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MSc (TESOL) Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

Course Description

The MSc in TESOL is a professionally-oriented higher degree aimed at graduates (native and non-native speakers) 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 aim of this programme is to enable 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.

There is a strong emphasis on learning through interaction; much of the course is organised around class-based data as a means of fostering awareness of issues which are rooted in the classroom.

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;
◦We limit the number of students on the course to facilitate learning through interaction with tutors and other students;
◦There is a mix of local students and international students on the course;
◦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.

Short Courses

We've made it easy to study for a Masters module as a short course. If you would like to study for one of the modules in the MSc in TESOL as a short course, please contact the Education Secretary (tel: 028 9097 5923/ 5032, ) for advice.

Modules (all 20 CATS points)

Issues in Language Assessment for TESOL*
◦An Introduction to Research Methods: Children, Young People and Education (compulsory, online)
◦Language Awareness for TESOL
◦Language Learning for TESOL
◦Materials Development for TESOL
◦TESOL: Principles and Practices

Students must take 4x 20 CATS TESOL modules from the above list, together with the compulsory Perspectives in Educational Research. An additional 20 CATS module may be chosen from above or from the range of modules offered within the School’s modular Master’s degree programmes.

*students cannot take Assessment Issues in Teaching & Learning in Classrooms if taking this module.


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!

(Student Profile)


Why did you choose to study for a postgraduate qualification at Queen’s?
I was impressed with the academic records of Queen’s over the past 100 years. When I researched it on the internet, I made comparisons with other universities in the UK and found Queen’s to be outstanding in academic standards.

What have you found most interesting or useful about the course?
I had the opportunity to explore my own teaching and learning styles. I felt free to decide what works for me best as a postgraduate student and an English teaching professional. Also, there was a good mix of local and international students which raised our awareness of issues relating to the native/non-native English speaking teachers distinction. It was wonderfully refreshing to work with people who were very different but shared the same teaching aspirations.

What was your experience of the teaching support and student facilities at Queen’s?
Our tutors established great rapport with us from day one. There was a pleasant and relaxed atmosphere in the class which allowed us to participate actively and maximize our potential. I was extremely impressed with the support we got from our tutors as well as the people in the School of Education. Queen's provides a range of excellent student facilities of which the McClay Library is the most impressive one. Never before have I felt so cool going to a library!

Where are you in your career at the moment?
I applied for teaching jobs all around the world and had interviews with several reputable institutions. I've been offered a job teaching English at a university in Kuwait.

Has the course helped you in your career so far?
Very much so. When it comes to teaching qualifications, a certificate in teaching English as a foreign/second language is normally the essential requirement for an entry level job. However, having completed an MSc in TESOL allowed me to apply for jobs such as teaching English for academic purposes or positions with particular responsibilities such as curriculum design, material development or assessment.

Any advice to future students?
Being a postgraduate student at Queen's was the most rewarding and inspiring experience of my life. Be prepared to study hard, but also make sure you enjoy yourselves during the course. Enjoy the journey; don't rush to reach your destination.

(Student Profile)


Name: Dee
Country: Northern Ireland

Why did you choose to study for the MSc in TESOL at Queen's University?
I always wanted to study at Queen’s but my A level results led me down a different path. However I had the opportunity to return to university to do a Masters and Queens was my obvious choice. I came for the Open Day and I really loved the atmosphere.

I have a PGCE in French and English and taught in secondary schools for about 12 years before embarking on a career in a health and social care environment. I wanted an additional qualification which would allow me to teach English to speakers of other languages. I also liked the flexibility the Master’s course offered whereby I could study part time or full time and there is also the option to study a module as a short course. Initially I chose to complete the course in one academic year but I needed to take some time off for personal reasons and that was not a problem as I was able to change the submission date of my dissertation.

Was the course what you expected?
The most interesting part of the course was actually to learn by doing. I found this method to be very beneficial as we were able to apply the theory learned into practice. Group work was an essential part of the course and enabled students to work together as a team. The mix of nationalities in the group was interesting as we were able to exchange ideas and learn how education styles varied between cultures.

While undertaking my studies I volunteered at a homework club for children from a variety of cultural backgrounds whose second language was English. I thoroughly enjoyed this type of work as I was able to apply knowledge I learned in class to a real situation.

Any advice to future students?
Read as many of the articles and books on the reading list as possible as this will increase your knowledge of TESOL issues. Participate in group study sessions as skills, knowledge and ideas can be shared. If you are an international student I would advise you to make new acquaintances and look at opportunities such as language exchange groups and to practice English conversation skills.


Entry Requirements

A 2.1 Honours degree or above or equivalent recognised qualification in any subject discipline.Applicants with a 2.2 Honours degree or equivalent recognised qualification may also be considered if they have at least two years of professional experience in an education, training or relevant context.Applicants should also have evidence of relevant TESOL experience (minimum of 30 hours).In line with University Regulations, there is a language requirement for applicants whose first language is not English (IELTS 6.5 (taken within last 2 yrs) or approved equivalent. For IELTs a minimum score of 5.5 is required in all four elements of the test).

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Recipient: Queen’s University Belfast
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