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

Course Description

This programme is designed for people who are already English language teachers and want to develop their career opportunities, or those with less experience but a strong interest in pursuing a career in this field. The programme will develop your understanding of both classroom practice and key areas of research that inform practice. Through your acquaintance with current literature and the research you carry out in completing course assignments, you will be able to engage critically and constructively in debates relating to a wide range of aspects of language teaching.

The programme has a number of unique features. One of them is its focus on the multilingual and multicultural contexts of language learning and teaching. Another unique feature of the programme is that students from all over the world have the opportunity to share their experiences with locally based teachers, thus gaining insight into a range of language teaching contexts in the UK, including the state education system. In addition, you will be studying alongside students on the MA Language Teaching programme, thus benefiting from an exchange of experiences and perspectives with teachers of languages other than English. The programme is also unique in offering you a choice between 2 dissertation pathways: an empirical research investigation of an aspect of language teaching and learning or an independent library-based project on a topic of your choice.

The MA TESOL will enhance your career prospects in a number of ways. If you are an experienced teacher it will help you to progress to a more senior or specialised position in language teaching, such as a senior teacher, director of studies, teacher trainer, consultant or materials developer. An MA TESOL is an essential qualification for those who wish to teach English at university level, whether for general or more specific purposes. For those with less teaching experience, an MA TESOL will give you a competitive early career advantage as you gain more experience in teaching posts.

As an MA TESOL student, you will join a vibrant and diverse community supported by the Birkbeck College Applied Linguistics Society, which is student run. An annual Postgraduate Student Research Conference is organised by the Society every summer. In addition, the Research Centre for Multilingualism and Multiculturalism hosts a lecture series given by international visiting scholars. Birkbeck also actively collaborates with the larger community of applied linguists throughout University of London colleges, including the Institute of Education (IoE), the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) and University College London (UCL), which are all next door to Birkbeck in Bloomsbury, while King’s College London (KCL) is a short walk away.

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

Student Profiles

School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy, Postgraduate Taught (PGT) Bursary - Single Award

Applications are invited for one 'Postgraduate Taught' Bursary worth £6,000, to be awarded to a candidate with an outstanding academic record who shows high potential for strong performance on one of the School's 'Postgraduate Taught' programmes.This competition is open to new Home/EU and International students who are applying for either a full-time or part-time MA/MSc place in the departments listed below; the competition is also open to students who are applying to the Department of Philosophy and the degree of M.Phil. Stud. Philosophy.This £6,000 award is in the form of a bursary (i.e., there is no 'fee waiver' but the bursary may be used towards payment of fees). If awarded to a part-time student, the bursary will be paid for two years of PGT study.Please note that in order to apply for funding you must also complete an application for a place at Birkbeck on an MA/MSc programme within the School of SSHP or the MPhil. Stud. in the Department of Philosophy, either before or at the same time as applying for funding.Prospective studentsCandidates will be expected to fulfil similar academic criteria to those demanded by external funding bodies. They will normally possess at least an upper second class honours degree or equivalent.

Value of Scholarship(s)



This competition is open to new Home/EU and International students who are applying for either a full-time or part-time MA/MSc place in the School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy; the competition is also open to students who are applying to the Department of Philosophy and the degree of M.Phil. Stud. Philosophy.This competition is open to new students only.

Application Procedure

Before you apply, you should contact the relevant department for advice.Once you have identified a relevant programme, you will need to:Apply online for the relevant MA/MSc or MPhil. Stud. (Dept. of Philosophy) degree in the normal wayDownload the SSHP Postgraduate Taught Bursary Application Form Word iconThe SSHP Studentship application form should be returned to Jane Halstead, Assistant School Manager, via the following email address:[email protected] STATE ‘PGT BURSARY’ AND DEPARTMENT APPLIED TO IN THE ‘SUBJECT’ LINE OF YOUR E-MAIL.Any queries relating to the PGT Bursary can also be sent to this email address.

Further Information



Postgraduate Support Scheme for final-year undergraduates (full-time) - 20+ Awards

We are pleased to announce that, for October 2015 entry, Birkbeck has a limited number of new £10,000 postgraduate scholarships. These scholarships are for students progressing from a full-time undergraduate degree to a part-time Master’s degree starting in 2015/16.

Value of Scholarship(s)



To be eligible for the scholarship you must be:Starting a 2-year part-time taught Master’s degree in 2015/16
Domiciled in the UK/EU
Progressing from an undergraduate course for which you were charged the higher tuition fee (applicable since 2012–13)
Studying at postgraduate Master’s level for the first time

Application Procedure

If you want to apply for this support, you must follow these steps:Submit an application for your intended course
Submit an application for the Postgraduate Support Scheme

Further Information


Entry Requirements

Usually an upper second-class honours degree or above, or overseas equivalent, in a relevant subject and/or relevant professional training and language teaching experience. You may be called to interview and you may also be asked for a lesson plan and post-lesson reflection of no more than 500 words.You must also provide 1 academic reference. If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, our usual requirement is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.

Course Fees

Part-time home/EU students: £ 3975 pa Full-time home/EU students: £ 7950 pa

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Recipient: Birkbeck, University of London
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