M.A. TESL Degree Requirements

Language Requirement

If you speak English as your first language, you should show evidence of intermediate proficiency in another language, usually equivalent to 4 semesters of college or 4 years of high school language instruction. Students who speak English as an additional language are not required to show proficiency in a third language.


You should complete the following coursework, with a grade of B or better (3.0). You may transfer up to 6 graduate credit hours (12 from UA), with approval by the Graduate Advisor or Program Director, usually applied to elective requirements. 

TESL Methods

  • One required course (3 units)

This course will provide a general overview of the TESL profession covering prominent theories, methodologies, and procedures influencing the field. Throughout the semester, students will engage in a range of theoretical, pedagogical, and reflective activities to inform their instructional practices. They will also become familiar with diverse educational contexts in which English is taught and learned as well as standards, materials, methods, and assessment tools used in such settings.

Materials & Curriculum Development and Assessment

  • One required course (3 units)

This advanced level methods course has three areas as its major focus. First, it introduces concepts in ESL/EFL curriculum development and course design and provides skills needed to develop a course. Second, it focuses on ESL/EFL assessment and related issues, such as standards and testing. Third, it provides students with the necessary skills to develop, evaluate, and adapt instructional ESL/EFL materials for all receptive, productive, and complementary language skills for different contexts, proficiency levels, and purposes. By completing a coherent curriculum and assessment project in addition to several other course assignments, the course participants will extend personal knowledge in the areas of 7 curriculum design, materials development, and second language assessment.

SLA Theory

  • One required course (3 units)

This course is designed to present an overview of the field of second language acquisition, the study of how second and foreign languages are learned after a first language has already been acquired. SLA is a broad subfield of linguistics with many interesting and exciting areas of research.


  • One required course (3 units)

English has been referred to as a lingua franca, a global language, a commodity, and a tyrannosaurus rex. Though exact estimates of English users vary, native English speakers are most certainly outnumbered by English as an additional language (EAL) users today. This online course is an introduction to the paradigm of Global Englishes, including the study of World Englishes (WE), English as a lingua franca (ELF), English as an international language (EIL), and the implications of English’s worldwide reach. In our study of Global Englishes, we will also consider related issues, such as language variation, globalization, linguistic imperialism, the “native speaker” construct, language policy, and language teaching.

Pedagogical Grammar

  • One required course (3 units)

This course covers basic concepts in linguistics and English grammar for teachers of English as a global language, and is useful for students of TESL, English, and Linguistics. The first part of the course will introduce linguistics through both structural and functional perspectives – the development, social context, textual structures, syntax, words, and sounds of English. The second part of the course, grounded in real pedagogical examples, introduces the pedagogy of English grammar.

Professional Development

  • One required course (3 units)

This course is designed to prepare ESL teachers professionally and will cover topics such as job hunting, interviewing, writing a CV, conferences, observations, assembling a portfolio, and conducting and presenting action research. Students will participate in 10 hours observing ESL in at least two community and university contexts. Requirements include a report of an action research project, a poster presentation of the project, and a portfolio which may be used for securing jobs.


  • Select Six Courses (18 units)
  • GTAs must take L2 Writing if they wish to teach ESL composition sections (English 106, 107, or 108)
  • All course choices must be approved by the Program Director

Second language writing is a growing area of interdisciplinary study that draws on insights from applied linguistics, second language studies, and writing studies. This course will provide an overview of the theory and practice of second language writing. We will explore topics such as L2 writing processes and development, L2 texts, biliteracy, pedagogical approaches and strategies, culture, and identity. GTAs who wish to teach ESL composition courses (106, 107, or 108) must take this course before or while doing so.

This course explores theory, practice, and pedagogical application of the latest Internet and computer technologies in second/foreign language education, including synchronous and asynchronous chat, blog, wiki/collaborative docs, audio (podcasting), video, virtual world/digital gaming, mobile/handheld computing, and social media technologies, in view of CALL (computer-assisted language learning), CMC (computer-mediated communication), SLA/D (second language acquisition and development), and literacy/ies research. Class activities will include small group discussions, presentations, and hands-on use of the technologies being discussed. Projects include reaction papers, blog postings, development of a technology-mediated L2 learning activity, and an evaluation of a game or CALL app (e.g. Duolingo, Babbel, Busuu, Memrize, etc.), and a final research project or book review.

Specialized work on an individual basis, consisting of instruction and practice in actual service in a department, program, or discipline. Teaching formats may include seminars, in-depth studies, laboratory work and patient study.

Discourse Analysis (Spring 22): This course will introduce students to theories and methods for the analysis of discourse. The goal is to equip students with knowledge and exposure to a range of discourse analysis traditions, approaches, and techniques so that students can gain a comprehensive understanding of the field and draw from one or more of those to conduct discourse analysis on their own. Students will also be provided with multiple opportunities and hands-on practice to analyze and interpret different types of discourse data. The course, however, will focus particularly on spoken data in face-to-face interactions in L2 (ESL) learning/teaching contexts or classroom settings. Each class session will include lecture/discussion of course readings and a time to engage in practical discussion or use of methodological tools/issues (including data collection and data analysis).

Genre Theory and Pedagogy (Spring 23): Although the term genre is often associated with literary forms, its use has expanded to texts and social practices ranging from academic research articles to political blog posts. Applied linguists, rhetoricians, and language and writing teachers have increasingly turned to genre as an important concept in understanding the “stabilized-for-now” texts (in the broadest sense) that occur in response to recurring situations—texts that are often essential for participating in academic, public, and professional environments. 

In this course, we will explore contemporary genre theory and pedagogy, including questions such as how genres are created and changed over time, how genres function within and for communities, and how genres are learned and can be taught. We will draw upon various disciplinary perspectives from applied linguistics, rhetoric and composition, and education to study:

  • contemporary genre theory
  • research approaches to studying genres and the communities in which they are used
  • research into how genres are learned in classrooms and other environments
  • pedagogical approaches to facilitating genre learning and awareness in language and writing classrooms