Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) MA - University of Sunderland

Course overview

This Masters course will open up new opportunities for you around the world. English is the world’s third most widely spoken language, after Mandarin and Spanish, and a professional English teaching qualification is a passport to work in almost every country in the world.

Unlike some other Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) courses, this course at the University of Sunderland not only covers theoretical aspects but also includes a practical teaching module. As part of this, you will learn how to prepare lesson plans and to teach your peers in Sunderland.

Our TESOL MA will give you in-depth understanding of how English is taught to speakers of other languages internationally. The course includes core modules in ‘Principles and Practice of English Language Teaching’ and ‘Linguistics for TESOL’. There are also optional modules with a strong practical element such as ‘Corpus Linguistics and Language Teaching’.

For your Masters dissertation, you will negotiate a proposal for a research project with our supportive tutors. This ensures that the topic is relevant to your professional development and career aspirations.

We also offer home students a part-time TESOL MA. This makes it easier to combine your studies with other commitments.

Watch what graduates think of their student experience at the University of Sunderland:

Course content

Modules on this course include:

You will study four core modules:

  • The Principles of Practice of English Language Teaching (20 Credits)
  • Linguistics for TESOL (20 Credits)
  • L2 Practical Teaching (20 Credits)
  • Research Methods in Language Learning and Teaching (20 Credits)

You will also study the following option modules:

  • Theories of Second/Foreign Language Learning (20 Credits)
  • Corpus Linguistics and Language Teaching (20 Credits)

Modules may vary from year to year.

Plus the compulsory dissertation:

  • Dissertation of up to 15,000 words on a TESOL-related topic of your choice (60 Credits)

Teaching and assessment

We use a wide variety of teaching and learning methods including lectures, seminars, practical tasks and independent learning activities.

Assessment methods include written assignments, one teaching observation and one teaching practice session, oral and written presentations and the dissertation.

Information about our policies relating to student experience and quality assurance processes can be found on the Academic Services website.

Facilities & location

Our language facilities include:

  • Two digital language laboratories for teaching
  • Open-access language laboratory for independent study
  • Resources (DVDs, textbooks, magazines, dictionaries)

University Library Services

We have thousands of books and, increasingly, e-books on language topics. We also subscribe to a comprehensive range of print and electronic journals so you can access the most reliable and up-to-date academic articles. An important resource is the EBSCO Professional Development Collection, which provides access to full text articles for TESOL.

IT provision

When it comes to IT provision you can take your pick from hundreds of PCs as well as Apple Macs in the David Goldman Informatics Centre and St Peter’s library. There are also free WiFi zones throughout the campus. If you have any problems, just ask the friendly helpdesk team.

Learning environment

Sunderland offers a vibrant learning environment with an international dimension thanks to the presence of students from around the world. The University has strong links with external organisations and there is a lively exchange of ideas and people.


Forster Building

City Campus, Chester Road, Sunderland, SR1 3SD

Entry requirements

We usually require applicants to hold at least a second class honours degree (usually a 2:1) or equivalent.

You should also have excellent English language skills.

Applicants whose first language is not English must achieve a minimum IELTS band score of 6.5, with no less than 5.5 in any element.

If you hold any of the following ELT qualifications, please ensure you include a copy of your certificate with your application:

  • Trinity CertTESOL
  • Trinity DipTESOL

The University of Sunderland runs English for Academic Purposes University Preparation (EAP UP) Courses, which are tailored to students who don’t speak English as their first language and need to reach an IELTS 6.5. as part of the entry requirements. Please see details below.

If your IELTS is currently 5.5, please click here for more details on the EAP UP course C.

If your IELTS is currently 6.0, please click here for more details on the EAP UP course D.

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)

If you feel you already know some of the topics covered in this course, either due to previous learning or from experience of work, then you may not need to study all of the course.

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) is the name given to the process of gaining credit towards a qualification because of something you have learnt in the past. If you are eligible for APL you won't have to learn the same topic again, and so you can be exempt from a module, set of modules or year of a course. 

Read more about APL in the Quality Handbook (.pdf). If you think you may be eligible for APL, please contact the course leader.

Fees & finance

Postgraduate loans

From 2016/17, tuition fee loans will be available to UK/EU postgraduate students for the first time. Find out more about the eligibility criteria.


The annual fee for this course is:

  • £4,750 if you are from the UK / EU
  • £11,500 if you are an International student

If you are not sure whether you qualify as a UK, EU or International student, please see the International section of this website.

Employment & careers

On completing this course you will be equipped with professional skills in teaching English to speakers of other languages. You will also have an appropriate skill set for senior roles such as leading a department and managing change in education.  

Potential roles include:

  • Teacher
  • Head of Department
  • Educational Adviser
  • Inspector
  • Researcher into English language teaching

A Masters degree will also prepare you for further postgraduate studies and enhance career opportunities within Higher Education.

The Enterprise Place

If you have a good idea for a new business and have the dedication and motivation to make it happen, then we want to hear from you. The Enterprise Place, based on-campus at St Peter's Gate Business Centre, is the perfect environment for entrepreneurial students and graduates to turn their business ideas into reality. You will have access to free hot desk space, IT facilities, specialist advice and support and business mentors and networking opportunities.

