AGC in SLS Program


The Advanced Graduate Certificate (AGC) in Second Language Studies, begun in fall 2000, provides advanced training to those who already have graduate degrees (MA, MEd, MS, PhD, EdD, etc.) in applied linguistics, foreign languages, ESL, or related fields. The program is specifically aimed at those who wish to respecialize or to update their training to include recent developments in the field. Continuing graduate students at the University of Hawai‘i (UH) will also be permitted to apply for the AGC while they concurrently complete another graduate degree (master’s or doctorate). Students may also be admitted into the AGC program whose eventual goal is to apply to the PhD in Second Language Studies, but whose previous academic training in SLS is insufficient.

Learning Outcomes

Given the intent of the AGC to provide individually tailored programs of study, student learning outcomes vary considerably from one student to the next. In general, students who complete the AGC in SLS will acquire contemporary knowledge and skills in second language studies, in one or more of the following areas:

  • Knowledge base—second language analysis, second language learning, second language pedagogy, second language use
  • Utilization of research findings
  • Application of research methods

More specifically, each AGC graduate will achieve the following outcomes:

1. Familiarity with topics and concepts specific to their particular interests in the field of second language studies
2. Ability to engage in systematic investigation of topics and concepts in the SLS knowledge base to inform their own and others’ practices
3. Advancement of future career and/or academic study possibilities


No one is granted an AGC in SLS without having completed a master’s or doctorate in an appropriate field. A student who did not already have an appropriate master’s or doctorate degree at entry into the AGC program must study for such a degree at UH concurrently. Such a student cannot be awarded the AGC in SLS until all requirements for the concurrent graduate degree have been fulfilled.

AGC Concurrent with Another Degree at the University of Hawai‘i

No more than 6 units of courses which are counted toward the AGC in SLS may be counted toward another degree, upon the approval of both the degree program and SLS. No research paper or thesis which has been used to fulfill the requirements for any other degree may be used to fulfill the Scholarly Paper requirement of the AGC in SLS.

Transfer, PBU Credits, & Residency Requirement

No transfer credits are applicable toward graduate certificate requirements. However, up to 6 credits of Post-Baccalaureate Unclassified credits may count toward the AGC (

Wth the consent of their advisor, students enrolled in a degree program and the AGC program may apply an unlimited number of credits for coursework that they have taken prior to enrollment in the AGC program, given that they meet the residency requirement for the AGC (

Certificate Requirements

The AGC in SLS requires 15 graduate credits, of which 9 credits must be courses in SLS. A minimum of 9 credits should be courses numbered 600 or above (excluding 699 and Thesis 700). Only 3 credits of SLS 699 can count toward the AGC. The final requirement to complete the AGC is a scholarly paper, to be developed in consultation with the AGC advisor.

Relationship to Programs at Other Institutions

To our knowledge, this type of advanced graduate certificate is not yet offered by any other institution. The common qualifications in SLS and applied linguistics are the masters and doctorate. Approximately 200 institutions in the U.S. offer a masters in second language studies (under various names: chiefly applied linguistics, ESL, or second language acquisition), and about 30 offer a doctorate.

In addition, about 50 institutions offer a qualification called a “certificate”, usually in English as a second language or Teaching ESL (TESOL). However, this type of “certificate” is a uniformly lesser qualification than a masters. Some require only a few months of training. More common are one-year programs.

In contrast, the AGC in SLS is a specialized qualification, and presupposes a graduate degree, either a masters or doctorate. One of the reasons the name “Advanced Graduate Certificate” in SLS was chosen is to make it clear that this certificate is not comparable to existing “TESOL” certificates.