Second Language Studies
College of Languages, Linguistics and Literature
*R. Day, PhD (Chair)—teacher education, teaching of reading, vocabulary,
materials development, literature
PhD in SLS Faculty outside the SLS department
D. Ashworth, PhD—Japanese, SL acquisition and pedagogy, dialectology
Degrees Offered: BA in interdisciplinary studies (English as a second language or second language studies), MA in second language studies, PhD in second language studies(interdisciplinary), Graduate Certificate in Second Language Studies
The Academic Program
Formerly called the Department of English as a Second Language, the faculty and course work in the Department of Second Language Studies (SLS) have evolved toward a wider view of the study of second- and foreign-language learning and teaching. The department’s programs train students for professional careers in second- and foreign-language education, which includes teaching, teacher training, materials preparation, curriculum and syllabus design, language assessment, and research. Through course work and independent research, students acquire a broad knowledge base of and familiarity with conducting research, as well as a sense of professionalism in second-language studies.
Employment opportunities in this field have been expanding rapidly, both nationally and internationally, in all types of educational and occupational institutions (e.g., elementary, secondary, and tertiary levels; publishing; test development for international agencies; and language-training programs for businesses).
The department, whose MA program dates back to 1961, is regarded as one of the most prestigious second language programs in the world. It includes a wide range of general and specialized courses. It has the largest faculty with specializations in second-language studies of any institution in the world. Its faculty members are well respected nationally and internationally through their involvement in scholarly research and publishing projects, including editorship of books or editorial advisory status on major journals, as well as extensive authorship of journal articles and books. The department enjoys advanced technical support facilities and excellent library resources. It attracts top-quality students and maintains a variety of services and activities that stimulates a high level of student satisfaction and collaboration, including post-graduation employment advice and assistance.
The department is affiliated with (institutional member of) the American Association for Applied Linguistics and the Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages. SLS faculty members (J. D. Brown, G. Kasper, L. Ortega, and R. Schmidt) have served on the executive boards of these organizations. Department faculty are also editors of the international journals Applied Linguistics (G. Kasper) and Reading in a Foreign Language (R. Day, T. Hudson), and have been actively involved in the organizing boards of the Second Language Research Forum and the Pacific Second Language Research Forum.
Bachelor’s DegreeThe equivalent of an undergraduate major in SLS or ESL is available in the BA program in interdisciplinary studies. For information regarding this degree, contact the department’s interdisciplinary studies advisor.
The department offers the MA degree in Second Language Studies, the Advanced Graduate Certificate in Second Language Studies, and the PhD degree in Second Language Studies.
The main goal of the MA program is to serve the needs of prospective and practicing teachers, administrators, and researchers in the area of teaching second and foreign languages. Attention is given to the areas of second- and foreign-language acquisition, applied psycholinguistics, second-language use, second-language classroom research, bilingual education, curriculum development, and teacher education.
The program emphasizes theory as well as practice. In addition to the courses dealing with approaches to language teaching, materials, and testing, core courses are concerned with the linguistic, psychological, and sociological aspects of language. These latter courses, which are primarily theoretical, are designed to provide an essential foundation on which the more practically oriented ones can build. The emphasis on theory in certain core courses should be kept in mind by potential applicants.
The MA in SLS does not result in teaching certification. Contact the College of Education for more information regarding State of Hawai‘i teacher certification.
Entry into the MA program is possible in both the fall and spring semesters. The GRE General Test is required of all native English speakers. Students whose native language is not English are required to have a minimum computer-based (CBT) TOEFL score of 250 (100 internet iBT or 600 paper PBT), with a score of 260 (105 iBT or 620 PBT) preferred, or a minimal IELTS band of 7.0 with 7.5 preferred.
Three letters of recommendation are also required; forms are available at www.hawaii.edu/sls/?link=forms.
Applicants must submit a statement of purpose, outlining their objectives in graduate study and reasons for applying. This maximum five-page essay should focus on their experiences and training in languages, language learning, and/or language teaching, and how these relate to their long-term goals as professionals in the field of second-language learning and teaching.
