MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

Programme Leader: Dr Bill Soden

Hello and welcome to the MA in TESOL at the University of York. We hope this page will provide you with all the information you need to help you decide to apply to study with us. Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any further queries.


Applications for the MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages will be accepted throughout the year from BOTH overseas and UK/EU applicants.

Apply for the MA Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages


Our MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) is a 12-month full-time taught MA programme designed for students who plan to teach English as a second/foreign language in the UK or internationally or to do research on the teaching, learning or assessment of English as a second/foreign language.

The programme is designed primarily for people with little or no prior experience of English language teaching, but who have a relevant first degree (English Language/ Linguistics or Education with a substantial English component) and who intend to be an English teacher or researcher. If you anticipate that you will have one year's teaching experience or more by the time you start the programme, we encourage you to apply to our MA in Applied Linguistics for English Language Teaching

The MA TESOL is an academic programme of study and not a teacher training course. Therefore, it provides a foundation in Applied Linguistics, Approaches to English Teaching and Research Methods on which later training in practical teaching can build. Theories of language acquisition and language teaching are explored, with the emphasis on how such theories may be practically applied; however, there is no teaching practicum as part of this programme. 

The programme aims to:

  • provide an introduction to current issues and key trends in language learning and teaching in a global context;
  • develop students' knowledge of Applied Linguistics and approaches to language teaching that will facilitate better teaching practice;
  • provide basic research skills that students will need in order to (1) be able to engage critically with the language teaching and learning literature they read, and (2) carry out their own research project;
  • help provide the knowledge and skills for those who want to conduct doctoral research in TESOL, Applied Linguistics or related areas.

Applications are welcomed from both home and international students. Please see the Student Recruitment and Admissions pages for more information on admissions procedures.

Information about Fees and Funding can be found here.


This taught MA programme comprises modules totalling 180 credits. For more details about modules please download the MA Full-time Modules Handbook 2015-16 (PDF  , 923kb).

This information is a guide only and subject to change.

Term 1

  • TESOL Methods (20 credits)
  • Research Methods in Language Learning and Teaching (20 credits)

One option module from a list of about 10 options (20 credits).  These may include:

  • Bilingualism
  • Citizenship Education
  • Cross-linguistic influences in second language acquisition
  • Discourse analysis & language teaching
  • Education and social justice
  • Evaluating ESOL classroom practice
  • Intercultural communication in education
  • Learning and Teaching Second Language Reading
  • Motivation in education
  • Teaching and assessing speaking skills
  • Teaching and assessing writing skills
  • Teaching and learning in schools
  • Teaching World English
  • Topics in second language acquisition


Term 2

  • English Linguistics (20 credits)

One option module from a list of about 10 options (20 credits). These may include:

  • Approaches to English language teaching
  • Contemporary issues in teaching
  • Cross-cultural perspectives on language and discourse
  • Developmental psycholinguistics
  • Learning and teaching grammar in a second language
  • The practice of English language teaching
  • Pragmatics: language, meaning and communication
  • Psychology of language and language learning
  • Qualitative and quantitative data analysis
  • Teaching and learning citizenship and global education
  • Teaching English for academic purposes
  • Testing and assessment in English language teaching

Term 3

  • Planning and Communicating Research (20 credits). These classes are spread over Terms 2 and 3

The third term and the summer is devoted to writing a dissertation based on a small-scale research study (60 credits), to be submitted by early September.


The MA in TESOL programme is proud of its international standing and attracts high quality students and experienced academics from the UK and around the globe. With this experience, we are ideally suited for supporting our home and international students alike.

Learning is maximised through the use of a variety of teaching approaches which are student-centred and research informed, including lectures, small group seminars, tutorials, and through the use of our online virtual learning environment. The Education Department also has a vibrant guest speaker programme and students are encouraged to attend and participate in lectures and presentations from many key researchers in the field of Language Education and TESOL. Students are also able to take advantage of additional English language lessons and study skills workshops should they need them. 

Students are assigned a personal supervisor who they will have on-going contact with throughout the duration of the course through face-to-face meetings and through email contact. The supervisor provides academic and pastoral support throughout the course. The Department of Education is highly regarded within the university for its teaching and supervision and has won many awards at university level to reflect this. 


Students complete:

  • three assessed coursework essay assignments (each 4,000 - 5,000 words in length)
  • an exam in English Linguistics
  • an exam in Research Methods
  • an assessed presentation + dissertation outline + ethics audit
  • a dissertation of 12,000 words in length

Please note that assessment procedures are occasionally subject to change.




Range of modules

The wide variety of module options available on our taught masters programmes allows you to mould a particular route in accordance with individual interests and professional goals.

Careers support

The University has an active Careers Service offering bespoke advice and support for our taught postgraduate students. This includes career planning, volunteering, mentoring, employability and personal development.


Our graduates find employment in a wide range of sectors within education, but also in journalism, information management, human resources and other careers.

Many become English language teachers all around the world, in private language schools, state schools, universities and other organisations requiring English language instruction.

Others find employment opportunities in areas of course and syllabus design, and materials writing in large and small scale publishing houses.

Our postgraduate courses can be used to complement teacher training/development programmes and voluntary or paid roles which focus on the more practical elements of teaching. However, other than our PGCE, our courses are not teacher training programmes in themselves.

