ALDS develops and applies theories to solve everyday problems involving language. It is an interdisciplinary field encompassing work in Applied Linguistics, Writing Studies, Discourse Studies, and Literacy Studies. ALDS focuses on language-related issues such as the following:
Language Teaching and Learning: How are languages taught and learned? How are language curricula best developed and implemented?
Language Assessment: How are language competencies evaluated and language tests designed?
Writing: How is writing used in academic, workplace, and community settings to construct knowledge, accomplish learning, and perform other functions? How can writing best be taught and learned in these settings?
Literacies: How do people use texts in their everyday activities in society? How can access to literacies be broadened?
Discourse Analysis: How is language – both spoken and written – used in specific social contexts? And how are other symbolic systems – such as photographs and drawings – used in similar contexts?
Language in Society: How does language influence society, and how is it influenced by society? What role does language play in creating social identities, social structures, and relations of power?
Language and the Professions: For what purposes do professionals use language in their work? What makes professional communication in a first or a second language more effective?
Bilingual Education: How can educational institutions support bilingual development? What makes a bilingual education program effective?
Language Policy and Planning: How do government policies influence language practices, for instance, with measures to protect endangered languages?
ALDS and LING are two approaches that investigate how language works. They focus on different aspects of language and use different methods to investigate it. We think it is useful for you to become familiar with the basics of both approaches, so both ALDS 1001 and LING 1001 are required courses in the program. You should take both courses as early as you can and decide which field is right for you. We also recommend that you take some LING courses as electives.
Yes. A BA Combined Honours in Linguistics & Discourse Studies option is available. Although the title does not contain the term “Applied Linguistics” or ALDS but it actually combines the BA Honours in Linguistics with the BA Honours in Applied Linguistics and Discourse Studies. It can also be taken concurrently with the CTESL program.
Here are some examples of possible careers for graduates in Applied Linguistics & Discourse Studies:
Teaching: in public and private schools at all levels of education, in community programs, and in professional organizations (often after further study in a CTESL program, in an MA program, or at teachers college);
Writing and communications: in writing-intensive positions in government (e.g. in policy units), in corporations (e.g. in communication units), as freelance professional writers, and as consultants;
Editing: in the government, in corporations, in publishing houses, or as freelancers;
Translation: in the public and private sectors or as freelancers (often after further study);
Assessment: as specialists in language testing and test design;
Training: in professional development units in private- and public-sector organizations, in writing centres and student success centres in universities and colleges, and in school boards as ESL specialists;
Educational research: as research analysts, consultants, project coordinators, discourse analysts in academic and corporate settings.
Every year in the spring we hold a career info session designed specifically to answer this question. We will send out an email to inform you about this session. Feel free to talk to the program’s academic advisor. Advisors change every year. Check this page for the current advisor’s contact information.
In addition to talking to the ALDS academic advisor (see above) talk to your professors, not just those that are your favourite teachers but every professor in the department. The best time to see your professors is during their office hours which are usually posted on their office doors and/or on their faculty profile pages on the web. If these hours are not convenient to you, email them and ask for an appointment. They will be more than happy to talk to you. Everyone’s email is similar to this one: firstname.lastname@example.org e.g. email@example.com. You may also want to take a look at the “What can I do with a grad degree in ALDS?” page for ideas.
Yes. We have had ALDS majors accepted to programs in speech therapy. You should make sure to take ALDS 2604 (Communication Disorders I), ALDS 3604 (Communication Disorders II), ALDS 2203 (Linguistic Theory and Second-Language Learning) and ALDS 4602 (Second Language Acquisition). You should also take several Linguistics courses such as LING 2007, 3004, 3007, and 3603.
The audit is a document that keeps track of your progress toward your degree. It lists all the requirements of your major and shows whether you have completed them. You should check it periodically to make sure you are on course. In addition to the audit, it is always a good idea to keep track of things manually by checking off the requirements listed in the Undergraduate Calendar here.
Audits are available on Carleton Central. A step-by-step guide to obtaining and reading your audit can be found here.
First, become familiar with the Undergraduate Calendar. It describes the requirements and courses offered in our program, and general University requirements and policies. You can find information about the ALDS program on our webpage, or by going directly to the undergraduate calendar.
Second, you should get in the habit of checking your audit at least once every term.
Using the information in your audit and in the Calendar, as well as in the rest of this FAQ, plan your coursework ahead to make sure you can graduate in the time that you intend.
