Course overview

The MA Teaching Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages course will ensure you are well prepared with professional knowledge and skills to work in differing international educational settings or business contexts.

Our teaching is informed by leading research and aims to develop your critical awareness and understanding of developments and trends in applied linguistics, second language acquisition research, language teaching methodology and the relationship between these and TCSOL practice.

You may also have opportunities to extend professional learning by visiting schools, engaging in teaching practice, attending talks by guest speakers and participating in external workshops.

This course is ideal for:

  • experienced TCSOL professionals already working in educational institutions internationally, but who want or need a recognised specialist postgraduate qualification
  • experienced practitioners seeking to diversify or change their current career
  • graduates majoring in Chinese studies
  • the Chinese diaspora and second language speakers of Chinese in the UK and overseas looking for a professional career

Student profiles

Read our student profiles to see what they says about their experience of this course.

Why choose this course?

Top 50

in the world for education

Learn from experts

who are internationally recognised for their research in this area

Over 100 years

of experience in the field of education

Excellent research

The majority of our research outputs are assessed as internationally excellent.

Course content

You will study three core modules which will enable you to critically analyse and evaluate relevant professional practice, including your own, in the light of current theory and practice in the field. A range of optional modules are offered, allowing you to choose topics that fit your interests and career ambitions.

This course is made up of four 30-credit modules, plus a 60-credit dissertation. It can be completed over one year full-time (including dissertation).

Course reading

  • Richards, J. C. and Rodgers, T. S. (2014) Approaches and methods in language teaching. 3rd edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
  • Schmitt, N. and Rodgers, M.P.H (2020) An Introduction to Applied Linguistics. 3rd edition. London. Routledge
  • Lightbown, P. and Spada, N.M. (2021) How languages are learned. 5th edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Course leader

Dr Xin Gao (contact for academic queries)


Core modules

Language Teaching: Methodology and Curriculum

The module focuses on topics which have been the subject of recent discussion and research in the field of foreign and second language teaching. These include:

  • a historical review of language teaching methods and approaches
  • content vs process syllabus design in language teaching
  • humanism in language teaching
  • Communicative Language Teaching and Task Based Learning
  • areas of applied linguistics particularly relevant to teaching of productive skills, especially sociolinguistics and pragmatics
  • areas of applied linguistics particularly relevant to the teaching of receptive skills, especially psycholinguistics

You will be expected to read, understand and engage critically with the research presented on these topics.

Understanding L2 Chinese Learning and the Learner

The module focuses on key areas in Applied Linguistics relating to Second Language Acquisition (SLA) and L2 Chinese learning literature, and explores them from the perspective of both language learners and teachers. These include:

  • the role of pinyin, tones, characters and grammar in L2 Chinese language learning
  • universal features of the L2 learner and the L2 learning process, for example, age, cross-linguistic influences, role of the environment and language learning cognition
  • individual influences related to differential L2 rate of acquisition and outcome, for example, aptitude, motivation, language learning beliefs and strategies
  • social dimensions that influence L2 learning, for example, social identity and socio-cultural context

You will be expected to read, understand and engage critically with the research presented on these topics.

Exploring TCSOL in Context

This module will examine several crucial questions faced by those working in the field of TCSOL. The actual content will be negotiable, but typical topics will include:

  • teaching learners of Chinese as a heritage language and in complementary schools
  • language learning experience in China study-abroad context
  • the language status (native/non-native) of the teacher
  • teaching Chinese for specific purposes
  • the Confucius Institute and teaching Chinese
  • content and Chinese language integrated learning
  • exploitation of computerised language samples in teaching and learning Chinese
  • classroom-based research

You will be expected to read, understand and engage critically with the research presented on these topics.


This involves the researching and writing of a substantive piece of scholarship within the field of the course.

You will choose a topic in consultation with your course leader and an appropriate supervisor. The topic will normally be based on interests and skills you have developed in the course of the modules already studied.

Optional modules

Assessment in Language Education

This module will look at:

  • purposes of assessment
  • types of assessment
  • communicative assessment
  • assessing the '4 Skills'
  • case studies of key international exams
  • current issues in language assessment
Managing Language Teaching and Developing Teachers

The module covers:

  • organisational structures and management of language teaching organisations (LTOs)
  • issues in marketing, finance and managing change
  • managing staff: staff selection, appraisal and relations, staff development
  • models of teacher learning
  • developing activities and materials for teacher training
  • observation of teachers
  • investigating the discourse of managing, training and teaching
Materials and Technology in Language Education

This module will look at:

  • the role of learning/teaching materials and resources
  • types and models of evaluation of materials and resources
  • the relationship between methodology and materials/resources
  • models of Technology Enhanced Langue Learning
  • mobile langue learning
  • computer mediated communication
  • the implications of materials and technology for teacher education
Teaching Languages to Younger Learners

