General Information

Request Information
Second Language Acquisition and Teaching (PHD)  
Program Description

The Graduate Interdisciplinary Ph.D.Program in Second Language Acquisition and Teaching provides an instructional program to prepare researchers, teachers, curriculum specialists, and administrators at all levels of instruction who are concerned with aspects of second language acquisition, learning, and teaching.

The 17 cooperating departments span four colleges, and include Anthropology; Classics; Cognitive Science; Disability & Psychoeducational Studies; East Asian Studies; Educational Psychology; English; French and Italian; German Studies; Linguistics; Mexican American Studies; Middle Eastern & North African Studies; Psychology; Russian and Slavic Studies; Spanish & Portuguese; Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences; Teaching, Learning & Sociocultural Studies. Students may choose from specializations in four areas: (1) Linguistic dimensions of L2 learning, (2) Sociolinguistic dimensions of L2 learning, (3) Cognitive dimensions of L2 learning, or (4) Instructional dimensions of L2 learning.

Admission to the program is based on the following kinds of evidence: (1) excellent prior academic performance in a related field as indicated by a transcript; (2) three letters of recommendation from persons familiar with the student’s performance; (3) an example of the student’s scholarly writing on a topic related to the proposed area of study, or a critical review of a book which is relevant; and (4) GRE general test. In addition, a methods course specific to language teaching is prerequisite for all students, and the TOEFL examination is required of international students. Students will be required to complete a minimum of 63-66 units beyond the B.A./B.S. degree including 24 units of required courses, 12 units in one of the 4 areas of specialization, 9-12 units in a minor area of specialization, and 18 units of dissertation. It is anticipated that most students entering this degree program will hold the master’s degree. Up to 24 units of prior graduate-level course work which is judged by the committee to be comparable to required courses in this program may be counted toward the 63-66 total units. Core course requirements include linguistics, psycholinguistics, sociolinguistics, and research methodology, as well as second language acquisition theory. A detailed listing of courses and alternatives is available from the program office.

Prospective Ph.D. candidates must pass a qualifying examination after entry into the program. Before formal admittance to candidacy all students must pass a comprehensive examination in both the major and minor field of study. A final examination is required following completion of the dissertation.

Department/Academic Unit(s)

Graduate Interdisciplinary Programs -

The Graduate College sponsors several Graduate Interdisciplinary Programs (GIDPs) in addition to the many interdisciplinary possibilities available through regular graduate degree programs. GIDPs transcend departmental boundaries by facilitating cutting edge teaching and research at the nexus of traditional disciplines. The high value placed on interdisciplinary research and education is indicative of The University of Arizona's enthusiasm and commitment to fostering innovation and creativity among its faculty and students.


Graduate College/GIDP  
Campus where offered
Main Campus - Tucson  
Admissions Contact
Robin R Staples
Graduate Program Coordinator
Kelley K Merriam-Castro
Director of Graduate Studies
Beatrice C Dupuy
Graduate College Degree Counselor
Christina M Inocencio
Tuition and Fees
Please refer to the UA Bursar's Office Tuition and Fees Calculator for up-to-date information about tuition and fees. 
Please refer to the UA Registrar's's Office Special Course Fees for up-to-date information about special course fees. 

Admissions Information

Admissions Requirements
  • Master's degree or equivalent
  • 3 letters of recommendation
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Statement of purpose
  • Transcripts from all institutions of higher education attended (scanned copies required for application review, paper originals required once admitted)
  • Scholarly writing sample (e.g., substantial term paper, preferably in SLAT-related field)
Standardized Tests

Required test(s):

No minimim scores are indicated for the GRE exam.  A writing score above 4.0 is preferred.

Minimum TOEFL:  Must meet University of Arizona Graduate College minimum requirement.  Paper based:  550; iBT: 79
Minimum IELTS:  Must meet University of Arizona Graduate College minimum requrement.  Composite score of 7, no subject area below 6.

