Foreign and Second Language Education, PhD

Our doctoral program in foreign and second language education focuses on preparing you for research, teaching and administrative posts in colleges and universities, and for positions of educational leadership in the schools or in state education departments. The mission of our program is to foster the development of foreign/second/bilingual language education practitioners and researchers who can understand and analyze language teaching and learning, and language policy to improve language and content teaching and learning in diverse educational contexts.

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Why Foreign and Second Language Education at UB?

The features of our program include:

  • becoming familiar with groundbreaking inquiry processes and research methodologies
  • carrying out principled, meaningful and rigorous research and applying it to real-world educational challenges
  • collaborating with internationally recognized scholars who mentor students to engage in research studies
  • developing an understanding of language theory and an ability to thoughtfully apply this theory
  • engaging in scholarship that involves participation in the exchange of ideas and advancement of the field as a whole
  • preparing scholars and educational leaders to pursue careers in academia, and occupy positions of leadership in American and global universities and colleges

Program Overview

Academic credential granted Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Credits required for completion 72
Time to completion 4+ years
Course delivery On campus

You'll find our alumni leading their field as:

  • deans of schools of education
  • faculty and researchers in national and international universities and colleges
  • federal, state and districtwide administrators of English as a second language, foreign and multilingual education
  • international school administrators
  • provosts and deans of international education
  • scholars in foreign and second language education
Research Practicum 6 credits
Application deadline Fall: Jan. 1

Program Coursework

Your program of study requires 72 credit hours:

  • Concentration – 24 credit hours 
  • Research – 28 credit hours (21 credits of courses, 6 hours of research component/practicum, 1 credit of research analysis exam)
  • Dissertation – 10 credit hours
  • Relevant master's degree courses – 10 credit hours

Application Requirements

Master's Degree

If you do not already hold a master's degree, you will be considered for admission if you have completed an otherwise compelling and highly rigorous undergraduate degree program or a collection of graduate courses not leading to a degree.

Standardized Testing No Longer Required

In an effort to make the application process more equitable, the GRE/MAT is no longer required for admissions consideration for those applying to this program through the fall 2022 semester. If you still plan to take the GRE/MAT exam, you can send your scores through the testing agency, and they will automatically be added to your application; however, they are not required for admission consideration to this program.

Submit your completed online application, which includes:

  • Application fee: A $50 non-refundable application fee, submitted electronically through UB's ePayment system.
  • Contact information for two individuals who will each be asked to provide an electronic recommendation letter.
  • Unofficial transcripts from all colleges attended. (UB transcripts are automatically submitted for current UB students and alumni.)
  • Sample of academic writing: A sample of your academic writing (e.g., master's thesis, professional publication).
  • Statement of interest: Statement of your career goals and objectives.
  • Resume

Admission Interview: An interview is required to be considered for admission to this program.

Former/Maiden Name: Please provide us with your former/maiden name if you have one. When requesting transcripts, please ask the sending institution to indicate your current name and former/maiden name.

Admissions Decision: The admissions decision will be communicated to you as soon as review is complete. The decision is based on a number of factors and is the result of a thorough and deliberate process. All decisions are final and cannot be appealed.

International Applicant Additional Requirements
  • Official original proof of your degree
  • A copy of your passport biographical page
  • Official test scores for either the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) or PTE (Pearson Test of English) Academic. Test scores must be dated within two years of submitting your application.
    • TOEFL minimum score is a 250 for a computer based test, 600 for a paper based test and 96 for the Internet based test 
    • IELTS minimum score is 7.0 overall
    • PTE minimum score is 55 overall
  • Financial documentation — International graduate applicants must document their ability to pay for all costs incurred while studying in the U.S.
  • An official bank statement

All financial forms and supporting documentation with required signatures must be uploaded with your application, and must be dated within one year of your intended enrollment date.

Are you an international student and unable to take the IELTS, PTE or TOEFL?

If you are currently unable to take the IELTS, PTE or TOEFL tests because they are canceled due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19), the University at Buffalo will accept the Duolingo English Test (DET) for proof of English proficiency. This test can be taken online, in your own home. More information can be found on the Graduate School’s website.

The TOEFL iBT® Special Home Edition is a safe and convenient option for students who are unable to take the TOEFL iBT test at a test center due to public health concerns.

Learn More

University Computing Standards

You are required to have daily access to a reliable broadband connection and a computer that meets university computing standards. You are also expected to have basic computer competency before beginning your coursework.