The module focuses on key areas relating to the teaching of languages to younger learners and explores them from the perspective of both language learners and teachers. These include:

  • profiles and language needs of younger language learnersage-appropriate methodologies
  • multisensory, learner-centred activities, for example, stories, songs, films drama and play
  • cooperation, interactive interpersonal communication and integrated grammar
  • classroom management/organisation and the investigation of critical classroom incidents
  • an overview of theories and research relating to younger learners
  • engaging with culture and community
  • issues relating to bilingualism, multilingualism and translanguaging

You will be expected to read, understand and engage critically with the research presented on these topics.

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on Monday 22 January 2024.

You can view an example PDF timetable, however this is subject to change year on year and your live timetable will be available via the online timetable system.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

  • Seminars
  • Lectures
  • Tutorials

We offer a range of support including interactive and collaborative teaching methods. You will also have access to extensive study materials and free support for developing proficiency in academic English.

How you will be assessed

  • Dissertation
  • Coursework

Each 30-credit module is assessed by a 6,000-word written assignment (or equivalent). You must achieve a pass of at least 50% on each assignment to complete the masters.

The 15,000-word dissertation is an original piece of work and should be related to one of the selected modules on an approved topic.

Contact time and study hours

Each module requires an equivalent of 30 hours of teaching, plus 270 hours of private study, assignment preparation and tutorial support.

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2024 entry.

Undergraduate degree2:1 honours degree (or international equivalent)
Work experience

Applicants with a 2:2 degree and three or more years full-time relevant professional experience in education-related positions can be considered. Relevant professional work experience includes those with experience in teaching or a role directly engaged with education.

Additional information

Other requirements
Applicants whose first language is not Chinese should also hold a HSK (Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi/Chinese Proficiency Test) Level 5 certificate or a degree in a discipline with substantial Chinese language content.



Start date Application deadline
23 September 2024 2 August 2024 (International)
19 August 2024 (Home)

Our step-by-step guide covers everything you need to know about applying.

How to apply


Qualification MA
Home / UK £9,700
International £25,250

Additional information for international students

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you may be asked to complete a fee status questionnaire and your answers will be assessed using guidance issued by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) .

These fees are for full-time study. If you are studying part-time, you will be charged a proportion of this fee each year (subject to inflation).

Additional costs

All students will need at least one device to approve security access requests via Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). We also recommend students have a suitable laptop to work both on and off-campus. For more information, please check the equipment advice.

We do not anticipate any extra significant costs, alongside your tuition fees and living expenses.

You should be able to access most of the books you will need through our libraries. However, you may wish to purchase your own copies, which you would need to factor into your budget.


There are many ways to fund your postgraduate course, from scholarships to government loans.

We also offer a range of international masters scholarships for high-achieving international scholars who can put their Nottingham degree to great use in their careers.

Check our guide to find out more about funding your postgraduate degree.

Postgraduate funding


We offer individual careers support for all postgraduate students.

Expert staff can help you research career options and job vacancies, build your CV or résumé, develop your interview skills and meet employers.

Each year 1,100 employers advertise graduate jobs and internships through our online vacancy service. We host regular careers fairs, including specialist fairs for different sectors.

International students who complete an eligible degree programme in the UK on a student visa can apply to stay and work in the UK after their course under the Graduate immigration route. Eligible courses at the University of Nottingham include bachelors, masters and research degrees, and PGCE courses.

Graduate destinations

School of Education graduates go on to a varied range of careers within the education sector. Example roles include: education advisers, language tutors, primary/secondary teachers and vocational/industrial trainers and instructors.

Many of our graduates are already in employment while undertaking part-time study for professional development in their chosen career.

Career progression

87.8% of postgraduates from the School of Education secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary for these graduates was £26,130.*

* HESA Graduate Outcomes 2019/20 data published in 2022. The Graduate Outcomes % is derived using The Guardian University Guide methodology. The average annual salary is based on graduates working full-time, postgraduate, home graduates within the UK.

Two masters graduates proudly holding their certificates
" This course offers an opportunity to sensitively investigate the interface between second language acquisition, TESOL methodology and the teaching of Mandarin. It is designed to stretch and challenge our students. I am committed to working in partnership with our students, plus our highly active alumni group. We share an ambition to build a community that is supportive and inclusive and to more become part of a worldwide community of second and foreign language professionals. "
Dr Xin Gao, Course Leader

Related courses

This content was last updated on Monday 22 January 2024. Every effort has been made to ensure that this information is accurate, but changes are likely to occur given the interval between the date of publishing and course start date. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply.