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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 Megan Smith, one of our SLS Ph.D. candidates. Megan is currently finishing her dissertation. Read about her work and interests here:
--October 1, 2015

The SLS and MATESOL students are pleased to announce the publication of the sixth issue of the MSU Working Papers in Second Language Studies. See the issue here. Congrats to the Editorial Board!
--Sept. 23, 2015

Congratulations to Dr. Peter De Costa and Dr. Charlene Polio, who were elected to serve on AAAL Committees. Charlene is on the Nominating Committee, and Peter is on the Best Book Award Committee. 
--Sept. 2, 2015

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

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

News Archive

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Upcoming Eventsl

CeLTA Workshop & Talk: Dr. Elizabeth Bernhardt, Director, Stanford Language Center: Workshop 10/2, 11-12:30, B342; Talk 10/2, 2:30-3:30, B342. See the flyer here.

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

Fall Conference Practice Talks, 1 PM, B243 Wells: Oct. 9 (Crowther, Miller, Yoon, & Tigchelaar); Oct. 16 (Valmori, Fox/Miller, Ahn, Yao). Flyer with titles here.

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

Cog Sci Distinguished Speaker Series presents: Dr. Ellen Bialystok (York University): "Bilingualism: Consequences for mind and brain," Nov. 2, 118 Psychology, 5:30 PM

SLS Spring Symposium, Fri., Feb. 26, with plenary speakers Bonnie Norton and Ute Römer

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.