MA: TESOL | Linguistics | SIU

Southern Illinois University



College of Liberal Arts

student reading


The M.A. degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) blends linguistic science with the art of classroom practice. It prepares students both intellectually and experientially so that as professionals they are capable of making wise and informed choices among different language teaching approaches, methods, and techniques. In addition, students will understand how differences among individual students, teaching and learning situations, and socials structures influence decisions they will be called upon to make as teachers or other language professionals. The TESOL master’s program provides a firm and broad foundation in current theories of language and language learning and graduates will be prepared to take on careers as teacher educators and curriculum or assessment specialists as well as classroom teachers.

Video: Learn about a current MA TESOL student and his experiences at Southern Illinois University in Saluki Stories»

There are two options for completing the MA TESOL degree: a thesis option and a non-thesis option. In both cases 36 credits are required. Both options include five components: a group of core courses totaling 15 semester hours, a selection of language skills-related courses totaling 6 semester hours, a teaching specialty course (3 semester hours), free electives totaling 6 semester hours, and research training (6 semester hours)-- either a thesis (thesis option) or additional course work from a selected group of focus courses with a substantial research component (non-thesis option).

Core Courses (15 semester hours)
All students in the MA TESOL program take the following five courses:

  • LING 472-3 Assessment of ESL and Bilingual Students
  • LING 505-3 The Professional Study of Linguistics
  • LING 541-3 Second Language Acquisition
  • LING 570-3 Methods and Materials of TESOL
  • LING 583-3 TESOL Practicum

Language Skills (6 semester hours)
All students must take at least two of the following language skills-related courses:

  • LING 531-3 Teaching Grammar and Writing in a Second Language
  • LING 585-3 Teaching Listening and Speaking in a Second Language
  • LING 587-3 Teaching Reading and Vocabulary in a Second Language

Teaching Specialties Courses (3 semester hours)
All students must take one of the following teaching specialties courses:

  • LING 470-3 Theoretical Foundations of ESL and Bilingual Education
  • LING 471-3 Bilingual Education Methods and Materials
  • LING 573-3 Introduction to Computer-Assisted Language Learning
  • LING 582-3 Course Design
  • LING 586-3 English for Specific Purposes
  • LING 5XX-3 Teaching Internship

Research Component (6 semester hours)
All students must take at least six semester hours from the following courses with a substantial research component:

  • LING 415-3 Sociolinguistics
  • LING 417-3 Language Contact
  • LING 542-3 Advanced Seminar in Second Language Acquisition
  • LING 543-3 Bilingualism
  • LING 549-3 Research Methods in Linguistics and TESOL
  • LING 584-3 Advanced Seminar in Grammar and Composition
  • LING 589-3 Advanced Seminar in Reading and Vocabulary
  • LING 590-3 Advanced Second Language Pronunciation
  • LING 592-3 Advanced Computer-Assisted Language Learning
  • LING 599-1 to 6 Thesis

Note that students pursuing the thesis option must enroll in a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 6 semester hours of LING 599 (Thesis).

Free Electives (6 semester hours)
Students can select from a number of elective courses offered each semester. These include additional courses from the categories listed above as well as other courses offered in the program. In addition, courses related to language, education, and/or research methods offered by other departments may be used to complete elective requirements, with approval from the student’s faculty advisor. Students are also encouraged to attend summer institutes and other professional development programs offered by the TESOL International organization or the Linguistic Society of America. Credit may be approved for coursework successfully completed this way.