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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.


Drs. Aline Godfroid and Alex Housen (Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium) received a 300K+ grant from the Research Foundation - Flanders to fund a four-year research project on the noticing and implicit L2-learning of German grammar over time. Congratulations, Aline and Alex!
--Sept. 11, 2014

On the SLS-Member Spotlight Page, we are now featuring Scott Sterling! Read about his current work and interests here:
--Sept. 9, 2014

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

News Archive

Upcoming Events

SLS Workshop: Going on the job market 1 PM, Sept. 19, B243 Wells.

MSU Homecoming Week Sept. 22-27. Hayrides from the International Center on Mon., Free ice cream at the Rock on Fri. lunchtime, CAL Homecoming Tent with food outside the Broad Art Museum on Grand River Ave. Fri. evening, and Homecoming parade on Fri. evening, passing in front of the CAL tent. See the schedule here.

MwALT 2014
Ann Arbor, MI. Sign up for the van to MwALT here.
Oct. 3-4, 2014

MSUFCU Dino Dash 5K
Sun., Oct. 5, 2014

SLRF Practice Talks 1 PM, Oct. 17, B243 Wells.

SLS Workshop: What jobs are available? 1 PM, Oct. 31, B243 Wells.

SLS/MATESOL Workshop: CVs 1 PM, Nov. 7, B243 Wells.

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

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