Welcome to Applied Linguistics

Applied Linguistics is a growing and vibrant discipline in universities nationally and internationally. It is an interdisciplinary field of research and instruction that provides theoretical and descriptive foundations for the empirical investigation and solution of language-related issues, especially those of language education (first-language, second-language, foreign-language and heritage-language teaching and learning), but also issues of bilingualism and biliteracy, language policy, language assessment, translation and interpretation, lexicography, rhetoric and composition. Students who demonstrate competence in these areas increase their opportunities for employment, as many job descriptions indicate a preference for candidates with an emphasis in applied linguistics or second language acquisition. Also, with the ever-increasing number of second language learners at the PreK-20 levels, it is essential for all teachers and educational researchers to have a fundamental understanding of language learning and teaching theories and practices.

The Ph.D. Emphasis in Applied Linguistics has been key to my transformation from Chinese-language student to Chinese-language teacher. In both coursework and independent study, the Applied Linguistics faculty have introduced me to the theories behind second language acquisition and helped me consider how to match my teaching to the needs of my students. This training has helped me gain confidence in my teaching, particularly as a non-native speaker. Furthermore, the pedagogical principals that I have acquired are applicable not only to language courses, but have also guided me in designing and teaching courses on literature and culture. I would strongly recommend this program to any graduate student considering language instruction as part of his or her career. ~Cara Healey, 2017 PhD

The applied linguistics emphasis at UCSB has been absolutely necessary for the research I became involved in. Without it, my work on teaching a native language of California as a second language would have been impossible. The emphasis has both practical and scholarly applications in that it may nicely complement one's research interests in unexpected as well as expected ways. ~Timothy Henry, PhD 2012

The Emphasis in Applied Linguistics has been been an excellent addition to my PhD in Linguistics and has provided me with interesting coursework outside my department, much needed pedagogical overviews on language teaching, and opportunities to work on other kinds of projects, such as an electronic dictionary source for an indigenous language, overall leading to a greater breadth in my knowledge. Ultimately, it was this additional emphasis which landed me my current job! ~Carmen Jany, PhD 2008

Adding the emphasis in Applied Linguistics to my Ph.D. in Luso-Brazilian Literature was one of the best steps I took during my time at UCSB.  Language teaching methodology had been one of my main areas of research and teaching, and the Emphasis allowed to significantly expand that interest.  I particularly cherished the opportunity to research in the area of multimedia learning in the context of the language class, using the work with my own classes.  I believe I learned a lot, from specific and up-to-date tools to a general theoretical framework.  In this work I always felt I was guided by faculty who were extremely dedicated to their work and their students.  Eventually this research opened a path for publications.  Finally, I think the emphasis in Applied Linguistics was of great value when I went on the job market, and in fact it helped me prepare for many of the challenges I met in my job. ~ Ricardo Vasconcelos, PhD 2010


Cara finished her PhD in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures in 2017 and has a...

Anne Charity Hudley is the North Hall Endowed Chair in the Linguistics of African America in the...