The M.A. in TESL/TEFL prepares one to teach English in the U.S. or overseas. Within the United States, our graduates teach ESL in public and private schools, as well as in the city in community colleges and adult education programs. English language learners are the fastest growing group of students in the United States today.
Admission to the Program
For admission to the Master of Arts (M.A.) program in TESL/TEFL, all students must complete an application to the Graduate College. Application forms may be obtained by contacting the Graduate College directly, or by completing the online application form located on the Graduate College website. Please check the Graduate College website for deadlines.
Note: Due to Graduate College regulations, no more than nine credit hours (three classes) may be transferred into any MA/MS degree program from another school or another department or program at Northeastern. This regulation also applies to coursework completed as a student-at-large, even if the courses are completed within the same program. Students-at-large must apply and be accepted for admission to the department/program before taking a fourth class. All requests for course transfer credit are subject to review and approval by the TESL/TEFL program.
Students whose native language is English:
Students are required to complete nine credit hours or the equivalent of work in one or more foreign languages. Students may also demonstrate proficiency through alternate means, such as a recognized standardized test or oral interview. Additionally, students who were raised as bilingual speakers with English and another language can petition for a waiver of this requirement.
Students whose native language is not English:
Students are required to demonstrate English proficiency with a score of 95 on the internet-based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), with a minimum score of 20 in each of the four sections.
-All materials must be received in the Graduate College for an application to be considered complete and ready to forward to the department for consideration.
-International students are asked to submit all materials approximately one month prior to given deadlines for review and consideration.
-Please refer to the Graduate College website for all specific information.
Goals, Outcomes and Performance Criteria
Based on the standards set forth by the professional organization, Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Inc. (TESOL*), the Goals and Standards are defined respectively as "Domains" and "Standards." Go to Degree Program Standards (PDF) for detailed goal and outcome statements as published by TESOL.
*Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Inc. (TESOL) is a global education association based in Alexandria, Virginia, in the United States. TESOL's mission is to ensure excellence in English language teaching to speakers of other languages.
Requirements for M.A. degree are distributed among five domains (36 credits):
Domain 1: Language
- TESL-402: Principles of Linguistics for Teachers
- TESL-420: Structure of Modern English
- TESL-426: Advanced Linguistic Analysis
Domain 2: Culture
- TESL-445: Language Variation
- A choice of TESL-447: Pragmatics or another culture-related course, in consultation with your TESL/TEFL graduate advisor
Domain 3: Planning, Implementing and Managing Instruction
- TESL-410: Techniques of Teaching English as a Second/Foreign Language
- A choice of another instruction-related course, in consultation with your TESL/TEFL graduate advisor
Domain 4: Assessment
- TESL-468: Assessment of the Limited English Proficient Student
Domain 5: Professionalism
- TESL-414: Theories of Teaching English as a Second/Foreign Language
- TESL-460: Second Language Acquisition
Six credits (non-thesis option) of electives are selected from the list of 400-level courses in TESL and approved by your TESL graduate advisor. In addition, a limited number of courses offered by other departments may be taken as electives, in consultation with the advisor.
Courses which may be taken as electives include:
- TESL-409: Research Design and Methods
- TESL-430: Structure of Language
- TESL-440: Language and Literacy
- TESL-442: Using Technology with Second Language Learners1
- TESL-447: Pragmatics
- TESL-451: Lexically-Based Instruction1
- TESL-452: Content-Based Instruction1
- TESL-465: Experiential Preparation for Teaching English as a Second Language1
- TESL-471: Evolution of Laws and Policies in Language Instruction
- TESL-490: Seminar in Teaching English as a Second Language1 (Topic varies)
For detailed course description please go to Course Description.
All graduate credits must be at the 400 level.
All students pursuing a Master of Arts in TESL/TEFL will be required to submit a Graduation Project as part of their graduation requirements. The project will consist of a capstone paper with five elements to be included as appendices. Students pursuing the M.A. in TESL/TEFL will be assigned an advisor early in their degree program for assistance in the preparation of the capstone paper.
Additionally, students can choose from two options, a thesis or a non-thesis option.
The thesis option requires 36 hours of completed coursework, including all required courses in TESL/TEFL with a grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0 and no more than two grades of "C," and the final capstone paper (i.e., Graduation Project). For the final six credit hours, students will register for a thesis seminar under the direction of a faculty member chosen from among the TESL/TEFL faculty. The thesis option may only be exercised with prior departmental approval.
The non-thesis option requires 36 hours of 400-level course work in TESL/TEFL, with a GPA of at least 3.0 and no more than two grades of "C," plus the final capstone paper (i.e., Graduation Project).
Any special program design, tutored study or independent study must be approved in advance by the student's graduate advisor, and also requires the approval of the instructor, department chair and the appropriate college dean(s).
Tuition and Fees
Information about costs can be obtained on the Graduate College website in the section labeled Financial Aid.
Financial assistance is available. To view the types of aid available visit Financing Your Graduate Education. Some of the types available include Graduate Assistantships and Diversifying Higher Education Fellowship opportunities.
Merit Tuition Waivers
Please complete the online application located on the Graduate College website located under Application for Merit Tuition Awards
 This course can fulfill one of the electives identified under Domain 3: Planning, Implementing and Managing Instruction (TESL 490 Seminar can be counted toward a second course in Domain 3 if the topic being offered is appropriate to instruction; please be sure to consult your graduate advisor).
 This course can fulfill one of the electives identified under Domain 2: Culture.