PhD in Applied Linguistics

Program News


02/05/2016: Two new tenure-track faculty will be joining the NAU TESL/AL faculty in Fall 2016: Dr. Jesse Egbert (currently an assistant professor at Brigham Young University) and Dr. Vedran Dronjic (currently a post-doctoral fellow at Carnegie Mellon University). 

Jesse Egbert holds a Ph.D. from Northern Arizona University. He has two primary research interests: (1) register variation, mostly within the domains of academic writing and internet language, and (2) research methods such as corpus design and methodological triangulation. He and his wife, Rachelle, have four kids.
Vedran Dronjic holds a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto. He specializes in psycholinguistic approaches to second language acquisition with a focus on morphology, vocabulary, reading, and memory.
Please join us in welcoming them to our program!

08/26/2015: NAU’s PhD in Applied Linguistics program has a special opportunity to nominate at least one strong PhD applicant who will begin degree work at NAU in August, 2016, for a Presidential Fellowship.  The Fellowship includes an annual stipend of $27,000, a teaching assistantship (TAship), a full tuition waiver, major medical insurance benefits, and additional ($1,000) professional-development funds.  The Fellowship award is renewable for up to 4 years, pending good academic progress. To be considered for a Presidential Fellowship nomination, PhD applicants must (a) apply to the program early and (b) ensure that ALL application materials—including the online NAU application, transcripts, statement of purpose, current CV, recommendations, GRE scores, TAship application materials, and, if relevant, TOEFL/IELTS scores—are received.  The review of applications will begin October 1, and applications will be reviewed as they are received. To begin the application process, go to

The latest news and information on the Applied Linguistics and TESL programs at NAU can now be found on Facebook (here).


General Information

Pursue a diverse range of issues in preparation for your career as a researcher, teacher trainer, or leader in fields related to teaching and learning second languages, including:

  • Corpus linguistics
  • Grammar and vocabulary
  • Grammatical variation
  • Language planning and policy
  • Language testing and program evaluation
  • Pragmatics
  • Quantitative research methods
  • Register and discourse analysis
  • Second language acquisition
  • Second language reading and writing
  • Second language teaching and learning
  • Speech perception and production
  • Spoken discourse
  • World Englishes

Our faculty work closely with individual students, helping them to develop as colleagues in applied linguistics. As a result, our PhD students have an outstanding record of publication and participation in major conferences such as TESOL and AAAL. Graduates of our program have also been highly successful at obtaining tenure-track faculty positions at major universities.

Learn more about the program in the graduate college program notes.

TESL / Applied Linguistics Faculty

MA-TESL and PhD in Applied Linguistics handbook 

Please see the academic catalog for the most recent information regarding courses and academic plans.

PhD in Applied Linguistics Catalog Information

List of PhDs in Applied Linguistics (1994-present)

The NAU academic catalog is the official, authoritative source for all academic requirements and policies. Any discrepancies in curricular requirements from other sources will default to the catalog as the official, authoritative source. 

Graduate Student Association of Applied Linguistics

Read more

Program Requirements

Completion of the PhD requires:

  • advanced course work
  • excellent performance on a variety of assessment measures
  • evidence of ability to carry out independent dissertation research

Please see the academic catalog for the most recent information regarding courses and academic plans.

Graduate Student Association of Applied Linguistics

Other requirements

  • Passing the PhD screening process, which comprises completion of the university MA-TESL comprehensive examination plus completion of an original empirical research paper within three semesters of provisional admission. Passing the screening process requires an overall assessment of high pass on the comprehensive exam and empirical research paper.
  • Satisfying the PhD language requirement.
  • Preparation of PhD qualifying exam papers based on questions provided by the student's dissertation committee members.
  • Preparation and oral defense of a dissertation proposal.
  • Preparation and oral defense of a dissertation.
  • Presentation of a public lecture based on the dissertation, preferably immediately preceding the oral defense.

Financial Aid

Read more

Various forms of financial support including, graduate teaching assistantships, are available.

If you are interested in a GTA position with the Program in Intensive English (PIE), please download the application here

To qualify, you must have a master’s degree and a minimum 3.0 grade point average.

Applications will be considered until the end of April for the following fall semester. However, first priority is given to applicants submitting their material by February 1 for the following fall semester.

Applicants who are interested in teaching assistantships or tuition waivers are encouraged to apply by February 1 for first review of files for financial aid.

How to Apply

1. Prepare your documents for submission to the Graduate College

Your application should include:

  • recent GRE scores for the general test taken within the last 5 years
  • for non-native English speakers: Official iBT (TOEFL) scores taken within the last 2 years; minimum score of 100 iBT (reading: 27, listening: 24, speaking: 22, writing: 27) or IELTS scores of reading: 7.5, listening: 7, speaking: 7, writing: 7.5 required for admission
  • a curriculum vitae that describes your educational background, employment history, and professional activities
  • a statement of purpose that describes why you are interested in obtaining a PhD from Northern Arizona University, what research focus you anticipate pursuing, and how you ultimately intend to use your degree
  • 3 letters of recommendation from people who can attest to your ability and potential for doctoral level work
  • 1-2 sample publications or manuscripts (both hard and electronic copies); manuscripts from presentations or term papers from graduate courses are acceptable
  • a copy of your transcripts with the application submission (may be unofficial); an official copy of your transcript will be required before beginning the program or being awarded financial aid

2. Submit an application for graduate study to the Graduate College.

Apply to the Graduate College.