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Course Work Requirements

A. Course Work Requirements

A1. Overview

Degree candidates will be subject to all requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy as stated on the website of The University of Arizona ( It is anticipated that most students entering this degree program hold the master’s degree or its equivalent. Candidates will be required to complete 27 units of core courses (including the three-unit SLAT Proseminar) and must choose an 18 unit specialization from among four areas: 1) Second Language Analysis, 2) Second Language Use, 3) Second Language Processes and Learning, and 4) Second Language Pedagogical Theory and Program Administration. In addition, candidates must select a minor (usually consisting of 9-12 units depending on field of study) in SLAT or in some other area, and must complete a dissertation for a minimum of an additional 18 units.

Post baccalaureate course work completed prior to admission may be substituted for a portion of these requirements through consultation with the SLAT Advisor. The SLAT Director and SLAT Advisor make all decisions regarding course work.  Up to 24 post baccalaureate credits earned at other approved institutions may be counted toward the SLAT Ph.D. Up to 30 post baccalaureate credits earned at the University of Arizona may be shared between the SLAT Ph.D. and another degree program such as an MA program.  Please see the SLAT advisor for more information regarding courses shared between degree programs.  

With approval of the SLAT Advisor, one core course may count towards the area of specialization, and one core course may count towards the minor.

Summary of Program Requirements (beyond B.A./B.S. degrees, including transferred units):

 27 units of required core courses (including a three-unit SLAT Proseminar);

 18 units in one of 4 areas of specialization;

 9-12 units of minor;

 18 units dissertation.

Total: 66 -75 Units

Rationale for course work: To ensure that a student is well trained in the interdisciplinary field of SLAT, it is necessary to have a course work plan that includes both core requirement courses and areas of specialization. The SLAT faculty believe that a SLAT scholar must have a solid grounding in linguistics, psycholinguistics, and sociolinguistics, as well as in the theory of second language acquisition and teaching. Therefore, the core requirements include courses in each of these areas. In addition, a SLAT scholar must be well versed in research methods, research design, and approaches to analyzing and interpreting research findings. Accordingly, research methods, design, and statistics courses are included as a part of the core requirements as well as in the areas of specialization.

Please see the courses page of the SLAT website to see the SLAT master course list, which lists the degree requirements and courses available in each SLAT concentration. The courses webpage also contains links to SLAT courses offered the current and previous semester.

By the end of the 2nd semester, students should have filed the SLAT MAP with the Graduate Advisor. The SLAT MAP lists all courses, both UA and transfer courses, that will be used to complete course requirements for the SLAT degree. The MAP must be approved by the Graduate Advisor and the Curriculum Committee Chairs for the the student's major and minor area. The plan will meet the guidelines outlined below.

Please consult the SLAT Advisor regarding additional courses, or for questions.

A2. Core Courses

Students need to complete 27 units in approved core courses (see SLAT Courses) in the following areas:

 SLAT Proseminar (to be completed during first fall semester in residence)

 Second Language Acquisition Theory

 Second Language Assessment

 Technology and Second Language Learning


 Second Language Research Design




Note: Every effort will be made to adapt degree requirements to candidates' needs. Courses listed will be periodically reviewed by the Executive Council and courses can be added or deleted at the committee's discretion, provided there is no change in the number of overall units required for the degree. Substitution of equivalent courses can be made on an individual basis with the approval of the Director or SLAT Advisor.

A3. Courses in Program Specializations

One program specialization is required, to be selected from the four Established areas of Emphasis, consisting of a minimum of 18 units. A list of specific courses that will count for each program specialization is available from the SLAT Advisor or on the SLAT Master Course list. Courses listed may be changed or augmented by action of the SLAT Executive Council.

A4. The Minor

All students are required to select a minor area for their Ph.D. studies.  Students may select an internal SLAT minor or an external minor offered by another graduate program at the University of Arizona. Students may select their internal SLAT minor from one of the five specialty areas :

  • L2 Analysis 
  • L2 Use 
  • L2 Processes and Learning
  • L2 Pedagogical Theory and Program Administration
  • L2 Technology and Pedagogy

A SLAT minor consists of a minimum of twelve units in the chosen field and approved by the appropriate subcommittee chair. Students selecting the minor in L2 Technology and Pedagogy should meet with the L2 Pedagogy Chair for advising and approval. 

Students who wish to minor in a field outside of SLAT (e.g., French; German Studies; Russian; Language, Reading and Culture; Rhetoric, Composition, and the Teaching of English; Cognitive Science) should contact the department or program in which they wish to minor early on in their studies to ascertain department or program-specific requirements for a Ph.D. minor. Students should be aware that some departments or programs require 9-12 units for a minor, while others may require 15 units. Normally students who major in Pedagogical Theory and Administration should not minor in L2 Technology and Pedagogy or in Language, Reading and Culture, since courses in these minors overlap with the pedagogy major; however, this can be done with the L2 Pedagogy Chair’s approval.

