MA Program in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)

Prepare for a career teaching English to second-language learners

TESOL is an exciting, in-demand, and interdisciplinary field that draws on linguistics, bilingual education, sociology, pedagogy, cultural studies, and information technology to provide English teachers with a solid foundation in the theory and praxis of second language learning and teaching. TESOL graduates typically find employment both domestically and internationally as teachers, administrators, policymakers, materials developers, editors, cultural liaisons, and language program directors. They work in such diverse settings as schools, non-profit organizations, governmental agencies, community and faith-based centers, and international businesses.

The 31-credit hour Master of Arts degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) is a professional degree that prepares you to become effective teachers of English to adult learners who speak other native languages, both in the U.S. and abroad. The M.A. in TESOL provides both a strong theoretical foundation as well as hands-on practical experiences.


Our professors are internationally recognized, award-winning scholars whose areas of expertise span an impressive array of disciplines, including second language acquisition, teacher education, language learning and technology, sociolinguistics, socio-cultural theory, pragmatics, corpus linguistics, intercultural discourse, multilingual writing, and learner identity. The International Center for Intercultural Communication, the English for Academic Purposes Program, and the Program for Intensive English offer unique opportunities for interdisciplinary work, internships, and practica in applied linguistics, health discourse, language teaching, and tutoring. Our vibrant urban setting provides students with diverse teaching experiences and employment opportunities upon graduation.

For information about the program, contact:

Karen Kovacik, PhD
Professor of English
Director of Graduate Studies
English Department
(317) 274-9831

To contact the Graduate Office:

IUPUI Graduate Office
University Library, Room 1170
755 W. Michigan Street
Indianapolis, IN 46202
(317) 274-1577

About the Program

The 31-credit hour M.A. in TESOL is comprised of core courses, elective courses, and the completion of either a thesis or internship.  Please click on the tabs above for more information. Course descriptions may be found.

  • ENG-G 500 Introduction to the English Language (4cr)
  • ENG-Z 520 Second Language Development (3cr)
  • ENG-Z 523 TESOL Methods (3cr)
  • ENG-Z 541 English for Specific Purposes (ESP) and Materials Development (3cr)
  • ENG-Z 545 TESOL Practicum (3cr)
  • ENG-G 625 Discourse Analysis and Introduction to Research (4cr)
  • ENG-G 652 Sociolinguistics (4cr)
  • ENG-Z 536 Pedagogical Grammar (3cr)
  • ENG-Z 570 Second Language Writing (3cr)
  • ENG-Z 575 Second Language Learning and Technology (3cr)
  • ENG-Z 598 TESOL Internship (3cr)
  • ENG-Z 600 Seminar in TESOL (variable topics) (3cr)
  • ENG-Z 690 Advanced Readings in TESOL (1-4cr)
  • ENG-Z 699 M.A. Thesis – TESOL (3cr)
  • Other graduate courses in literature, writing, and literacy, or related fields as approved by the director. No more than six credits may be transferred from or taken outside the department.

Thesis Option

Required Courses: Students must take the five core courses for a total of 16 credit hours, as well as ENG-Z 690 Advanced Reading in TESOL (1-4 credits) and ENG-Z 699 M.A. Thesis (3 credits)
  • Electives: Students choose at least three courses (at least 8-11 credits)
  • Total: 31 credit hours

Internship Option

Required Courses: Students must take the five core courses for a total of 16 credit hours, as well as ENG-Z 598 TESOL Internship (3 credits)
  • Electives: Students choose at least four courses (at least 12 credits)
  • Total: 31 credit hours


M.A. students must maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.0 (B average).

No courses with a grade of C or lower will count toward graduation requirements.

Transfer Credits

The IUPUI Graduate Office only allows the transfer of 12 credit hours from the certificate to the MA. Therefore, if you are in the certificate and decide that you want the MA as well, you should apply to the MA in TESOL Program at the same time or before you’ve reached the 12 credit-hour limit. Please always check with the Program and the Graduate Office regarding credit transfer rules at the time that you intend to apply for either the MA or the Certificate.

Applying to the MA in TESOL Program

Applications for the M.A. in TESOL degree are accepted on a rolling basis and should meet all applicable requirements as described below. Final admission is based upon the approval of the admissions committee, which is comprised of the English Department’s Director of Graduate Studies, the Director of the M.A. in TESOL, program faculty members, and departmental administrative staff.

