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Master of Arts in TESOL

Have you always dreamed of exploring and experiencing other cultures and countries? Do you want to travel to teach English in the US or around the world? Do you want to be successful and make your dreams reality?

The program seeks to be a pioneer in the field of language teaching by building a curriculum that includes recommendations from employers.  This keeps our curriculum up-to-date and cutting edge, providing graduates with a needed edge in their job search.

The VIU difference is evident in the TESOL program in its commitment to the preparation of graduates with a solid foundation in the teaching of ESL/EFL. Delivery of the curriculum is only one aspect of the programs at VIU. Come experience the personalized, accessible, engaging, and fun experience!


Program Description

VIU’s MA in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) program prepares students to work as English teachers in a world where the global need for English language skills is growing. Students will also gain valuable classroom experience through observation and supervised teaching.

Mission

The mission of the MA in TESOL program at Virginia International University is to enable students to be successful language teaching professionals in a wide variety of contexts and among diverse student populations in the US and abroad by equipping them with the knowledge, skills, and experience to contribute to and excel in innovative and collaborative work environments.

Employment Opportunities

Upon successful completion of the program, graduates will be qualified to teach English in a variety of educational settings in the US and abroad, such as:

  • Intensive English programs
  • Private language schools
  • Adult education programs
  • English as a second (ESL) and English as a foreign (EFL) language programs

Please note that this program does not provide the licensure required to teach grades K-12 in American public schools. In order to obtain teacher licensure, please contact the respective state Department of Education to determine eligibility and requirements.

Academic Preparation

By completing our MA in TESOL program, students will be comprehensively prepared to:

  • Apply a solid linguistic and pedagogical base to their classroom teaching
  • Manage a variety of classroom scenarios effectively
  • Develop and create interesting and meaningful teaching materials
  • Evaluate and assess student performance
  • Use innovative technology in the classroom
  • Communicate effectively with students from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds

Why SED

Top 5 Reasons to Choose the SED

  1. Programs designed around the skills and abilities employers are looking for. Additionally, each year we meet with and discuss trends in the field with our program advisor boards who provide input that we use to ensure that our curriculum adjusts to the needs of the field.
  2. Ongoing professional development opportunities outside of the classroom. In our innovative speaker series, Voices from the Field, we invite local community leaders, teachers, administrators, researchers, and other visionaries in the field of education to share their experiences, serve as relatable role models, give practical advice, raise our students’ awareness of new trends in the field, and expose students to opportunities for hands-on experience, professional development, volunteering, and more.
  3. Learner-centered classrooms. Our learning experience provides a dynamic and interactive experience in which students serve as both a knowledge-base and learner.
  4. Internationally minded student body and programs. VIU is a unique institution in which you can interact with students from all over the world. This setting offers students the ability to learn and grow from and with peers from differing backgrounds and experiences.
  5. Study On-campus or Online! We offer flexible schedules for busy working professionals with both on-campus and online offerings.

Degree at a Glance

World Class Faculty and Staff

The TESOL program boasts a history of highly skilled and dedicated faculty and staff who are ready to assist students along their journey through the program. The program's faculty bring experience in various areas including curriculum development and design, technology in the language classroom/program, language acquisition and student engagement.

In addition to providing top notch classroom experiences, the faculty at VIU are engaged in all aspects of the program including curriculum development, student advisement and development of programmatic resources among others.

Mode of Delivery

VIU’s School of Education embraces a learning model that allows for a hybrid learning environment in which students can benefit from a combination of online coursework and in-class meetings. The purpose of a hybrid format is to allow for flexibility in ways that enable students to learn and grow outside of the walls of the classroom.

Program-Specific Admission Requirements

Admission to the program does not require any previous coursework in pedagogy or language studies. A bachelor’s degree or its equivalent in any field is required for admission.

Each candidate is also required to submit a resume or curriculum vitae detailing his/her work history and education, along with a 500-word statement of purpose describing his/her academic interests, professional objectives, reasons for applying to the program, and areas of interest to be explored in the program. In addition, the candidate is required to submit a minimum of two (2) official recommendation letters, at least one of which must be dated within the past three years. These recommendations must be from professionals (preferably current or former instructors or employers) who can speak to the candidate’s academic abilities, and must be written in English or accompanied by official translations. Recommendations must include contact information with a minimum of an email address (preferably an institutional email address) and physical mailing address. By submitting recommendations, applicants are permitting VIU to contact recommenders on their behalf regarding their application.

Additionally, since the language of instruction at VIU is English, candidates will need to provide evidence of sufficient English language proficiency by obtaining academic-level scores on all components of the placement and exit test or by submitting examination information from an approved standardized examination (examples: TOEFL, IELTS, etc.).

