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Second Language Teaching: MSLT

Second Language Teaching

Utah State University is currently the only place where students can earn the professional master of second language teaching degree. Originated at USU, the MSLT degree prepares students for a second-language-teaching career anywhere from the pre-school to the college level.  A number of graduates from USU’s MSLT program have been hired as language instructors at the prestigious Monterey Institute of International Studies, in addition to many various education institutions.

Students in the program learn to be effective second-language teachers, no matter what languages they choose to teach. Many students are fluent in more than one language or are not native English speakers. This rich diversity contributes to the uniqueness of the program.

The full-time program can be completed in just 16 months, and classes are offered in a convenient late afternoon and evening schedule that coordinates with the schedules of working educators. The program is also offered in a part-time format.

Because the MSLT degree exposes students to multiple disciplinary perspectives and integrates three fields of second language teaching (Foreign Language Education, Bilingual Education, and ESL/EFL Education), it will enhance opportunities for employment by providing more versatility. For example, a graduate could serve a school full time as an ESL specialist and as a foreign language teacher. Additionally, all MSLT graduates who have sought admission to PhD programs have been successful.

Other job opportunities available to MSLT graduates include:

  • ESL/EFL and/or foreign language teaching positions in public and private schools throughout the USA and abroad
  • Faculty positions at the college level
  • Teaching ESL to adult immigrants
  • Working in family literacy programs at the community level 

Admission Requirements

Applicants from various undergraduate backgrounds may be considered. Proficiency in a foregin language in not required if the student is planning to teach their native language, not excluding English. However, the department does look for applicants who have spent at least two years studying a second language.

Application Requirements:

  • Complete the online application
  • Pay the $55 application fee
  • Score at or above the 40th percentile on the GRE or MAT
  • Have a 3.0 or higher GPA on your last 60 semester or 90 quarter credits
  • Provide transcripts of all college/university credits
  • Provide three contacts for letters of recommendation

International students have additional admissions requirements.

Admission Deadlines

There is no official deadline for the program; students may submit applications throughout the year and may begin the program in the fall, spring, or summer semester. However, students must have their applications submitted by February 1 to be considered for financial aid. 

Program Requirements

All students in the MSLT program are required to defend a master’s teaching portfolio. The portfolio provides a way to tie together major themes, issues, and perspectives the student has encountered and reflected upon over the course of the program. It is a capstone project, and the writing is a process of making connections and making explicit the knowledge the student has gained during the program.

Master's Degree Plan Option(s)

MSLT students must complete the following plan option:

  • The Plan B option, which requires the production of a paper or creative work of art and is expected to reflect equivalent scholarship standards as a thesis. Students in the MSLT program will complete coursework and their master’s teaching portfolio as their Plan B project.

Financial Assistance

Teaching assistantships in ESL, French, German, Spanish, and occasionally other languages are available each year. Assistantships come with annual stipends and a tuition award covering out-of-state tuition and fees. Full scholarships, including a stipend and a complete tuition waiver, are available on a competitive basis. 

A variety of funding opportunities are available on the graduate school website.

Maria Cordero, PhD, Princeton University
Associate Professor of Spanish
Department: World Languages and Cultures Department
Area: Colonial Spanish-American Literature, Caribbean Women Writers
Office: MAIN 210
Phone: (435) 797-1423

Karin de Jonge-Kannan, PhD, Indiana University
Senior Lecturer of Linguistics, MSLT co-director
Department: World Languages and Cultures Department
Area: Language teacher training, the role of culture in the classroom
Office: MAIN 002 J
Phone: (435) 797-8318

Sarah Gordon, PhD, Washington University - St. Louis
Associate Professor of French
Department: World Languages and Cultures Department
Area: Issues dealing with texts related to culinary practices, medieval French literature, representations of disabilities
Office: MAIN 341 B
Phone: 435-797-8213

Bradford Hall, PhD, Univesity of Washington
Department Head, Professor
Area: Cultural identity, narratives, communication theory, discourse analysis, the role of memory and membership in intercultural conflicts
Office: MAIN 204A
Phone: (435) 797-8757

Atsuko Neely, MA equivalent, Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo
Japanese Instructor
Department: World Languages and Cultures Department
Area: Japanese language, Japanese business, Japanese calligraphy
Office: MAIN 306
Phone: 435-797-1365

Ko-Yin Sung, PhD, University of Texas at San Antonio
Associate Professor
Area: Teaching and learning Chinese as a second/foreign language, language learning strategies
Office: MAIN 002 C
Phone: 435-797-9182

Joshua Thoms, PhD, University of Iowa
Associate Professor of Applied Linguistics & Spanish
Area: Applied linguistics, computer assisted language learning, classroom discourse
Office: MAIN 002
Phone: (435) 797-9065

Professional Organizations, Honor Societies, and Clubs

Modern Language Association: MLA is an organization where academic professionals can share their research and experiences and discuss trends in the academy. Members have an annual conference and the association has an excellent publishing program.  

Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages: TESOL is an association seeking to develop and maintain professional expertise in English language teaching and learning for speakers of other languages worldwide. 

American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages: ACTFL promotes the instruction and learning of all languages at all levels of learning. ACTFL is committed to helping foreign language teachers and their students as with various needs.  



Academic Advising

Sarah Gordon
Associate Professor of French
Office: MAIN 341 B
Phone: 435-797-8213

Joshua Thoms
Associate Professor of Applied Linguistics & Spanish
Office: MAIN 002
Phone: (435) 797-9065

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