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 two areas: Reading/Writing/Vocabulary or Listening/Speaking/Pronunciation by (1) examining, selecting, and using methods conducive to effective learning of particular language skills and elements, (2) examining, evaluating, and creating materials to support effective language teaching and learning, (3) critically analyzing research in language acquisition and teaching, and applying it to classroom contexts, and (4) constructing, analyzing, and interpreting effective measures of language ability.

6.   Advanced specialized knowledge and skill in one of the following three areas: (1) curriculum development by developing professional quality curricula for English language teaching, (2) materials development by developing professional quality materials for English language teaching, or (3) administration and supervision by practicing recognized principles of effective teacher development and program operation.



The Thesis committee is appointed when a student is admitted to the TESOL MA program. The chair of this committee serves as the academic advisor for the MA student.



·         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, if you have not previously had an introductory linguistics course, then you must come summer term to take Ling 401 – Introduction to Graduate Linguistics (Summer 2015 the course will be Elang 521R). 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.


·          Listed below.

·         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.

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)

Elective Category, choose one course from list below, depending on what is taught that semester (3 credits): or L698R, Project Credits (1 project credit)


Spring of 1st year

Optional Elective - L655, Culture Teaching (3 credits)

L698R, Project Credits (1 project credit)


Summer of 1st year           

L688, Academic Internship


Fall of 2nd year

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

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

L699R, Thesis credits or L698R – Project Credits


Winter of 2nd year

L640, Language Acquisition (3 credits)

L695, TESOL Seminar (1 credit)

L699R, Thesis credits (2-4 thesis credits) or L698R, Project Credits (2 project credits)

Elective Category, PROJECT STUDENTS ONLY, THIRD ELECTIVE (if they need it) choose one course from list below, depending on what is taught that semester (3 credits)


Electives to choose from:

·         L670, Teaching skills, Reading/Writing/Vocabulary

·         L671, Teaching Sills, Listening/Speaking/Pronunciation

·         L677, Curriculum Development

·         L678, Materials Development

·         L679, TESOL Supervision Administration Internship

·         L655, Culture Teaching (offered in Spring)    


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