Accreditation

Virginia International University is an accredited institution of higher learning holding accreditation through the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) that is certified to operate by the Virginia State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV). Additionally, information on accreditation can be found in the Accreditation and Certifications section of the academic catalog.

Tuition and Fees
The current tuition and fees for this program can be found on VIU’s tuition and fees page.

NOTE: Please note that this program does not provide the licensure required to teach grades K-12 in American public schools. In order to obtain teacher licensure, please contact the respective state Department of Education to determine eligibility and requirements.

Program Outcomes

The outcomes of the program are interwoven throughout all courses within the degree. Students are expected to make progress towards meetings these outcomes throughout their program of study. The learning outcomes are to:

Program Outcomes

PO-1: Understand the nature, structure, and uses of human language and theoretical models of language acquisition.
PO-2: Critically analyze current research regarding language learning and teaching, and demonstrate knowledge of research findings and how to apply them.
PO-3: Design language courses, assessment practices, and learning environments for a particular program and its curriculum.
PO-4: Make principled use of established, new, and emerging technologies to promote access, engagement, and success in learning both within and beyond the classroom.
PO-5: Utilize critical-thinking skills to problem-solve issues faced by language learners and educators.
PO-6: Use community, institutional, and technological resources to demonstrate use of proper academic communication, ethics, and professionalism.

This program requires completion of a portfolio. You can find information here.

Students in this program will take part in a practicum experience. Information about the practicum experience can be found here.

Degree Requirements

VIU's TESOL program offers you high quality instruction from skilled and experienced professionals in the fields of TESOL, linguistics, and second language acquisition to equip you for a successful career in the growing field of English instruction. Our MA in TESOL program places strong emphasis on practical experiences as our TESOL students can observe our ESL teachers in VIU's ESL program. Our MA in TESOL students also have the ability to interact with our ESL students and teachers as well as the possibility to teach in our ESL program to gain practical experience.

Upon completion of our program, students will be comprehensively prepared to be English language teachers in a wide variety of settings and educational levels in the US as well as abroad

Please note that our TESOL programs do not provide the licensure required to teach grades K-12 in American public schools.

Program-Specific Graduation Requirements

All candidates for graduation are required to submit a formal Summative Concentration Portfolio, the details of which include: Part A-Career Preparation; Part B-Two Writing Samples; Part C-Concentration Application; and Part D-Internship Experience. The required minimum cumulative GPA for graduation from this program is 3.0.

Program Details

  • Students will take 12 courses (36 graduate credits)
  • Program can be completed in four semesters of full time study
  • Can be completed part-time or full-time
  • Can be completed online or on-ground
  • Very affordable tuition
  • Convenient location and schedule
This program can be completed within four (4) semesters of full-time study. A total of 36 credit hours (12 courses) are required for graduation. The program consists of seven (7) Core courses (21 credit hours) and five Elective courses (15 credit hours).

Area # of Courses Credit Hours
Core courses 7 21
Elective courses 5 15
Total 12 36

MA in TESOL Core Courses (will take all of the following)

Course Code Course Name Clock Hours Credit Hours
APLX 500

Prerequisite: None
This course is designed to provide students with a general introduction to the scientific study of language. The goal is to familiarize students with linguistic terminology, teaching both the methods of linguistic analysis and how to apply them. The course focuses on an introduction to the nature of the language faculty, speech (including physical and mental aspects), the structure of language (including morphology and general syntax), and how language is used. The course also provides an introduction to language acquisition principles, language processing in the brain as well as language change and variation. For students studying a linguistic concentration, it provides the background needed to succeed in other linguistic courses.
45 3.0
APLX 510

Prerequisite: None
This course introduces students to the main theories of language acquisition and their relevance to language teaching. Students will become familiar with the key concepts that inform the study of L2 acquisition through the review of relevant literature on second language acquisition. The course will also develop students' ability to relate their understanding of how learners acquire second language to language pedagogy.
45 3.0
APLX 530

Prerequisite: None
This course is an introduction to the modern theories and current practices of second language pedagogy. Students will learn methodologies of lesson planning, skill integration techniques, course and program development and classroom management. This course provides students with a framework to develop course and programmatic curriculum defined by outcomes centered on an integrated approach to language teaching.
45 3.0
APLX 540

Prerequisite: None
Internship/CPT Qualified
This course introduces the students to a needs-based, learning-centered approach to designing courses. Through needs assessment, students identify curricular goals and course objectives. From these they determine an appropriate syllabus structure, develop a course unit outline, plan and create materials for lessons, determine training needs for course instructors and devise a system of evaluation.
45 3.0
APLX 550

