Second Language Teaching MA (SLaT)
The mission of the BYU Master of Arts program in Second Language Teaching (SLaT) is to prepare graduate students to work in the field of second language teaching with additional understanding, knowledge, and pedagogical skills beyond those acquired at the undergraduate level. This program may serve as either a terminal M.A. program or a springboard to a Ph.D.
This college-wide program uniquely prepares students with second language teaching skills, which are based on sound teaching theories that build on and go beyond the scientific study of language. The SLaT M.A. assists second- and foreign-language teachers in improving their professional qualifications in second language pedagogy, research, and assessment.
The focus is on teacher preparation, providing a skillset suitable for a variety of careers within both higher education and second language teaching. There is an industry need for teachers who are prepared to teach a variety of languages; this program helps to satisfy that need. The SLaT program also prepares a foundation for continued study in Ph.D. programs in foreign language education and eventual entry into academia.
Is SLaT for Me?
The SLaT program is ideally suited to the needs of individuals who have completed undergraduate degrees in a foreign language and have an interest in teaching their acquired language in an advanced educational setting, such as in a college or university, or in a business enterprise. The SLaT M.A. is not a public-school certification program, but the program will be beneficial to currently certified foreign language teachers as part of their continuing professional development or as preparation to pursue a Ph.D.
For more information on the program requirements, please visit the catalog.
Public School Teachers
The Second Language Teaching MA can accommodate full-time, public school teachers who are able to come to campus in the evenings and during the summer. Normally, these students complete their degree in 3 years and take 1 evening class each semester, with 1-2 courses in the summer. Most of our courses are held in the late afternoon or evening.
Those who participate in BYU Summer Institutes for Teachers of French or German may apply that coursework to the MA program. For more information, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Application and Admission Requirements
- Undergraduate GPA: a baccalaureate degree with a minimum cumulative GPA of at least 3.0
- Statement of Intent: a one-page statement of intent, outlining your interest in the program, your potential as a scholar, and your intended contribution to the field of second language teaching
- Language of Specialization. Designated language of specialization as indicated on the “Desired Research Area” portion of the application. Normally, the SLaT program admits students of French, Italian, German, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Arabic, as these are languages for which we have graduate faculty.
- Language Proficiency Proof: ACTFL OPI rating of Advanced Low for languages in difficulty categories 1 and 2 or Intermediate High for difficulty categories 3 and 4 (see table below). If ACTFL exams are not available in the language, other proof may be considered. This does not apply to native speakers of their language of specialization.
- Scholarly Writing Sample: a 10- to 15-page scholarly writing sample in English addressing a topic relevant to second-language teaching
- 3 Letters of Recommendation: three letters of recommendation, two of which should be from persons familiar with the applicants’ skills in teaching and their proficiency in the language of specialization
- Graduate Records Exam (GRE): score at the 50th percentile or above on the verbal section of the exam and receive at least a rating of 4 on the analytical/writing section
- TOEFL: score of 90 or above on the TOEFL iBT (minimum score of 24 in Speaking and minimum score of 22 in Listening, Reading, and Writing). Contact email@example.com for information about other English test options. NOTE: This requirement only applies to non-native speakers of English.
- Prerequisites: Successful completion of a language-teaching methodology course. Exceptions may be allowed for equivalent experience, such as other extensive, formal language teaching experience.
- Complete an ecclesiastical endorsement.
- Application Fee: $50 (USD) to be paid online
- International Students: See the Graduate Studies International Students page for additional requirements
ACTFL Second Language Difficulty Categories for Speakers of English
|Category 1||Category 2||Category 3||Category 4|
|Afrikaans, Danish, Dutch, French, Haitian Creole, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish, Swahili Swedish||Bulgarian, German, Greek, Hindi, Indonesian, Malay, Urdu||Cambodian, Czech, Finnish, Hebrew, Hmong, Hungarian, Polish, Russian, Serbo-Croatian, Slovak, Tagalog, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Vietnamese||Arabic, Cantonese, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin|
Application Deadline: February 1st
SLaT scholarships are available, depending on student performance and funding availability. Incoming students are automatically considered for scholarships. No separate application is required.
Second-year tuition scholarships are based on academic performance, student evaluations, meeting minimum registration requirements, and scholarship application. Scholarships normally range from 50%-80% of tuition.
Learn more about BYU Graduate Student scholarships.
SLaT students are often hired as graduate student instructors within the departments of their language of specialization. Graduate instructors are solely responsible for class instruction, assigning and correcting assignments, giving quizzes and exams, and awarding grades at the end of the semester.
Students applying for instructorship positions must be accepted into the SLaT program and have demonstrated prior teaching experience. Hiring takes place a few months before each semester. Each student will be required to apply through their respective language department. Often, departments require instructors to attend orientation and in-service meetings prior to the start of the semester.
Graduate students are normally hired for 10 hours/week per course, and paid on average between $12-$18/ hour, depending on experience.
Students who are interested in acquiring an instructorship should email the Assistant Director at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn more about BYU tuition costs and financial aid.
The SLaT M.A. Reading List gives you broad exposure to some of the most influential research and texts in the area of language teaching. The Reading List materials are incorporated into the Written Comprehensive Exam, which aims to test your understanding of and ability to apply concepts and information presented during your program.
You will need to read and carefully consider all of the works on the list. It is recommended that you read items in conjunction with your class registrations, but you are welcome to begin reading the summer before you start your coursework.
You can read more about the Reading List and Comprehensive Exam in the SLaT Graduate Handbook.
