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Course content

MA TESOL is designed to help experienced teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (including teachers of EFL, ESL, EAL and ESP) to further their expertise and/or begin following a specialise pathway in either intercultural studies, teacher education or educational technology.

It enables experienced TESOL practitioners to further their careers with regard to:

  • obtaining positions of seniority
  • undertaking new areas of professional activity
  • embedding practice within a research dimension
  • contributing to the professional development of other teachers
  • acting in advisory capacities to teaching and associated agencies.

It also aims to help you to:

  • develop advanced knowledge of TESOL-related research, theory and areas of debate
  • understand more deeply your role as TESOL practitioner given the international currency of English and the developments in the educational environment afforded by technology access and global networking
  • develop advanced professional skills such as conducting needs analyses and evaluating, adapting and designing teaching and learning resources
  • develop academic literacy.

Applications from both native- and non-native-English-speaking teachers are welcome.

Teaching and learning

The course is taught by lecturers who themselves have been language teachers (TESOL and other languages) with experience of working in Britain and overseas. Formal lectures are rare and instead classes tend to mix sections of input with group-work, computer and video activities, simulations and problem-based learning.

The course can be characterised in terms of participant's critical reflection - as informed by theory and research as well as by their professional experiences. We encourage both individual and co-operative learning and research and hope to foster an ethos of lifelong learning. As our students are themselves experienced teachers, we appreciate the wealth of knowledge and practical experience that they bring to the course and we encourage the sharing of professional insights including their fellow participants. We provide training in the use of electronic databases, library resources, and computer based statistics packages. Many other key skills will be developed during the course.

Coursework and assessment

The form of the assessment varies from unit to unit but usually consists of a written assignment of 3.500 words for a 15-credit course unit (double for a 30-credit course unit). You are expected to demonstrate an understanding of the relevant theory as applied to your professional practice, and also demonstrate technical, academic, and professional skills . All assignments will be followed by both formative and summative feedback.

You can choose between a Mode A (traditional type) or a Mode B (portfolio type) of dissertation. Mode A dissertations can be empirical (report on a research project); conceptual (discuss or develop a conceptual understanding or framework of relevance to your professional development); or practical (development of a rationale for practical activities related to professional practice). Mode A practical dissertations and Mode B portfolio-type dissertations are very similar but in the latter the materials produced are close to being in a publishable format.

Course unit details

The MA TESOL course consists of compulsory course units covering approaches, methods and techniques in TESOL, language learning and technology and developing researcher competence.

Other course units cover topics such as: psychology of language learning; explorations in language; language education as intercultural practice; and the education of language teachers. You can also select from the MA Digital Technology and Communication in Educational course units if you have a specific interest in educational technology. 

MA TESOL Pathways

The pathways are specialisations in a recognised area of TESOL, and result in the following named degrees:

  • MA TESOL (Intercultural Education )
  • MA TESOL (Teacher Education)
  • MA TESOL (Educational Technology)

Pathway students must complete a 15 credit core course unit in the named, specialist area; focus on their specialism and relevant research methods in the 30 credit unit EDUC70100/2 Developing Researcher Competence; and complete a 60 credit dissertation with a focus on their specialist area.

Career opportunities

Our graduates go on to positions of seniority, undertake new areas of professional activity, such as publishing or materials development, contribute to the professional development of other teachers, and act in advisory capacities to teaching and associated agencies at both national and international level. Some also proceed to doctoral studies in TESOL, either in other contexts or joining our own thriving doctoral community.


Visit the TESOL (MA) page on the University of Manchester website for more details!

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