Prerequisite: None
Internship/CPT Qualified
This course examines in depth the major categories of language assessment. The main topics include approaches to evaluating language sub-skills (vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation) and communication skills (speaking, listening, reading, and writing); models of language assessment; examination of standardized tests and their appropriate application; and research-based framework linking assessment to instruction.
45 3.0
APLX 615

Prerequisite: None
Internship/CPT Qualified
This course provides an overview of the structure of language drawing upon the theoretical perspective of generative grammar, cognitive sciences, systemic-functional, and corpus linguistics to illuminate how grammar operates at the morphological, syntactic, and discourse levels. The course provides insight into the nature of the human capacity of language via means of a concentrated focus on the structure of language. Students will explore and analyze the internal structure of words, phrases and sentences as well as gain a foundation in understanding how language is structured but also how it is changeable over time.
45 3.0
APLX 665 *

Prerequisite/Co-requisite: APLX 530 or APLX 540
Credit Hour Breakdown: 115 hours of practicum, 15 hours of seminar/lab
This course is designed to provide an experiential exposure to an actual second language classroom setting. It serves as a practical experience to observe and provide personal and professional development for a student's actual teaching experience applying the skills learned in the program. The course provides opportunity for observation, cooperative planning with a language teaching professional and supervised teaching to an actual class. Additionally, students will fine tune existing skills learned while taking courses in the program through periodic seminars and journal assignments. Throughout the course, students will build a professional teaching portfolio used as the final requirement for graduation from the program.>
130 3.0

Elective Course Options:

MA in TESOL Elective Courses (will take five of the following)

Course Code Course Name Clock Hours Credit Hours
APLX 572

Prerequisite: None
Internship/CPT Qualified
This course examines the use of technology as a teaching tool for the traditional classroom. Students explore methods of implementing technology into the classroom/curriculum and how to discern the efficacy of digital/online resources to provide an engaging and authentic learning environment.
45 3.0
APLX 620

Prerequisite: None
Internship/CPT Qualified
This course is a comprehensive introduction to pronunciation pedagogy. This is a two part course including a theoretical look at the sound system and practical application of phonology/pronunciation in the second language classroom and curriculum. Students will study the anatomy and mechanics of speech as well as principles/practices and realistic resources and technology for application in the classroom.
45 3.0
APLX 623

Prerequisite: None
Internship/CPT Qualified
This course introduces students to the pedagogical approaches to second language reading and writing in the framework of current theoretical perspectives on second language reading and writing processes, practices, and authors. Students gain practical knowledge in the areas of phonemic awareness, vocabulary and text comprehension, tactics for improving reading fluency and teaching writing in contextual exercise.
45 3.0
APLX 630

Prerequisite: None
Internship/CPT Qualified
This course introduces students to theoretical principles governing social and linguistic variation, the methodology used to study it, the patterns and systems that underlie language variation in use, and the ways in which alternations between different language varieties index personal style, social power, and national identity.
45 3.0
APLX 635

Prerequisite: None
Internship/CPT Qualified
This course also serves to introduce students to key issues of intercultural communication, core American and foreign cultural concepts, and ways in which culture affects language teaching and learning.
45 3.0
APLX 655

Prerequisite: Advisor’s approval
Internship/CPT Qualified
This course covers topics of current interest selected by the faculty before each semester. Special topics courses are developed to cover emerging issues or specialized content not represented in the main curriculum, but deemed to be of special interest to language teaching professionals.
45 3.0
EDUC 590

Prerequisite: Completion of teaching methods and successful completion of or concurrent enrollment in a curriculum course
Internship/CPT Qualified
This course provides an in-depth perspective of the administrative requirements of a language program including how to effectively lead and manage a program. Students gain a behind the scenes view of what occurs outside of the classroom environment including the areas of people management, curriculum and programmatic development, customer service and the logistics of managing a program. The course explores the lifecycle of the student from admission to graduation; the lifecycle of faculty members within the program; and the administrative role of managing a curriculum.
45 3.0
EDUC 595

Prerequisite: Completion of an assessment course
Internship/CPT Qualified
Successful educational programs require the development of curricula centered on student needs and ultimate goals. Additionally, language programs have an ethical and social duty to provide a quality, accessible, and relevant educational product for all stakeholders invested in and benefiting from the program. This course explores the need to examine and evaluate both the needs of the stakeholders and the effectiveness of the program by focusing on clear outcomes. Students will learn skills necessary to design evaluations at the course, programmatic, institutional, and societal levels. These skills provide students with the ability to develop, evaluate, and improve existing or new programs.
45 3.0
EDUC 574

