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University Bulletin
Graduate Degree Programs

Applied Linguistics (APLNG)

Program Home Page

ROBERT SCHRAUF, Department Head
Department of Applied Linguistics
234 Sparks Building
814-865-7365

Degree Conferred:

Ph.D.
Dual-Title Ph.D. Degree in Applied Linguistics and Asian Studies

The Graduate Faculty

 

The Program

The Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics helps prepare scholars who will conduct systematic examinations of individual and societal multilingualism in order to build and test theories of how linguistic systems develop, are acquired, used, and taught in global contexts. The Ph.D. degree program includes the foundational theory and research of linguistics, applied linguistics, second language acquisition, psycholinguistics, and sociolinguistics. It will prepare doctoral candidates to utilize a range of research perspectives, both qualitative and quantitative, e.g., sociocultural, historical, linguistic, stylistic, discourse analytical. Overall, the purpose of the research undertaken in graduate study in Applied Linguistics will be to illuminate, in all its complexity, the multiple dimensions of the study of language as a mode of social existence, communication, and cognition.

Admission Requirements

Applicants are required to submit transcripts of all previous course work from institutions of higher learning. In addition, scores from the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) are required for applicants who have received a degree from an institution of higher education in the United States or abroad in which the medium of instruction is English. GRE scores are optional for applicants who have received a degree from an institution of higher education in which the medium of instruction is a language other than English. All applicants are required to submit three letters of reference (at least two from faculty with whom the applicant has studied) evaluating aptitude for doctoral study. Applicants must submit at least one sample of scholarly writing (published or unpublished research paper, thesis, etc.) and an academic statement describing their teaching and research experience and their specific professional goals and interests.

The language of instruction at Penn State is English. International applicants must take and submit scores for the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or the IELTS (International English Language Testing System), with the exceptions noted below. The minimum acceptable score for the TOEFL is 600 for the paper-based test, 250 for the computer-based test, or a total score of 80 with a 19 on the speaking section for the internet-based test. Applicants with iBT speaking scores between 15 and 18 may be considered for provisional admission, which requires an institutional test of English proficiency upon first enrollment and, if necessary, remedial course work. The minimum composite score for the IELTS is 6.5. In addition, international applicants are encouraged to submit a cassette tape recording on which they describe their career goals and the reasons for wanting to pursue doctoral studies at Penn State.

Candidacy Evaluation

In the third semester (a minimum of 18 credits) of graduate study, all candidates must satisfactorily complete a candidacy evaluation in which they are required to present a portfolio of work completed in their program of study. The portfolio will include a transcript of the candidate's academic record, a program plan, samples of scholarly work in Applied Linguistics and related areas, and a brief description of the proposed dissertation research, showing relevant course work completed and projected. Following submission of this portfolio, the candidate will meet with the members of his/her doctoral committee for an oral candidacy evaluation. The purpose of this evaluation is threefold: (a) to determine whether the candidate has achieved a level of learning and understanding sufficient to justify acceptance as a doctoral candidate, (b) to discover what further study is required to bring the candidate to the competence required for the research being proposed, and (c) to secure approval of a program of course work and independent study to achieve the requisite competence. The particulars of each candidate's program of study and research are defined on the basis of the candidacy evaluation.

English Language Competence

During course work prior to the candidacy examination, candidates will be assessed for communicative competence in reading, writing, and speaking English. Should a higher level of competence be required, the candidate will be directed to the appropriate resources. International candidates will be advised that the passage of the minimal TOEFL requirement does not demonstrate the level of competence required for completion of the Ph.D. program.

English Language Competence

During course work prior to the candidacy examination, candidates will be assessed for communicative competence in reading, writing, and speaking English. Should a higher level of competence be required, the candidate will be directed to the appropriate resources. International candidates will be advised that the passage of the minimal TOEFL requirement does not demonstrate the level of competence required for completion of the Ph.D. program.

Additional Language Competence

All candidates must demonstrate competence in reading relevant research literature in one language other than English and intermediate speaking competence in an additional language. The additional language competence requirements may be demonstrated in a variety of ways.

Committee Composition

The doctoral committee will consist of four or more active members of the Graduate Faculty and must include at least two faculty in the major field. One member of the doctoral committee must be from outside of the candidate's field of study. Members of the Graduate Faculty with courtesy appointments in LALS who are members of the Applied Linguistics Graduate Faculty may serve as the chair of the doctoral committee with approval of the Director of LALS.

Comprehensive Examination

All doctoral candidates must pass a comprehensive examination designed to assess mastery of and ability to synthesize and integrate theoretical issues in Applied Linguistics. This examination is taken upon completion of all course work and the fulfillment of all degree requirements. The content and format of the comprehensive exam will be established by the members of the candidate's doctoral committee in accordance with degree requirements of LALS and consist of two course papers that are of publishable quality and two or three research papers based on questions developed by members of the doctoral committee. The original papers must be submitted by end of semester prior to that in which the student plans to take the comprehensive exam. The student will be given two months' time in which to complete and submit these exam papers. Within three weeks of submission of the exam papers, the student will take an oral exam based on the original research papers and the exam papers. Candidates who fail the examination on the first attempt may repeat it once. Candidates who fail the examination the second time will not be permitted to continue in the program.

