Program Overview

The purpose of BYU’s TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) MA program is to prepare students with linguistic, instructional, and cultural-awareness skills for professional careers as teachers, materials, developers, curriculum designers, supervisors, administrators, and assessment specialists in the international field of TESOL. The program also provides a solid base for students who desire to pursue doctoral studies in TESOL, applied linguistics, language education, instructional design, language assessment, or related fields.

The TESOL MA program provides professional-level preparation for careers in teaching English to speakers of other languages in any of the following areas:

Completion of the MA TESOL program also provides a student with appropriate preparation for further study at the doctoral level.

Students graduating with the MA in TESOL from the Department of Linguistics and English Language develop knowledge in six domains:

1.   General English Language Proficiency: Proficiency in all skill areas (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) to be strong teachers of English.

2.   Linguistic Knowledge: Fundamental linguistic knowledge in the areas of phonology, syntax, and semantics.

3.   General Pedagogical Knowledge: General pedagogical knowledge in areas such as writing instructional objectives, planning classroom instruction, and assessing learning.

4.   Second Language Teaching, Learning, and Context Knowledge: The ability to utilize the linguistic knowledge and specialized language-teaching skills to effectively instruct English language learners in varying classroom contexts.

5.   General Research Knowledge: The ability to understand and evaluate empirical research reports of the types commonly published in the social sciences.

6.   Second Language Teaching and Learning Research Knowledge: The knowledge and skills to (1) ask appropriate research questions in line with academic and professional interests in TESOL and (2) design valid ways to find answers to these questions.


The TESOL MA Program Learning Outcomes

The TESOL MA program is designed to achieve the following six program learning outcomes:

1.   Systems of Human Language: Demonstrate an understanding of the major systems of human language (phonology, morphology, lexicon, syntax/grammar, semantics, & pragmatics).

2.   Language Learning Theory: Analyze and apply theories of second language learning and acquisition.

3.   Teaching Strategies and Procedures: Examine second language teaching strategies and procedures and apply accepted principles of effective lesson planning and materials development.

4.   Research: Analyze, perform, and communicate professional-level research.

5.   Advanced specialized language teaching knowledge and skills in one of the following four areas:
-Curriculum & Materials Development
Program Administration
Curriculum & Assessment


The thesis advisor is appointed when a student is admitted to the TESOL MA program. The advisor can also later serve as chair of the project/thesis committee for the MA student. The chair can assist the student in selecting other faculty members who could serve as committee members.


·         Deadline for application is January 15th (only once a year). Application is made directly to the Linguistics and English Language Department.

·         Admissions decisions are based upon:

§  Undergraduate GPA, by way of official transcript, (all international applicants must send all marksheets, transcripts and diplomas for a credential evaluation to IERF).

§  Letter of intent (including experience, commitment to the profession, and plans for the future).

§  3 Letters of Recommendation

§  GRE (must be taken within the five years prior to beginning the program)

§  Résumé

§  English language skills for all non-native speakers of English, whether or not they graduated from an English speaking school:  A TOEFL score of 237 (computer), 580 (paper), or 90 (internet based – iBT with minimum scores of 23 in Speaking and 22 in Listening, Reading, and Writing). Further information for international students can be found online at http://internationalservices.byu.edu.  The TOEFL must be taken within the two years prior to beginning the program.

§  Students begin coursework fall semester. However, new admits who have not had a thorough linguistics background, must come to BYU during the summer term and take Ling 401 – Introduction to Graduate Linguistics. If you believe you have taken an equivalent course at another university, please send that course syllabus to the department secretary for evaluation at linguistics@byu.edu

§  Apply online at http://www.byu.edu/gradstudies.

·         The number of students admitted to the TESOL MA program depends on its capacity (which is projected to be a total of 15 active students) and the number of students who exit the program each year.

·         Students admitted to the MA should plan to meet with their advisor to promptly identify a timeline for completing their project or thesis.


·         Completed thesis or project and successful defense.

·         Competency in one language other than English at the 200 level.  This requirement may be fulfilled while taking program coursework; but those language credits do NOT count toward the total credits needed for the program.


The MA degree in TESOL at Brigham Young University requires successful completion of 37 credit hours which consist of:

·         Core Classes

o   22 hours (see below)

·         Project/Thesis

o   Project, 3 hours of project credit (Ling 698R) plus 3 hours of related internship credit (Ling 688R). The student who selects the Project option must also specialize in a related area (see Specialization below) or

o   Thesis 6 hours (Ling 699R),

·         Electives

o   9 hours of elective credits (see below).



The TESOL MA program offers four specializations:

            Teaching (Ling 655, 670, 671)

            Program Administration (Ling 679, 677, plus 670 or 671)

            Curriculum & Materials Development (Ling 677, 678, plus 670 or 671)

            Curriculum & Assessment (Ling 677, one faculty-directed elective, plus 670 or 671)


Program Courses

Core courses: (22 credits)

·         L610, TESOL Methods and Materials Overview (3)

·         L611, TESOL Methods and Materials Application (3)

·         L612, TESOL Practicum (3)

·         L620, Research in TESOL (3)

·         L631, Grammar Theory and Pedagogy (3)

·         L640, Language Acquisition (3)

·         L660, Language Testing (3)

·         L695, TESOL Seminar (1)

Thesis/Project: (6 credits)

·         L698R, Project credits (3) + 1 related elective

·         L699R, Thesis credits (6)


Elective courses: (9 credits)

·         L655, Culture Teaching (3, offered in Spring)

·         L670, Teaching skills, Reading/Writing/Vocabulary (3)

·         L671, Teaching Sills, Listening/Speaking/Pronunciation (3)

·         L677, Curriculum Development (3)

·         L678, Materials Development (3)

·         L679, TESOL Supervision Administration Internship (3)

·         L688R, Academic Internship (3)



Ling 688R Internships are designed to allow students to further enhance their specializations by working closely with one of the eight full-time administrators who oversee various aspects of the English Language Center such as program administration, curriculum development, reading, writing, vocabulary, testing and assessment.


Sequence of Courses

Fall of 1st year

L610, TESOL Methods and Materials Overview (3 credits)

L631, Grammar Theory and Pedagogy (3 credits) or Ling 660, Language Testing (3 credits)

L620, Research in TESOL (3 credits)


Winter of 1st year

L611, TESOL Methods and Materials Application (3 credits)

L612, TESOL Practicum (3 credits)

L698R, Project credit for prospectus writing (1 credit)  or

L699R, Thesis credit for prospectus writing (1 credit)

Elective Category, choose one course from list below, depending on what is taught that semester (3 credits)



Spring of 1st year

L655, Teaching Culture and Pragmatics (3 credits)           

L688R, Academic Internship (3 credits)


Summer of 1st year   

L688R, Academic Internship


Fall of 2nd year

Ling 660, Language Testing (3 credits) or L631, Grammar Theory and Pedagogy (3 credits)

Elective Category, chose one or two elective courses from the list below, depending on what is taught that semester (3 credits)

L699R, Thesis credits (2 thesis credits)


Winter of 2nd year

L640, Language Acquisition (3 credits)

L695, TESOL Seminar (1 credit)

L699R, Thesis credits (2-4 thesis credits) or 698R, Project Credits (2 project credits)

Elective Category, (if needed) choose one course from list below, depending on what is taught that semester (3 credits)

Note: Other graduate-level linguistics courses and appropriate courses from other departments may also be used as electives with approval.