The Graduate Program in Applied Linguistics and Language Studies (LAEL) of the Pontifical Catholic University of Sao Paulo (PUCSP) was established in 1970, thus being the first of its kind in Brazil. It was recognized as a center of excellence by the Brazilian National Research Council (CNPq) on March 31, 1971, and later registered with the Federal Education Council on September 9, 1973 and re-registered on August 20, 1978.
The PhD Program, established in 1980, was registered on May 5, 1983, and the MA Program was re-registered in the same year. In 1989, both programs were registered once again.
The original name of the program was ‘Graduate Program in Applied Linguistics and Language Teaching’, but in 1997, the program was renamed ‘Graduate Program in Applied Linguistics and Language Studies’. The Portuguese acronym remained the same.
The Program’s mission is to train students at both the MA and PhD levels, with the aim of fostering the development of high quality researchers for the tertiary level in the interdisciplinary field of Applied Linguistics. For many years, this has also included supervising doctors who, following criteria established by both the University and the Program, wish to pursue post-doctoral activities in the field of Applied Linguistics and Language Studies.
Teaching and Research within the Program are characterized by both the diversity of themes and flexibility involved in the very nature of Applied Linguistics, which makes it possible to open up new areas of investigation and teaching, all of which goes well beyond the simple application of Linguistics to Language Teaching. This understanding has underpinned the renaming of the Program as ‘Applied Linguistics and Language Studies’.
Research areas in the program are concentrated in four major themes for investigation and work, as suggested by their designations: Language and Education; Language and Labor; Language, Education and Technology; Language and Language Pathologies. These areas are consolidated and are pursued for both research and work, as can be attested in many ways, such as the disciplines that make up the curriculum, the many theses and dissertations that have been defended or are in progress, the research projects that are underway, the national and international exchange agreements, as well as the publications of both faculty and students.