You can take the following courses because they are without prerequisites:
ALDS 1001, Introduction to Applied Linguistics and Discourse Studies: Survey of topics in Applied Linguistics and Discourse Studies: language and power, language and identity, first language acquisition, second language learning and teaching, learning and teaching of writing, language assessment and testing, cross-cultural communication, sociolinguistics, language policy, discourse analysis, literacy, semiotics, and analysis of multimodal texts.
ALDS 2203, Linguistic Theory and Second-Language Learning: A critical study of linguistic theory and description applied to second-language learning. Includes a brief consideration of similarities and differences in first- and second-language development, bilingualism and types of linguistic error and their significance.
ALDS 2701, Language in Society: The place of language within society; bilingual and multilingual communities; language, social mobility and social stratification; sociolinguistic factors in language change.
ALDS 2705, Language, Ideology and Power: How social conditions engender different linguistic choices. Attention to linguistic resources for expressing ideological beliefs and for maintaining and reinforcing power structures in institutional and social sites.
ALDS 2704, Bilingualism: The linguistic nature of bilingualism. The structure of bilingual societies and the relation between societal and individual bilingualism. The role of bilingualism in language education. (Second year standing is required).
The Advisor’s main job is to answer questions about the program, to help you with your course planning, and to advise about academic matters in general.
However, it is your responsibility to keep track of your requirements. Don’t expect the Advisor to go after you and remind you about classes you need to take in order to graduate. The Advisor does not check the audits of all the students in the program; (s)he only acts if asked by the student.
That being said, the Advisor is happy to go over the audit with you to explain anything that may be confusing, and to give suggestions about courses you can take in the following year. There is a period called March Advising when students are especially encouraged to speak with the Advisor to make sure they are on track.
When you ask the Advisor for help, it is useful if you come prepared – look at your audit beforehand, and perhaps draw up a course plan for the coming year.
The Program Administrator handles the administrative side of advising – (s)he helps you with course registration, makes adjustments to your audit, and can answer questions about the requirements and the scheduling of courses. You can reach her at: Nikki.Gilroy@carleton.ca
Go to Carleton Central and file an override request as soon as possible (see information under the “Access To Closed Courses” heading on this page). If the course is needed for your requirements, be sure to say so. If you are an ALDS major, you will most likely be allowed into a closed course, especially if it is a core course, as long as you meet the prerequisites. It will take a few days to process your request. If you don’t see any response in Carleton Central, feel free to alert the Program Administrator. Once a space is created for you, you still need to register by using the CRN for the course. Carleton Central may give you a deadline to do so.
You must take at least one credit within three of the four subject-matter areas as defined in the Undergraduate Calendar.
For most students, LING 1001 and ALDS 1001 fulfil the Humanities requirement, and two terms of a language take care of the Culture and Communication area (if you do not take language courses you can take one credit from any other courses under the breadth area Culture and Communication). You only need one more credit in either ‘Social Sciences’ or ‘Science, Engineering, and Design’. (Note: you cannot take .5 credit from one and .5 from the other).
You are subject to the requirements as they were in place at the time when you were admitted to the ALDS program. New requirements only apply to new students. The principle is that we never move the goal posts in the middle of the game. Your audit reflects the requirements that were in place when you were admitted; you should consult your audit for the precise requirements of your program of studies.
The old LALS course code was split into separate codes: ALDS for Applied Linguistics and Discourse Studies, and LING for (theoretical) Linguistics. If you entered the program at a point when LALS still existed, you are subject to the older requirements; the system will match LING and ALDS courses as if they were LALS.
The common theme in this FAQ is that each student has a slightly different case, so there’s no general answer. The program path suggested on our webpage may be typical for an honours BA major, but it is just a suggestion – things may work differently in your case.
You should definitely take ALDS 1001 as soon as possible, since it is a prerequisite for several other ALDS courses especially ALDS 2201 and ALDS 2202. You should take LING 1001 in your first year. You can fill out the rest of your first-year schedule with electives keeping in mind the breadth requirements (see above). In your second year make sure you take ALDS 2201 and ALDS 2202.
You may take any course at any time, as long as you meet the prerequisites. Note, though, that some courses may require 3rd year standing; check the description in the calendar. Also, keep in mind that you are required to take a certain number of courses at or above each level, as detailed in the program description and the general requirements.
No. Core courses are normally offered every year, but other courses may not be. Don’t assume that a course listed in the Calendar will be taught. Most courses are offered at least once every two years, but there is no guarantee. Next year’s course schedule is usually published in June, although a tentative list of offerings may be available earlier if you ask the Advisor or the Program Administrator.
