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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I get an MA or PhD in Spanish? In French? In German?

 The degree itself is an MA or PhD in Languages, Literatures and Cultures. We offer specializations in each of these languages.

2. What if I’d like to get an MA or PhD in Arabic? Or Chinese? Or Italian? Or Russian? Or Japanese?

We do not offer specializations in these languages. Students who wish to build on their strengths in these languages are encouraged to look closely at the specializations in Applied Linguistics or Transcultural Studies. The School of Languages, Linguistics, Literatures and Cultures has experts in a range of modern languages (i.e., Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish) who are able to supervise topics in these areas.

3. What is Transcultural Studies, and what would it mean to complete a degree in it?

Research in Transcultural Studies investigates the inner differentiation and complexity of modern cultures that are represented in the linguistic and geographical areas studied by faculty in the School of Languages, Linguistics, Literatures and Cultures. Projects and courses in this specialization may address cultural works from the geographic areas where Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian and Spanish are the dominant language. Cultures cannot be considered separate satellites; ownness and foreignness are blurred, such that transcultural is the most accurate term for the analysis of complex. Questions of national, cultural  and linguistic identity that continue to be vital elements in global understanding, will inform the research in this specialization.

4. What is Applied Linguistics? How does it differ from Linguistics?

Applied Linguistics is a field that works to identify problems, answer questions, and find solutions to real-world issues involving language. As such, in order to engage in Applied Linguistics research, students are expected to have an understanding of Linguistics. Within the School of Languages, Linguistics, Literatures and Cultures, applied linguistics researchers work on a range of topics including, but not limited to, sociolinguistics, classroom second language (L2) learning and teaching, listening in an L2, L2 pronunciation. Applied linguists make use of a range of techniques including interviews and questionnaires, classroom observations, behavioural tasks (e.g., grammaticality judgments, think-aloud protocols, self-paced listening or reading), and online methodologies (e.g., eye tracking) to obtain data. Students may work on an applied linguistics project that focuses on any of the languages taught in the school.

5. Is it possible to work on English as a Second Language in this program?

No, we do not work on English as a Second Language. If you are interested in second language acquisition and you speak one of the languages offered in the School of Languages, Linguistics, Literatures and Cultures (i.e., Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian, or Spanish), you may wish to consider our Applied Linguistics specialization.

If you are interested only in English as a Second Language, you may wish to consider applying to the Werklund School of Education. 


6. What are some of the highlights of the graduate program in Languages, Literatures and Cultures?

Unique features of the program include the following:

  • Development and strengthening of intercultural competencies
    Students enrolled in the program will not only learn about what it means to effectively and appropriately communicate with peoples from the cultures they are studying, but—due to the diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds of their fellow students and their course instructors as well as the content of the program’s common courses—they will also deepen their knowledge of other cultures, their empathy for people from other cultures, and their own cultural identity.

  • Understanding and application of theory
    A central goal of the program’s common courses (Research Methods and Literary and Cultural Theory, and Research Methods and Applied Linguistics; Additional Language Pedagogy) is to expose students to a range of literary and linguistic theories, which they will then apply in later stages of their degree programs. 

  • Pedagogical training and teaching experience
    All students will be required to enroll in the common course Additional Language Pedagogy. Every effort is made to ensure students are able to work as supervised teaching assistants in a range of undergraduate courses, and those students who wish to teach up to two courses as the instructor of record over the course of their degrees will be regularly observed and mentored when they teach. In addition, we offer regular pedagogy workshops and informal pedagogy meetings.

  • International experience
    All students who enroll in the program are encouraged to take advantage of at least one international experiences available to them. We also encourage graduate students to present their research at national and international conferences.

  • Development of grant writing skills
    Students are strongly encouraged to apply for grants that will enable them to study or undertake their research at a range of universities and research institutions throughout the world. The School provides a great deal of support to students working on grant applications. 

  • Development of advanced language proficiency
    Students will be supported to attain high levels of proficiency in the languages that they study, and PhD students will obtain intermediate (CEFR level B1) proficiency in a third language. Students whose abilities are not at this level will be encouraged to study abroad.

  • Development of written and oral communication skills
    In each of their courses students will not only be expected to produce substantial written contributions and give classroom presentations, but will also receive substantial feedback on these assignments. In addition, the School regularly provides workshops and other opportunities for students to hone their communication skills.

  • Research training
    From the outset of their studies, students will be taught to read published research with a critical eye, and will be encouraged to consider the implications of this research for their own future studies. Students will be encouraged to attend additional workshops offered by the Language Research Centre and various research groups in the School and across campus that will provide them with practical tools for carrying out informed research. When possible, students—especially those in the PhD program—will also be hired as research assistants so that they can learn first-hand about the research being carried out across the School of Languages, Linguistics, Literatures and Cultures.

  • Development of autonomy and the ability to collaborate
    Courses, research and teaching opportunities and outreach activities available to students across the program will enable them to develop the autonomy necessary to complete their own projects as well as the ability to work with others to see collaborative projects through to completion.

7. How do I know if this is the right program for me?

One of the best ways for you to decide whether a graduate program is right for you is to look at the research areas of the professors as well as that of the students in the program. If there is someone who is doing research that looks like something you’d like to do, contact that person and / or the Graduate Program Director (Dr. Mary O'Brien:

8. Will I receive funding in the LLAC graduate program?

The LLAC program only accepts as many graduate students as it can fund in a given year. As such, every student who is accepted receives a funding package that clearly lays out funding plans for the duration of his or her program. Full-time, thesis-based students will continue to be funded throughout their programs (i.e., 20 months for MA students and 44 months for PhD students) as long as they make good academic progress and fulfill the duties assigned to them.

Funding levels are based on a student’s time in program and whether or not he or she is a domestic or international student. For example, during the 2017-2018 academic year, domestic MA students receive at least $17,680 during their first year, and that amount is reduced to at least $13,600 during the second year, when student fees are reduced. Those same funding levels for international students are at least $24,570 for the first year of the MA and at least $15,660 for the second year. Domestic PhD students receive at least $19,940 until they pass candidacy (no later than 28 months in the program) and at least $14,560 thereafter. International PhD students receive at least $26,970 pre-candidacy and at least $18,060 thereafter.

Funding may take a number of forms including graduate assistantships (i.e., teaching, non-teaching, or research), sessional teaching assignments, scholarships, grants, and other awards. Students are required to seek additional funding opportunities including scholarships from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC, Canadian students and permanent residents only), awards and scholarships offered by the University of Calgary, and other external awards.

All students who receive funding through the program are required to take advantage of professional development opportunities.