Second Language Acquisition

Fernando Rubio

Graduate Certificate in Second Language Acquisition 

The Center for Language Study (CLS) offers the Certificate in Second Language Acquisition (SLA Certificate) which is specifically designed for Ph.D. students in language and literature departments and provides a comprehensive training program in second language acquisition and language teaching methodology. The SLA Certificate offers students a solid foundation in second language acquisition, language teaching methodology, and applied linguistics. It covers both the theoretical principles and the practical pedagogy training essential for a career in a language-related field. 

Upon completing the SLA Certificate, students will: 

  • be familiar with current theories in Second Language Acquisition; 
  • understand key theoretical, methodological, and pedagogical concepts;  
  • apply current pedagogical principles to their teaching practice; 
  • be familiar with task-based and communicative language teaching in the context of a multiliteracies framework; and 
  • have completed a language teaching e-portfolio documenting their college teaching experience and philosophy in a format that can be used in the academic job application process. 

Only students enrolled in Ph.D. programs in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences are eligible to receive the SLA Certificate, which is noted on students’ transcripts. The program is best undertaken by students starting their teaching years, although Ph.D. students in later years may be able to be accommodated. 


To apply to the program, visit, which allows students to submit an application directly to the CLS. The CLS will then contact the student to schedule an initial meeting and issue an e-portfolio template that will be used to keep track of the required components of the certificate. 


  • A minimum of two semesters of teaching at Yale University 
  • A minimum of five language class observations of others, with a report on your observations, which must include: two peer observations, two observations of a senior language instructor, and one observation of a language that you do not understand 
  • A minimum of three observations of your language class, with a report from the observer (including at least one from both a senior language instructor and a peer) 
  • Completion of training and professional development requirements: training and coursework in language pedagogy, methodology, and applied linguistics are essential to the professional development of language instructors. Each of the following training components is required for the SLA certificate program. Preferably, the first four components (pedagogy workshop, two fundamentals workshops, and a linguistics seminar) should be completed as a sequence, but the order may vary in consultation with the CLS. 
    • CLS Pedagogy Workshop: A four-day pre-service workshop offered at the beginning of the fall term (usually the third week in August) to graduate teaching fellows who are beginning their teaching at Yale. 
    • Fundamentals of Language Teaching I and II: These two five-week workshops are offered each fall and spring term, respectively, and cover the basics of language pedagogy. 
    • One required graduate course in linguistics, LING 564, Principles of Language Teaching and Learning, which is offered each fall. This seminar develops a theoretical understanding of how languages are learned. It covers the basic principles of second language acquisition theory, applied linguistics, sociolinguistics, and language teaching methodology from a variety of theoretical perspectives.  
    • Professional Development Activities: Participants must complete ten professional development activities and submit evidence of attendance or completion along with a brief reflective narrative. These may include CLS Brown Bags, departmental lectures, conferences, etc. 
  • A teaching video (optional) 
  • Completion of a teaching e-portfolio which contains all the required materials for the certificate 
  • A reflective narrative describing your experiences in the SLA Certificate Program 
  • An exit interview 

For further details, see the SLA Certificate Completion Instructions ( 


A student who intends to file for the final granting of the SLA Certificate must schedule an exit interview with the CLS Director and submit in advance their e-portfolio and their reflective narrative no later than the end of the term prior to the award. Students should allow two to four weeks for materials review and to schedule an interview. Upon successful completion of the exit interview, the CLS Director will confirm that the student has fulfilled all the requirements of the certificate with the Office of the University Registrar so that the SLA will appear on the student’s transcript.