Second Language Studies

Most speakers worldwide speak more than one language. Second Language Studies investigates how people use, learn or lose another language, be it a second, third, heritage, or foreign language, or a pidgin or creole. Second Language Studies is the study of multilingualism in all of its diversity.




The BA in Second Language Studies introduces students to a wide range of theoretical and practical perspectives, focusing on how second languages are learned, taught, and used in global and local societies, as well as on assessment and evaluation, intercultural communication, and professionalism in language-related workplaces. While the majority of SLS majors seek careers in teaching English or other second languages, many pursue opportunities in areas such as translation and interpretation, materials development, and bilingual education, or move on to graduate study.

Advanced Graduate Certificate in SLS

The AGC provides advanced training for language professionals and researchers who already hold graduate degrees in applied linguistics or related fields and for students who concurrently complete another graduate degree at the University of Hawai‘i. The AGC is now also available with a specialization in Spanish Applied Linguistics.

The Department of Second Language Studies

The Department of Second Language Studies at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa is an internationally leading institution in its field. SLS faculty and students examine second language use and learning from educational, linguistic, psychological, sociological, and anthropological perspectives. Faculty expertise in a wide range of research approaches and practice domains offers students exceptional opportunities to pursue their career goals as language professionals and researchers worldwide.


The MA in SLS program prepares students for careers as language professionals and for further study in PhD programs. It is the only MA program in SLS and related fields to offer five optional specializations:
• Critical Second Language Studies
• Language Assessment, Measurement, and Program Evaluation
• Language and Social Interaction
• Language Education
• Second Language Acquisition

PhD in SLS

The PhD in SLS program offers advanced training in Second Language Analysis, Second Language Learning, Second Language Use, Second Language Pedagogy, and Second Language Research Methodology. Graduates from the PhD in SLS program hold faculty positions at prestigious universities and are recognized as international leaders in applied linguistics and the study of multilingualism.

Photo of Dr. Dongping Zheng and Dr. Aitao Lu

Dr. Dongping Zheng Awarded Two-Year Grant from National Natural Sciences Foundation of China

Congratulations to Dr. Dongping Zheng (pictured left), Associate Professor in SLS, and her colleague, Dr. Aitao Lu (pictured right) of South China Normal University, for a two-year grant awarded by the National Natural Sciences Foundation of China (#31571141 and #31628010; $26,000 USD).

Read more

Dissertation Defense


PhD in Second Language Studies Dissertation Defense

Wei-Li Hsu


Constructs of L2 Chinese Reading
and the Influence of Language Background

Chair: Thom Hudson

12 October 2016, 9:00–10:30 a.m.
Moore Hall, Room 155A

Read more

Dissertation Defense


PhD in Second Language Studies Dissertation Defense

Prem Phyak


‘For our Cho:tlung’: Decolonizing Language Ideologies and
(Re)Imagining Multilingual Education Policies and Practices in Nepal


Chair: Kathryn A. Davis

12 October 2016, 2:00–5:00 p.m.
Moore Hall, Room 258

Read more

Thursday “Brown Bag” Lecture Series

Location: St. John Auditorium 11

Time: Noon–1:15 p.m.

October 20
Mastering Library Research

Presenter: Sveta Stoytcheva, Second Language Studies Librarian, UH-Mānoa

*Bring Your Own Devices* Event

The SLS Thursday “Brown Bag” is a lecture series organized by the Department of Second Language Studies for enhancing students’ academic experience and professional future. Archived presentation descriptions can be found here: Spring 2016Fall 2015; Spring 2015; Fall 2014.

To propose a presentation topic, please contact SLS Department Chair Dr. Crookes (crookes@hawaii.edu; CC emilylee@hawaii.edu).

Read more


Get Pidgin?

T-shirt and Reusable Bag Giveaway


Friday (October 14), 10AM–1PM
Campus Center Courtyard


Da Pidgin Coup, a language awareness and advocacy group associated with the Charlene J. Sato Center, is giving away free t-shirts and free reusable canvas bags on FRIDAY, October 14 in the Campus Center Courtyard. The event is from 10AM to 1PM, or while supplies last. Stop by, participate in a short activity, and then choose a t-shirt or bag. Das right, free, brah.

For more information: cmhigginat symbolhawaii.edu



Read more

Dissertation Defense


PhD in Second Language Studies Dissertation Defense

Jennifer Holdway


Mathematics and Multilingual Learners: Transformative Learning Through In-Service Teacher Professional Development


Chair: Kathryn A. Davis

14 October 2016, 2:00–4:00 p.m.
Moore Hall, Room 155A

Read more

Reduced Tuition Rates Available for Residents of WICHE Member States

The University of Hawai’i at Mānoa participates in the Western Regional Graduate Program (WRGP), administered by the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education (WICHE). Accepted MA and PhD students in SLS who are legal residents of WICHE member states may enroll in the program at reduced tuition rates, if eligibility requirements are met.

Details about the WICHE Program can be found on this page: http://manoa.hawaii.edu/graduate/content/wiche-program

Read more


Inviting Applications to the MA Program in Second Language Studies

The 36-credit MA in SLS offers the option of specializing in one or more areas: Critical Second Language Studies; Language Assessment, Measurement, and Program Evaluation; Language EducationLanguage and Social Interaction; and Second Language Acquisition.

Achievement Scholarships available for top applicants.

Fall 2017 admissions applications will be accepted through January 1, 2017.

Read more