Applied Linguistics is the study of language as a social, cognitive, and cultural entity, with the goal of solving real-world problems. We investigate the development and use of language in real-world situations and institutions. We use our understanding to address problems where communication has a central role, such as in schools and businesses, in law, in teaching speakers of a second language, in meeting the needs of refugee and immigrant communities, in international development, and much more.
Our department includes a BA major and minor in Applied Linguistics, an undergraduate Certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL), and an MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Language (TESOL). We offer
- Small classes and mentoring by faculty
- Experience on projects using language knowledge to address real-world problems
- An active Student Organization of Applied Linguistics (SOAL) that organizes speakers, workshops, game nights and more
- Research experience for undergraduates and graduate students
- Advising for transfer students to make the most of your credits
- A supportive community of people with diverse cultural and language experiences.
We collaborate with partners in the Portland community and around the world so you can gain experience in a variety of contexts. Visit the Research & Projects page to see how you can get involved.
Language plays a central role in many issues of racial justice. Our department is committed to working toward a more equitable and inclusive university and society, and to teaching others about the role of language in a just society. Read our statement on our Facebook page. Read about the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Initiative in our department.
Welcome to our Community
The Student Organization of Applied Linguistics (SOAL) is a PSU club that organizes events related to Applied Linguistics. Activities include talks with professors, alumni, and professionals in the field, providing a way to connect with the department and beyond.
Portland State University has many connections with professional, national and international organizations, all of which help students achieve success after graduation.
You can sign up for our quarterly newsletter and mailing list to receive department news, job and volunteer postings, and thought-provoking information about linguistics in the news.
We love hearing what our alumni are doing! Check out these many ways to stay connected to our applied linguistics community.
Find an Applied Linguistics faculty member
"There are a lot of great informal ways to get to know your peers and professors. In fact the university as a whole has a lot of great ways to get involved. There's a lot beyond the homework and coursework."
--Dustin Lanker, BA major in Applied Linguistics