Ph.D. Bilingualism and Second Language Acquisition- Learning Goals and Assessment

The doctoral program in Spanish (Option in Bilingualism and Second Language Acquisition) trains students to assume leadership roles in research and teaching as well as educational areas of Second Language Acquisition and Bilingualism studies. 

Learning Goal 1 for Students: 

Attain marked ability, scholarship, research and leadership skills concerning factors that contribute to the understanding of the linguistic and social processes involved in Bilingualism and Second Language Acquisition.

Assessment of student achievement of Goal 1:         

  • Grades in graduate courses
  • Qualifying examinations assessing depth and breadth of knowledge
  • Review by faculty of student progress with close advising and mentoring
  • Presenting research at appropriate professional conferences
  • Placement in positions and careers that require ability and scholarship in Second Language Acquisition and Bilingualism studies.

Role of the program in helping students to achieve Goal 1:

  • Close advising to assure that students are being prepared in a coherent and academically rigorous fashion
  • Effective monitoring of student progress
    • Includes annual reports on research progress from both the student and the graduate director
    • Yearly faculty meeting of graduate faculty in Bil/SLA to assess student progress
  • Evaluations of teaching effectiveness of instructors in graduate courses
    • If effectiveness is below expectations, work with instructors to improve effectiveness
  • Periodic review of curricular offerings, degree requirements and assessment tools
    • By program faculty
    • In consultation with the office of the dean of the graduate school and/or the unit dean

Learning Goal 2 for Students: 

Engage in and conduct original research

Assessment of graduate student achievement of Goal 2:

  • Preparation of and defense of Ph.D. dissertation proposal
  • Assessment of quality of Ph.D. dissertation:
    • Public defense of dissertation
    • Critical reading of dissertation by committee of graduate faculty members and an external reader.
    • Submission and acceptance of peer-reviewed articles and conference papers based on the dissertation
  • Achievement of students as evidenced by professional placements, selection for conference presentations, peer-reviewed publications and individual grant attainment

Role of the graduate program in helping students achieve Goal 2:

  • Provide early introduction to research methods and opportunities for research
  • Provide opportunities to present research and receive feedback
  • Maintain adequate funding levels through the research phase
  • Mentor students with regard to professionalization opportunities, including preparation of grants and conference abstract submissions
  • Provide comprehensive advising and assist in the identification of mentors
  • Facilitate and encourage student placement in one of the research labs in acquisition/bilingualism

Learning Goal 3 for Students:

Prepare to be professionals in careers that require training at the highest levels in Second Language Acquisition and Bilingualism studies

Assessment of graduate student achievement of Goal 3:

  • Review evidence of papers presented, publications and professional networking
  • Evaluations of teaching effectiveness of graduate student instructors
  • Collection of placement data

Role of the program in helping students achieve Goal 3:

  • Develop discipline-specific programs in concert with the Teaching Assistant Project and/or Carnegie Academy for Scholarship on Teaching and Learning programs
  • Encourage participation in professional development programs in such areas as human subjects research, library use, course management software, interview skills, presentation skills, development of CVs, use of research tools, training in the responsible conduct of research, and proposal writing
  • Host discipline-specific training when appropriate
  • Teach students how to do assessments in their future professional capacities
  • Provide flexible options for students with interdisciplinary interests related to linguistic, social and educational approaches to second language acquisition and bilingualism.
  • Develop or enhance programs related to job and networking skills, including activity in professional societies


The leadership of the graduate program of Spanish (Ph.D. Option in Second Language Acquisition and Bilingualism) will regularly review the structure and content of the program and the feedback received from assessments and surveys. These reviews will be used to provide the best possible education to students in order to meet the needs for highly trained individuals in the field.  

Update Spring 2016:

Goal 3) A professional development committee has been established to guide students in job placement.