Financial Aid

The majority of SLAT students receive funding for graduate study through Graduate Associate in Teaching (GAT) positions in cooperating departments and the Center for English as a Second Language. The cooperating departments generally make the final decision on the awarding of GAT positions. Graduate Research Associate positions are also available on an extremely limited basis. Graduate Research and Teaching positions cover all or part of a student's tuition costs (depending on the level of hire). Benefits also include a regular stipend paid biweekly, student health insurance coverage through the UA Campus Health Service, and discounts at the University of Arizona Bookstore. In addition to Graduate Teaching and Research Associateships, a limited number of tuition and registration scholarships are available to waive the cost of in-state and/or out-of-state tuition. The potential availability of fellowships through the University of Arizona Graduate College varies from year to year, and are alloted to prospective students on a competitive basis. Decisions on scholarships and fellowships are made by the SLAT Executive Council during the application process each year. 

Prospective students have the opportunity to indicate their interest in financial support for graduate study in the online SLAT application.

Admissions Deadlines

The PhD Program in Second Language Acquisition and Teaching accepts applications for fall entry only.

Domestic Applicants:

  • Fall application deadline: December 15

‚ÄčInternational Applicants:

  • Fall application deadline: December 15
International Conditional Admission
International applicants will not be considered for conditional admission by this program.
Other Information
The GRE Institution Code for The University of Arizona is 4832

Completion Requirements

Degree Requirements

Minimum Credit Hours


Satisfactory Academic Progress Website

Core Courses

Summary of Program Requirements (beyond B.A./B.S. degrees, including transferred units):
- 24 units of required core courses (including a three-unit SLAT Proseminar);
- 12 units in one of 4 areas of specialization;
- 9-12 units of minor;
- 18 units dissertation.
Total: 63 -66 Units, which may include up to 24 transfer units
For more information about required courses, see

Language Requirement(s)

English proficiency is one of the conditions for admission for all applicants whose native language is not English.   

All SLAT students must also demonstrate proficiency in a second language.  Details on page 23 of the SLAT handbook.

Other Requirements for Successful Completion of the Program

SLAT Ph.D. milestones to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress:

  • Establish proficieny in a 2nd language at program entry
  • Pass Qualifying Review by end of 2nd semester
  • Complete/Submit SLAT Plan of Study by 3rd semester
  • Complete/Submit Plan of Study to Grad College by 3rd semester
  • Complete 2nd year workshop at end of 4th semester
  • Complete core and major course work by 7th semester
  • Form Comprehensive Exam committee by 7th semester
  • Submit SLAT Comprehensive Exam Approval form 30 days before exam
  • Complete Comprehensive exam by end of 8th semester
  • File SLAT Dissertation Committee form by end of 8th semester
  • Present dissertation proposal by end of 9th semester
  • Defend dissertation by end of 10th semester

Students must meet all program requirements by published deadlines in order to remain in good standing. Students who are out of compliance with SLAT policy are ineligible for SLAT funding, including tuition support. Students who continue to be out of compliance with SLAT progress guidelines for more than 2 semesters may be asked to leave the program.

For program policy and requirements associated with each step towards the degree, please see the SLAT Handbook.

Minor Requirements

SLAT offers a Doctoral Minor in Second Language Acquisition and Teaching for students enrolled in University of Arizona doctoral programs other than SLAT. The SLAT minor requires completion of twelve units of coursework, including:

  • 3 units of SLAT 596Y (Proseminar),
  • 3 units of SLAT 615 (Theories of Second Language Acquisition) and
  • 6 other units of SLAT coursework approved by the SLAT graduate advisor

Please consult with the SLAT advisor before assuming any proposed coursework will be approved to apply to your program. 

Student Handbook  

Program StatisticsInformation about these numbers

Program-level Information
Application Acceptance Rate 21%
Med. Time-to-degree (years) 4.75
Department-level Information
Enrollment Percent Male 32%
Enrollment Percent Female 68%
Enrollment Percent International 48%
Enrollment Percent URM 8%

Back to statistics
Persistent link:
Last revised 02 Aug 2018