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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 SLS students Laura Ballard and Shinhye Lee whose joint proposal for two research studies (their QRP2s) on child-L2 assessment was awarded 5K in funding from Educational Testing Service.
--Aug. 21, 2014

Congratulations to SLS student Mostafa Papi whose article "Language learner motivational types" with Yasser Teimouri has been published in Language Learning. See the abstract here.
--Aug. 20, 2014

Dr. Patti Spinner will help kick off the MSU Linguistics Student Organization's series of Fall 2014 talks with a presentation on Sept. 11 in B342 Wells Hall at 4:30 PM. See the Fall Schedule here.
--Aug. 18, 2014

Dr. Bill VanPatten and SLS student Megan Smith's article "Aptitude as grammatical sensitivity and the initial stages of learning Japanese as a L2: Parametric variation and case marking" is online at SSLA. See the abstract here or download the article here. Congratulations Bill and Megan!
--Aug. 5, 2014

Congratulations to SLS (2010) alumnus Dr. Shaofeng Li, who received tenure at the University of Auckland this year. He is now a Senior Lecturer. If you travel to AILA, say hello to Shaofeng (who will be there) and congrats!
--July 30, 2014

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

News Archive

Upcoming Events

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

Graduate School Welcome Back Picnic, Lawn behind Linton Hall, Sat., Aug. 23, noon to 3 PM

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.

Statistical refresher and intro to R, with the MSU Center for Academic and Future Faculty Excellence (CAFFE), 1-4 PM, Sept. 5, 2014. For a list of other Fall 2014 stats workshops, see CSTATS's page here.

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

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

MwALT 2014
Ann Arbor, MI. Sign up for the van to MwALT here.
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