Applied Linguistics

Applied Linguistics is concerned with how second languages are learned and taught. Faculty and student interests in this concentration include: second language acquisition and pedagogy; cognitive SLA; input, interaction, and SLA; L2 assessment; L2 discourse; L2 policy; Linguistics and Reading; and bi/multilingualism, among others.

Applied Linguistics Faculty

Affiliated Faculty


1. Foundational knowledge and skills in linguistics. Applied linguistics draws upon foundational knowledge from linguistics, and our faculty and students value a broad-based understanding of a range of scholarly domains within linguistics. In foundational knowledge, Georgetown Applied Linguistics (ALI) Ph.D. students will demonstrate basic understanding of important topics and theories, as well as familiarity with the nature of data and the methods of research, in the domains of linguistic analysis of sound, form, and meaning; sociolinguistics; and computational linguistics.


2. Content knowledge in applied linguistics. The diversity of emphases that characterizes applied linguistics scholarship is reflected in the range of research and teaching interests of ALI program faculty and students.
Breadth of knowledge in Applied Linguistics: ALI Ph.D. graduates will demonstrate general understanding of the variety of domains that constitute the discipline of applied linguistics, including familiarity with diverse linguistic, cognitive, social, and educational problems of interest to the field as well as the theoretical and epistemological approaches to their investigation and resolution.
Depth in one area of Applied Linguistics: In addition, ALI Ph.D. graduates will achieve mastery of the content knowledge within at least one specific area of applied linguistics, typified by (a) comprehensive coverage of the key elements within a given knowledge-base, (b) critical engagement with cutting-edge developments in the area, and (c) the contribution of new knowledge in response to important questions, gaps, or problems in the area.
Understanding of language learning, teaching, and multilingualism: ALI Ph.D. graduates will understand in general how second languages are learned and how they may best be taught and assessed, as well as how bilingualism and multilingualism function at the level of the individual and society.


3. Research skills. Expertise in research methodology is emphasized in Georgetown’s ALI program and it is a hallmark of our faculty and students. ALI Ph.D. graduates will achieve advanced skills in designing and utilizing research methods appropriate for their specific areas of interest, and they will promote high-quality research practice among other researchers (through peer review and teaching, conference attendance and presentations, etc.). Research expertise incorporates valid design of studies, meaningful data collection, accurate data analysis, and adherence to ethical standards.
Empirical literature base: ALI Ph.D. graduates will have acquired deep familiarity with diverse bodies of literature in applied linguistics that they can draw from for future life-long research and which can be exploited and built upon in their foreseeable future, for example, in careers in academia, business, public service, or other sectors. ALI Ph.D. graduates will be capable of understanding and articulating the impact that choices in terms of theoretical approach and research methodology have on the development of knowledge in applied linguistics.
Practical research skills: ALI Ph.D. graduates will have acquired research skills that are applicable to future research endeavors (e.g., academic positions at Research I universities), to future professional endeavors (e.g., leadership positions in program administration, development of materials, assessment, and evaluation), and to communicating with others about the roles and value of language learning and teaching in one’s life and in society.


4. Professional skills. The ALI program emphasizes the development of skills critical to the professions of Applied Linguistics, including in particular academic writing and teaching.
Writing: ALI Ph.D. graduates are excellent academic writers, capable of (a) synthesizing the research of others in ways that are clear and appealing to an audience of academic or professional peers; (b) writing across different genres that are prominent in applied linguistics circles (including research articles, book reviews, peer review reports, newsletter pieces, grant proposals, IRB applications, letters of recommendation); (c) writing up one’s own research and being able to succeed with submissions of it to academic or professional venues for publication (such as refereed journals in applied linguistics and newsletters of professional associations); and (d) providing high-quality feedback on the writing of peers and students.
Teaching: ALI Ph.D. graduates will be confident as instructors of applied linguistics. They will have acquired a repertoire of pedagogical techniques to be able to teach applied linguistics courses in their areas of expertise. They will know how to present material effectively in the classroom (or other forums for dissemination, like conference presentations), how to structure student-centered learning of content matter in applied linguistics, how to train language teachers, and how to foster student learning and critical involvement in life-long learning about language learning and teaching.


5. Professional engagement and collaborative ethos. The ALI program values a commitment to the profession of Applied Linguistics, and its faculty and students regularly engage in outreach, service, and the promotion of excellence in the field. ALI Ph.D. graduates will demonstrate a commitment to professional engagement and will be recognized for excellence in their specific areas of applied linguistics, including participation in professional events, dissemination of research in various forums, and service contributions that enhance scholarly exchange and practical application of their and others’ scholarly work. Further, ALI Ph.D. graduates will value and be able to create/sustain collaboration, both when carrying out research projects and when sharing ideas with others working in the same field and topics, be it at professional gatherings, through journals, or through participation in professional associations and research bodies.