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  Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) - (DL) - MA

Online University of Sunderland    Faculty of Education and Society

Full time October MA 18 months distance learning
Education (11)

FindAMasters summary

Embark on a transformative journey with the MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) at the University of Sunderland. This prestigious distance-learning programme offers a comprehensive exploration of the English language, equipping you with the theoretical knowledge and practical skills needed to excel in the field of TESOL. The course is structured into three phases - certificate, diploma, and dissertation - providing a well-rounded learning experience. Benefit from over 20 years of TESOL expertise and guidance from experienced faculty members who are dedicated to your success. The programme's flexible nature allows you to study from anywhere in the world, with continuous support from tutors and a vibrant online learning community. Entry requirements are flexible, with options for alternative qualifications and teaching experience. A postgraduate degree in TESOL not only enhances your teaching abilities but also opens doors to diverse career opportunities worldwide. Join us and become a part of the esteemed Sunderland TESOL alumni network, where educational leadership begins.

About the course

MA Teaching English to Speakers of other Languages (DL) provides you with an in-depth, theoretical knowledge of the English Language; contextualises and evaluates global TESOL from a contemporary viewpoint; and develops your identity and classroom practice as a language educator.

The MA TESOL qualification is well respected and opens doors to higher level roles and business opportunities in a truly international field.

This flexible, distance-learning course is mindfully designed for students who may also be working as teachers or in other jobs. The materials are available to work through in your own time each week.

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Entry Requirements

We usually require applicants to hold a second class honours degree however alternative qualifications and teaching experience can be taken into consideration.

We offer automatic exemption from the certificate phase if you have a full DELTA or Trinity Diploma in TESOL certificate.

If you require proof of your English Language level, we accept an IELTS score of 6.5 with no skill less than 5.5 or an equivalent SELT. If you were educated in English for your degree, diploma or CELTA, this can also be considered.

 Course Content

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Student Profiles

Phil Hunter

"I wanted to develop my teaching career and needed the MA TESOL course to do this. I was working in the Arabian Gulf at the time and realised that my career had become ‘stuck’. I wanted to study at a North East-based university, as my hometown is in the Yorkshire Dales and decided upon Sunderland because I liked the way the course sounded in the prospectus.

The course flexibility was appealing and valuable to me as I was working in the Middle East at the time. The modules appealed to me, professionally. Above all, the support from the tutors was vital, especially as I was working and studying abroad. I had to defer my progress on the course a couple of times due to being between jobs, and the tutors were very supportive about that.

I would definitely recommend the University of Sunderland and this distance learning course to other students. I would advise them to focus on time management – it takes a huge amount of self-discipline to study at weekends when you know your friends and colleagues are heading out for the night! It also took a little while for me to get used to writing academically again. I would say it’s a good idea to start thinking about your dissertation research question as early as possible.

The timing of achieving my MA in 2008 was perfect! At the time I was working as Director of Studies in Doha, Qatar; as soon as I got my MA I applied to the University and got a job as a lecturer. It meant less hours, less stress for more money, long paid holidays and many other perks, so I instantly felt the benefit in practical terms. I’m presently in the process of applying to do a PGCE English course at the University of Sunderland and I’m delighted to be given the opportunity to renew my connection with the University.

Sunderland is so friendly, the tutors are very supportive and I’ve been able to see the benefits of my MA TESOL both professionally and financially.”

Muhammad Moustafa AlQadi

"In 2013, just after I completed my TESOL qualification, I wanted to pursue an academic degree so my option was the MA TESOL course. I contacted colleagues and consulted overseas studies companies and the reviews I received about the University of Sunderland were of a high standard. Moreover, the tuition fees were very affordable, and an instalment scheme was offered which helped me with the payment.

The tutors are the best part of the course – they are very supportive, patient and responsive. Truly, for me studying the TESOL MA was a learning journey and I liked the course structure and organisation.

After I achieved my MA TESOL, I was promoted to the Head of Assessment in the English Language Department in the Preparatory Year College in King Saud University, one of the biggest English as a Foreign Language programmes in the world. My promotion came with a pay rise which pushed me to finish my DELTA qualification from Cambridge. Currently, I am a PhD candidate in English Linguistics. Moreover, I hold the position of the deputy executive manager and academic consultant in one of the biggest education firms in KSA.

My time at the University of Sunderland was fan-mega-tastic! I really enjoyed the course and the way the University dealt with distance learners – it’s a hard balance to strike but my tutors made me feel like I was actually near them.”

Jill Fortune

"I decided to study the MA TESOL course as I felt I needed to continue with my own academic CPD, in order to lead my team effectively. I was working in a university in Bogota, Colombia and I studied online, which allowed me to continue working there while studying. I wanted to study at Sunderland as the course looked interesting, and I wanted to support local initiatives in my hometown, despite living abroad at the time.