Dissertation

Each doctoral candidate is required to conduct an original and independent research project representing a significant contribution to knowledge in the field of study. The project should be presented in a scholarly manner, show an ability on the part of the candidate to do independent research of high quality, and demonstrate considerable experience in using appropriate research techniques. The content and conclusions of the dissertation will be defended at the time of the final oral examination. A written dissertation proposal is required and must be approved at a proposal hearing by a majority vote of the candidate's dissertation committee. A majority vote is also required for approval of the completed written dissertation at the final oral defense.

Courses

Graduate courses carry numbers from 500 to 599 and 800 to 899. Advanced undergraduate courses numbered between 400 and 499 may be used to meet some graduate degree requirements when taken by graduate students. Courses below the 400 level may not. A graduate student may register for or audit these courses in order to make up deficiencies or to fill in gaps in previous education but not to meet requirements for an advanced degree.

Dual-Title Graduate Degree in Applied Linguistics and Asian Studies

Graduate students with research and educational interests in international education may apply to the Applied Linguistics/Asian Studies Degree Program. The goal of the dual-title degree Applied Linguistics and Asian Studies is to enable graduate students from Applied Linguistics to acquire the knowledge and skills of their major area of specialization in Applied Linguistics while at the same time gaining the perspective of Asian Studies. 

In order to prepare graduate students for the competitive job market, this program provides them with a solid disciplinary foundation that will allow them to compete for the best jobs in their field. For such students the dual-title Ph.D. in Asian Studies will add value to their degree and their status as candidates. It will produce excellent linguists who are experts in Asian Studies as well.The dual-title degree in Applied Linguistics and Asian Studies will build curricular bridges beyond the student’s major field so as to provide a unique training regime for the global scholar.

Additional details of the dual degree program are available in separate documentation and from the Asian Studies Program (see http://asian.la.psu.edu/graduate.shtml).

Admission Requirements

For admission to the dual-title Ph.D. degree under this program, a student must first apply and be admitted to the Applied Linguistics graduate program. Once accepted into the Applied Linguistics program, the student can apply to the Admissions Committee of the Asian Studies.  The Asian Studies Admissions Committee reviews applications and recommends students for admission to the Asian Studies program to the Graduate School. Students already in their first and second years of the Applied Linguistics graduate program may also apply to the dual-title program.

Applicants are required to submit transcripts of all previous course work from institutions of higher learning. In addition, scores from the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) are required for applicants who have received a degree from an institution of higher education in the United States or abroad in which the medium of instruction is English. GRE scores are optional for applicants who have received a degree from an institution of higher education in which the medium of instruction is a language other than English.

There are no specific requirements for admissions into the dual-title program beyond the requirements of the Graduate School and Applied Linguistics, though applicants interested in the program should also make their interest in the dual-degree program known clearly on their applications and include remarks in their essays that explain their training, interests, and career goals in an area of Asian Studies.

General Graduate School requirements are stated in the GENERAL INFORMATION section of the Graduate Bulletin.

Degree Requirements

To qualify for an Asian Studies degree, students must satisfy the requirements of the Applied Linguistics program in which they are primarily enrolled. In addition, they must satisfy the requirements described below, as established by the Asian Studies committee. Within this framework, final course selection is determined by the student, their Asian Studies advisor, and their Applied Linguistics program advisor.

Upon a student’s acceptance by the Asian Studies Admissions Committee, the student will be assigned an Asian Studies academic advisor in consultation with the Asian Studies chair. As students develop specific scholarly interests, they may request that a different Asian Studies faculty member serve as their advisor. The student and advisor will discuss a program of study that is appropriate for the student’s professional objectives and that is in accord with the policies of The Graduate School, the Applied Linguistics department and the Asian Studies program.

Requirements for the Applied Linguistics/Asian Studies Ph.D.

The doctoral degree in Applied Linguistics and Asian Studies is awarded only to students who are admitted to the Applied Linguistics doctoral program and admitted to the dual-title degree in Asian Studies. The minimum course requirements for the dual-title Ph.D. degree in Applied Linguistics and Asian Studies are as follows:
60 credits beyond the master’s degree, INCLUDING

  • 1 credit of APLNG 580
  • 6 credits in foundations courses, which may include but need not be limited to the following: APLNG 591, APLNG 597 (Special Topics)
  • 6 credits in research methods, which may include but need not be limited to the following: APLNG 593, APLNG 597 (Language Analysis), APLNG 581, APLNG 586.
  • 6 credits in Applied Linguistics electives, to be selected in consultation with the applied linguistics advisor
  • 15 credits of Asia-related course work at the 400 or 500 level. At least 6 of these 15 credits will be from ASIA 501 and 502. As many as 6 may come from Applied Linguistics, as approved by the student's doctoral advisor and the Asian Studies Program director of graduate studies. The remaining credits can be taken in ASIA or in any department other than Applied Linguistics.
  • All-skills proficiency in one Asian language AND intermediate speaking competence in an additional language other than English

Particular courses may satisfy both the Applied Linguistics requirements and those of the Asian Studies program. Final course selection is determined by the student in consultation with their dual-title program advisors and their major program advisors.

APPLIED LINGUISTICS (APLNG) course list

 

Last Revised by the Department: Summer Session 2010

Blue Sheet Item #: 38-04-089

Review Date: 01/12/2010

Faculty updated: 5/12/14

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