Applicants should have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, with a minimum GPA of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale), or the equivalent, in the student’s undergraduate major, documented by an official transcript. Official transcripts must be sent directly from the registrar of your undergraduate institution to our Graduate Programs Assistant (see main page). Official transcripts can be sent either via ground mail as a sealed copy or via email with a link to download an electronic copy. We cannot accept scans of transcripts or unsealed transcripts from applicants.
GRE scores are not required.
TOEFL or IELTS official scores are required for nonnative speaking applicants only and must be reported directly to IUPUI. Test scores are not required if the applicant has earned (or will earn) a bachelor’s or master’s degree from a country where English is the official language (please refer to the Office of International Affairs website.)  The department will only consider applications once the required minimum score is met and does not offer admission to applicants not meeting the required minimum scores.
  • Please have ETS submit your scores directly to IUPUI, as we cannot accept self-reported scores. The IUPUI Institution Code for ETS is #1325.
  • Recommended minimum scores for applicants who are nonnative speakers of English: 100 TOEFL iBT; 7.0 IELTS.
Additional information about international admissions can be obtained from the Office of International Affairs.
Applicants must request three letters of recommendation using the electronic letter of recommendation option in the online application system. These letters should be from persons qualified to comment on your preparation for graduate study in TESOL. All recommendations must come directly from the recommenders. We cannot accept scanned or otherwise unofficial recommendations from applicants.  
Applicants must submit a 500-750 word personal statement in the following format:
  • Paragraph 1: Reasons for Applying to Our Program.
Describe your reasons for applying to graduate school in general and our program in particular. What aspects of our program do you see as being a good fit for you and your objectives?
  • Paragraph 2: Education and Other Experiences.
What has prepared and/or motivated you to do graduate work in TESOL? These might include academic, work or other experiences, study or travel abroad, research or writing projects, etc.
  • Paragraph 3: Goals in the Program.
Beyond the core coursework of 16 credit hours, is there a specific area of TESOL in which you want to gain experience? Do you plan to study full or part-time? Do you see yourself writing a thesis, and if so, on what topic?
  • Paragraph 4: Career Objectives.
What are your long-term career and/or personal goals, and how do you see your M.A. in TESOL degree helping you to achieve those goals?
  • Paragraph 5 (Optional): Program Opportunities and Funding.
Describe any specific opportunities you want to be considered for, including fellowships, assistantships, study abroad opportunities, etc.
Follow the IUPUI application process as defined by the IUPUI Graduate Office. More information may be found here.
The on-line graduate school application can be found at “Apply Now”. There is an application fee required by the IUPUI Graduate Office to be paid when the application is submitted, unless a previous application has been submitted (see below).  The fee is $70 for domestic USA students and for international students. Even if you have already submitted an application for a graduate or certificate program in English at IUPUI, you will need to create a new pin and password. If this is the case, please contact the IUPUI Graduate Office so that your application fee can be waived.
Applications for fall semester financial aid (including university fellowships) are due January 29 of the same year. Fall Admission: Applications for the fall semester are due August 1 for domestic students and May 15 for international students (June 15 for international students already in the U.S.) of the same year. Spring Admission: Applications for the spring semester are due December 31 for domestic students and October 1 for international students (November 1 for international students already in the U.S.) of the preceding year. Summer Admission: Applications for any summer session are due May 1 for domestic students and February 15 for international students (March 15 for international students already in the U.S.) of the same year.
Departmental support and professional development opportunities are available on a competitive basis. These include teaching, tutoring, or research in the English for Academic Purposes (EAP), the Program for Intensive English (PIE), ESL Tutoring Center, International Center for Intercultural Communication (ICIC), the University Writing Center, or writing and literature courses in the English Department. IUPUI is part of the Midwest Student Exchange Program, which was established to increase interstate educational opportunities for students in Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Wisconsin to enroll at IUPUI at a reduced cost. Michigan no longer participates in MSEP. Students attending IUPUI from Michigan may enroll at a reduced cost as part of the Michigan Student Excellence Award (MSEA) program. Information about other sources of financial aid available to most graduate students can be found at the Office of Student Financial Services.