Course overview

The rise of globalisation has led to an increased demand for proficient English speakers, resulting in exciting career opportunities for English language teachers across the globe. As a current TESOL professional, you can further develop your expertise with our MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (Online) course.

Our online course is designed to offer flexibility as it allows you to study on your own schedule, meaning you can access the materials and complete assignments whenever and wherever it suits you.

The course is designed to build upon your existing knowledge and experience, with a focus on the latest developments in TESOL theory and practice. You'll be able to reflect on your own teaching practice and context, and develop your critical understanding of the field. The course will also prepare you to conduct independent research into teaching and learning, further improving your career prospects.

Our expert tutors are actively researching leading concepts in TESOL, and their vast knowledge influences the topics covered in the course. Optional modules allow you to explore specific aspects of language education that interest you, enabling you to tailor your learning to your professional goals.

With an advanced education degree from the University of Nottingham, you will graduate with all the knowledge, practical skills and confidence to pursue your career goals.

We also offer a face-to-face version of this course, studying in Nottingham – MA Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages.

Alumni profiles

Read our alumni profiles to see what they say about their experience of the course.

Why choose this course?

Study fully online

Learn in an interactive digital learning environment and study when it suits you

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

The taught element of this course is made up of four 30-credit modules, plus a 60-credit dissertation. It can be completed over two years part-time plus an eight-month dissertation period. There is gap in between each module and each takes approximately 19 weeks to complete.

In year two, it is possible to take one 30-credit optional module from the list below and one from the MA Education (Online) or MA Special and Inclusive Education (Online).

Reading list

  • Dörnyei Z. and Ryan S. (2015) The Psychology of the Language Learner revisited. New York; London: Routledge 
  • Lightbown, P.M. and Spada, N. (2013). How Languages are learned. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • 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. (Eds.) (2020) An Introduction to Applied Linguistics. 3rd edition. London: Routledge

Course leader

Dr Jane Evison (contact for academic enquiries)


Core modules

September starters begin with this module:

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.

February starters begin with this module:

Understanding Language Learning and the Language Learner

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

  • 'the good language learner'
  • a historical overview of theories of SLA (key insights from applied linguistic research)
  • recent applied linguistic developments in the theorisation of SLA as a dynamic complex system and social process
  • implications of first language acquisition for SLA
  • variability and individual differences in SLA (gender, age, aptitude, motivation, attitudes and beliefs, cognitive styles, strategies, autonomy and self-regulation)
  • the role of grammar, vocabulary and phonology instruction in second language learning
  • trends in applied linguistic research into SLA including the broadening of the field, greater exploitation of computerised samples of language, the growing stature of classroom-based investigation

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.

Teaching English for Academic Purposes: Context, Language and Pedagogy

This module considers:

  • current status of English for Academic Purposes (EAP) and English for Specific Purposes
  • academic communities and contexts: knowledge creation, critical thinking and evidence-based reasoning
  • genre: communicative purpose, rhetorical organisation and stance
  • academic grammar and vocabulary
  • text processing and production
  • EAP learner identity, backgrounds and expectations
  • types of EAP courses based on needs, contexts and constraints
  • EAP classroom practice
  • EAP teachers: beliefs, identities and professional development
  • research philosophies and methods
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 Thursday 28 March 2024.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

  • Tutorials
  • Distance learning materials
  • Independent study

We hope that you will enjoy the flexibility of studying online, enabling you to attend to modules and engage with materials at times to fit around your other commitments. Online modules on our courses are managed through the Moodle virtual learning environment (VLE) and combine module content, reading lists and materials, online activities, discussion forums and access to tutors.

Our interactive virtual learning environment includes text, audio and video materials, online discussions and reflective tasks. The programme is designed so that you can work at your own pace in an asynchronous way, within the study plan and assignment timetable for each module.

For each module, you will have an academic tutor who will be active online. They contribute to discussions as well as supporting you through the assessment process. There is an online masters-level toolkit to support all aspects of academic study, a dissertation preparation module available to you from the beginning of the course, and one-to-one dissertation support from your supervisor, usually via Microsoft Teams.

To ensure you have the appropriate computer requirements to enable you to study online, please view our computer specification guidance notes (PDF).

How you will be assessed

  • Dissertation
  • Coursework

Each 30-credit module is assessed by a 6,000-word written assignment or equivalent.

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.

To complete the masters, you must achieve a pass of 50% for each taught module and for the dissertation.

Contact time and study hours

You are expected to study 12-15 hours per week for each module. This includes working through our online materials and related reading, research, reflection, contributing to discussion forums, and working on your assignments.

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 degree2:2 level (or international equivalent)
Work experience

Minimum of nine months' full-time classroom English language teaching experience (650 hours of part-time experience).

Applicants without a first degree but with an approved, relevant professional qualification and/or substantial teaching experience will be considered on an individual basis. 

You will also need to submit a personal statement that demonstrates both a clear understanding of the course and relevant motivation for pursuing studies in TESOL. Plus, if possible, details of any relevant professional or work experience in an educational setting.

If an applicant has a first degree that includes a focus on language teaching theory and methodology or has successfully completed a substantial, approved TESOL methodology course, the experience required will be reduced to a minimum of two months’ full-time classroom English teaching experience (145 hours of part-time experience).

The teaching experience calculation should not include a teaching practicum taken as part of a course. Applicants should show how hours for part-time English teaching experience have been calculated. Applicants who have online teaching experience will need to show how their hours have been calculated, and provide written evidence from employers (to be submitted at the time of application).

Additional information

Other requirements
A personal statement is required that demonstrates both a clear understanding of the course and relevant motivation for pursuing studies in TESOL. Details of any relevant professional or work experience in an educational setting, and how this relates to the course, should be included.


Course start date Application deadline
2 September 2024  1 August 2024
10 February 2025 13 January 2025

Recognition of Other Learning (ROL)

If you have prior learning or experience at an appropriate level, you may apply for exemption from some of the credit requirements of the course. Applications for ROL should be made at the time of application for admission to the university and at least four weeks before the start of the course. Applications for ROL are processed free of charge. Late applications will not be considered. Please visit the School of Education ROL pages for full information and how to apply.

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

How to apply


Qualification MA
Home / UK £9,700
International £14,700

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.

There are very few extra costs that you need to factor in. We provide an extensive e-library (books and journals), comprehensive online study materials and dissertation guidance.

However, you will need to buy a maximum of two core texts for each of the four taught modules if these books are not provided under institutional licence. These titles are all widely available, but the costs may vary depending on the format.


This course is not eligible for Student Loans Company 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

95.2% 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 £28,108.*

* HESA Graduate Outcomes 2020/21 data published in 2023. 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
" The best part of my course were my tutors, the core materials for each module and being able to learn from a wide variety of peers who expressed their opinion from vastly different contexts. Even though my MA was taken online, I felt extremely close to my peers and my tutors. Communication was excellent with my tutors and I was humbled by their approachability and willingness to help when needed or required. "
Carlos Murillo-Miranda, graduated 2020

Related courses

This content was last updated on Thursday 28 March 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.