All students in the MA program, whether Plan A, Plan B, or Plan C, are expected to have undergone second- or foreign-language learning (two years of college study or equivalent). Students who have not had such experience before entering the program are required to take at least a semester of language study, which does not count toward the 36-credit-hour MA requirement.
Plan A (Thesis) Requirements
Plan B (Non-thesis) Requirements
Plan C Requirements
Plan C is an individually planned program for established language scholars who wish to purse an additional degree. For admission requirements, contact the graduate chair.
As an option, the 36-credit MA program allows for students to concentrate in a particular area of specialization. Each specialization requires a distinct selection of four courses from among various electives, as well as a related seminar. Five areas of specialization are available:
For further information about these specializations, see www.hawaii.edu/sls/?link=view_handbook§ion=8.
Additional information concerning the MA program and its requirements is contained in the SLS program brochure at the website above. Some of the topics included are financial aid, transfer of credit, and requirements such as the scholarly paper.
Advanced Graduate Certificate
The Advanced Graduate Certificate in Second Language Studies provides advanced training to those who already have graduate degrees (master’s, doctorate) in applied linguistics, foreign languages, ESL, or related fields. The program is specifically aimed at those who wish to re-specialize or to update their training to include recent developments in the field. Applicants must have completed an MA or PhD degree in an appropriate field, or they must be a continuing student in an MA or PhD program in an appropriate field at UH Manoa, before entering the certificate program. Graduate students enrolled in other programs at UH Manoa are permitted to apply for the certificate while they concurrently complete another graduate degree. For specific information and guidelines on the application process, see www.hawaii.edu/sls/?link=view_handbook§ion=10.
The course of study typically lasts about two semesters and includes 15 credits (five courses) and a research paper (scholarly paper) to be produced during the program. Up to 9 credits of course work may be transferred from a prior program. Students who complete the certificate in SLS will obtain knowledge and skills in second language studies, including a knowledge base in second language analysis, learning, pedagogy, and use, in utilization of research findings and application of research methods.
As a culminating activity in the program, students are required to submit a paper which demonstrates the student’s ability to conduct independent high quality scholarly research. This paper must be new research (i.e. different from prior MA level work) conducted under supervision of the program’s faculty.
The PhD program in second language studies (SLS) is offered by the Department of Second Language Studies. The graduate faculty of the program is interdisciplinary—drawn not only from the SLS department but also from faculty in the Departments of East Asian Languages and Literatures, Educational Psychology, Indo-Pacific Languages and Literatures, and Linguistics. The SLS PhD is a WICHE approved program.
The courses in the program are organized into four areas of specialization:
The basic requirement for admission into the PhD program is the completion of an MA in ESL or SLS, applied linguistics, or second- or foreign-language education. Applicants with graduate degrees in such related disciplines as anthropology, education, English, modern languages, linguistics, and psychology are also welcome. In addition to the admission requirements of the Graduate Division, the SLS PhD program requires (a) letters of recommendation (three of which should be from academic sources); (b) copies of an MA thesis, publications, or other research; (c) a statement of research interests; (d) a brief description of relevant professional experience and language skills; and (e) GRE General Test scores (for both native and nonnative speakers of English). Applicants whose native language is not English are required to have a minimum computer-based (CBT) TOEFL score of 250 (100 internet iBT or 600 paper PBT), with a score of 260 (105 iBT or 620 PBT) preferred, or a minimal IELTS band of 7.0 with 7.5 preferred).
Students are normally admitted for the fall semester, but spring admission is possible in special cases. Candidates are encouraged to apply early. There are various sources of financial aid. The program strives to provide financial support for the best qualified doctoral students by means of research and teaching assistantships. For additional information, see www.hawaii.edu/sls/?link=view_handbook§ion=11.
Students work closely with their advisors and doctoral committees in defining their individualized programs. In order to establish a common core of expertise among students, specific courses are designated according to the background of each student. The basic preparation expected as part of their MA training is at least one graduate-level course in each of the four areas of specialization comparable to the courses indicated below. Beyond basic preparation, each doctoral student’s program must include a minimum of two graduate-level courses in three of the four subfields of specialization and a minimum of two graduate-level courses in research methods. At least two courses must be at the 700 level.
