PhD in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL)


Program Description


Ph.D. program in TEFL is designed for those students who are willing to advance their Pedagogical Knowledge in English Language Teaching, research methodologies, intercultural communication and educational foundations. The Ph.D. program offers professional development to students and prepares them to be a researcher and leader in Teaching English. The Ph.D. students gain experience and understanding in areas such as; second language acquisition, second language reading and writing, language socialization, language and identity, second language assessment, discourse analysis, critical applied linguistics, and research methods.

The program offers a unique supervised teaching practicum in an intensive English program. This experience equips graduates to analyze language, meet the English language learning needs of the learners, and enter the field as a professional.

Ph.D. Degree in TEFL

The Ph.D. program requires completion of 36 credits, a set of core courses (10 credits), elective courses (8 credits) and a Ph.D. thesis (18 credits). The main emphasis of the program is on the successful completion of an original and independent research project written and defended as a dissertation.

Comprehensive Exam

Comprehensive Exam should be taken at most at the end of the 4th semester and is required before a student could defend the Ph.D. proposal. Students will have two chances to pass the Ph.D. Comprehensive Exam. If students receive an evaluation of “unsatisfactory” on their first Comprehensive Exam attempt, the student may retake the qualifier once more. A second failure will result in termination from the program. The Comprehensive Exam is designed to ensure that the student has the potential to conduct doctoral-level research.

Ph.D. Proposal

The Ph.D. proposal must contain Specific Aims, Research Design and Methods, and Proposed Work and Timeline. In addition, the proposal must also contain a bibliography and, as attachments, any publications/supplementary materials. The student must defend their thesis proposal to their committee in an oral exam.


A student should choose a thesis advisor (and one or two co-advisors if required) within the first year of being in the Ph.D. program, approved by the Faculty committee. In the second year, a thesis committee suggested by the advisor alongside by the Ph.D. proposal should be handed over for approval. The thesis committee should consist of a minimum of five faculty members. Two members of thesis committee should be from the other Universities at the Associate Professor level. Not later than the end of the 5th semester, a student has to present and defend a written Ph.D. proposal.

Research Progress

A student is expected to meet with his/her thesis committee at least once a year to review the research progress. At the beginning of each university calendar year, each student and the student’s advisor are required to submit an evaluation assessment of the student’s progress, outlining past year accomplishments and plans for the current year. The thesis committee reviews these summaries and sends the student a letter summarizing their status in the program. Students who are failing to make satisfactory progress are expected to correct any deficiencies and move to the next milestone within one year. Failure to do so will result in dismissal from the program.

Ph.D. Dissertation

Within 4 years after entering the Ph.D. program, the student is expected to complete the thesis research; the student must have the results of the research accepted or published in peer-reviewed journals. Upon submitting a written thesis and public defense and approval by the committee, the student is awarded the Ph.D. degree. The defense will consist of (1) a presentation of the dissertation by the graduate student, (2) questioning by the general audience, and (3) closed-door questioning by the dissertation committee. The student will be informed of the exam result at the completion of all three parts of the dissertation defense. All members of the committee must sign the final report of the doctoral committee and the final version of the dissertation.

A minimum GPA of 16 over 20 must be maintained for graduation.

Leveling Courses (not applicable to the degree)

The Ph.D. in Teaching English Language assumes a Master degree in related fields. However, students holding any other master degree besides will be required to complete leveling courses that are designed to provide a background for the Ph.D. courses. These leveling courses are decided by the faculty committee and are not counted for graduate credits towards the Ph.D. in Teaching English Language.

Core courses: 5 courses required; 10 credits

Elective courses: 4 courses required; 8 credits

Course Descriptions

Research in Language Education

Course content:
The Nature Of Research, Developmental Research, Verbal Protocols, Interaction Analysis, Survey Analysis, Language Learning and Teaching Attitudes, Vocabulary Learning Techniques, Issues Related to Data Gathering, Common Data Collection Measures, Coding, Research Variables Validity and Reliability, Designing a Quantitative Study, Qualitative Research, Classroom Research, Mixed Methods, Analyzing Quantitative Data, Concluding and Reporting Research. Technologies across Continents, Web Collaboration across Languages, Less Commonly Taught Languages, Teacher Education and Learning Strategies

Language Assessment

Course content:
Foreign and Second Language Teacher Assessment, Validity in Language Testing, Principles of Language Assessment, The Assessment Development Process, Developing Test Specifications for Language Assessment, Linking Assessment with Instructional Aims, An Overview of Language Standards for Elementary, Assessment and Effective Peer Assessment, Web Based Language Testing, The Common European Framework of Reference, Implications for Teaching, Test Taking Strategies, What Teachers Need to Know About Test Analysis, Ethics in Language Testing and Assessment. Statistics for test analysis and improvement, Statistics for test use.