The course has opened many doors for me, both in the UK and abroad, professionally and academically, allowing me to work in many different contexts, in teaching and administrative roles, as well as being published and working as an academic consultant. I have recently relocated to the UK and am working in a school for the first time, after having worked for many years at the university level. The MA provided me with a strong base in teaching methodology that has allowed that transition to be a lot easier and more fluid than it might have been otherwise. I believe it provided my employer with the confidence to trust that I would be able to do this, too.

If you’re thinking of studying this course, I would advise that you take advantage of the wealth of knowledge and experience of the supportive teaching staff. If you study online and have the chance to visit the University and meet any of the staff in person: do so!

My time at Sunderland can be summed up as: friendly, accessible, interesting, practical and useful.”


We are offering 20% off (for Overseas students) OR a 20% bursary payment (for Home and EU students) of the full course fee for University of Sunderland alumni (graduates) who return to study with the University of Sunderland and enrol on a postgraduate Masters or Doctoral programme. Please note for doctoral students the discount is not applicable to additional fees (bench fees).

When applying for an MA, MSc, LLM, MBA, MPhil or PhD, Professional Doctorate, DBA, EdD the application form will ask you for your previous student number if known. Alternatively, applicants can produce evidence of their University of Sunderland graduate status at enrolment.

Value of Scholarship(s)

20% off the course fee


Alumni who enrol on a postgraduate Masters/Doctoral course; MA, MSc, LLM, MBA, MPhil and PhD or Professional Doctorate, DBA, EdD starting in July and September, October November 2018 and 2019 and Jan/Feb/May 2019 and 2020. PGCE students are not eligible for this Scheme.

The scheme is open to ALL Level 5 -8 graduates (Alumni) of the University of Sunderland, including students who studied at a Partner College (Bishop Auckland College, East Durham College, Gateshead College, Tyne Coast College-South Tyneside College site, Sunderland College & Tyne Coast College -Tyne Metropolitan College site)

Application Procedure

You don’t need to apply for this Scheme; if you are eligible then you will automatically receive it.

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£1,000 tuition fee reduction for international postgraduate students.

Value of Scholarship(s)

£1,000 tuition fee reduction


All international students studying on-campus undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

Application Procedure

Contact: / 0191 515 3000

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1. Care Leaver status - (on 1 September of your year of entry)
You must be aged under 25, a home student studying full time, undergraduate course or full-time taught Post Graduate programme and at least one of the following: spent 13 weeks or more in the Care of the Local Authority between your 14th and 16th birthday, were privately fostered until the age of 16, were 'looked after' until you were subject to a Special Guardianship Order.

2. You must be a (i) full-time undergraduate student or full-time postgraduate student on a taught programme.
You must be anyone who is aged 25 or over by 1 September 2019 and applying for, or currently studying, full-time at the University of Sunderland. You must be either studying for an undergraduate degree (includes Foundation degrees, Extended degree programmes and Top-Up degrees) which will start in 2019, applying for, or currently studying, a full-time University of Sunderland postgraduate degree.


1. Estranged students - (on 1 September on your year of entry)
Studying a full-time, undergraduate or taught postgraduate course, UK (Home) student, you are irreconcilably estranged from both parents/carers.

This means that either: You have had no contact at all with your parents/carers for at least 12 months and this is unlikely to change OR
You can demonstrate on other grounds that you are irreconcilably estranged from your parents (e.g. in exceptional circumstances, or assessed as independent by Student Finance England or by a local authority because you are estranged from both parents/carers).

2. You must be a full-time undergraduate or full-time postgraduate taught programme student.
You must be aged 25 or under by 1 September 2019. And either:
a) Applying for, or currently studying, a full-time University of Sunderland undergraduate degree (includes Foundation degrees, Extended degree programmes and Top-Up degrees) which will start in 2019.
b)Applying for, or currently studying, a full-time University of Sunderland postgraduate degree.

*You must be a 'Home' student
If you are classed as an ‘EU’ or ‘International’ student, you are not eligible for this scholarship.

*If you are applying for or studying one of the following courses then you are not eligible for this scholarship:
• Continuous Professional Development (CPD) course.
• English for Academic Purposes (EAP) language course.
• PHD students

Value of Scholarship(s)

£2,000 cash scholarship for each year of study (including placement year) for care experienced or family estranged students.


For full-time home undergraduate and postgraduate students under the age of 25 on 1 September 2019 for care experienced or family estranged students.

Application Procedure

If you indicate that you are a Care Leaver on your UCAS application form you will automatically be sent a letter and an application form, once you have an unconditional offer with us. This is usually at the end of August. Alternatively, if you inform us that you are an Estranged Student via online enrolment you will also automatically be sent a letter and an application form.

For students who apply directly/via clearing, if they inform us during online enrolment that they are care experienced or estranged we will send them an email outlining how to apply.

We will request confirmation from local authorities or Student Finance England of your eligibility for this Scholarship. If you choose not to disclose your care experienced or estranged status at enrolment stage you can inform the Access to Higher Education team directly by emailing

You may apply for this Scholarship at any point throughout your course; however, payments will not be backdated for previous years’ study. If you are eligible for the We Care Scholarship you may also qualify for an additional support package.

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