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About the Program

The aim of our 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.

Our curriculum will give you an understanding of the major systems of human language (phonology, morphology, lexicon, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics) and help you analyze and apply theories of second language learning and acquisition. You will be able to examine second language teaching strategies and procedures and apply accepted principles of effective lesson planning and materials development. You will also learn to understand and evaluate research and contribute your own research to answer questions in the field of TESOL.

The program can be completed in two years. Students begin in the fall and meet with their advisor to plan out their program of study, which is 37 credit hours total. Students will also complete a research project or write and publish a thesis at the end of their program of study.

If you have questions about the program, please contact the program coordinator:
Grant Eckstein,, 801-422-5946.

A Degree for Your Future

The TESOL MA program provides professional-level preparation for careers in teaching English to speakers of other languages in any of the following settings:

  • Intensive English programs at universities 
  • ESL/EFL courses for private companies 
  • English as a foreign language (in non-English-speaking countries) 
  • Supervision/administration of ESL/EFL programs 
  • ESL/EFL teacher preparation 
  • ESL courses at a community college or university level 
  • Adult education ESL programs for immigrants and refugees 

Completion of the program also prepares you for further study at the doctoral level.

More Information
Applying to the Program
Scholarships & Financial Aid
Requirements & Program of Study
Thesis/Project & Graduation

Applying to the Program

The application window is open from September 1 to February 15 each year. You will be notified of the admission decision by June 1 at the latest and begin the program in the next fall semester (or summer term, for students without a background in linguistics).

More information about applying can be found on the BYU Graduate Studies website at the “Apply” button below. For other information specific to this program, please refer to the TESOL MA Handbook above.

Scholarships & Financial Aid

All students are eligible to receive scholarship funding for courses in their program of study and courses that fulfill the language requirement. The amount changes each semester/term, but historically it has been 50% or higher of the LDS Graduate Student tuition rate.

To get scholarship funding, you will need to submit an application for each semester/term you are taking classes. This can be done on the Graduate Scholarships page. For a given semester/term, the application deadline is about 4–5 weeks before the tuition deadline (which is 1 week before the start of classes). You will be notified by email of the scholarship application deadline each semester/term.

In addition to this scholarship funding through the department, students may also receive funding from other sources, such as federal aid.

For further information, please refer to the TESOL MA Handbook above.

Requirements & Program of Study


Your path toward graduation—putting together your program of study, tracking your coursework, and preparing to defend your thesis and submit your ETD—is handled in the online Graduate Progress (GradProg) system.

Go to GradProg

Thesis/project advisor and committee

You will work with your advisor to put together a program of study that fulfills the requirements below and is appropriate to your goals and interests. The advisor, who can later serve as chair of your thesis/project committee, is appointed when you are admitted to the TESOL MA program. The committee is made up of a chair and two other members; your chair can assist you in selecting other faculty members to serve as committee members.

Registering for courses

Course registration typically opens several months before the start of each semester/term. Visit the Enrollment Services website for exact dates and deadlines and instructions for registering. You must take at least six credits per academic year (fall semester through the next summer term), and you must take at least two credits during the first semester you are registered and the semester you defend your thesis and graduate.


Core courses: (22 credits)
LING 610: TESOL Methods and Materials Overview (3)
LING 611: TESOL Methods and Materials Applications (3)
LING 612: TESOL Practicum (3)
LING 620: Research in TESOL (3)
LING 631: Grammar Theory and Pedagogy (3)
LING 640: Language Acquisition (3)
LING 660: Language Testing (3)
LING 695: TESOL Seminar (1)

Project or Thesis: (6 credits)
LING 698R: Project Credits (3) + LING 688R: Academic Internship
LING 699R: Thesis Credits (6)

Elective courses: (9 credits)
LING 655: Culture Teaching and Pragmatics (3)
LING 670: Teaching Skills, Reading/Writing/Vocabulary (3)
LING 671: Teaching Skills, Listening/Speaking/Pronunciation (3)
LING 677: Curriculum Development (3)
LING 678: Materials Development (3)
LING 679: TESOL Program Administration (3)
LING 688R Academic Internship (3)

See course descriptions on


The TESOL MA program offers four specializations: Teaching (LING 655, 670, 671); Program Administration (LING 677, 679); Curriculum & Materials Development (LING 677, 678); Curriculum & Assessment (LING 677, Chair-directed elective).

To specialize, a student must complete the related electives indicated above. All students must complete at least one Teaching Skills class (LING 670 or 671).

Language requirement

As described in the Application Checklist in the "Applying to the Program" tab, graduating with a TESOL MA requires competency in a language other than English at the 200-level. To demonstrate this proficiency, you must either have a course of that level on your transcript, take an OPI (Oral Proficiency Interview) exam, or take one of BYU’s Challenge Exams, offered through the Center for Language Studies. If you have further questions, contact the program coordinator.

Non-native English speakers must take an OPI interview by the end of their first semester and score at least an Advanced Mid to fulfill this requirement. (The interview may be taken more than once.) They are also required to take LING 501 during their first winter semester or test out of it during the previous fall semester. See the handbook for details.

Thesis/Project & Graduation

Applying for graduation

Students may graduate at the end of fall semester (December), winter semester (April), spring term (June), or summer term (August). Only one convocation and commencement ceremony is held each year, and all students who graduate in an academic year may attend the ceremony in April of that academic year. The deadlines and steps for graduation can be viewed below or in the handbook and are also emailed to students each year. Students must apply for graduation about three months before their desired graduation date.

Thesis/project defense and ETD

Completion of a thesis or project is required for graduation with a TESOL MA. Students should work with their committee to ensure they are on track for graduation. Students will receive scholarship funding for up to 6 thesis/project credits.

You should schedule your defense at least a month and a half before your graduation date, and must pass the defense by the deadline. If you choose the thesis option, you must then make the necessary revisions and submit your ETD (Electronic Thesis/Dissertation) by its deadline. If the deadline is not met, you will not be able to graduate and must enroll in an additional schedule for at least 2 credits, which are not covered by department scholarship funds. You may revise and resubmit your ETD as many times as necessary.

For further information, please refer to the TESOL MA Handbook above, or to the FAQ.