PhD in SLS Program

The PhD program in Second Language Studies at the University of Hawai‘i was established in 1989. The graduate faculty of the PhD program comprises all members of the SLS faculty, several faculty members of the Departments of East Asian Languages and Literatures and Linguistics, and cooperating and affiliate faculty members from other related departments.

The goal of the program is to promote significant doctoral-level research into major areas of SLS — analysis, learning, use and education. We need to know more about how second languages are learned, how they should be taught, and what psychological and sociological factors influence their acquisition. We need a better understanding of language styles, dialect variation, and a host of other areas. Knowledge in this field has a significant impact on such matters as proficiency assessment, program organization, language teaching methodologies, legal and social policy issues concerning language, and our understanding of the nature of language.

Program Learning Outcomes

Students who complete the PhD program in SLS will be able to:


1: Demonstrate comprehensive, expert-level knowledge in at least two of the four core domains of second language studies: second language analysis, second language learning, second language use, and second language education.

2: Demonstrate understanding of both qualitative and quantitative research methods used in the field of second language studies.

Inquiry and Applied Skills

3: Apply research methods appropriately to generate knowledge and/or evaluate professional practice in the field of second language studies.

4: Critically analyze, synthesize, and utilize academic literature and empirical data in the field of second language studies.

Communication Skills

5: Skillfully communicate and disseminate information in spoken/signed and written modalities.

Professional Skills

6: Conduct second language studies research that demonstrates adherence to ethical principles and respect of social, cultural, and linguistic diversity.

7: Interact professionally with stakeholders, professionals, and fellow scholars in second language studies and other fields.

For more information on the Institutional Learning Outcomes, please visit