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Applied Linguistics


Applied linguistics is an interdisciplinary field that investigates and offers solutions to language-related problems in the world. The discipline relies on the theories and findings of linguistics, together with the experiences and needs of language users, to engage real-world issues at such intersections as language and society, language and education, and language and power.

General Track

The applied linguistics general track is designed for students who are interested in pursuing a systematic study of language and applied issues in language teaching, language learning, and language use. Students with this minor are well prepared to teach English internationally as well as to work in such settings as adult literacy, refugee services, nonprofit organizations, and publishing. This general track requires completion of 21 credits:

  • English foundation: 9 credits
  • English electives: 9 credits
  • Cross-departmental elective: 3 credits

Esl Track

The applied linguistics English as Second Language (ESL) track is designed for students seeking elementary, including CSAT, or secondary teacher certification. The curriculum meets Michigan Department of Education (MDE) standards for a teachable minor for elementary or secondary certification and leads to ESL endorsement, an add-on credential to a Michigan teaching license. The ESL track requires completion of 23 credits. Students must complete 18 credits of coursework in English and a supervised teaching practicum with College of Education to fulfill the ESL minor. They must also pass the Michigan Test for Teacher Certification (MTTC) in ESL to qualify for ESL endorsement.

  • English foundation: 9 credits
  • ESL track: 9 credits
  • ESL practicum: 5 credits

Career Options

Applied linguistics will prepare you to work in a wide variety of fields, including: 

  • Language teaching and assessment
  • Editing and publishing
  • Computer science
  • Nonprofit/NGO services
  • Foreign services
  • Adult literacy
  • Forensic analysis
  • Language policy and planning

Why Study Applied Linguistics at Grand Valley?

  • As a young discipline, applied linguistics continues to play an increasingly prominent role in a range of academic disciplines and professional settings.
  • Since language is involved in virtually all human activity, the scope of applied linguistics is very broad.
  • Applied linguistics serves as an excellent disciplinary complement to such fields as African/African American studies, anthropology, classics, communications, information systems, English, education, modern languages, philosophy, political science, psychology, sociology, and writing.
  • The world-wide demand for English language expertise continues to grow at unprecedented rates, so the market for English language specialists is expanding rapidly.

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