MA in Second Language Education

The MA program in second language education offers students the opportunity to study language use, teaching, learning, and policy. The ideal candidates for the program have at least three years of teaching experience and diverse backgrounds demonstrating commitment in furthering education and research in second language education.


Priority deadline: December 1

See detailed admissions, tuition and funding information on the MA and PhD admissions page.


MA candidates will focus broadly on second language education. Topics include:

  • English as a second language (ESL) for K-12, postsecondary, and adult basic education classrooms
  • Bilingual and immersion education
  • Traditional foreign language education in both K-12 and postsecondary settings

Students pursue a course of study that is designed in collaboration with the faculty adviser to correspond to the interests and background of each student. The study plan will provide a solid understanding of research and best practice in the field. Independent scholarship is encouraged. Students will either write and defend a final thesis (Plan A) or a qualifying final paper (Plan B).

View the required courses in the graduate catalog under subplan “Second Language Education.”

Research opportunities

Students can engage in research that advances the field of second language education and ties into their area of interest. Faculty work closely with you to achieve your research and educational goals and improve educational opportunities for students. Learn more about the student research experience in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

View faculty areas of research expertise.

Examples of past student theses include:

  • Negotiating for meaning in pair work in learning Ojibwe L2
  • Spanish immersion materials and secondary classroom ecology
  • Expressions used by university ESL students to signal roles in academic discussions
  • Genre analysis course design: Graphic novels and beyond
  • Creating Ojibwe lesson plans: Restorative justice from the perspective of a White ally

Career outlook

Graduates of the program have assumed positions as university faculty, instructional leaders in the public schools, curriculum development specialists, and assessment specialists. Recent graduates have found employment in the following positions:

  • Teaching specialist, UMN writing studies and Minnesota English Language Program (MELP)
  • Teaching specialist, Department of French and Italian, University of Minnesota
  • Instruction and framework development manager, add.a.lingua (a company that supports immersion programs)
  • Principal, Normandale French Immersion
  • Spanish teacher, Saint Paul Academy and Summit School

MA in Second Language Education Faculty


What our students have to say

Aracely Thomas
I have nothing but praise for the faculty in this program. They have challenged me to dive deeper into my writing, and explore other avenues that could help me in my future research.

Aracely Thomas, 2023