Are you interested in a career in English language teaching? Are you already a teacher of English and want to advance your professional standing?
On our distinctive MA Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) 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. You will cover a range of topics including language teaching methodology; second language acquisition; syllabus and materials and much more.
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).
“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 four core modules [see full descriptions below]:
- Introduction to Language
- Syllabus and Materials Design
- Second Language Learning and Teaching
- Research Methods in Applied Linguistics
You will also choose two optional modules from a wide range 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, or part-time over 15 months. 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 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.
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.
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.
Research Methods in Applied Linguistics
This module aims to provide you with a grounding methods and approaches to research in Applied Linguistics.
You will also choose your three optional modules from a range which may include the following:
In the spring term -
Please note that [a] one of your three 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’; [b]the availability of optional modules may vary from year to year.
We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2016/17 are as follows:
- Home / EU: £7,200 full-time
- Overseas: £15,540 full-time
Eligibility for Home/EU or Overseas fees can be verified with Admissions. Learn more about fees for international students
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.
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.
Learn more about entry 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:
Before you make your application
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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
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 has been recognised for its impressive graduate employment, being named ‘University of the Year for Graduate Employment’ in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2016.
In addition, the global edition of The New York Times has ranked the University 60th in the world and 9th in UK for post-qualification employability. The rankings illustrate the top 150 universities most frequently selected by global employers and are the result of a survey by French consulting firm Emerging and German consulting firm Trendence.
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. The University also offers a wide range of activities and services to give our students the edge in the job market, including: career planning designed to meet the needs of postgraduates; opportunities to meet employers face-to-face at on-campus recruitment fairs, employer presentations and skills workshops; 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.
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.
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.
In addition to the student groups hosted by the Guild of Students, each school runs its own social activities, research fora, seminars and groups for postgraduates.
Coming to Birmingham to study might be your first time living away from home. Our student accommodation will allow you to enjoy your new-found independence in safe, welcoming and sociable surroundings.
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.