Language Instruction, Graduate Certificate

Certificate Candidacy

To earn a graduate certificate at Washington University, a student must complete all courses required by their department; maintain satisfactory academic progress; fulfill all academic and residence requirements; and file an Intent to Graduate. Graduate certificates are not standalone programs and are only available to current students in applicable graduate programs. Thus, graduate certificates are conferred at the same time as the student’s primary graduate program.

Program Requirements

  • Total Units Required: 15
  • Certificate Length: To be completed by end of student's PhD program
    • Note: Students must be enrolled in 9 graduate credits each semester to retain full-time status. As students complete their course work, if enrolled in fewer than 9 graduate credits, they must enroll in a specific Arts & Sciences graduate course that will show 0 units but does count as full-time status. Students should connect with their department to ensure proper enrollment prior to Add/Drop.

Required Courses

  • 15 units of credit — one course from each of the following groups — are required:
  1. Language Teaching Methodology (French 501 Seminar in the Teaching of Romance Languages/Span 501 Seminar in Teaching of Romance Languages) or the equivalent in another department for students of that language
  2. Linguistics and Language Learning (APL 5111 Linguistics and Language Learning) or other approved equivalent
  3. Second Language Acquisition (Span 5660 Second Language Acquisition), (may have crosslistings with other languages)
  • Two of the following elective courses are required:
  1. Reading and Writing in a Second Language (L92 5692)
  2. Grammar and Vocabulary Acquisition (L38 567)
  3. Phonology and Second Language Acquisition (L38 5170)
  4. Second Language Acquisition and Technology (APL 5023 Second-Language Acquisition and Technology)

Students need to take these courses for a letter grade and earn a B- or better, with a B average overall.

Origin and Purpose

The Graduate Certificate in Language Instruction is an interdisciplinary certificate related to the fields of applied linguistics, second language acquisition, psychology, neuroscience, and other disciplines that has important implications for the way we teach foreign languages. Study within these different fields provides a fascinating examination of the way that second languages (L2) are learned and how second language is generated by learners. An understanding of second language acquisition processes both enriches our knowledge of how the mind works and serves to better inform the ways that foreign language teachers design and implement curricular approaches for different levels and skills.

Program Details

Students must apply to be considered for the certificate program and will be evaluated by a faculty committee, twice a year, on approximately October 15 and March 15. (The committee is made up of co-directors and graduate directors of participating departments.) The certificate consists of five courses: three required courses and two electives. This application is submitted at the beginning of the student's doctoral course work. Master's degree students are not eligible for consideration. 

The goal of the five-course sequence is to provide certificate students with a solid base in the theoretical and instructional implications of research on language acquisition across different linguistic subsystems (phonology, lexis, syntax, pragmatics) and different linguistic modalities (spoken and written). This formation will also prepare students to be involved in language program design and curricular development.

To provide our graduate students with additional qualifications and formal development that will make them strongly prepared for a range of demanding academic positions, the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures offers the Graduate Certificate in Language Instruction for students enrolled in PhD programs at Washington University.

For more information, visit the Graduate Certificate in Language Instruction page of the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures website, contact Professor Joe Barcroft, or call 314-935-5175.

Contact Info