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Case Study

Phil Hunter

Richmond, UK

MA TESOL - Distance Learning


Phil Hunter wanted to develop his teaching career and decided the MA TESOL Distance Learning course at Sunderland would help him do this. He found the flexibility of the course and support from his tutors to be the best aspects of the course and once he graduated was employed as a lecturer. He is currently in the process of applying to do a PGCE English at the University of Sunderland.

I wanted to develop my teaching career and needed the MA TESOL course to do this. I was working in the Arabian Gulf at the time and realised that my career had become ‘stuck’. I wanted to study at a North East-based university, as my hometown is in the Yorkshire Dales and decided upon Sunderland because I liked the way the course sounded in the prospectus.

The course flexibility was appealing and valuable to me as I was working in the Middle East at the time. The modules appealed to me, professionally. Above all, the support from the tutors was vital, especially as I was working and studying abroad. I had to defer my progress on the course a couple of times due to being between jobs, and the tutors were very supportive about that.

I would definitely recommend the University of Sunderland and this distance learning course to other students. I would advise them to focus on time management – it takes a huge amount of self-discipline to study at weekends when you know your friends and colleagues are heading out for the night! It also took a little while for me to get used to writing academically again. I would say it’s a good idea to start thinking about your dissertation research question as early as possible.

The timing of achieving my MA in 2008 was perfect! At the time I was working as Director of Studies in Doha, Qatar; as soon as I got my MA I applied to the University and got a job as a lecturer. It meant less hours, less stress for more money, long paid holidays and many other perks, so I instantly felt the benefit in practical terms. I’m presently in the process of applying to do a PGCE English course at the University of Sunderland and I’m delighted to be given the opportunity to renew my connection with the University.

Sunderland is so friendly, the tutors are very supportive and I’ve been able to see the benefits of my MA TESOL both professionally and financially.”

Published 24 March 2020

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