The Center for Language Studies has compiled all of your readings for the SLaT MA Comprehensive Exam into the HBLL Course Reserve System. Many of the items can be accessed digitally, while a few are only available in hard copy at the Harold B. Lee Library.
SLAT 602 MW 4:00-5:15 James Hartshorn
SLAT 603 MW 5:30-6:45 Mike Child
SLAT 610 TTH 5:00-6:15 Greg Thompson
SLAT 611 MWF 1:00-1:50 Lynn Henrichsen
Possible proficiency course SLaT 680R
SLaT 601-SLA Theory and Practice, Greg Thompson, M/W 5:00-6:15 JFSB B-164
SLaT 604-Assessment, Cherice Montgomery, T/Th 5:30-6:45 JFSB B-181
SLaT 613-Culture, Teresa Bell, T/Th 4:00-5:15 TBD
SLaT 602-Linguistics, James Hartshorn
SLaT 603-Research, Mike Child
SLaT 614R - Online teaching, Julie Damron and Jennifer Bown
SLaT 614R-Teaching dual immersion, Ellen Knell
SLaT 601-SLA Theory and Practice
SLaT 612-Reading and Writing, Ellen Knell
Research Interests: Immersion education, language teaching methodology, and teaching culture.
Research Interests: Effective language teaching, perceptions of effective language teaching, written error correction, ACTFL oral proficiency for pre-service language teaching
Research Interests: Study abroad, stress, and motivation
Research Interests: Advanced language pedagogy, assessment, and oversees study. Also, Chinese linguistics, Chinese diaspora language, and Chinese dialects
Research Interests: Advanced language pedagogy and assessment, second language reading, affective and social factors in language learning.
Research Interests: Second Language Assessment and Teaching, Language Proficiency Scales/Standards, Self-Assessment and Objective Measurement
Research Interests: Student success in face-to-face, online, and blended language classes. Language gains during study abroad/direct enrollment
second language learning and agency, self-regulation, motivation, social networking (social interaction), anxiety (stress), study abroad, and testing/assessment
Research Interests: Second language writing
Research Interests: Writing in a second language—written corrective feedback, self-regulated language learning, and language curriculum development.
Research Interests: The teaching and learning of L2 pronunciation, listening, and speaking skills
Research Interests: Dual language immersion (DLI) pedagogy, curriculum and policy, second language teacher training, bilingual literacy acquisition (English/Chinese), remote language learning, and adult literacy learners
Research Interests: Russian Linguistics
Affiliated Faculty, Second Language Teaching
Research Interests: language teaching and learning in study abroad and other experiential learning contexts, language teaching and technology, and pronunciation teaching and learning, and proficiency oriented teaching.
Research Interests: curriculum development and implementation in dual language immersion (DLI), Foreign Language Student Housing (FLSR), literacy development and the use of culturally authentic materials for language learning, project-based language learning (PBLL), and scaffolding
Research Interests: Psycholinguistics, Second Language Acquisition, Phonetics, Speech perception and production, Foreign Language Housing
Research Interests: Proficiency gains, Can-Do statements, language gains in immersion settings, second language pronunciation, influence of dialect on pronunciation, German plurals, prosody gains
Department of Spanish and Portuguese
Research Interests: code-switching in the foreign language classroom; heritage language learners; service-learning and language acquisition; bilingualism and languages in contact; placement exams and language testing
Department of Asian and Near Eastern Languages
Research Interests: Chinese linguistics, Second language acquisition, Teaching speaking and writing to advanced level learners, Material development
The following are theses presented by previous SLaT students. Hyperlinks to online versions of the theses are organized by year. Theses prior to 2005 are available through the Center for Language Studies.
Shu Ling Ko
Employment: Adjunct Faculty, Private University
"My degree and connections helped get the job."
Employment: Program Assistant
"The value of the SLaT program is in the combination of learning the latest research, having real teaching experiences where that research can be practiced, and having intimate access to professors via small classroom sizes and other opportunities for one-on-one interactions."
Employment: Substitute Teacher
"Learning to critically analyze research and statistics. This skill has gone far beyond language and teaching and had helped me in several different aspects of my life to not just believe what people tell me, but to do research and find out for myself."
Employment: Instructional Designer
“I loved my time in the SLaT program! In my daily work designing online language courses, I constantly pull from the skills and experience I gained from my studies.”
Employment: Assistant Professor, Federal Language Institute
"If you are looking for a high-quality yet affordable language teaching program. Congratulations! You have found it!"
Employment: Language Teacher, Private School
"The SLAT program qualified me for many opportunities and introduced me to new ideas. I got to meet, work with, and learn from top experts in various fields of language teaching. I was prepared to implement innovative pedagogical methods and technology applications in my classes that have helped my students succeed."
Employment: Assistant Professor, Private University
"I value the research that I conducted in my courses and for my MA thesis. Knowing that I enjoyed research not only prepared me for my PhD program but motivated me to continue my studies. I also enjoyed the support of my advisor and other professors. What I learned through their mentorship is still valuable to me today."
Employment: Teacher, Public School
"This program helped me gain a broader appreciation for language acquisition and equipped me with very useful understanding and skills needed to teach a language. It's been six years since I graduated, but I refer back to principles I learned in this program pretty much every day at work!"
Employment: Language Program Administrator
"The SLaT program gave me the pedagogical and research knowledge needed to be successful in a variety of educational settings. I loved my time in the SLaT program, and would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a top-notch, intimate, and affordable program that will allow them to work in any Foreign Language educational setting they choose."
-Jordan Wilson, 2015 SLaT graduate
-Jeremy Evans, 2015 SLaT graduate
-Yu Fang Liao, 2014 SLaT graduate