MSc in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)
University of St Andrews
Saint Andrews, United Kingdom
GBP 23,530 / per year *
08 Aug 2024
Earliest start date
* overseas / home: £11,120
These courses provide the opportunity to integrate the theory and practice of teaching English to speakers of other languages. They are designed to be useful to experienced teachers and those considering a career in English language teaching.
Students who have an interest in a particular field of TESOL can also choose one of five specialisms to focus on and graduate with a TESOL degree in that specialism.
Choose your course
These flexible courses allow you to choose the path that best suits your ambitions. You can:
- Achieve either an MSc, PGDip, or PGCert qualification
- Study 'on campus' in St Andrews or online
- Start in September or January
- Choose an optional specialism
Master of Science (MSc)
A one-year full-time taught course. The MSc requires you to take eight modules and complete a 15,000-word dissertation.
You can choose to focus your studies in a particular area of interest by taking TESOL with a specialism. Specialisms available are:
- Assessment and Evaluation
- English for Academic Purposes
- English Medium Instruction
- Teaching Young Learners
- Technology for Teaching
TESOL programs are run by the International Education Institute.
- Integrate theory and practice – discuss theoretical concepts and frameworks in small groups and online written forums and apply these through applied assessments
- Interact with a global cohort of students, studying both in St Andrews and online, through module learning activities
- Engage in and reflect on a new language learning experience to gain an all-around perspective on language teaching and learning
- Access an optional and supplementary resource bank of material in parallel with your PGT program to support both your learning and the development of your professional identity
- Join experienced practitioners and scholars in the English language teaching community, with opportunities to be involved in ongoing professional development events and the annual English for Academic Purposes (EAP) conference
The number of taught modules you will take depends on whether you are studying for the MSc, PGDip, or PGCert degree. Those on the MSc and PGDip will take five compulsory modules plus three optional modules. If you decide to take TESOL with a specialism, you must take one of your optional modules in that specialism. Those on the PGCert will take four modules of their choice. If you decide to take a PGCert with a specialism, you must take the module of your specialism plus three more modules.
You will study each module for five weeks.
In each module, you interact online in a weekly written discussion forum (or similar activity) with other postgraduate students in St Andrews and around the world, providing the opportunity to learn from peers living and working in a wide variety of contexts.
While the program does not include a teaching placement or practicum, it supports students in exploring how theory can be applied to real-world situations, through:
- Practical learning and assessment tasks
- Materials development activities
- Participation as a student in language classes
- A limited number of peer teaching activities
Outside of modular study, you are also offered the chance to apply for mentored teaching opportunities. In the current academic year, the International Education Institute has:
- Mentored students in leading Academic English Service workshops
- Supported students to present at our annual English for Academic Purposes conference
- Engaged several students in supported assistant teacher roles on summer courses
- Offered students the opportunity to teach refugees in the local community
Assessment and evaluation
This specialism is aimed at educational practitioners with a particular interest in assessment and evaluation. It opens up possibilities to work in a wide variety of academic settings, either writing assessment material or training those who write and deliver assessment and evaluation.
Assessment is increasingly been seen as an integral part of the learning process.
A specialism in assessment and evaluation will support you in understanding the development of the current testing culture in education, including reflecting on how, when, and why we assess.
There is also practical value to the specialism. Being able to evaluate and improve tests, create supporting materials, guide examiners, and evaluate the effectiveness of assessments, are therefore prized skills for educational practitioners.
This specialism will help you gain a greater appreciation of the full assessment cycle.
English for Academic Purposes (EAP)
The EAP specialism allows students to integrate the theory and practice of teaching English to speakers of other languages, with a particular focus on teaching academic English. It opens up possibilities to work as an EAP tutor, course designer, or assessment specialist.
EAP is a growing discipline, and English is considered the lingua franca of academia. There is a strong need for evidence-based training and development in the practical teaching skills needed for this diverse and dynamic field.
You will be able to develop knowledge and skills in academic discourses, materials design, and assessment of EAP.
English Medium Instruction (EMI)
The EMI specialism is aimed at teachers with a particular interest in English medium instruction. This is an aspect of education in English that is growing rapidly, offering various roles for content teachers, English language teachers, and English for Academic Purposes (EAP) teachers.
It opens up possibilities to work in any level of education, covering EFL and EAP, as well as teacher development and institutional management. It is also beneficial to educators in any discipline who work or plan to work, with students who are users of English as an additional language.
As a relatively new field of study, EMI can develop in many ways, giving opportunities for creativity and innovation, from primary to tertiary level study.
Teaching Young Learners
This specialism is aimed at teachers with a particular interest in teaching young learners. It opens up possibilities to work in a variety of preschool, elementary, and secondary-level educational settings as a teacher or policy specialist.
This degree aims to help you take account of cognitive development in approaches and methods in the context of teaching children or teenagers (from 4 to 18 years). Taking this specialism will provide you with a qualification that highlights your knowledge and understanding of the needs and strengths of these age groups. This is advantageous as future employers can see immediately that you are more likely to be qualified to teach in schools at any level.
You will be able to produce a portfolio of four lessons for contexts in which you can select yourself, giving room for creativity and a focus on your preferred age group.
Technology for Teaching
This specialism allows students to integrate the theory and practice of teaching with a particular focus on technology for teaching. Graduates with experience in technology for teaching are in demand in a wide variety of educational settings to enhance technology-led provision.
This specialism is aimed at students who want to develop the pedagogical knowledge that underpins the application of technology in language classrooms. This is a transdisciplinary course drawing on sources from a variety of fields like education, psychology, sociology, design, ludology, linguistics, and philosophy.
