MA Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)

Are you interested in a career in English language teaching? Are you already an early-career teacher of English and want to advance your professional standing? 

Our distinctive 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 programme encourages you to use the concepts and theories that you encounter during your course of study in your own classroom. 

We also offer a distance learning programme over 2.5 years – for more information see Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages MA (Distance Learning).

 
Robert Holland

Robert Holland

“The student community within the department is so multicultural and multilingual and heterogeneous in all sorts of ways – in linguistic backgrounds and cultural backgrounds and nationality and so on – that it provides a kind of ideal place, in a very multicultural city, to study this subject. ”

You will study five core modules [see full descriptions below]:

  • Language Teaching Observation and Practice
  • Second Language Learning and Teaching
  • Syllabus and Materials Design
  • Teaching and Learning Grammar and Vocabulary
  • Research Methods in Applied Linguistics

You will also choose two optional modules from a wide range.

Assessment

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, and that will count as your assignment for Research Methods in Applied Linguistics.

You will also complete a 15,000-word dissertation.

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.

Why study this course

  • Tailored to your level of experience - this programme is specifically designed for less experienced language teachers so it will help you develop the skills and knowledge you need to advance your career.
  • Access to fantastic resources - English Language and Applied Linguistics students at Birmingham have free access to the 450 million word Bank of English corpus, and to the hardware, software and data resources held at the Centre for Corpus Research.
  • Excellent reputation - the Department of English Language and Applied Linguistics is one of the oldest and largest of its kind in the country. You will be taught by experts in the field, with a range of interests and specialisms. The University has also been ranked as one of the world's top 50 institutions to study English Language and Literature in the 2017 QS World Rankings.
  • Personal tutor - you will have your own personal tutor to help and guide you throughout the programme.
  • Join a vibrant and active postgraduate community - with conferences, seminars and social events, there is always something happening in the Department.

Modules

Your five core modules are as follows:

Language Teaching Observation and Practice

This module is designed for those who are at the early stages of a teaching career (i.e. with little or no teaching experience). We will look at a number of different aspects of current TEFL methodology through classroom observation and mini-group teaching/presentations. We will be focusing on: planning and delivering a lesson; stages of a lesson and lesson progression; different types of lesson and their format; ways of exploiting published classroom materials; different ways of presenting and practicing new language; what is meant by a learner-centered approach; ways of catering for different types of learner; classroom management and structuring the learning environment; and learners’ errors and different correction techniques.

The module will be taught through a combination of face-to-face teaching, classroom observation and mini-group teaching/presentations. You will be expected to prepare and teach part of a lesson to a small group of EFL students from the university.
Assessment: Teaching task and written assignment

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.
Assessment: 4,000-word essay

Syllabus and Materials Design

This module considers the problems involved in reconciling syllabus and materials design with what is known about the process of language learning and the attempts of established approaches to language syllabus design to solve such problems. The module examines a variety of approaches, including some relatively radical solutions, e.g. the establishment of a pedagogic corpus, the use of a task-based methodology, and the development of analytical exercises.
Assessment: 4,000-word essay

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.
Assessment: 4,000-word assignment

Research Methods in Applied Linguistics

This module aims to provide you with a grounding methods and approaches to research in Applied Linguistics. 
Assessment: 4,000-word essay

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

In the spring term -

  • Cognitive Linguistics and Language Learning
  • Corpus Assisted Language Learning
  • Corpus Linguistics
  • English as a Global Language
  • Issues and Approaches in English for Academic Purposes
  • Intercultural Communication
  • Language and Gesture
  • Language and New Media
  • Language and the Senses
  • Language, Gender and Identity
  • Psycholinguistics in TESOL
  • Vocabulary and Phraseology

For more information, see our English Language and Applied Linguistics module descriptions.

Please note that one of your spring term options will be linked to the Research Methods module for assessment purposes and will appear on your transcript as ‘Research Methods in Applied Linguistics’.


Please note that the optional module information listed on the website for this programme is intended to be indicative, and the availability of optional modules may vary from year to year. Where a module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can and help you to make other choices.

Fees and funding

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2017/18:

  • Home/EU: £7,650 full-time; £3,825 part-time
  • Overseas: £16,380 full-time

The above fees quoted are for one year only; for those studying over two or more years, tuition fees will also be payable in subsequent years of your programme.

Fee status

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

We can also confirm that EU students who are already studying at the University of Birmingham or who have an offer to start their studies in 2017-18 or 2018-19 academic years will continue to be charged the UK fee rate applicable at the time, provided this continues to be permitted by UK law. The UK Government has also confirmed that students from the EU applying to courses starting in the 2017-18 and 2018-19 academic years will not see any changes to their loan eligibility or fee status. This guarantee will apply for the full duration of the course, even if the course finishes after the UK has left the EU.

Paying your fees

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

Entry 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 programme 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 programme.

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

International students requiring visas

Monday 3 July 2017 is the application deadline for international students who require a visa to study in the United Kingdom. Applications received after this date will not be considered. Applications will reopen for 2018 entry on 15 September 2017.

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

Modules are typically delivered via weekly two-hour seminars, with the exception of Language Teaching Observation and Practice which also involves classroom observation and mini-group teaching/presentations. You will also receive one-to-one support you in the development of your dissertation.

You will also become part of, and contribute to, the lively 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 for English Language development and skills through the Birmingham International Academy (BIA).

Your degree will provide excellent preparation for employment and this will be further enhanced by a range of employability support services offered by the University.

The University's Careers Network provides advice and information specifically for postgraduates that will help you to develop an effective career and skills development strategy, and to make the most of your time with us at the University. The College of Arts and Law also has a dedicated careers and employability team to deliver tailored programmes of careers events and local support.

You will have opportunities to: meet employers face-to-face at on-campus recruitment fairs; attend employer presentations and skills workshops; receive individual guidance on your job applications, writing your CV and improving your interview technique; and access to comprehensive listings of hundreds of graduate jobs and work experience opportunities.

You will also be able to access our full range of careers support for up to two years after graduation.

Postgraduate employability: English Language and Applied Linguistics

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 three years, 91% of English Language and Applied Linguistics postgraduates were in work and/or further study six months after graduation. Many of our graduates enter roles for which their programme has prepared them, such as teaching and lecturing; others use their transferable skills in a wide range of occupations including journalism, marketing and events.

Birmingham has been transformed into one of Europe's most exciting cities. It is more than somewhere to study; it is somewhere to build a successful future.

Get involved

The Guild of Students hosts over 250 student groups and societies to suit a wide range of interests. These include the Postgraduate and Mature Students Association which runs a regular and varied programme of events specifically tailored to postgraduate students.

In addition, you will find that each Department runs its own social activities, research fora and student groups.

Accommodation

We offer accommodation for postgraduates on or near to campus, although many of our students also choose to live privately in student accommodation, shared houses or flats. If you do choose to live in private accommodation, the University has dedicated support services to help you to find properties from accredited landlords.

The City of Birmingham

One of Europe's most exciting destinations, Birmingham is brimming with life and cultures, making it a wonderful place to live, study and work. Our students fall in love with the city - around 40% of our graduates choose to make Birmingham their home.