Carnegie Mellon University

Discover the Second Language Acquisition Ph.D. Program

The primary goal of this program is to educate and prepare future researchers and leaders in the field of Second Language Acquisition (SLA).

Program graduates will have developed a strong interdisciplinary approach to the investigation of the development, use, and maintenance of second languages, along with the knowledge and skills needed to conduct high-quality empirical investigations. They will learn to critically integrate old and new knowledge to produce real-world applications in the areas of language teaching, language learning, language policy, and language maintenance.

Apply for the Ph.D. program

"In the Second Language Acquisition (SLA) Ph.D. program at Carnegie Mellon University, I not only learned how to answer, but also ask questions of significance to researchers from a broad range of backgrounds and disciplines. CMU truly prepared me for a life in academia where my knowledge and research skills would be valued, no matter where I ended up."
— Daniel Walter (DC 2015)

Program Requirements

The Ph.D. in Second Language Acquisition followed a four-year timeline. 

Learn More About the Ph.D. Requirements

Characteristics of the Program

Commitment to cross-linguistic and cross-cultural factors in second language learning. Students carry out research in the context of multiple languages. Admission to the program requires advanced proficiency in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian, Spanish, or English as a second language.

Interdisciplinary focus linking cognitive sciences, linguistics, social sciences, cultural studies, and education. Students work with faculty in Modern Languages, English, Philosophy, and Psychology in the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences; faculty in the Language Technologies Institute of the School of Computer Science; and faculty at the University of Pittsburgh in the departments of Linguistics and Instruction & Learning, and the Learning Research and Development Center (LRDC).

Active apprenticeship within a community of researchers. Beginning in the first year, students engage in hands-on research training and mentoring through collaboration with faculty.

Individualized course of study that builds on the student's prior knowledge and experience. Students gradually assume greater control and responsibility over their research activities and course work, culminating in the dissertation.

Contact Information

Senior Departmental Administrator

Vera Lampley
Department of Modern Languages
Carnegie Mellon University
5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Director of Second Language Acquisition Ph.D. Program

Seth Wiener
Department of Modern Languages
Carnegie Mellon University
5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Questions?

View a full list of our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

If you cannot find the answer to your question on our website, please contact ModernLangGradmail@andrew.cmu.edu.