The English Language Centre’s MA TESOL programme offers excellent opportunities to develop careers in English language teaching for inexperienced teachers or for those starting out in the field.

The programme is designed for anyone with an interest in the wider aspects of teaching English as a foreign language, combining innovative classroom practices with an understanding of issues such as language structure and research methodology.

ELC MA programmes are delivered via lectures, seminars, practical sessions and micro-teaching sessions, giving students a solid grounding in both the theoretical and practical aspects of the field. In many cases, contact hours will be a mixture of these approaches (rather than, say, a session consisting solely of a two hour lecture). The balance will depend on the particular module, with some more suited to a lecture/seminar approach, others being of a more practical nature.

The focus throughout the programmes is on independent learning and student engagement, with students expected to participate in presentations, micro-teaching and the like. The average weekly number of contact hours over the first two terms is 12, with students filling the remaining time with reading, class preparation and assignments.

In addition, starting in the first term, students attend a series of dissertation sessions (typically 2 hours per fortnight) culminating in a poster conference in term 3. Students are assigned a dissertation supervisor, and can expect 3 or 4 meetings during term 3 and the summer.

Students each have an academic tutor, with whom they will meet on average once a term, and all staff have office hours.

Study Details:

MA 1 Year FT

Module Details:

Course Structure

The programme offers a core of syllabus design and assessment, with greater depth provided through further required modules focussing on both theoretical and practical aspects of the English language and on classroom practice. Students then have the opportunity to broaden their knowledge base by taking three or four further optional modules covering a wide range of relevant areas. The MA is completed by a 15,000 word dissertation.

Core Modules

Language for Teaching 

This module provides the foundation for the core areas in language description. The course will cover syntax, morphology and phonology within the context of language teaching. The topics covered include: phonetics/phonology; articulatory phonetics, phonemic analysis, distinctive feature theory, phonological processes; morphology: morphemes and allomorphs, inflection and derivation, morphological analysis, levels of morphology; syntax; word classes, constituent structure, tree diagrams and syntactic rules.

Syllabus Design and Assessment 

The aim of this module is to introduce students to the principles underlying syllabus design in applied language studies. A critical appraisal of current debates about how linguistic, sociolinguistic and psycholinguistic research should inform language teaching syllabus design. Students are responsible for the formulation and implementation of a current approach in the creation of specimen materials. Additionally, the module will explore issues in assessment and evaluation in language teaching. After their mastery of different language assessment procedures, students will implement them such that they reflect different views language, while remaining consistent with the goals and objectives of language teaching expressed by the syllabus.

Language Teaching Methods and Practice.

This module focuses on issues in the practice, methods and planning of language teaching, paying particular attention to the context in which lessons are planned and realised. It will serve as an interface between the more theoretical components of the MA programme (complementing modules such as Language Teaching Methodology), drawing on current methods and approaches in ELT with the aim of informing the student’s future practice, showing their relevance to the classroom. The focus of the module will be to examine in detail the issues surrounding classroom practice (eg classroom management, lesson planning, methods, principles and approaches to teaching), teacher and learner roles and context, drawing on existing pedagogical literature and language teaching materials. Since the module focuses on the practice of teaching, students will be expected to teach,reflect on and plan lessons over the course of the module.

Optional Modules

World Englishes

This module provides an examination of geographically-based linguistic variation (accents and dialects), and differentiation and classification of regional varieties of English throughout the English-speaking world. There will be detailed examination of a number of such varieties. The module also looks at the spread of English as used by non-native speakers of the language, and the characteristics of non-native Englishes, which move towards the view of English as a lingua franca.

English for Specific Purposes

This module explores language teaching and learning in particular environments. Issues in teaching English for Specific Purposes are explored both in terms of theoretical questions of appropriate methodology as well as more practical questions of needs analysis and syllabus design. 

ELT Materials Development and Evaluation

This module is focused on developing a theoretical and practical approach to materials design, evaluation and development. It involves students developing a practical understanding of the principles and procedures of the design, implementation and evaluation of language teaching materials. Through familiarisation with current approaches and methods in coursebook and materials design students will work with and adapt a range of published teaching materials for a variety of specific contexts. It will pay particular attention to issues of cultural and linguistic appropriacy, age and level of learners and current teaching methodology.

Discourse Texts and TESOL

This module considers the potential impact on second language learning, teaching and materials design of a text-level, socially-embedded view of language. Drawing on insights and tools from (e.g.) genre theory and Systemic Functional Linguistics, the module will re-examine the traditional realms of language teaching (vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation and skills development) in terms of how they shape and are shaped by the larger linguistic, social and cultural contexts in which they occur. The module then examines the implications of such a view for the language classroom.

Language Teaching Methodology

The content of this module is designed to raise awareness of major issues in language teaching and learning, including how practice is informed by theory, thereby determining the methods/approaches as well as the materials teachers use and their impact in language classrooms. This will involve revisiting established methods/syllabus principles and re-analysing their appropriateness in view of new knowledge about language and the changing role of English in the world, as well as considering radical alternatives such as the postmethod hypothesis. It will also involve considering the extent to which both cognitively and affectively motivated contemporary mainstream approaches and instruction procedures are theoretically supportable and whether current pedagogy has found the right balance between learning language and learning to learn.

Research Methods

The aim of this module is to introduce students to the principles underlying research in applied language studies and to explore different types of research methods. Additionally, this course will explore fundamental statistical principles so that students are able to interpret the kinds of statistical reports most frequently found in language teaching research. This knowledge of research methodology allows for critical evaluation of experimental studies in applied language studies, and the student will design and conduct his/her own classroom-based experiment. Additionally, the module will explore issues in assessment and evaluation in language teaching. 

Second Language Acquisition: Perspectives for Teachers

This module bridges the gap between linguistic theory and classroom teaching. It begins with a survey of the range of theories that currently exist and then addresses issues in language learning/teaching that arise when applying theory to the classroom. The Generative perspective on language will be contrasted with Emergentist  and Cognitive-Linguistic views in terms of their applicability to the language classroom. The latter then forms the basis for much of the term 2 focus on classroom applications of insights from linguistics

ELT Management

This module covers areas which are specifically relevant to a teaching professional involved in an ELT school or department with a managerial role. There is an emphasis on basic administrative and educational systems, on managing change (through teacher training and education) and on implementing effective evaluation systems. There is also recognition within the programme that many managers will need to support Business English and Young learners teaching since these are major areas of growth in ELT and/or are most relevant to high school teachers becoming managers. 

Teaching Young Learners

This module focuses on key issues facing teachers in any context involving the teaching of English (as a foreign, not second language) to young learners. Broadly speaking, these issues relate to syllabus-planning, materials selection, methodology and the wider psycho-social and technological environment of teaching young learners. A particularly important aspect of the course will be to familiarise participants with resources and methods available to them both in the UK and abroad.

Pragmatics and the Language Classroom



EU/Home/Islands £5700 International non-EU £14000

Entry Requirements

Subjects required, level and grade

A good first degree (UK 2.1 Honours degree or equivalent).

English Language requirements

IELTS 7.0 (no component under 7.0).

Please see our website for how to apply

Visit Website Request Information Add to Compare List

Key Information

Please see our website for how to apply

Visit Website
Request Information
Add to Compare List

University Hub

Durham University

More Information