The Option A minor in second language acquisition (SLA) offers graduate students both a theoretical and a practical background in the increasingly important area of SLA. After completing the minor, students will be prepared to understand research in SLA and to develop teaching curricula based on principles of second language learning and teaching.

Student must come to the SLA minor with a minimal background in second language acquisition and learning methodology, and in linguistics, obtained through the listed prerequisite courses or their equivalents.

Note: In spring 2015, the SLA steering committee approved new requirements for the SLA minor, effective fall 2015. Those students who began the minor before fall 2015 have the option to complete the old requirements or the new. See pre–fall 2015 requirements.

The SLA minor consists of 9 credits: a required course, and two elective courses, which must be taken outside the student’s home department. Students without a background in linguistics and language pedagogy are encouraged to take introductory linguistics and teaching methodology courses before starting the SLA minor. Students may transfer up to 3 credits from prior graduate work, upon approval.

New requirements (effective fall 2015)

All students are required to take ENGL 318 Second Language Acquisition or CURRIC 673 Learning Second Language and Literacies. Students also choose two courses (from outside of their home departments) from the approved SLA list below. With approval of the SLA minor advisor, students may count up to 3 credits (one course) of prior graduate study toward the minor.

The courses for the SLA minor may be taken in any appropriate sequence.

The total for the minor is thus three courses (9 credits). The two elective courses should be taken outside the student’s home department. (Exceptions can be made for students with a literature focus.)

Students wishing to minor in SLA should first contact the relevant SLA committee member in their department who will refer them to the SLA minor advisor. Students declaring the minor are required to meet with Professor Naomi Geyer, (email: SLA minor advisor, before registering for SLA minor courses.

For more information on the minor for doctoral students, see the Graduate School policy on minors.

Required Courses for the SLA Doctoral Minor

SLA doctoral minors must complete one of two courses:

Students declaring the SLA minor who wish to take either of these courses should notify the instructor and the SLA minor advisor of their intention as early as possible so that a slot in the course may be reserved.

Transferring Credits from Prior Graduate Work

With approval by the SLA minor advisor, students may count up to 3 credits of prior graduate study from outside UW–Madison. Typically a course syllabus (translated into English, if necessary, and with credit hours clearly stated) is required to determine whether the course can count toward the SLA doctoral minor.


Students are required to take two courses (6 credits) outside of their home departments from the list of approved courses below. Students select courses for a balanced program according to individual interest. All courses must be approved by the SLA minor advisor, who will monitor the overall coherence of each student's minor program, with input from the student's departmental SLA advisor. Other courses can be considered, but require preapproval by the SLA Steering Committee. To be approved for the minor, courses must contain a foreign language or second language focus as evidenced by course material (e.g., syllabus or reading list), provided by the student to the SLA minor advisor.

African Cultural Studies

Curriculum and Instruction (C&I)

  • CURRIC 673 Learning Second Language and Literacies
  • CURRIC 674 Advanced Methods in Teaching English as a Second Language
  • CURRIC 675 General Seminar*
  • CURRIC 743 Educational Technology for Deep Language Learning**
  • CURRIC 964 Seminar in World Language Education
  • CURRIC 975 General Seminar (with appropriate topic; see SLA PhD minor advisor for consent)


  • ENGL 414 Global Spread of English (Instructor and SLA advisor consent required.)
  • ENGL 420 Topics in English Language and Linguistics 
  • ENGL 703 Research Methods in Composition Studies 
  • ENGL/​SOC  710 Interaction Analysis: Talk as Social Organization
  • ENGL 711 Research Methods in Applied Linguistics
  • ENGL 713 Topics in Contemporary English Linguistics*
  • ENGL 715 Advanced Second Language Acquisition
  • ENGL 905 Seminar-Topics in Applied English Linguistics*

French and Italian

FRENCH/​ITALIAN  821 Issues in Methods of Teaching French and Italian */**



  • SOC 735 Ethnomethodology & Conversation Analysis


(Note: Spanish courses are generally offered in Spanish; contact instructor)

  • SPANISH 544 Contemporary Issues in Applied Spanish Linguistics
  • SPANISH 630 Topics in Hispanic Linguistics (with appropriate topic)
  • SPANISH 815 Seminar in Language: Modern Spanish (with appropriate topic)

*Topics courses. Students should see the SLA Minor Advisor for approval of topics appropriate for the minor.

**Courses must be taken for a total of 3 credits, in one or multiple enrollments.



Prof. Cathy Stafford (director):

Contact Prof. Stafford for questions having to do with the academic program. 

Wendy Johnson (program coordinator):

Contact Ms. Johnson with questions of a logistical or procedural nature. 

Malliga Somasundaram (financial and payroll specialist):

Contact Ms. Somasundaram for questions regarding fellowships, benefits, reimbursements, and all things financial.  

PhD Minor

Prof. Naomi Geyer (PhD minor advisor):

Students wishing to minor in SLA should first contact the relevant SLA committee member in their department who will refer them to the chair of the SLA minor program. Students declaring the minor are required to meet with the SLA Minor Advisor before registering for SLA minor courses.

SLA Faculty and Academic Staff

Core SLA members advise, direct, or co-direct dissertations of students in the program. Their research focuses on Second Language Acquisition, as demonstrated in publications, presentations at research conferences, professional service activities, and/or graduate teaching.

Affiliate Members

Affiliate SLA faculty and academic staff teach courses related to SLA, co-advise dissertations, and may serve on administrative committees.

SLA Listserves (includes all SLA-affiliated students and faculty)

Faculty: Professors Chavez (German), Evans-Romaine (Slavic Languages and Literature), Frantzen (Spanish and Portuguese), Hawkins (Curriculum and Instruction), Mori (East Asian Languages and Literature), Tochon (Curriculum and Instruction), Young (English); Associate Professors Allen, Geyer (East Asian Languages and Literature), Stafford (Spanish and Portuguese), Pacheco (Curriculum and Instruction), Thompson (African Languages and Literature); Assistant Professor Cho