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MA Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)

University of Birmingham
1-2 years
Full time/part time
Master's degree
Scholarships available

About this program

MA Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)

Our distinctive, well-established and popular MA Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) is designed for those with less than one year’s language teaching experience. We explore different approaches to the teaching and learning of English and study the close relationship between language teaching theory and practice.

The Program encourages you to consider how the concepts, theories and methodologies that you encounter during your course of study will be of practical use in your own teaching career. We aim to equip students with the linguistic and pedagogic knowledge, the research and analytic skills, and the confidence necessary to begin a career in English language teaching.

Admission requirements

We usually require an upper second-class Honours degree, or equivalent, in TEFL/TESL or TESOL, English Language or another relevant subject (e.g. Linguistics, Translation Studies). Appropriate work experience will also be taken into consideration.

This Program is designed for those with less than one year’s language teaching experience. More experienced language teachers will benefit from our MA Applied Linguistics with TESOL Program.

Academic requirements:

We accept a range of qualifications from different countries - use our handy guide below to see what qualifications we accept from your country.

English language requirements:

standard language requirements apply for this course - IELTS 6.5 with no less than 6.5 in any band. If you are made an offer of a place to study and you do not meet the language requirement, you have the option to enrol on our English for Academic Purposes Presessional Course - if you successfully complete the course, you will be able to fulfil the language requirement without retaking a language qualification.

IELTS 6.5 with no less than 6.5 in any band is equivalent to:

  • TOEFL: 88 overall with no less than 22 in any band
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE): Academic 67 in all four skills
  • Cambridge English (exams taken from 2015): Advanced - minimum overall score of 176, with no less than 176 in any component

For more information about admission requirements, please visit the university website.

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Program content

Core modules

Syllabus Design & Language Teaching

This module critically evaluates a number of different syllabus designs and shows how different types of syllabus can be matched with particular teaching situations. We will be examining the relationship between teaching material and the syllabus and students will have the opportunity to design a syllabus for a specific teaching situation based on data obtained from a needs analysis. The module will also focus on developing specific teaching skills, in particular:

  • Planning and evaluating a language lesson;
  • Presenting and practising vocabulary and grammatical structures;
  • Using educational technology and other teaching equipment;
  • Asking questions, eliciting responses, and correcting errors;
  • Teaching through task based learning;
  • Teaching reading and writing;
  • Teaching listening and speaking (including pronunciation);
  • Managing classroom interaction and dealing with problem behaviour

Second Language Learning and Teaching

In this module, the process of language acquisition is examined from a range of perspectives: [a] the linguistic knowledge that learners bring to the task; [b] how learners process input; [c] the kinds of input that help to maximise acquisition. A range of approaches to and methods of language teaching are introduced and critically evaluated in terms of their underlying principles and their efficacy, with some emphasis on the ‘Communicative Approach’. Specific techniques which illustrate the practical application of current theories and research findings in L2 acquisition and pedagogy are examined.

Teaching and Learning Grammar and Vocabulary

This module introduces you to the analysis of English lexico-grammar, with some emphasis on the relevance of linguistic description to language teachers – that is, on applying methods of analysis to the teaching of grammar and vocabulary. You will be encouraged to apply knowledge gained to aspects of your own professional practice.

Classroom Research Methods

This module introduces the main concepts and techniques used in research in and into second language classrooms. In essence, this involves looking at two kinds of research traditions:

  • experimental research, which is often quantitative, and involves looking at linguistic or other outcomes, often independently of classroom interaction, with the purpose of making general statements about, say, how language is (best) learnt and/or acquired
  • ‘action’ research, which is usually qualitative, and involves examining specific classroom interactions in a single period of time, generally with the intent of modifying or improving teacher behaviour. The module examines the kinds of instruments used to examine and measure factors which influence or are part of classroom events, such as the investigation of attitudes and beliefs and the observation of interactions in the classroom. These research instruments will include questionnaires, interviews, classroom observation and transcription, learning diaries, journals etc.

Finally, students are given the opportunity to apply their knowledge of research design and research instruments by designing a piece of research which could form the basis of their dissertation or teaching project.

Scholarships & funding

Several scholarship options are available. Please visit the university website for more information.

Program delivery

We have two teaching semesters per year, the autumn semester and spring semester. Semester dates can be found on our website.

As a full-time student, you will typically take three modules in each semester, followed by your dissertation. If you are a part-time student, you will typically take three modules across each year, followed by your dissertation.

Each module represents a total of 200 hours of study time, including seminars/classes, preparatory reading, assignment preparation and independent study.


Annual tuition fee for 2022:

  • UK: £9,810 full-time; £4,905 part-time
  • International: £21,240 full-time

Continuing studies

Over the past 5 years, 83% of English Language and postgraduates were in work and/or further study within 6 months of graduating (DLHE 2012 - 2017).

Career paths

Birmingham's English Language and Linguistics postgraduates develop a broad range of transferable skills that are highly valued by employers, particularly in relation to verbal and written communication. They also develop crucial skills in organisation, time management, analysis and interpretation of information.

Many of our graduates enter roles for which their Program has prepared them, such as becoming a language analyst or data scientist. Others use their transferable skills in a wide range of occupations including teaching, research administration and events.

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About this institute

University of Birmingham

A member of the Russell Group and world ‘top 100’ university (QS World Rankings 2017), the University of Birmingham offers three career-focused 100% online postgraduate degrees which will set you on a path to career excellence: Online MBA Online MSc...

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Contact info

University of Birmingham

B15 2TT Birmingham
United Kingdom

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University of Birmingham

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