To find out more about how we can help you start a business, please contact the University's Enterprise Team:

Tel: 0191 515 3751
Email: enterprise@sunderland.ac.uk

Claire Rushworth talks about the inspiration and motivation she received from her lecturer:


Support for your learning

From the start of the course your tutors will encourage your personal development and provide a first point of contact for queries about your course, extracurricular activities and issues that may arise. As an on-campus student you will also have access to the University’s central support services including counselling, financial advice, chaplaincy and careers.

Support for your development

To help ensure the course is meeting aspirations for personal development, we invite students to fill in questionnaires at the end of modules. This provides a structured way for you to keep us up-to-date with your views.

During your course, and particularly towards the end of it, we encourage you to make full use of the resources at our Careers & Employability Service. The Service helps you explore your options, clarify your ideas, develop a career focus and make effective applications.

Extracurricular activities

The University supports student-led initiatives that enhance the extracurricular activities available to you. Some of these are related to particular subjects while others allow you to pursue interests and social activities. It’s all part of the vibrant and life-changing atmosphere at the University of Sunderland.

For more information about all the support services you will have access to as a Sunderland student, please see Student support and guidance.

"The University provides all the necessary services and facilities for its students to achieve the best results possible."

Jamel Al Akremi - MA TESOL Graduate

Jamel Al Akremi

MA TESOL Graduate

“The MA TESOL programme was fabulous. It helped upgrade and widen my vision of language learning and teaching, which would not have been possible without the immense support and constant help I received from my module leader and other tutors. They are extremely competent in their field, full of energy and give a great deal of support and respect to their students. I found the MA TESOL journey instructive, thought-provoking, enjoyable and illuminating.

“The University provides all the necessary services and facilities for its students to achieve the best results possible. The library has plenty of core books along with e-books, journals and online TESOL Quarterly needed for every module.

“The city of Sunderland is a unique place not only for studying, but also for sightseeing. There are some lovely places to visit and the people are so welcoming and friendly to the extent that I have not been homesick. The University manages some extraordinary student accommodation; both the accommodation and campuses are very safe places.

“I would recommend the University of Sunderland to anyone looking to complete undergraduate or postgraduate studies. There is much to explore and enjoy while you are in Sunderland.”

Aisya said "It was a wonderful experience studying in Sunderland, and having my parents at my graduation ceremony certainly made the experience even more rewarding!"

Graduates of MA TESOL course

Aisya and Alia Binti Abd Rahman

MA TESOL Graduates

Aisya  said “Before the start of the MA TESOL course, I lacked confidence because I knew it was going to be tough, especially at Masters level.

"After I enrolled at the University of Sunderland, I started to gain confidence as the year went by.

"All the course leaders, tutors and librarian staff were very helpful and supportive throughout my course and I learned a great deal from them. 

"It was a wonderful experience studying in Sunderland, and having my parents at my graduation ceremony certainly made the experience even more rewarding!"

A Syrian couple graduated together after both achieving distinctions.

Zaki Bahrami and Rim Day TESOL 272, 889

Zaki Bahrami and Rim Day

MA TESOL Graduates December 2013

A Syrian couple graduated together after both achieving distinctions. Both have spent the past year studying for their MA TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages), supporting one another while juggling their parenting duties and even finding time to become student ambassadors.

Zaki, 33, from Aleppo, said: "It's a wonderful feeling to be graduating alongside Rim today, we've supported each through so much and to get to this stage makes us both very proud.

"We loved the course and have settled into life very well since arriving in Sunderland. We've been made to feel very welcome. We can't thank the support of the university's International team enough; they were fantastic in making the journey to Sunderland so straightforward.

"Our son has also settled well at nursery and is now learning to speak both English and Arabic, which is wonderful. Of course the weather is a little different, it's a bit colder than our country, but we have really settled in well and can't praise the staff and students highly enough for making us feel welcome."

Rim, 26, said: "We both really enjoyed the course and found the lecturers were very supportive and understanding that we have a different education style, they helped with our writing styles and prepared us for our dissertations.

"We were used to the traditional methods of teaching English in Saudi Arabia, but when we came here it was a much more communicative approached that students share information with each other. We are both applying for our PhDs and will hopefully teach abroad in China or Turkey."

Apply for this course

Applications to study a postgraduate qualification are submitted directly to the University. You can apply online using the relevant link below or by completing an application form (.pdf). The completion of the application form is a means of conveying information about yourself, your potential and your motivation.

Full guidance on how to complete this form is available on the form. Alternatively, visit one of our open days and speak to our staff and current students, or drop-in to see us at The Gateway on the City Campus.

    Next Open Day

  • Date: Thursday 16th February 2017
  • Time: 2:00pm-7:00pm
  • Type: University Open Day
  • Location: Gateway, City Campus, University of Sunderland

Contact Sunderland

Programme Leader:
Kim Willis

Contact the recruitment team for further information about studying at the University of Sunderland:

Recruitment Team
Telephone: 0191 515 3000 
Email: student.helpline@sunderland.ac.uk

The details

Course Name Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)
Classification MA
Course Mode Full-time
Course Level Postgraduate
Duration 1 year
Study Location On-campus (Sunderland)
Starting 2 October 2017
UK/EU Fee £4750
Intl Fee £11500

Entry requirements

The University of Sunderland's typical offer will be an honours degree in a relevant subject

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