UMass Boston

Applied Linguistics PhD

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Join a cohort of scholars, researchers, and activists dedicated to linguistic diversity.

As a PhD candidate, you’ll enjoy intensive faculty mentoring from the department’s globally renowned faculty with structured support from a diverse and active doctoral student community. Draw on the interdisciplinary expertise of our network across greater Boston and the world, and take advantage of hands-on learning opportunities. You will immerse yourself in a range of local and global projects and initiatives related to our areas of inquiry: bilingual/multilingual education, multilingual language policy, critical applied linguistics, social resources and social contexts in language learning, and sociocultural theory.

In this program, you will:

  • Master the theoretical and practical aspects of Applied Linguistics to be ready to find employment in the various spheres of social life where linguistic knowledge and skills play a significant role
  • Understand the political and ideological dimensions of language use
  • Be equipped to contribute to research in the field, and advocate for and implement changes for social justice

Career Possibilities

Pursue an academic career as a professor in applied linguistics, contributing to the advancement of knowledge in the field. Analyze language policies and their implications in educational, social, or governmental contexts as a policy analyst. Or, design and develop language curricula, materials, and resources for language teaching institutions. These are just a few of the possibilities.

Become a(n):

  • Research Professor
  • Language Policy Analyst
  • Program Director/ Coordinator
  • Language Consultant 

Plan Your Education

How to Apply

Applicants must meet general graduate admission requirements in addition to the following program-specific requirements:

  • Evidence of a master’s degree in applied linguistics or related field, with minimum graduate GPA of 3.00
  • Three letters of recommendation, at least two of which should come from individuals who can assess the applicant’s academic preparation for advanced graduate work
  • One well-written sample of academic work (e.g. MA thesis, course paper, research project, published article, etc.)
  • Statement of purpose [1500 words maximum] that addresses the following questions:
    • What are your career objectives? What research issues are you interested in pursuing at UMass Boston?
    • How will a PhD in applied linguistics advance those objectives?
    • In what ways does the UMass Boston applied linguistics program address your particular academic, career, and personal goals?
    • What professional, personal, and academic experiences have especially equipped you for the challenges of pursuing a doctorate?
    • What personal strengths will you bring to your studies?
    • What personal limitations or hurdles do you anticipate having to address in order to complete the PhD program?
  • Language requirement: Proficiency in one non-native language is required. Please consult the Department of Applied Linguistics for more information.
  • For international students without an undergraduate degree from a U.S. institution, a minimum TOEFL score of 600 (paper), 250 (computer based), or 100 (Internet-based), with a minimum score of 23 on the speaking section or an IELTS score of 7.0.

Deadlines & Cost

Deadlines: January 1 for fall

Cost: For additional information regarding tuition and fees, please visit the Bursar’s Office or send an email to Please refer to Graduate Student Financial Aid for more information on financial aid.


Core Courses (9 Credits)

  • APLING 700 - Issues in Applied Linguistics 3 Credit(s)
  • APLING 701 - Issues in Second Language Acquisition 3 Credit(s)
  • APLING 702 - Issues in Sociolinguistics 3 Credit(s)

Seminars (9 Credits)

  • APLING 707 - Current Research on Language and Pedagogy 3 Credit(s)
  • APLING 708 - Corpus Linguistics 3 Credit(s)
  • APLING 709 - Language Policy 3 Credit(s)

Colloquium (1 Credit)

  • APLING 890 - Graduate Colloquium in Applied Linguistics 1 Credit(s)

Research Methods Courses (9 to 15 Credits)

Complete at least three courses from below.

  • APLING 703 - Applied Linguistics Research Methods 3 Credit(s)
and at least two chosen in consultation with your advisor from the following:
  • APLING 704 - Advanced Discourse Analysis 3 Credit(s)
  • APLING 705 - Advanced Ethnography 3 Credit(s)
  • PPOL-G 604L - Statistical Methods in the analysis of Social Problems I 3 Credit(s)
  • PPOL-G 605L - Statistical Methods in the Analysis of Social Problems II 3 Credit(s)

Electives (3 to 9 Credits)

Complete no more than three from below.

  • APLING 601 - Linguistics 3 Credit(s)
  • APLING 603 - Language, Culture and Identity 3 Credit(s)
  • APLING 605 - Theories and Principles of Language Teaching 3 Credit(s)
  • APLING 611 - Methods and Materials in Foreign Language Instruction 3 Credit(s)
  • APLING 612 - Integrating Culture into the Language Curriculum 3 Credit(s)
  • APLING 614 - Foundations of Bilingual/Multicultural Education 3 Credit(s)
  • APLING 615 - Dual Language Pedagogy 3 Credit(s)
  • APLING 618 - Teaching ESL: Methods and Approaches 3 Credit(s)
  • APLING 621 - Psycholinguistics 3 Credit(s)
  • APLING 623 - Sociolinguistics 3 Credit(s)
  • APLING 627 - Phonetics and Phonemics 3 Credit(s)
  • APLING 629 - The Structure of the English Language 3 Credit(s)
  • APLING 633 - Discourse Analysis in ESL 3 Credit(s)
  • APLING 635 - Literacy & Culture 3 Credit(s)
  • APLING 637 - Ethnography of Education: Culture, Language, & Literacy 3 Credit(s)
  • APLING 670 - Testing in the Bilingual/ESL Classroom 3 Credit(s)
  • APLING 673 - Reading in the Bilingual/English as a Second Language (ESL) Classroom 3 Credit(s)
  • APLING 696 - Independent Study 1-6 Credit(s)
  • APLING 697 - Special Topics in Applied Linguistics 1-6 Credit(s)

Inquiry Courses (6 Credits)

  • APLING 891 - Qualifying Paper Seminar 3 Credit(s)
  • APLING 892 - Dissertation Proposal Writing Seminar 3 Credit(s)

Dissertation Research Course (12 Credits)

  • APLING 899 - Dissertation Research 1-12 Credit(s)

Graduation Criteria

Complete 55 credits from 16 courses including three core courses, three seminars, one colloquium, three to five research methods courses, one to three electives, two inquiry courses, and one dissertation research course.

Students with a master’s degree in a relevant field earned no more than seven years before matriculation may be eligible for advanced standing awarding them up to twelve credits toward the degree.

Doctoral candidacy: Acceptance of a qualifying paper and dissertation proposal.
Dissertation: Compose and defend a dissertation based on original research.

Statute of limitations: Seven years.


Graduate Program Director Avary Carhill-Poza
Avary.CarhillPoza [at]

Applied Linguistics Program
AplingPhD [at]

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