Free elective requirements can be fulfilled by taking any class, within or outside of the program. Pay close attention to what the requirements say; for BA Honours ALDS majors, no more than 2.5 credits of your free electives may be in ALDS.
You can take courses at Ottawa U or other universities. Whether those courses, including language courses, will count toward your requirements may depend on a variety of circumstances. Do not automatically assume that you can substitute Ottawa courses for Carleton ones. Prior to taking the course, you need to file a LOP (Letter of Permission) at the registrar’s office by submitting a course description. See information here; note that there is a fairly long processing time, and the deadlines are surprisingly early. Once the permission is granted, the course will be counted towards your degree.
Talk to the Advisor before you plan on taking a course outside of Carleton.
Special Topics courses are developed by professors that reflect their particular research interests. More so than other courses, they focus on current research and give you an opportunity to pursue your interests in the field by completing your own research project.
Normally, the information on next year’s Special Topics courses is available in early summer, and often earlier.
You can take ALDS 3903 and ALDS 4906 more than once. If you have trouble registering for more than one section of these courses, file a “course registration error override” request at Carleton Central.
How can I satisfy the School’s language proficiency requirement?
You can satisfy this requirement in several ways:
First, you automatically satisfy it if you can document your proficiency (i.e. with diploma or language placement test) in an additional language. Be sure to confirm your documentation with our Undergraduate Advisor or Program Administrator. Please be aware that simply having taken a foreign language in high school does not by itself satisfy the language requirement.
If you do not have documented proficiency, you are required to take one credit (two terms) worth of any foreign language(s) offered at Carleton. Please note that FINS courses do not count toward this requirement. Language options at Carleton include:
Yes. You may earn a concurrent CTESL as part of an Honours BA in ALDS, or as part of a Combined Honours BA in Linguistics and Discourse Studies, or as part of an Honours degree in another discipline. Students must complete four credits of required courses, including a practicum, and 1.0 in optional courses.
Independent studies are just like other courses except you are the only student, working closely with the instructor. The amount of work is similar to other third- and fourth-year 0.5-credit courses. Usually, the independent study results in a term paper. If you are interested in an independent study, talk to potential faculty supervisors, but see also (30).
An Honours Project is a more extensive project over the course of two terms (Read guidelines). It may involve (a) a practicum or work study placement in writing or literacy studies, language syllabus design or test development; (b) intensive research activity in an area of Applied Linguistics and Discourse Studies.
All projects will include substantial written work. Prerequisite: fourth-year standing in Applied Linguistics and Discourse Studies, a CGPA of 9.00 or better, or permission of the School.
Normally, we only recommend taking an independent study to satisfy an elective requirement in case there is a scheduling conflict and you need that elective to graduate. You cannot substitute core requirements with independent studies.
If you are interested in working closely with a faculty member, the Honours Project might be a better way to go.
First, check that you meet the prerequisites (there’s a GPA and standing requirement). Then, talk to the professor you’d like to work with, or to the Advisor if you’re not sure who you’d like to work with. Together with the professor, you will develop the topic and the timeline. You need to submit an “override request” in Carleton Central and complete the “course approval” form. The best time to approach a faculty member about a Project is in the winter of your third year.
If you don’t meet the GPA requirement, you may still be able to write an Honours Project. It depends on a variety of factors. If your GPA is close to the cutoff, and especially if it has improved over the course of your time in the University, there’s a good chance you’ll be allowed to write a Project. You can discuss this with the ALDS Advisor or a professor who is willing to supervise your Project.
Not necessarily. Different graduate programs expect different kinds of writing samples, but in most cases, you need to show that you can conduct research independently and that you write well. An Honours Project is a logical way to produce such a writing sample, and it might otherwise strengthen your application and give you useful research experience, but it is not strictly necessary. Many students have been successful without writing one.
We make every effort to avoid potential conflicts when scheduling courses, but sometimes they are inevitable. If you plan your coursework in advance, conflicts are unlikely to happen. However, if you have more than one major, courses in different departments can conflict, and these cases are the hardest.
If you have a difficult conflict, especially one that prevents you from graduating, talk to the Advisor, who will handle it on a case-by-case basis.
If everything else fails, a solution may be to take equivalent classes at Ottawa U or another University.
We do not usually allow substitution of core course requirements with independent studies unless it is a highly exceptional case. You can use independent studies to fulfil elective requirements, provided that there’s a faculty member willing to work with you.