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Course content

This is a professionally-oriented higher degree for those who intend to follow a career in English Language Teaching (ELT) and teachers who wish to extend and develop their knowledge of teaching English language learners.

The programme enables participants to gain the necessary knowledge and skills to devise and teach effective English language courses, in addition to equipping students with the essential research and analytical skills to keep up with the rapid developments in the field.

One of the key features of the MSc TESOL is the emphasis on learning through interaction; much of the course is organised around class-based data.

Why Choose TESOL at Queen's?

◦As a prestigious Russell Group University, Queen’s is ranked 8th within the UK in relation to research intensity;

◦Education at Queen’s has been ranked 4th within the UK in relation to research intensity with 87% of the research undertaken within the School assessed as ‘internationally excellent or world leading’ (REF, 2014);

◦We provide high quality teaching delivered through face-to-face communication;

◦Supportive academic tutors and staff;

◦Graduates have found the programme very beneficial in gaining employment;

◦If you don’t want or need to study for the research dissertation, flexible exit qualifications (PG Diploma, PG Certificate) are available and individual course modules can also be taken as short courses.

Programme Structure

The MSc in TESOL is awarded to students who have successfully completed 180 CATS points (including 60 CATS points from a Master's dissertation).

Exit qualifications are available. Students may exit with a Postgraduate Diploma by successfully completing 120 CATS points from taught modules or a Postgraduate Certificate by successfully completing 60 CATS points from taught modules.

Modules (all 20 CATS points)

Core Modules include (all 20 CATS):

An Introduction to Research Methods: Children, Young People and Education

This introductory research methods module is compulsory for all Masters students in the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work and assumes no previous experience or knowledge of research methods. The aim of the module is to provide a general research overview and to contextualize the broad range of approaches and debates that are evident within contemporary educational research.

Language Awareness for TESOL

This module will consider the different systems and skills of the English language (phonology, grammar, lexis, discourse, speaking, listening, reading and writing) and equip course participants with the skills needed to analyse language for teaching purposes. The module will place emphasis on the use of pedagogic grammars and adopt a systemic/ functional approach to grammar. Particular attention will be given to the study of spoken and written discourse.

Language Learning for TESOL

This module will provide an overview of the key theories associated with language learning and language acquisition in the formal context of the classroom. It will offer module participants an opportunity to assess different approaches to the support of learning in a range of TESOL contexts.

Materials Development for TESOL

This module will examine the notion of ‘context’ in relation to the teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages. Beginning with the classroom as context, participants will have an opportunity to develop their own interactional awareness as a means of promoting learning opportunity. The module will then consider the broader notion of ELT contexts in relation to the cultural politics of English as an international language and assess the impact that different contexts has on approaches to teaching and learning, assessment and the design and use of curricula and teaching materials.

TESOL: Principles and Practices

This module will consider the principles and practices of ELT methodology and trace developments over the past 20 years. From the advent of ‘the communicative approach’ to the current ‘post-method’ era, the course will examine a range of pedagogical issues and evaluate their impact on current classroom practice.

Optional module: (20 CATS)

One optional module may be chosen from those offered on the Educational Studies (MEd) programme including the following:

Issues in Language Assessment for TESOL*

This module explores a number of issues in assessment including the relationship between assessment and learning and the impact of assessment and testing on learning. It provides an overview of key assessment concepts of validity and reliability and considers various models of assessment practice. This module examines the notion of language proficiency for TESOL and current methods and practices in second language classroom-based assessment.

*Students cannot take Assessment Issues in Teaching and Learning in Classrooms if taking this module.

Digital Literacy and Communication

The aim of this module is to examine theories of understanding and researching digital literacy. The module begins from a social practice view of literacy, which is then used as a lens to critically examine digital literacy in contemporary society, digital media in education and learning, and TESOL. Course participants will also examine methodologies that have been applied to researching language and literacy in digital environments. The module equips course participants with the skills needed to practically examine and analyse digital literacy in the lives of people, in institutions, and in wider society.


There are no written examinations. Modules are assessed through written assignments, including case studies, language analysis and coursebook evaluations.

Visit the MSc (TESOL) Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages page on the Queen’s University Belfast website for more details!





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