Doctoral candidates must pass a comprehensive examination before the dissertation and a final oral examination defending the dissertation.
Students must also document and reflect on substantial, diverse learning experiences in two languages other than their first language. This requirement is fulfilled by submitting a 3- to 5-page reflective essay during the first two years of study and before advancement to candidacy. Examples of substantial and diverse language learning experience include:
For details on this requirement and other information on the PhD program, see the SLS website.
The English Language Institute (ELI) is located in the Department of Second Language Studies. The ELI’s primary purpose is to provide English instruction for international and immigrant students or others, whose native language is not English to facilitate their academic studies at UH Manoa. The ELI program is only for students who have been admitted to UH Manoa.
All international and immigrant students admitted to UH Manoa are referred to ELI to determine if they must take the ELI placement test before registering for UH Manoa courses. If a student does not fulfill this obligation, ELI will place a hold on the student’s registration. The ELI placement test is generally offered three times at the beginning of each semester. Information about the testing dates and times can be found on the ELI website or the UH Manoa Registration Homepage. Students can sign up for ELI placement tests online or in person at Moore 570 prior to the testing date
Students are exempt from taking the ELI placement test if they meet any of the following conditions: (a) the student is a native speaker of English; (b) the student has received a score of 100 or better on the internet-based TOEFL, a score of 250 or better on the computer-based TOEFL, or a score of 600 or better on the paper-based TOEFL; (c) the student has received a score of 460 or better on the verbal section of the GRE; (d) the student has received a score of 540 or better on the verbal section of the SAT if taken before March 2005, or a score of 540 or better on the critical reading section if taken in March 2005 or thereafter; (e) the student has received a combined score of 48 on the reading and English sections of the ACT and neither subscore (reading or English sections) is lower than 21; (f) the student has an Associate of Arts degree from a community college within the UH System; (g) the student has obtained the equivalent of 60 transferable semester credits with a GPA of 2.0 or better, all earned in classroom settings at regionally accredited colleges or universities in the U.S., or from colleges or universities whose academic standing is recognized by UH Manoa and where English is the primary language of instruction; or (h) the student has completed six years of full-time schooling with English as the medium of instruction at a middle school, high school, college, or university in Australia, Canada (except Quebec), Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, or the U.S. Documentation of all six years is required.
These exemption criteria apply at the time students are admitted to UH Manoa. An exemption on the basis of one of these criteria may be automatically granted by UH Manoa, or it may be granted by the ELI office if the student can provide the appropriate documentation, including official transcripts or test results.
Assignment to ELI Courses
All other international or immigrant students who have been admitted to UH Manoa must take the ELI placement test before they can register for courses. Placement into ELI courses or exemption from ELI courses will be based on the test results. Students pursuing online degrees should contact the ELI Director for further information. All ELI courses must be completed within the first year of study at UH Manoa. Students who do not complete ELI coursework as planned may not be allowed to graduate.
Relationship to Other Course WorkELI courses are equivalent to 3-credit courses when considering a student’s course load. Students placed into ELI courses need to reduce the number of additional credit courses they can take and should expect to make slower progress in their regular UH Manoa studies. This is an especially important factor in some graduate programs and should be considered carefully by students whose time or financial support is limited.
College of Languages, Linguistics and Literature
The Hawai‘i English Language Program (HELP), administered by the Department of SLS, is a noncredit, comprehensive, intensive ESL program for students who wish to improve their English language proficiency for academic, business, or professional pursuits. Most students in the program are preparing to enter an American college or university, although many are studying English for other reasons. In addition to TOEFL and TOEIC preparation courses, HELP offers a fully integrated, content-based curriculum to prepare students for success in academic study. Admission to HELP is open to individuals 17 or older who have completed high school or its equivalent. There are four 8-week sessions each year beginning in January, April, August, and October. HELP also offers two 4-week summer programs in mid-June and mid-July. For an application packet and information, go to www.hawaii.edu/eslhelp.
Please note: This Catalog was prepared to provide information and does not constitute a contract. The University reserves the right to change or delete, supplement or otherwise amend at any time and without prior notice the information, requirements and policies contained in this Catalog.
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