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MA Education - TESOL


School of Education

The TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) pathway through the MA in Education  involves six taught modules and a dissertation on a research topic of your choice. This programme accommodates both early career teachers seeking a grounding in the core disciplines of TESOL, and those with considerable experience hoping to consolidate or progress into specialist areas of expertise.

Available start dates

September 2019 / September 2020

Teaching location

Harcourt Hill Campus / Distance learning

Course length

  • Full time: 12 months
  • Part time: 36 months, or 24 months fast-track

For full application details, please see the 'How to apply / Entry requirements' section.

  • Course content is tailored to your own professional context, with practical as well as scholarly tasks and assignments, and discussion with fellow TESOL practitioners worldwide on cutting edge practice and research. Our programme is taught by a highly research-active team that is well published and highly visible in the TESOL world. You will be part of an active research community.
  • Our generic research module gives you a skills and research base that involves you in wider educational debates nationally and internationally. You are also part of the Applied Linguistics research community which includes talks, conferences, guest speakers and the opportunity to hear former MA students in their current work contexts.
  • The programme builds in explicit support for the academic literacies and skills needed to be successful as an MA teacher-researcher. There are opportunities for campus-based students to participate in a volunteer placement scheme teaching Oxford-based asylum seekers. This experience can be built into coursework and assessment.
  • The programme accommodates both the early career TESOL specialist as well as the experienced practitioner seeking career consolidation or development. Options allow for a range of professional specialisms, including The Multilingual Learner (EMI and EAL contexts), ELT Materials Development and English for Specific Purposes. Our programme can be taken fully online as distance learning, fully on campus, or a combination of the two. It offers the unique opportunity for campus and distance learning students to work interactively with one another online.
  • As one of the world's great academic cities, Oxford is a key centre of debate, and alongside our own excellent libraries and resource centres, you will have access to the world-renowned Bodleian Library, the Bodleian Law Library and the Radcliffe Science Library. Oxford is also a centre of multiple language schools such as St Joseph's School and St Clare's College. This makes it a thriving environment for foreign students and the practice of TESOL.
  • We offer a wide range of Postgraduate Certificates, specifically designed for part time students who are working full time. Sessions typically run in the evenings, with some online discussions. On completion of a postgraduate certificate you can then choose to go onto study a further three modules and the successful completion of a dissertation will complete your MA Education.

The TESOL pathway includes six taught modules, which combine one compulsory research module, three core TESOL modules, one TESOL professional option, and one option selected from any option within the wider MA in Education pool.

In addition, the MA includes a dissertation which is equivalent to three taught modules.

Compulsory Research modules:

Researching Education, Childhood and Language enables you to develop knowledge of a range of research approaches, methods and techniques  in education more broadly, and language more specifically. You will also have an opportunity to prepare a small-scale research project of your own, and trial research instruments, in preparation for the dissertation.

The dissertation gives you the opportunity to specialise in a topic of your choice. It is supported by dissertation workshops and individual supervision, and leads to an extended piece of work which includes primary research on a focus of your choice, and critical engagement with the research literature.  An assessed research proposal forms part of the 'gateway' to the dissertation process, and leads to the allocation of a research supervisor to support you in the study process.

Three Compulsory TESOL modules:

Language Acquisition and Development – Principles and Practice aims to provide you with a thorough grounding in the theoretical models of both first and second/foreign language acquisition and with psycholinguistic theories of learning and skills acquisition. By the end of this module, you will have reflected on the relevance of different kinds of theoretical knowledge of language learning to your own perceptions of teaching and learning in the classroom, and explored how these theories might have practical impact on learner focused classroom practice.

Descriptions of English explores the linguistic description of English with a focus on ‘language in use’. The module looks at how our understanding of the English language relates to how we apply this knowledge in the classroom: what the teacher should ‘know’ about language, what the learner should ‘know’, and how classroom materials such as pedagogic grammars and course books approach this.

For the third, TESOL students should choose one of the following:

ELT Changing Methodologies is designed to give the TESOL  practitioner an engagement with some of the key debates current in the profession, such as World Englishes, the impact of corpus on language teaching, and current understandings of the learning process. 

Language Teaching: Learning and Creativity is designed to give the TESOL practitioner a foundation in core principles for the language learning classroom, such as  the teaching of grammar, vocabulary, social and cultural pragmatics, and the four language skills.

Optional modules - students need to select two option modules of which at least one needs to be one of the following three 'TESOL options': A selection of the modules listed below will be offered each year:

Teaching English for Specific Purposes - (academic and occupational). This module builds on your knowledge of ELT, with a more specific focus on accommodating the needs of learners working in specific contexts (English for Specific Purposes - ESP), such as learning for academic or occupational purposes. The module covers the techniques commonly used in ESP for analysing and matching learner needs to the requirements of their target language context. A variety of ESP approaches to syllabus design, materials development and teaching skills are discussed, with reflection on how such approaches would best inform the needs of learners in specific contexts.