SLA Studies

Course content:
Investigating Instructed Second Language Acquisition, Investigating cognitive and processing mechanisms in instructed SLA, Instructed learners fluency and implicit explicit language processes, Psycholinguistic aspects of gender acquisition in instructed GFL learning, Is there a connection?, Formal instruction and the acquisition of verbal morphology, Investigating the role and effects of form focused instruction, Teaching marked linguistic structures more about the acquisition of relative clauses by Arab learners of English, The importance of form meaning mappings in explicit form focused instruction, Structure complexity and the efficacy of explicit grammar instruction, Focus on forms as a means of improving accurate oral production, The fault in the default hypothesis, Investigating the role and effects of interaction and Communication Focused Instruction, Negative feedback and learner uptake in analytic foreign language teaching, Noticing and the role of interaction in promoting language learning, Do they provide evidence for attention to form?, Assessment of the role of communication tasks in the development of second language oral production skills, Language learning in content based instruction, Effects of teacher discourse on learner discourse in a second language classroom, Comparing the effects of instructed and naturalistic L2 acquisition contexts, A comparative investigation of the effects of study abroad and foreign language instruction on the L2 learners grammatical development

Critique of Issues in Language Teaching

Course content:
Critiquing the Research of Others, Applying for Research Funding and Grants, Using Research in the Language Classroom, Preliminary Decisions, Deciding Upon a Research Methodology, Choosing a Research Method, Qualitative Research, Narrative Inquiry, Doing a Literature Review and Creating Your, Human Subjects Review, Sampling and What it Means, Using Introspective Methods, Designing and Using Rubrics, Research Paradigms in Second Language Research, Mixed Methods Research, Choosing a Research Type, Action Research, Case study Research, Conversation Analysis, Replication Research in Quantitative Research, Analyzing Your Data Statistically, Publishing Your Research, An Oasis of Language

Language Curriculum Development

Course content:
Environment Analysis, Needs Analysis, Principles, Goals Content and Sequencing, Format and Presentation, Monitoring and Assessment, Evaluation, Approaches to Curriculum Design, Negotiated Syllabuses, Adopting and Adapting an Existing Course Book, Introducing Change, Planning an in Service Course, Teaching and Curriculum Design, Curriculum development, Changing needs for foreign languages, Situation analysis, Planning goals and Course planning and some detail, The role and design, Approaches to evaluation


Course content:
Neural Bases of Speech Perception Phonology Streams, Learning, The Sounds of Language, Spoken word recognition, Computational Models of Spoken Word Recognition, How Young Children Develop Skill, Event Related Potentials And Magnetic Fields Associated With Visual Word Recognition in Skilled Adult Readers, Connectionist, Computational Models, Patient and Imaging Research, Figurative language, Computational Approaches To Figurative Language, The Development Of Figurative Language, Cognitive Neuroscience Of Figurative Language, Discourse and conversation, Decoding Orthographic Learning and the Development of Visual Word, How Does The Brain Read Words?, Semantic memory, Computational Models Of Semantic Memory, Developing Categories And Concepts, Morphological processing, A Tale Of Two Mechanisms?, Sentence comprehension, The Neurobiology of Sentence Comprehension, Computational And Corpus Models Of Human Sentence Comprehension, Sentence Production, Department Of Psychology, Computational Modeling Of Discourse And Conversation, Children Conversation And Acquisition, The Electrophysiology Of Discourse And Conversation, Language and thought, Computational Approaches To Language And Thought, Language And Cognition In Development, Language Thought And Brain?


Course content:
History of Sociolinguistics, Sociolinguistics and the Sociology of Language, Language Variation and Change, Codes and Social Class, Dell Hymes and the Ethnography of Communication, Gumperz and Interactional Sociolinguistics, Sociolinguistics and Social Theory, Interaction, Sociolinguistic Potentials of Face-to-face Interaction, Doctor Patient Communication, Discourse and Schools, Courtroom Discourse, Analyzing Conversation, Narrative Analysis, Gender and Interaction, Social Stratification, Social Constructionism, Symbolic Interactionism Erving Goffman and Sociolinguistics, 9 Ethnomethodology and Membership Categorization Analysis, The Power of Discourse and the Discourse of Power, Globalization Theory and Migration, Interpretants Inference and Intersubjectivity, Language Variation and Change, Individuals and Communities, Social Class, Social Network, Phonology, Social Structure Language Contact and Language Change, Sociolinguistics and Formal Linguistics, Attitudes Ideology and Awareness, Historical Sociolinguistics, Fieldwork Methods in Language Variation, Interaction and the Media, Multilingualism and Contact, Societal Bilingualism, Codeswitching mixing, Language Policy and Planning, Language Endangerment, Global Englishes, Applications, Forensic Linguistics, Language Teaching and Language Assessment, Guidelines for Nondiscriminatory Language Use, Language Migration and Human Rights.

