU Union Ballroom
Sat., Aug. 23, 10AM to noon

SLS & MATESOL MSU-library orientation session. Mon., Aug. 25, 3 PM. Meet at the Circulation Desk on the first floor of the Main Library.

MSU classes begin on Wednesday, August 27, 2014.

EuroSLA 2014
York, UK
Sept. 3-6, 2014

SLRF 2014
Columbia, SC
Sept. 3-6, 2014

MwALT 2014
Ann Arbor, MI
Oct. 3-4, 2014

ACTFL 2014
San Antonio, TX
Nov. 21-23, 2014

LTRC 2015
Toronto, Canada
March 18-20, 2015
Workshops March 16 & 17
Abstracts due  Aug. 31!

AAAL 2015
Toronto, Canada
March 21-25, 2015
Abstracts due Aug. 20!

TESOL 2015
Toronto, Canada
March 26-29, 2015