Master of Arts in English: Concentration in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

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Admission to Program

Applicants must meet all of the SF State Graduate Division's general admission requirements. Admission to the M.A. TESOL program is based on evaluation of the following:

  • The quality of the applicant's previous academic record, which must show completion of a B.A./B.S. degree from an accredited 4-year college with a GPA (grade point average) of no lower than 3.0 (B) in the last 60 units of undergraduate (and post-baccalaureate) study.
  • A statement of purpose which indicates why graduate work in SF State's M.A. TESOL program is appropriate for the applicant's current academic interests and future academic and professional goals.

The GRE is not required. Letters of recommendation are also not required but are strongly recommended if the applicant's academic record is not strong.

Contact the graduate secretary in English for the department application and deadlines, or refer to for more details about the application process.

Prerequisites: In order to be fully classified, students must meet the conditions below:

  • Linguistics/Languagae Studies—If not waived based on previous course work, students must take the following at SF State: ENG 423ENG 425 and ENG 426. Students may optionally substitute ENG 421 and ENG 424 for the ENG 423 requirement.
  • Foreign Language Prerequisite Requirement—One semester's work (3 to 5 units) of one foreign language is required, to be taken concurrently with ENG 426. Both native and non-native speakers of English must fulfill this requirement. For non-native speakers of English, the foreign language can be English or another language.

ENG 423, or ENG 421and ENG 424 may be taken concurrently with ENG 730. ENG 425 and ENG 426 must be completed prior to ENG 730. All linguistics/language studies courses must be taken for a letter grade, and students must have a 3.0 cumulative GPA in these courses and no grade lower than a B- to continue in the program. Literature courses may be taken for a letter grade or credit if the courses selected permit the grading option desired.

Students whose native language is not English and whose B.A. was completed outside the United States must present evidence of a computer-based TOEFL score of at least 240 (Internet-based TOEFL: 95, paper-based TOEFL: 590) with a writing subscore of at least 4.5 (Internet-based writing score of at least 24). As an alternative to TOEFL, scores from the IELTS test are accepted as follows. Students must present evidence of an IELTS (Academic) overall score  of 7.0  with at least 6.5 for each component.  (The IELTS test is available in two test formats: Academic or General Training. All candidates take the same Listening and Speaking modules. It is the Reading and Writing components that differ. The Academic version of IELTS measures English language proficiency needed for an academic, higher learning environment. This is the format that is required.)  Applicants who do not meet this minimum TOEFL requirement will not be admitted; there is no conditional admission. A TOEFL score of 24, or an IELTS score of 7.0, is considered to be very minimal; applicants who demonstrate stronger English proficiency with a higher TOEFL score (and higher writing subscore), or IELTS, will have a better chance of being recommended for admission to the Master of Arts in English with Concentration in TESOL.

In addition, non-native speakers of English and who are required to take the TOEFL, who are admitted, and who enroll, must take the CMS Placement Test (CMSPT) for assessment of their English writing proficiency upon entry to the university. They may be required to take ENG 670 and/or other writing course(s).

Written English Proficiency Requirement

Level One

The Statement of Purpose submitted as part of the application process will be evaluated for proficiency in written English. Students whose writing ability is not satisfactory will be required to take a graduate-level composition course, such as ENG 670 . This course may not be used to fulfill other requirements for the M.A.

Level Two

Satisfactory performance in ENG 891.

Teaching Experience

Students who have fewer than two years of ESL/EFL classroom teaching experience are required to get teaching experience before enrolling in ENG 733. This requirement may be fulfilled by

  1. enrolling in ENG 726,
  2. an internship at the American Language Institute (Research and Special Learning Facilities), or
  3. approval by an advisor of sufficient prior teaching experience.

English (M.A.): Concentration in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages — Minimum 30 units

Foreign Language Requirement

For native speakers of English, one semester's work (3-5 units), or its equivalent, in a non-Indo-European language is required in order to complete the Master of Arts in English with Concentration in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. With the approval of an advisor, an Indo-European language which differs considerably from English (e.g., Farsi, Hindi) may be substituted. American Sign Language (ASL) may also be used to fulfill this requirement. For non-native speakers of English, the foreign language requirement is waived. (However, note that the Foreign Language Prerequisite Requirement applies to all.)

Core Courses (18 units)

The core courses listed below are required of all students graduating from this program.

ENG 721Advanced Pedagogical Grammar for TESOL3
ENG 730Introduction to Graduate Study of TESOL3
ENG 731Seminar: TESOL Listening and Speaking Skills3
ENG 732Seminar: TESOL Reading and Writing Skills3
ENG 733Seminar: Student Teaching for TESOL3
ENG 734TESOL Curriculum and Assessment3

Group Courses (6 units)

Select one course from Group I: Core, and one course from Group II: Linguistics.

Group I: Core

Select one from the following:3
Special Topics in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
Seminar in Teaching ESL in the Community
Introduction to Corpus Linguistics
Pragmatics and Oral Skills
Seminar in Immigrant Literacies and Community-Based Projects

Group II: Linguistics

Select one from the following:3
Seminar: Contemporary Semantic Theory
Seminar in the Structure of English
Seminar in Discourse Analysis
Linguistic Field Methods
Topics in Sociolinguistics
Seminar in Psycholinguistics
Introduction to Corpus Linguistics
Pragmatics and Oral Skills

Elective (3 units)

Must be upper division (numbered 300 or above) or graduate level courses relevant to TESOL, language, or teaching, selected with the approval of an advisor.

Culminating Experience (3 units)

A field study or research project, or a Master's Thesis, must be successfully completed by all candidates for the degree. The field study or research project, which investigates and/or applies knowledge acquired in the student’s program of study, must have the recommendation and approval of two faculty field study or research project advisors. All SF State specifications for completion of a field study or research project must be met. Students may take ENG 895 once. Students who fail ENG 895 will receive an Incomplete (I) grade; they may resubmit their project once for a passing grade. If their project fails a second time, they will be recommended for declassification.

During the second-to-last semester in the program, students are required to complete a form called the Advancement to Candidacy (ATC), which lists those courses they are using to fulfill the requirements for the Master of Arts in English with Concentration in TESOL. Students must earn an overall GPA of 3.0 and a B- or better in all courses listed in that document.

ENG 895Field Study or Applied Research Project3
or ENG 898 Master's Thesis