Discourse Analysis

Course content:
Origins and Orientation, Two Key Studies, Method and Critique, Similarities and Differences, Persuasion and Authority, Discursive Psychology, Critical Approach to Discourse Analysis, Methodological Disputes, Conversation Analysis and Power, Discourse analysis across events, Central tools and techniques, Discourse analysis of ethnographic data, Discourse analysis of archival data, Discourse analysis and digital practices, Discourse analysis of games, Discourse cybernetics and the entextualisation of the self, Tagging on Flickr as a social practice, Intertextuality and interdiscursivity in online consumer reviews Spoken interaction analysis and digital discourse, Co-constructing identity in virtual worlds for children, Positioning and repositioning, A reflection on corpus assisted discourse analysis, Researching digital literacy practices in context, iPhone as technological artefact, Flows of language online and offline, Discourses of curation in digital times, The discursive construction of education in the digital age

Statistical analysis in Language Education

Course content:
Functions and arguments, Factors, Descriptive statistics, Bivariate statistics, Dispersions, Means, Coefficients of correlation and linear regression, Multiple regression analysis, ANOVA analysis of variance, Binary logistic regression, Hierarchical agglomerative cluster analysis

English for Specific Purposes

Course content:
ESP and Speaking, ESP and Listening, ESP and Reading, ESP and Writing, Vocabulary, English for Academic Purposes, English for Research Publication Purposes, English for Academic Purposes, Needs Analysis and Curriculum Development in Genre and English for Specific Purposes, ESP and Assessment, Technology, ESP and Corpus Studies, ESP and Intercultural Rhetoric, English for Science and Technology, English in the Workplace, Business English, Where We Are, Legal English, Aviation English, English for Medical Purposes, English for Nursing, Thesis and Dissertation Writing

L1 Acquisition Studies

Course content:

Acquiring language, Getting started In conversation with children, Perception, Early words, Production, Words and meanings, Constructions and meanings, First combinations first constructions, Modulating word meanings, Adding complexity within clauses, More complex constructions, Constructing words, Comprehension, and production differ, Using language, Honing conversational skill, Doing things with language, Two languages at a time, Some translation equivalents or doublets in French, Principles of dialect acquisition, Process in acquisition, Specialization for language, Acquisition and change, Language And Cognition, Linguistic Determinism And "Thinking For Speaking", The Relation Between Language And Cognition In Different Language Acquisition Theories, Selected Aspects Of Spatial Cognition In Children, Verbalization And Motion Events, General Assumption, Experimental Study On The Expression Of Motion Events In French And German, Methodology, Specific Hypothesis, Results: Voluntary Motion, Results: Caused Motion, Discussion

Interlanguage Pragmatics

Course content:
A Review of the Literature, Data Collection Techniques in Interlanguage Pragmatics, Methodology, Development of Pragmatic Awareness, Request Strategies, Internal Request Modification, External Request Modification, Institutional Discourse and Interlanguage Pragmatics Research, Institutional Discourse and the Role of Peer Tutors, Individual Differences in NS and NNS Teacher Directives, Getting the Job or Not in an Employment Interview, Uncovering Interlanguage Pragmatics in the University Classroom, English for Specific Purposes and Interlanguage Pragmatics, Using Moves in the Opening Sequence to Identify Callers in Institutional Settings, Practical Considerations

Language Teacher Education

Course content:
The Knowledge Base Of Second Language Teacher Education, Contexts Of Second Language Teacher Education, Collaborations In Second Language Teacher Education, Teacher Education In Practice, Language in language teacher education A discourse perspective, Concepts of language in language teacher education, Is language a verb? conceptual change in linguistics and language, The social component of language teacher education, Defining the subject, Reflexive language in language teacher education, Training in instructional conversation, Issues for language study in language teacher, Language awareness in the preparation of teachers of English for specific, An approach to raising language, Trainee generated language awareness, What can we expect, The use of lesson transcripts for developing teachers classroom language, Towards a framework for language improvement within short in service, The Impact on Teachers of Language Variation as a Course Component, Integrating Language Teachers Discipline Knowledge in a Language Course, Constructing Theoretical Notions of L2 Writing Through Metaphor Conceptualization, Pre Service English Teachers Beliefs towards Language Use and Variation, Relevance of Knowledge of Second Language Acquisition, Knowledge about Language and the Good Language Teacher, Pre Service ESL Teachers Knowledge about Language and its Transfer to Lesson Planning, What is Phonetics Got to Do with Language Teaching? Realizations, Systemic Functional Linguistics and the Language Classroom, Researching the Effectiveness of Professional Development in Pragmatics, Why Teachers Don’t Use Their Pragmatic Awareness, Teacher Trainees Explicit Knowledge of Grammar and Primary Curriculum Requirements in England, Knowledge about Language and Testing, Experience Knowledge about Language and Classroom Practice in Teaching Grammar, Discourse Analysis and Foreign Language Teacher Education
Last updated Mar 2018

About the School

Kish International Campus was established in 2007 in order to facilitate the enrolment of foreign students.

Kish International Campus was established in 2007 in order to facilitate the enrolment of foreign students. Read less