A5. SLAT Minor for Doctoral Students in Other Majors

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 12 units of course work, including 3 units of SLAT 596Y (Proseminar), 3 units of SLAT 615 (Theories of Second Language Acquisition) and 6 other units of approved SLAT course work selected in consultation with the SLAT graduate advisor. Please consult with the SLAT advisor before assuming any proposed course work will be approved to apply to your program.

A6. Independent Studies

Special topics not regularly covered in scheduled courses can be taken on an independent studies basis for varying credits (courses numbered 699 or 799). Grades available for such courses are: S/P, C, D, E, K, W. It is the responsibility of individual students to find a faculty member willing to supervise their work. The SLAT Advisor must approve Independent Studies courses. For this purpose, please submit a completed Independent Studies Authorization form to the SLAT office in order to be registered for independent study credits.

Only under very special circumstances will independent studies be available in areas covered by regularly scheduled courses. Independent studies courses cannot be used to satisfy any of the Core requirements. (Please note that a course taken on pass/fail basis will not count for the Ph.D.).

No more than six (6) credit hours of 699 or 799 can be applied to fulfill requirements of the SLAT Ph.D.

A7. Workshops and Required Meetings

During the first 3 years there are several workshop or other meeting requirements that must be met in order to advance to candidacy once the comprehensive exams have been successfully completed:

1st year Colloquium requirement

All 1st-year students must register for and attend the SLAT colloquium every Friday morning from 11am to 12 pm.

1st year meeting

On a Friday in March (typically on the last Friday before Spring Break), SLAT will schedule a meeting for the 1st year students and the SLAT program director and graduate advisor. During this meeting the director and graduate advisor will offer students perspective on the next step in the program, now that the qualifying exam has been completed.

2nd year research workshop

By the end of the 2nd year in residence, students must complete a 2-day research workshop. The workshop will be organized into two 6-8 hour sessions, typically held on the 1st Thursday and Friday of May. One session offers lecture on, discussion of and practical experience creating research proposals. The other session will offer similar instruction and experience developing articles for publication. The practical components, typically offered in the afternoon, are especially important, and students must participate all day on both days to fulfill the requirement. 

3rd year workshop

During the third year in residence, students will meet as a group on a designated day in the Fall semester with the SLAT Chair and SLAT Graduate Advisor.  The meeting will focus on setting up a comprehensive examination committee, compiling bibliographies and questions and successfully completing the comprehensive exams.  We also discuss the Ph.D. Proposal, presentation, and defense.  All 3rd year students are required to attend, even those post-comps and those who have completed their Proposal.  Participation by all students will give those students, who have not yet completed one or either of these milestones, a different perspective in addition to the advice from the Chair and Advisor.  


A8. Auditing Courses

Audited classes do not receive graduate credit and, therefore, do not fulfill minimum registration requirements or count toward the Ph.D. in SLAT.

 A9. En Route MA in SLAT

Although SLAT does not accept applications for a Master of Arts degree, students may earn a Master of Arts degree in Second Language Acquisition and Teaching en route to their doctoral degree. Once all course requirements have been met and the student has passed the written and oral comprehensive examinations, the student has met the standards of a Master of Arts degree in SLAT. In order to file for the degree, a student must first create and generate a Change of Program form and bring or email it to the SLAT office for processing. The student may then initiate the necessary GradPath forms and pay the required fees to obtain their Master of Arts. Note: If the student has earned another MA degree at the University of Arizona with more than 6 units of course overlap with the SLAT MA degree, a second MA degree will not be granted. Students who come to SLAT from the MA in EAL from the English Department at the University of Arizona fall into this category and cannot also earn an MA in SLAT.  If a student holds a master’s from anywhere in a closely related field, they may not earn a UA master’s. Transfer credits from a master’s earned elsewher are not available for a UA master’s. The enroute MA is available only to those who lack a related MA.

A10. Responsible Conduct of Research and Doctoral Plan of Study

By their third semester of study, students must complete the Responsible Conduct of Research and Doctoral Plan of Study (DPOS) forms required by the Graduate College. The forms are accessed via GradPath. See for more information about GradPath. The Responsible Conduct of Research form must be submitted before any academic forms will be available to the student.

The DPOS will list a minimum of 36 units of SLAT course work unique to the SLAT major, and a minimum of 9 units of course work unique to the minor program. The form is generated through the online GradPath system, which will route the form electronically to the SLAT program office, the SLAT Graduate Advisor, and finally to Graduate Student Academic Services. If the minor is outside of SLAT, the form will be routed to the minor department as well. Failure to submit the form during the third semester can result in being judged as not making satisfactory progress toward the degree. The DPOS must be submitted and approved before other academic forms (e.g. comprehensive exam approval forms, etc.) will be available to the student.

Last updated 27 Feb 2017