MA Teaching English as a Foreign/Second Language (TEFL/TESL) (Department of English)

This programme is intended for those interested in a career in English language teaching and for teachers of English who wish to upgrade their professional standing. On the programme, we explore different approaches to the teaching and learning of English and study the close relationship between language teaching theory and practice.

We also offer a distance learning programme over 2.5 years – for more information see Teaching English as a Foreign/Second Language MA (Distance Learning).

Course fact file

Type of Course: Continuing professional development, taught

Study Options: Full time, part time

Duration: 1 year full-time, 15 months part-time

Start date: September 2014


You will study four core modules:

  • Introduction to Language
  • Syllabus and Materials Design
  • Second Language Teaching and Learning
  • Research Methods in Applied Linguistics

You will also choose three optional modules from a wide range (see module information below) and complete the programme with a 15,000-word dissertation.

You will do a total of six assessed pieces of coursework over the year. For assessment purposes, one of the modules you take during the spring term will be ‘linked’ with the Research Methods module – that is, you will produce a piece of work in the field covered by that module, but with a particular focus on research methods.

This programme can be studied full-time over one year (finishing in September 2015), or part-time over 15 months (finishing in December 2015). The full-time mode requires attendance at classes during the autumn and spring semesters, with six months to complete your dissertation. The part-time mode also requires full-time attendance at classes during the autumn and spring semesters (amounting to approximately 14 hours a week) and you will then have nine months to complete your dissertation on a flexible part-time basis.

Please note that the University of Birmingham offers an alternative qualification in English Language Teaching through its School of Education – for more information, see Teaching English as a Foreign Language MA.


Your four core modules are as follows:

Introduction to Language
This includes aspects of lexis, pedagogic grammar. You are provided with the tools to analyse, compare and discuss samples of authentic English.

Syllabus and Materials Design
This module examines different types of language syllabus and different ways of evaluating classroom materials, considering how syllabus and materials (like typical course books) can be adapted to meet the needs of specific students in particular contexts. It also aims to demonstrate how particular activity types can be used to exploit practically any authentic text, and to look at how these activities can be combined to form a ‘schema’ (i.e. a properly structured lesson or series of lessons).

Second Language Teaching and Learning
This module includes the study of methodology and of second language acquisition. We look at current research into how languages are learnt, and the implications for language teaching methodology. We also examine different approaches to language teaching, especially Communicative Language Teaching. You are asked to relate the theory to your own experience.

Research Methods in Applied Linguistics
This module includes methods and approaches to research in Applied Linguistics. In addition, you will select one option from the range on offer and apply what you have learned to a small research project.

You will also choose your three optional modules from a range which may include the following:

  • Business English
  • Computer Assisted Language Learning
  • Cognitive Linguistics and Language Learning
  • Corpus Linguistics
  • English as a Global Language
  • English for Specific/Academic Purposes
  • Intercultural Communication
  • Language and Literature
  • Language and New Media
  • Language and Politics
  • Management of Innovation
  • Media Literacy
  • Narrative Analysis in Fiction and Film
  • Stance, Appraisal and Evaluation
  • Teacher Training
  • Teaching Young Learners

Please note that the availability of optional modules may vary from year to year.

Fees and funding

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2015/16 are as follows:

  • Home/EU: £6,840 full-time
  • Overseas: £14,140 full-time

Tuition fees can either be paid in full or by instalments.

Eligibility for Home/EU or Overseas fees can be verified with Admissions. Learn more about fees for international students

Learn more about postgraduate tuition fees and funding

Scholarships and studentships

Scholarships to cover fees and/or maintenance costs may be available. To discover whether you are eligible for any award across the University, and to start your funding application, please visit the University's Postgraduate Funding Database.

International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government.

University of Birmingham graduates may be entitled to a fee reduction through the College of Arts and Law Alumni Bursary scheme.

Entry requirements

Learn more about entry requirements

International students

Academic requirements

We accept a range of qualifications; our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.

English language requirements

You can satisfy our English language requirements in two ways:

How to apply

Before you make your application

You may wish to register your interest with us to receive regular news and updates on postgraduate life within this Department and the wider University.

Making your application

When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages

Apply now

Learning and teaching

As an English language student, you will be able to benefit from having free access to the 450 million word Bank of English corpus.

You will also become part of, and contribute to, the vibrant international community of the College of Arts and Law Graduate School, which offers dedicated research resources and a supportive working environment. Our team of academic and operational staff are on hand to offer support and advice to all postgraduate students within the College.

Support with academic writing

As a postgraduate student in the College of Arts and Law, you have access to the Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS) which aims to help your transition from undergraduate to taught Masters level, or back into academia after time away. The service offers guidance on writing assignments and dissertations for your MA/MSc programme with individual support from an academic writing advisor via tutorials, email and the provision of online materials.

International students can access support through the English for International Students Unit (EISU).


The University of Birmingham has been ranked 8th in the UK and 60th in the world for post-qualification employability in the latest global survey of universities commissioned by the International Herald Tribune.

Your degree will provide excellent preparation for employment and this will be further enhanced by the employability skills training offered through the College of Arts and Law Graduate School.

Birmingham?s English Language and Applied 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.

Over the past five years, over 92% of English Language and Applied Linguistics postgraduates were in work and/or further study six months after graduation. Some of our graduates enter roles for which their programme has prepared them, such as translation, interpreting or teaching; others use their transferable skills in a wide range of occupations including journalism, marketing, publishing and media.