Multilingual Learners - The module focuses on children in English-speaking schools whose first language and culture is not English. It draws on current practice, research and case studies of schools and learners, and examples of current policy and practice in EMI and EAL contexts. The module is designed for the teacher aiming to enhance the learning experience and environment of the multilingual child, and make a difference to policy and practice.

ELT Materials Development - This module explores different modes in which materials are generated for learners, and engages with professional dialogue about the value and effectiveness of teaching resources. You will engage in small-scale market research and materials design projects and will connect with real-world projects  in the ELT publishing industry.

One Option module can also be taken from the main MA in Education programme - these modules may include:

  • Developing MA Literacies
  • Learning and Development in Childhood
  • Diversity and Achievement

As our courses are reviewed regularly, the list of modules you choose from may vary from the ones shown here.

Teaching and learning

Learning methods include lectures, directed reading, workshops, student and staff-led seminars, and project work. Teaching, learning and assessment draw on the different backgrounds, experience and knowledge of participants, and encourage critical reflection.

Teaching style is highly participatory, and engages you  in workshop activities, online discussion, peer evaluation, presentations and research projects, with students drawing on their professional experience, home culture and language.

Campus students are encouraged to meet fortnightly in self-run sessions to follow up class readings and tasks and involve their online peers in these discussions through Skype, Facebook or online discussion.

The programme is supported by a full online ‘virtual learning environment’ which includes readings, discussions, session materials, peer support for assignments, and opportunities for students on campus and online to share professional concerns and debates.

Approach to assessment

All assessment tasks are designed to connect with the teaching contexts of students, so you can draw on your own classrooms and learners, and use your work to improve your practice.

Assessments are supported by online question and answer discussions; presentations of work in progress with tutor and peer feedback; and/or formative tasks with detailed feedback.

Each course module is assessed separately and is based on coursework such as individual essays, seminar presentations, reports, portfolios, investigative research and group work.

Specialist facilities

There is a resource Developing MA Literacies, designed to support your transition to MA teacher: researcher. This can be taken either as a fully credited module option, or audited as a support resource alongside your academic studies.

The School of Education has a research group in Applied Linguistics to which all TESOL students are invited. This includes talks from MA former students, as well as practitioners and researchers of interest in the TESOL field.

You will have the opportunity to volunteer as English language mentors for Oxford-based asylum seekers.

For international students there is a support service to help you with your academic writing.

There is also support for students with special needs such as dyslexia or visual impairment.

Field trips

There is the option of a one-week self-funded study visit to the Gambia in June of the study year. This trip can be included as a case study for one of the optional modules.

Attendance pattern

Teaching is organised on a module-credit basis, each module involving approximately 200 hours of student input and approximately 24 hours of staff contact as follows:

  • Campus modules are taught on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays depending on your choice of options and the specific semester. Part-time and full-time TESOL students study together and sessions combine staff and student led seminars, group work, shared online dialogue with distance students, reading circles and private study time.
  • Distance modules are taught in one week study blocks with tasks, discussions, readings and assessments all conducted online, including dialogue with campus based MA students and tutors.
  • Semesters for both campus and online students are usually 12 weeks long, and in two blocks: September to December, and January to May. For full time students, the period between May and August is generally dedicated to dissertation supervision and study. 

Programme changes

On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published on the website. For more information, please visit our Changes to programmes page.

Tuition fees

Home/EU - full time fee: 2018/19: £5,560 2019/20: £5,670

Home/EU - part time fee: 2018/19: £610 per single module 2019/20: £620 per single module

Home/EU - distance learning fee: 2018/19: £610 per single module 2019/20: £620 per single module

International - full time: 2018/19: £13,460 2019/20: £13,730

International - part time fee: 2018/19: £1,470 per single module 2019/20: £1,500 per single module

International - distance learning fee: 2018/19: £1,470 per single module 2019/20: £1,500 per single module

Where part time fees are quoted this is for the first year only. Fees will increase by up to 4% each year.

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course, if any, are detailed in the 'This course in detail' window above.

Questions about fees?
Contact Student Finance on:
+44 (0)1865 483088

Funding and scholarships

Entry requirements

Applicants must demonstrate that they have a first degree at 2.2 level or above.

TESOL pathway students are required to show evidence of teaching experience of two years in any context, including summer language schools, one-to-one teaching, or teaching assistant roles. Teaching practice acquired through CELTA or DELTA qualifications can count towards this. In some cases, a shorter period of teaching experience can be negotiated where there has been significant TESOL content study.

Please also see the university's general entry requirements.

English language requirements

International students whose native language is not English are required to pass IELTS with an overall grade of 6.5, and each of  the four skills should have a minimum grade of 6.0.

