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Second Language Acquisition


Admission requirements

An introductory course in language acquisition or psycholinguistics at MA or BA3 level at a university.


The course addresses the acquisition and use of a second language from two main theoretical perspectives: the cognitive and sociocultural perspective. One of the main rationales for the cognitive perspective has been that degree of success in learning a second language is heterogeneous rather than the (claimed) homogeneous success for native language learning. Cognitive approaches to second language learning seek answers to the question why individuals differ in this way. The sociocultural perspective broadens this discussion and views language use and language learning as situated in an (interactional) context. In the first part of the course, students will get acquainted with these different theoretical approaches. In the second part of the course, students will carry out research into individual differences in second language learning (outcomes).

Course objectives

  • To learn to read and interpret the relevant literature;

  • To learn to synthesize and present research literature;

  • To understand the most relevant theories in the field of second language acquisition.

  • To learn to collect, analyze, and report on data for a specific research question;


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

Course Load

Total course load: 280 hours (10 EC)

Attending seminars: 26 hours
Weekly homework: 26 hours
Reading: 90 hours
Research project (including writing): 126 hours
Presentation: 12 hours

Assessment method


  • Oral presentation (oral examination) 30%

  • Course Paper 70%


The final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average.


Resit: students who fail the course may resit the course paper.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

Mitchell, R., Myles, F., & Marsden, E. (2019). Second language learning theories. Routledge, 4th edition.

Brightspace will be used for:

  • information on the course and on assignments

  • notifications


General information about course and exam enrolment is available on the website.

Registration À la carte education, Contract teaching and Exchange

For the registration of exchange students contact Humanities International Office.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Reuvensplaats.