Prerequisite: Completion of an introductory technologies for teaching course
This course emphasizes the theories and methods of course development specifically for the online environment. Students will learn methods of material creation, skill integration techniques, course and program development, adaptation of onground materials to the online environment and integrative-skill techniques. Students will also learn about the various methods of delivery including onground, online and hybrid courses/programs. Students will learn methods to adapt existing material to a hybrid course.
45 3.0
EDUC 575

Prerequisite: Completion of an introductory technologies for teaching course
Internship/CPT Qualified
This course provides an in depth perspective on methods of teaching in the virtual classroom including virtual classroom management, online student engagement techniques, addressing learning modalities, discipline, methods of providing feedback, motivational theories, individual needs assessments. Students will be able to apply theories to practice in the virtual classroom in the roles of teacher, coach and motivator.
45 3.0
EDUC 576

Prerequisite: Completion of an introductory technologies for teaching course
Internship/CPT Qualified
Students will learn methodologies and principles associated with designing and implementing virtual classrooms. Students learn theoretical understandings and considerations of the authenticity of material, interaction among participants, practical learning scenarios and techniques to promote student learning outside of the virtual classroom. Students will also learn about instructional design models and the importance of selecting the appropriate model for lesson development. Additionally, students will be introduced to a needs-based approach to course development in order to identify curricular goals and course objectives. Students will use this needs-based approach to develop a syllabus, a course outline, lesson plans to develop and implement this material into a fully online course.
45 3.0
EDUC 640

Prerequisite: Completion of 9 credits or permission of the instructor
Credit Hour Breakdown: 40 hours of Lecture; 10 hours of Lab
This course covers quantitative and qualitative methods of designing and implementing research in a classroom or institutional setting. It prepares students to conduct and prepare independent research from design to publication.
50 3.0
MBA 513

Prerequisite: Advisor’s approval, 18 credits
This course focuses on how people behave in organizations and groups. Topics include leadership, motivation, organizational culture, and roles within groups.
45 3.0
MBA 514

Prerequisite: Advisor’s approval, 18 credits
This course examines the methods and strategies used by corporations and firms in developing marketing efforts, strategy and policies. It focuses on the practical application of marketing techniques and the management of company's marketing resources and activities to create an effective, cost-efficient marketing strategy to succeed and become profitable, in particular, within rapidly emerging forces of globalization. Also, a course provides learning experience and cultivates operational skills and knowledge on designing and facilitating marketing campaigns within business environment.
45 3.0
MBA 516

Prerequisite: Advisor’s approval, 18 credits
The course focuses on the analyses, decisions, and actions that an organization undertakes in order to gain and maintain competitive advantage. The extensive use of case studies focuses students on diagnosis of problems and opportunities as well as the development of alternative courses of action and implementing organizational leadership.
45 3.0
MBA 624

Prerequisite: Advisor’s approval, 18 credits
Internship / CPT Qualified
Advertising and promotion form the means by which organizations communicate the distinctive characteristics of their offerings to potential buyers. This course examines the theory and practice of promotions and advertising. The primary focus is on how advertising and promotions contribute to the overall marketing plan.
45 3.0

* APLX 665 must be taken either after or together with APLX 530 or APLX 540

Information for Students on an F-1 Visa
Please note that students on an F-1 Visa are responsible for maintaining their own visa status. Students with an F-1 Visa are required to take the practicum course (APLX 665) with at least one other on-ground course in order to remain in-status. Further information on requirements for students holding an F-1 Visa can be found through the International Student Services Office.

Sample Schedule

The following is a sample schedule of a likely sequencing of courses in the MA in TESOL program. A listing of actual courses being offered each semester is available through the registrar's office.

Code Course Name Credits
Fall Semester
APLX 500 Introduction to Language and Applied Linguistics 3.0
APLX 615 Pedagogical Grammar for Communicative Classrooms 3.0
APLX 510 Introduction to Language Acquisition 3.0
Spring Semester
APLX 530 Language Teaching Methods 3.0
APLX 550 Language Assessment 3.0
ELECTIVE ELECTIVE COURSE 3.0
Fall Semester
APLX 540 Language Curriculum and Materials Design 3.0
ELECTIVE ELECTIVE COURSE 3.0
ELECTIVE ELECTIVE COURSE 3.0
Spring Semester
APLX 665 TESOL Practicum 3.0
ELECTIVE ELECTIVE COURSE 3.0
ELECTIVE ELECTIVE COURSE 3.0