Second Language Acquisition at Georgetown

Second Language Acquisition (SLA) is the field of study that investigates the processes by which foreign and second languages are learned.

At Georgetown University, a number of departments collaborate to provide students with a comprehensive selection of courses and advising in SLA. Faculty within these departments have a strong commitment to the advancement of the field and to working closely with students who study and carry out research in SLA.


We are delighted to announce that Dr. Lourdes Ortega and Dr. John Norris will be Georgetown professors beginning in Fall 2012, and will teach various SLA-related classes.

Areas of study for SLA at Georgetown University include:

  • Applied cognitive linguistics
  • Approaches and methodologies of second language teaching
  • Bilingualism
  • Brain imaging and the neurobiology of SLA
  • Cognitive variables in SLA
  • Curriculum construction
  • Discourse analysis, pragmatics and language teaching
  • Environmental variation in SLA, including social factors
  • Generative approaches to SLA
  • Individual differences in SLA
  • Input, interaction and SLA
  • Instructed SLA
  • Models of interlanguage systems
  • Psycholinguistics
  • Reading, writing and SLA
  • Research methodologies in SLA
  • Second language assessment practices
  • Second language classroom contexts
  • SLA and the advanced learner
  • Task-based language learning and teaching
  • Theoretical issues in SLA

A number of different programs at Georgetown University offer opportunities to take classes and carry out research in SLA as part of a range of degrees. Graduate certificates, Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts, Master of Science, Master of Arts in Teaching, and Doctorate in Philosophy degree programs are all offered through different departments. Georgetown University also has a wide variety of research programs, established annual conferences, and interest groups.

Contributing to the opportunities for interdisciplinary research collaborations and coursework are the Interdisciplinary Program in Neuroscience, the Interdisciplinary Program in Cognitive Science and the Center for the Brain Basis of Cognition (CBBC).

Students who study at Georgetown University have access to a diverse range of SLA research opportunities, including the many private and governmental research institutions in languages and linguistics in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. For example, many Georgetown SLA students work on a range of different projects during semesters and breaks at the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) in Washington, DC.

Georgetown University is also a member of the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area, and students may take classes at any of the other eleven institutions in the consortium and have the credits count towards their Georgetown degrees.

If you have questions about the SLA at Georgetown Web site, please email the SLA Webmaster. If you have questions about specific programs, please email the departments.