Routes into Research

A number of our graduates go on to obtain research degrees in Education, PhDs in TESOL, Applied Linguistics or related topics.


This is what some of our previous MA TESOL students have said about studying with us:

Maria (Greece)

MA Tesol student

A year ago I attended the TESOL course in the University of York opting for the opportunity to enhance my Masters knowledge level in the teaching of English to foreign students. The course provided a variety of lessons regarding the techniques of teaching English to students of other languages, while some of the optional courses which focused in pedagogy and learners’ psychology in general, contributed to my becoming not only an efficient English teacher but a sympathetic and thoughtful educator as well.

Having access to a well-stocked library with a variety of TESOL books and archives, as well as the opportunity to research topics that were of particular interest to me and my country’s educational system, helped me broaden my already existing knowledge and  become more confident in the techniques that I would incorporate in my English classroom.

Moreover, the highly qualified professors, who were not only excellent facilitators of knowledge, but also very supportive and sympathetic figures, helped me overcome any difficulties I may have come up with my course or my living in a foreign country. Clearly, studying in such an environment of good will and high educational prospects, was particular enjoyable and constructive as an experience. I acquired qualities which contributed greatly to my being respected and valued as an English teacher in my country, offering me with many opportunities for employment in the field of EFL as well as many prospects for attendance to worldwide programs regarding TEFL.

However, apart from my academic experience, I really enjoyed living in York, a beautiful city with many things for a student to do, while I also had the opportunity to meet many students from other countries and familiarise myself with different cultures as well as practise my English language skills and become more confident as an English teacher, as now, I myself had experienced something of the British way of living.

Aneta (Poland)

MA Tesol student 2010-11

Looking in retrospect at studying at the University of York I have no doubts to say that choosing to study here has been one of the best choices I have made in my life.

Thanks to the course I can feel confident now when teaching English to pupils at schools in Poland. Also having received education in the UK enriched my knowledge in terms of cultural aspects of the language, which to my view go hand in hand.

Another positive thing and foremost about the course was professional, highly qualified and extremely interesting teaching staff who were very supportive in the process.

Nick (Cyprus)

I have always wanted to study in a highly acclaimed University in the United Kingdom and when the chance was given to me by the University of York, I immediately accepted. Looking back to it now, I realize that it was one of the best decisions that I made in my life.

The quality of education was superb, the teachers were always there for help and support and specifically the MA in TESOL programme gave me a more thorough understanding about the teaching process and students' behaviour inside the language classroom. As a teacher myself now, I find myself many times looking back to what I've learned in the programme and I usually implement many of those things in my own teaching process!

Apart from studying, I will always remember the great new friends that I made in my year in York, the city centre which offers all kinds of choices for fun and leisure and the beautiful campus which is an ideal environment to live and to study. If you are looking for a great place to live and study, look no further than the University of York.

Ali (Turkey)

MA Tesol student 2010-11

Being an MA TESOL student at the university of York was a fantastic experience (not only academically but also socially).

Our tutors were great. They would ask us if there are any unclear points about what they teach or would willingly answer any questions related to the course. Besides, I have learned many new things about the British academic writing.

So far everything was about studies, but in order to survive on an MA degree one need some fun as well. University of York has a great international community; you can find fellow students from all over the world. You can become members of different societies at the University. There are so many societies that I am sure you will find at least one society that you would be interested in joining. You can become members of different college sports team and play for your college in a number of different type of sports. These activities are great for meeting new people and having friends all over the world.

Moreover, York is a small and historic English Town, which is fully packed with tourists on weekends. You will get used to living in York in a short period of time. I have had great time during my studies in York and that is why I am staying in York for a PhD as well. I am sure you will have as good an experience as I had. Good luck!

Si Qi (China)

Si Qi China

I was an MA student in TESOL and the Student Representative in the Department of Education in the University of York in 2010/11. Honestly, I fell in love with York on my first arrival because it shares many similarities with my hometown-Xi’an. They are both cities full of historical sites and friendly people.

Compared to the city, the University of York is a newly-founded but very fast-developed university, ranking in the World Top 100 nowadays. Based on my knowledge, currently, there are international students from more than 100 countries having their full-time undergraduate and postgraduate studies in the University of York, which gives you chances to experience not only the British culture but also other cultures. In addition, there are student societies of various kinds, one of which might be the one where your true interest lies. You need to find it and stay with it. To me, socialising is one of the best ways to ease the homesickness since I made friends and kept myself busy in my spare time.

In the Department of Education, there are excellent lecturers, responsible supervisors and, of course, brilliant students-you. Do be confident. The first piece of advice is: always be positive and active learners. Learn to appreciate the varieties of teaching and learning and learn to find the beauty and fun of studying abroad. The second piece of advice is: be independent learners. It is your job to passionately search for evidence to support your idea and present your idea properly so that your idea would appear to be more convincing to the others who have either less knowledge on this topic or hold different opinions about it.

Last but not the least, I suggest you aim high, dream less and act more. It is once-in-a-lifetime opportunity when you are studying abroad, so you might cultivate the best potential. It is no longer dreaming your life but it is living your dream. I hope all of you enjoy your studies in the University of York. My goodbye to the MA course is your hello to it. Good luck with everything!