How to Apply

(Photo by Brian Huynh / UW-Madison)

The information below will guide you through the process of applying to the SLA Program.  If you have any questions, please be sure to reach out to the Program Coordinator.

  1. Applicants must meet the minimum requirements for admissions, determined by the Graduate School.
  2. Applicants must hold a master’s degree in a foreign language, English, applied linguistics, linguistics or education. For questions about degrees in other fields, contact the SLA Program Director or Coordinator.
  3. Applicants seeking admission to the SLA Program with a specific language concentration are required to demonstrate oral proficiency in that language.

The Graduate School provides an overview of the application process.  The items below indicate the items required for a complete application.

  1. Complete the electronic application through the Graduate School. You must pay a non-refundable application fee.  There are some additional steps for international applicants. If you are currently a UW-Madison graduate student in a master’s degree program, please contact the SLA Program Coordinator for instructions on how to apply.
  2. Solicit three letters of recommendation from persons who can judge your academic qualifications with respect to this particular program, as well as your qualifications to serve as a research, project, or teaching assistant.
    • Letters of recommendation are typically submitted electronically, using a form provided directly to your recommenders. (Contact the SLA Program Director or Program Coordinator if you need to submit hard copies of letters of recommendation.)
    • It is important to provide your recommenders with as much notice as possible to write your recommendation letter. Giving your recommenders adequate lead time may help you avoid delays in submitting a complete application.
  3. Complete and upload a Statement of Purpose for Doctoral Studies in Second Language Acquisition at UW-Madison to the application portal.
    • This statement should clearly identify your topical or methodological interest within the field. Your statement of purpose should describe in concrete terms how you see the relationship between our specific program, your research interests, and your professional goals.
    • To do this, please provide a succinct review of your preparation, both in terms of research/academic work and work experience is useful, though we really would like to emphasize that the statement of purpose should generally be oriented toward the future and not the past.  Thus, please also be sure to provide your professional goals, likely areas of research interests and expected contributions to the program and its community.
    • You may, but need not, refer to specific faculty members who you think share your research interests or specific courses which seem to contribute to your educational needs. In that vein, you might also choose to contact specific faculty members on your own, to explore whether/how you might work together. If you have been in touch with specific faculty members, please mention it briefly in your statement of purpose.
    • There are no maximum or minimum word or page requirements. Two pages (double-spaced) may be a suitable goal to start with, although particular circumstances may justify less or more.
  4. Upload your curriculum vitae to the application portal.
    • This should include an overview of your postsecondary education and relevant work experience including teaching, research and/or administration.
  5. Be prepared to answer questions about your work experience, skills and qualifications as they pertain to potential assistantships.
    • Students in the program work in the areas of research, program and project administration, and teaching foreign languages and English as a Second Language.
    • Graduate assistantships provide a stipend, tuition remission and benefits. The Graduate School provides an overview of types of assistantships and an explanation of UW-Madison’s investment in graduate assistants.
  6. Upload an academic writing sample to the application portal.
    • You are required to provide evidence of your writing ability in academic English by submitting a sample of your work, such as a master’s thesis, academic paper from a graduate course, or a single-authored journal article.  You may submit an optional second writing sample in a language other than English.
  7. Upload your unofficial transcripts of each postsecondary institution attended.
    • If the SLA program recommends admission, the applicant will be asked by the Graduate School to supply official transcripts for every postsecondary institution attended. International academic records must be in the original language; if the records are not in English, they must be accompanied by a certified English translation. Documents must be issued by the institution with the official seal/stamp and an official signature.

The deadline for the complete application (including all supporting application materials) is December 15.