Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages M.S. (TESOL)

Program Rationale:

The Master of Science degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) is a plan of study especially designed for those students with an interest in language and linguistics who wish to work with non-English speaking students here or abroad.

The TESOL program prepares teachers to use modern methods to meet the varying instructional needs of students of English as a second language or foreign language while encouraging such students to maintain their native languages and cultural competencies. Students receive a thorough grounding in practical skills and methods of language teaching to develop communicative competence and appropriate academic skills in English and to become professionally competent on issues involving the nature of language and language acquisition and the role of language in society.

Program Learning Outcomes:

Graduates of the program will be able to:

  1. Analyze and interpret linguistic phenomena using current linguistic theory (what language is), including:
    1. Use theories of syntax to gain substantial insights into the grammatical structure of sentences and related utterances in English and other languages
    2. Use theories of phonology to gain substantial insights into the sound systems that underlie the articulation and comprehension of English and other languages
    3. Use sociolinguistic theory to gain substantial insights into the variation, use, status, and interactive norms of English and other languages
    4. Apply the skills outlined in a-c to facilitate lessons and curricula in TESOL, including modifications based on each student’s first language(s), current English proficiency, and general educational and cultural background
  2. Analyze and interpret linguistic phenomena using current theories of second language acquisition (how language is learned), including:
    1. Use theories of second language acquisition (SLA) to gain substantial insights into the stages and processes of language development in learners of all ages and backgrounds
    2. Apply SLA theory to facilitate lessons and curricula in TESOL, including modifications based on each student’s background, current proficiency, learning styles, and educational goals
  3. Design, implement, and assess lessons and curricula in TESOL using current methods and best practices in the profession (how language is taught), including:
    1. Evaluate a wide range of teaching methods and strategies and integrate them into lessons and curricula in a way that optimizes learning
    2. Design lesson plans and broader curricular units based on institutional, governmental, or professional standards that connect learner needs to a variety of classroom activities
    3. Implement lessons that are informed by immediate learner needs and that create opportunities for learners to construct knowledge in a supportive, interactive environment
    4. Integrate the four language skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing with a wide range of content knowledge in motivating lessons
    5. Use a wide range of authentic and sheltered materials in lessons to address language and content objectives for a variety of learners
    6. Use assessment tools, collaboration with colleagues, professional development opportunities, and institutional resources to improve student learning, augment teaching repertoires, and advocate for learners

Admission Requirements:

To qualify for the Master of Science degree program in TESOL, an applicant must meet the following requirements: (1) have demonstrated an advanced level of proficiency in standard academic English (by submitting a completed copy of our program’s English Proficiency Form), (2) have completed at least three credits of study in a second language (non-native speakers of English may use English to satisfy this requirement), and (3) have a GPA of 3.00 on a four-point scale both in overall undergraduate and (if applicable) graduate course work.

An applicant who does not meet the 3.00 GPA requirement but has a cumulative GPA at or above 2.40 might be admitted conditionally (based on additional evidence or academic potential provided in the Letter of Application) at the discretion of the department.

Applicants must submit the following to the Graduate Recruitment and Admissions Office:

  • Graduate Application Form;
  • Official TOEFL iBT score of 79 or higher, if required to do so based on the English Proficiency Form;
  • Official undergraduate and (if applicable) graduate transcripts from every institution attended except CCSU; and
  • Application fee.

 Applicants must also submit to the English Department (Attn. TESOL Coordinator), at the same time that application materials are submitted to the Graduate Recruitment and Admissions Office:

  • Letter of application detailing reasons for wishing to pursue graduate study in TESOL and career plans and goals in TESOL;
  • A completed copy of programs English Proficiency Form

The proficiency form is available on the TESOL website or click here: English Proficiency Form

Instructions for uploading the completed form and the letter of application can be found within the online graduate application.

No applications will be considered until all materials have been received. Applications will be evaluated by the department on an ongoing basis.

Before degree candidates register for course work they should read the program handbook and consult with their assigned advisors at the start of their programs. Additional information may be obtained from the advisor and in this catalog under General Information.


Course and Capstone Requirements:

This program offers Plan A (36 credits including a thesis) and Plan B (36 credits plus a comprehensive examination).

TESOL Specialization

LING 400Linguistic Analysis


LING 407Second Language Acquisition


LING 512Syntactic Theory


LING 513Phonological Theory


LING 515Language Policy and Planning Theory


LING 596Methods in TESOL II


Total Credit Hours:21

Two Courses from the following:

LING 530Advanced Topics in Applied Linguistics


LING 533Second Language Composition


LING 535Second Language Assessment


LING 537/LING 437Advanced Issues in Multilingualism


LLA 515Literacy Instruction for the English Learners


Total Credit Hours:6


LING 598Research in Applied Linguistics


Total Credit Hours:3

Professional Education

One of the following courses:

EPS 500Contemporary Educational Issues


EPS 516School and Society


EPS 524Foundations of Contemporary Theories of Curriculum


EPS 525History of American Education


EPS 528Comparative and International Education


EPS 538The Politics of Education


EPS 583Sociological Foundations of Education


Total Credit Hours:3


LING 599Thesis





Comprehensive Exam


Additional course as approved by advisor


Total Credit Hours:3

All planned programs and course sequences should be approved by a TESOL advisor prior to registration. Degree candidates must file a planned program before completing 16 credits of graduate course work.

Students may elect Plan A only with the approval of an advisor and second reader in the program. Plan A students take LING 599 Thesis while writing the thesis. The Graduate Studies Office provides a useful Handbook about Thesis preparation and format.

Plan B students take one general elective course. General electives are graduate course offerings as approved by the student's advisor, in most cases an additional elective in TESOL. Comprehensive Exams involve five questions, all of which a student must pass. If only one question is failed, then only that question is retaken. If more than one is failed, the entire exam must be retaken. The exam is offered only twice per year and can be attempted only three times.

It is expected that a degree candidate will have control of the English language beyond mere communicative adequacy. It shall be the joint decision of the TESOL faculty whether a degree candidate's control of spoken and/or written English is appropriate to the profession. The faculty will recommend various remedies for any candidate whose control of English is deemed deficient.