Are you considering a career teaching English as a second or foreign language to adults? The MA in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) is a professional degree that prepares you to teach English to adult speakers of other languages in accredited higher education institutions and in community settings. The MA in TESOL is an essential, required degree for most professional positions in the field of ESL in the U.S. and abroad.

The program offers a unique supervised teaching practicum in an intensive English program. This experience equips graduates to analyze language acquisition and to enter the field as a professional.


Priority deadline: December 1

You must have a complete application in by December 1 to be given consideration for funding through the Department, but we will consider applications on a rolling basis through May for the following academic year.

Support is available in the form of:

  • Financial support through Teaching Assistantships in MELP, the Writing Center, or the undergraduate TESL program.
  • Fellowships such as FLAS

Strong applicants demonstrate:

  • Evidence of interest in teaching English and second languages
  • Evidence of experience in the discipline
  • Strong writing skills and experience in language learning and linguistics
  • Bachelor's degree from an accredited U.S. institution or foreign equivalent; 3.00 GPA preferred

Priority deadline: December 1

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


The curriculum includes 31-34 credits of required coursework. Students must also pass a Language Proficiency Exam, and write and defend a final thesis (Plan A) or a qualifying paper (Plan B).

View the required courses in the graduate catalog under the TESOL subplan.

This program can be completed in two years of full-time study, or four semesters.

View a sample plan of study:

Year One


  • Foundations in second languages & cultures
  • Methods of teaching ESL in higher education
  • English grammar for ESL teachers


  • Advanced grammar for ESL teachers
  • Practicum in teaching ESL

Year Two


  • Analyzing learner language in SLA
  • Foreign language testing and assessment or
  • Assessing English learners


  • Complete thesis
  • Elective

Career outlook

Our graduates have gone on to careers as university professors in accredited programs, instructional leaders, curriculum designers, and assessment specialists worldwide.

Some recent graduates of the MA in TESOL are employed in the following positions and institutions:

  • Faculty Associate, University of Madison-Wisconsin
  • Educational Technologist, Center for English Language and Orientation Programs at Boston University
  • Managing Research Scientist, Educational Testing Service
  • Online Projects Manager, English Language Programs, Georgetown University
  • English Learner and Migrant Education Specialist, Compliance Monitor, Minnesota Department of Education
  • Clinical Assessment Developer, Pearson Education
  • ESL Lecturer, University of North Carolina – Wilmington

What our students have to say

Michael Rich
My growth as a teacher, my confidence, my approach to research-based instruction, have all taken massive leaps and bounds forward all thanks to the faculty and structure of this program.

Michael Rich, MA in TESOL 2022