You will develop technical skills in a range of applications, such as data-driven and game-based learning. You will also develop project management skills, using techniques from agile design and design thinking.
Action Research and Reflection for Education Practitioners: Provides a learning experience in which you can reflect on concepts and theories you are studying in other modules and connect them with classroom practice. The module explores action research for classroom practitioners, providing a means for educational practitioners to understand their contexts and to plan systematic investigations in these contexts.
Language Teaching Methodology: Explores the theories that inform teaching practice and analyses the implications these have in terms of ways of learning, the material used, the teacher role, and the learning spaces. This is essential for all those seeking to understand teaching environments more clearly and for those who have a chance to influence teaching environments.
Linguistics for Language Teachers: Equips you with the skills required to describe and analyze language. It does not assume prior knowledge of Linguistics and seeks to introduce you to selected fundamental concepts, relevant to English language teaching. You acquire appropriate terminology and techniques in the analysis and description of grammatical terms and structures.
Second Language Acquisition: How do we learn languages? Does it make any difference what age we start at? Why do some learners seem to do better than others? Answers to these questions, and many more would be very useful to inform language teachers and to guide learners. This module explores theories of second language acquisition to gain some understanding of what learners do, how learners differ, and the strategies they can use. This knowledge and understanding are evaluated to apply theory to practice.
Education and Researching: Teachers are increasingly expected to be evidence-informed or even evidence-led; consuming, creating, and sharing research. This module addresses how we evaluate the quality of research to decide what is rigorous and informative for our practice, how we can build on existing research when planning our interventions, and how to design, pilot, and reflect on the effectiveness of different data collection instruments. We consider a range of research contexts and values to help you actively engage with pedagogical research.
The modules listed here are indicative. There is no guarantee they will run for September 2024 entry and some elements may be subject to change.
If you are taking TESOL with a specialism, one of these modules must be related to the specialism.
Assessment and Evaluation in Education: Considers the theory and practice of assessment in pedagogy. You will learn key concepts in both, how to design and improve tests for different purposes, and how to make productive use of assessment within teaching. We also consider some of the broader social impacts of assessment and testing and how teachers navigate tensions when promoting student learning within a measurement culture. The module provides opportunities to reflect on how different approaches such as mastery learning or active learning are reflected in assessment design, as well as critiquing aspects of assessment such as the use of time limits, group tasks, multiple-choice questions, and gamification.
English Medium Instruction: In recent years there has been a rapid increase in the teaching of academic subjects through English in countries where the majority of the population do not use English as a first language. This module explores this global trend from the standpoint of content and language teachers, as well as students. It considers the wide variety of English medium instruction contexts, evaluating theory in the fields of teaching and learning, language acquisition, and intercultural communication in an attempt to address some of the practical challenges involved.
English for Academic Purposes: Preparing and supporting students who come to study for undergraduate or postgraduate degrees through the medium of English is one of the most challenging but rewarding jobs in the field of language teaching. To do this well, an EAP teacher needs to understand the higher education context; the key principles underpinning learning in a university; text and discourse in the communities of the different disciplines, theories, and practice of assessment; and the most effective methods and materials to motivate students and help them into a discourse community.
Teaching Young Learners: Explores theories of child development and learning that are fundamental to the understanding of child second language acquisition, namely children aged 4 to 7, 8 to 11, and 12 to 18. Child psychology has to be taken into account in the development of teaching materials, teaching styles, and classroom management. There is also a practical element to the module, in the form of tasks requiring you to create lesson plans and materials to share with your peers, to apply theory to practice.
Technology for Teaching: Introduces you to the principle theories, concepts, and practices of technology in language education. You will be able to critically consider the role and purpose of various modes of technology in education in a wide range of settings to identify and conceptualize problems within your professional contexts.
Optional modules are subject to change each year and require a minimum number of participants to be offered. Some modules may only allow a limited number of students. See the University’s position on curriculum development.
The modules listed here are indicative. There is no guarantee they will run for September 2024 entry and some elements may be subject to change.
Dissertation (MSc only)
Only those on the MSc program are required to submit a dissertation.
For the dissertation, you will choose a topic of interest to you and your future career. You will read related literature and conduct independent research on your topic.
Student dissertations will be supervised by IE staff members. Supervisors will guide the research process, helping you to formulate a suitable research hypothesis. They will offer advice on relevant literature and how to plan your time effectively.
The completed 15,000-word dissertation must be submitted by a specified date in August.
You will take a variety of taught modules over the first two semesters of the program, which are delivered through a mixture of:
- Live lectures
- Face-to-face seminars
- Office hours
- Out-of-class activities
In each five-week module, you will integrate theory and practice by discussing and critiquing theoretical concepts and frameworks and then applying them through a range of practical assessments. Assessments will include:
- A variety of different types of written assignments
- Development of teaching plans
- Material development.
Scholarships and Funding
St Andrews is committed to attracting the very best students, regardless of financial circumstances. Scholarships reward academic excellence and are designed to assist to help students support themselves during their time at university.
Applicants with refugee status, humanitarian protection, discretionary leave, and asylum seeker status are encouraged to apply for financial support scholarships. Your tuition fee status will determine which scholarships are available to you.
The scholarships and funding catalog offers a searchable directory of funding options offered by the University towards fees, living expenses, travel, and initiatives.
TESOL graduates are equipped with a range of skills and experiences that allow them to take on a variety of roles. The majority of TESOL students work within education, either as teachers or lecturers, researchers, or policymakers. Other graduates work in publishing, journalism, and management.
Program Tuition Fee
English Language Requirements
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