The Department of Second Language Studies is probably the oldest independent department in its field. It was originally called the Department of English as a Second Language (ESL); however, in 2000, it was renamed the Department of Second Language Studies so as to reflect its broader focus. Its faculty and programs are held to be internationally outstanding. Its faculty are active in teaching, research, publication, and serve as members of many professional organizations and editorial boards.

The Department offers BA, MA and PhD programs in Second Language Studies and an Advanced Graduate Certificate in Second Language Studies.

Although the Department originally focused on ESL, the interests of the students in the Department are no longer limited to the teaching of English. Many are researchers in second/foreign language acquisition generally; many are interested in critical and social issues of language learning and use; many are interested in language assessment and teaching; many have specialities in languages other than English.

The Department’s graduate programs are intended to provide advanced academic education for second language researchers, language teachers, and other language professionals. If you want to improve your English, these programs are not appropriate for your goals. You might instead look at one of the two language teaching units administered by the Department: HELP, for students who are not regularly enrolled in University programs, and The English Language Institute for students already admitted to the University.

Department of Second Language Studies
University of Hawai’i
1890 East-West Rd.
Honolulu, HI 96822

Phone: (808) 956-8610
Fax: (808) 956-2802

If you have questions about academic programs, you can also email us.  For questions about graduate programs, email the Grad Chair <grdchr@hawaii.edu>.  For questions about undergraduate programs, email Kenton Harsch <kenton@hawaii.edu>.


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