The Center for English as a Second Language offers numerous research opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students, UA faculty, and scholars to conduct research for CESL.

A variety of research approaches and topics are possible at CESL. At the current time, CESL is especially interested in research that examines the following topics: 

  • ESL student proficiency achievement and assessment
  • University student retention and success after IEP studies
  • Curriculum articulation
  • Learner autonomy
  • Content area teaching and ESP developments

Conducting Research at CESL

There are several kinds of research projects and researchers who collect data at CESL. Each project type has its own set of requirements, so it is important for you to determine the kind of project you will be doing, and apply in the correct way.

  • Undergraduate/graduate students doing a project only for a university course or independent study
  • Undergraduate/graduate students observing CESL classes only for a university course or independent study
  • Graduate students doing a thesis/dissertation or academic research for publication/presentation
  • UA faculty members doing academic research
  • Visiting scholars from other universities doing academic research


UA student research for course project (no public presentation or publication)

If you are gathering any type of data at CESL that is exclusively for an assigned project in a UA course, a copy of the course syllabus that describes the assignment must be submitted to CESL, and it is not necessary for you to complete the full CESL site authorization process. Research that is approved by CESL as part of a course assignment may not be used for publication. If you believe that your project falls into this category, then you may submit your course syllabus with assignment description to Dr. Sumayya Granger at, or Julianne Hammink at

Thesis/dissertation research or other academic research for presentation/publication
(UA students and UA faculty)

If you intend to use the data that you collect at CESL for research that will be published or presented in any way, then you are required to apply for both CESL site authorization and IRB approval. Proof of the approval or exemption of your project by Human Subjects/IRB is required as a part of final CESL site authorization.

Please fill out our online application and we will respond to you within a week.

Visiting scholars doing academic research for presentation/publication

Requirements for researchers not affiliated with the UA may be more involved, especially if you are not a U.S. citizen. Please read CESL’s visiting scholars page for details on the required materials and application procedures.  



In order to ensure that research does not disrupt teaching and learning at CESL, we ask you to please read the CESL research protocol before beginning your research at CESL, and observe the contained courtesies.


As a part of your research process, CESL requests that you share your findings with CESL faculty and administration. There are a number of ways to do this. For example, you might present to CESL faculty or write a précis of your findings.

Thank you for your interest in conducting research at CESL. For questions about the site authorization process, don’t hesitate to contact Assistant Director Dr. Sumayya Granger at , or Julianne Hammink at .