Please also see the university's standard English language requirements

English requirements for visas

If you need a student visa to enter the UK you will need to meet the UK Visas and Immigration minimum language requirements as well as the university's requirements. Find out more about English language requirements.

International applications

International students hold a conditional offer until payment of a deposit of £1,000 is received.

Preparation courses for International and EU students

We offer a range of courses to help you to meet the entry requirements for this course and also familiarise you with university life. You may also be able to apply for one student visa to cover both courses.

  • Take our Pre-Master's course to help you to meet both the English language and academic entry requirements for your master's course.
  • If you need to improve your English language, we have pre-sessional English language courses available to help you to meet the English language requirements of your chosen master’s.

If you are studying outside the UK, for more details about your specific country entry requirements, translated information, local contacts and programmes within your country, please have a look at our country pages.

How to apply

Terms and Conditions of Enrolment

When you accept our offer, you agree to the Terms and Conditions of Enrolment. You should therefore read those conditions before accepting the offer.

How this course helps you develop

Students on the TESOL programme have been able to make links, develop skills, and identify opportunities which have led to the following career changes:

  • setting up a language school
  • writing coursebooks for an international publisher
  • becoming an editor for a TESOL publisher
  • teaching at a university language centre for international students
  • teaching mother tongue (eg Mandarin) in the UK
  • becoming an English as an Additional Language (EAL) coordinator in a UK school.

Postgraduate certificates

Alternatively, you can develop your professional practice in specialist areas through our range of Postgraduate Certificate Awards.

Visit our School of Education website for more information.


Recent students graduating with an MA Education (TESOL) have moved from teaching into teacher professional development, management of language schools and language businesses, materials and test writing.

Others have gone from school to university teaching and from general English to specific English teaching for academic purposes, business and law.

Free language courses for students - the Open Module

Free language courses are available to full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students on many of our courses, and can be taken as a credit on some courses.

Please note that the free language courses are not available if you are:

  • studying at a Brookes partner college
  • studying on any of our teacher education courses or postgraduate education courses.

How Brookes supports postgraduate students

Supporting your learning

From academic advisers and support co-ordinators to specialist subject librarians and other learning support staff, we want to ensure that you get the best out of your studies.

Personal support services

We want your time at Brookes to be as enjoyable and successful as possible. That's why we provide all the facilities you need to be relaxed, happy and healthy throughout your studies.

Research highlights

Sustained excellence in research and publication has ensured that a significant proportion of our School of Education staff were entered for the Research Excellence Framework (REF) in 2014 (UoA 25). Almost 90% of our research was deemed to be of international merit, with around one half either ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Contributions to the REF were spread across all of our research groups.

Our research aims to create impact on contemporary educational issues - supporting knowledge creation and developing innovative approaches to researching pedagogic practices. The School’s research strategy functions at all spatial scales, from local to global. We publish our highest quality research in leading peer-reviewed journals. Emeritus, Honorary and Visiting Research Fellows contribute to our research programmes and outputs.

The School holds two major research conferences each year - the School of Education Research Conference and the EdD Colloquium. Our Research Seminar Series (which attracts both internal and external speakers) runs annually - all students are invited to attend. We also organise a number of conferences, lectures, seminars and debates, some of which have an international reach.

Members of the School are engaged in a variety of funded and unfunded research projects; we have previously enjoyed prestigious funded scholarships (such as the Fulbright – Peabody scholarship) and, when feasible, offer funded Research Studentships to doctoral applicants. Our Centre for Educational Consultancy and Development (CECD) regularly secures consultancy and research money.

As might be expected in such a research active school, many staff are engaged as editors, editorial board members, or reviewers for various peer reviewed academic and professional journals, as well as online journals.

View all staff profiles for School of Education

Research areas and clusters

The School of Education at Oxford Brookes University is a thriving centre for educational research and teacher professional development. Students on the MA in Education programme therefore join a large research community comprising researchers at all levels of higher education study.

The TESOL team are currently engaged in an English as an Additional Language project in two Oxfordshire schools. This project involves developing a whole school approach to the EAL learner, so that every classroom becomes language-rich. The research tracks the process of change in the schools.

The team are also in the Steering Executive of the Centre for Curriculum Internationalisation which runs an annual conference on Global Citizenship and internationalisation.

The ELT Changing Methodologies module entails research events open to all students, featuring former MA students, as well as materials writers, practitioners and researchers in the TESOL field. In addition, international TESOL students have been encouraged to teach their mother tongue at small language exchange events. In some cases this has led to regular teaching opportunities.

The School's six research groups reflect a thriving research community of academics, scholars and students. They exist to encourage engagement in research, publication, conference presentations, seminars and workshops. Their focus is:

  • Inclusion and Wellbeing
  • Policy, Partnership and Leadership
  • STEAM pedagogy and learning
  • Humanistic Perspectives on Education
  • Early Years
  • Applied Linguistics

View all staff profiles for School of Education