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

Course Description

Our MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) is a 12-month full-time taught MA programme designed for students who plan to teach English as a second/foreign language in the UK or internationally or to do research on the teaching, learning or assessment of English as a second/foreign language.

The programme is designed primarily for people with little or no prior experience of English language teaching, but who have a relevant first degree (English Language/ Linguistics or Education with a substantial English component) and who intend to be an English teacher or researcher.

The MA TESOL is an academic programme of study and not a teacher training course. Therefore, it provides a foundation in Applied Linguistics, Approaches to English Teaching and Research Methods on which later training in practical teaching can build. Theories of language acquisition and language teaching are explored, with the emphasis on how such theories may be practically applied; however, there is no teaching practicum as part of this programme.

The programme aims to:
-Provide an introduction to current issues and key trends in language learning and teaching in a global context
-Develop students' knowledge of Applied Linguistics and approaches to language teaching that will facilitate better teaching practice
-Provide basic research skills that students will need in order to (1) be able to engage critically with the language teaching and learning literature they read, and (2) carry out their own research project
-Help provide the knowledge and skills for those who want to conduct doctoral research in TESOL, Applied Linguistics or related areas


Term 1
-TESOL Methods (20 credits)
-Research Methods in Language Learning and Teaching (20 credits)

One option module from a list of about 10 options (20 credits). These may include:
-Citizenship Education
-Cross-linguistic influences in second language acquisition
-Discourse analysis & language teaching
-Education and social justice
-Evaluating ESOL classroom practice
-Intercultural communication in education
-Learning and Teaching Second Language Reading
-Motivation in education
-Teaching and assessing speaking skills
-Teaching and assessing writing skills
-Teaching and learning in schools
-Teaching World English
-Topics in second language acquisition

Term 2
-English Linguistics (20 credits)

One option module from a list of about 10 options (20 credits). These may include:
-Approaches to English language teaching
-Contemporary issues in teaching
-Cross-cultural perspectives on language and discourse
-Developmental psycholinguistics
-Learning and teaching grammar in a second language
-The practice of English language teaching
-Pragmatics: language, meaning and communication
-Psychology of language and language learning
-Qualitative and quantitative data analysis
-Teaching and learning citizenship and global education
-Teaching English for academic purposes
-Testing and assessment in English language teaching

Term 3
-Planning and Communicating Research (20 credits). These classes are spread over Terms 2 and 3

The third term and the summer is devoted to writing a dissertation based on a small-scale research study (60 credits), to be submitted by early September.


The MA in TESOL programme is proud of its international standing and attracts high quality students and experienced academics from the UK and around the globe. With this experience, we are ideally suited for supporting our home and international students alike.

Learning is maximised through the use of a variety of teaching approaches which are student-centred and research informed, including lectures, small group seminars, tutorials, and through the use of our online virtual learning environment. The Education Department also has a vibrant guest speaker programme and students are encouraged to attend and participate in lectures and presentations from many key researchers in the field of Language Education and TESOL. Students are also able to take advantage of additional English language lessons and study skills workshops should they need them.

Students are assigned a personal supervisor who they will have on-going contact with throughout the duration of the course through face-to-face meetings and through email contact. The supervisor provides academic and pastoral support throughout the course. The Department of Education is highly regarded within the university for its teaching and supervision and has won many awards at university level to reflect this.


Our graduates find employment in a wide range of sectors within education, but also in journalism, information management, human resources and other careers.

Many become English language teachers all around the world, in private language schools, state schools, universities and other organisations requiring English language instruction.

Others find employment opportunities in areas of course and syllabus design, and materials writing in large and small scale publishing houses.

Our postgraduate courses can be used to complement teacher training/development programmes and voluntary or paid roles which focus on the more practical elements of teaching. However, other than our PGCE, our courses are not teacher training programmes in themselves.

Visit the Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) - MA page on the University of York website for more details!

All Available Videos:

(Student Profile)

Siqi Zhang

Looking back, I feel grateful that I got involved in various non-course related activities, such as:

Course rep for Education postgraduate taught students
Secretary in Graduate Common Room Committee of Alcuin College, where I live
Member of Kendo Club
Language classes such as the International Communication course at Centre for English Language Teaching and Spanish classes run by the Latin-American Society
I also took part in research in the Education department as a participant, paid and unpaid
These experiences have helped me to build my confidence and really made my life here colourful.

Tips from other students

When I had only just arrived at the University of York, I met some PhD students at a welcome gathering and I asked if they could offer me some suggestions. “Be happy!” one of them said. Others also suggested that I follow the pace the tutors set and enjoy life here. Another PhD student said that I could try to run to be course rep. It turned out to be rewarding. By passing messages to the Board of Studies and Graduate Teaching Committee for fellow course mates and listening to staff discussing issues to be done or changed, I now understand deeply: how the department works from top-down and bottom-up. I also met more people – both tutors and students and I helped tutors to organize the End of Term Party in the first term, which I was happy to see that my fellow students enjoyed.

Kendo Club

My Kendo practice began in York. At Freshers’ Fair last year, all the University’s societies and sport clubs aimed to attract newbies. After touring through all kinds of dazzling stalls from Aerobics to Astronomy, I made up my mind to join Kendo Club. It is a type of Japanese martial art using a sword, so I didn’t feel very unfamiliar with that because of the relation between Chinese and Japanese martial arts traditions. Kendo highlights the fighting spirits of being confident and firm, so I thought I could really benefit from it. Better still, with practices twice a week I don’t need other major sport exercise.

Suggestions for future students

I’d say, especially for international students like myself, step out of your comfort zone and join activities you enjoy. For one thing, it enriches your life experience. For another, it helps to develop a sense of community belonging. Study is part of learning, learning is part of life and life is what matters.


Entry Requirements

The basic qualification is a degree or a degree equivalent relevant to the subject(s) to be taught. Where the degree title does not match a teaching subject, an applicant must be able to demonstrate that the degree contains sufficient study of the teaching subject. Applications are welcomed from candidates who have done some teaching or have been employed in some other occupation, or who have done some voluntary service, either in this country or abroad. Applications are welcomed from all ethnic groups. The University has an Equal Opportunities Policy in place to ensure fairness in its approach to all students.

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