TESOL MA

Master of Arts in TESOL


We offer a 36-point Master of Arts degree in TESOL General studies for students wishing to teach in any of a variety of settings, except in the New York State public schools. Through comprehensive and innovative coursework, hands-on experiences in our on-campus language school, and research projects, you’ll explore the teaching and learning of English to speakers of other languages.

Please note: The General Track does not prepare students to obtain New York State PK-12 Certification in ESL.

A graduate student has an animated conversation with his peers at TC.

Admissions Information

Master of Arts

  • Points/Credits: 36
  • Entry Terms: Fall Only

Application Deadlines

  • Spring: N/A
  • Summer/Fall (Priority): January 15
  • Summer/Fall (Final): April 15

Supplemental Application Requirements/Comments

  • See program website for TOEFL/IELTS policies and score minimums for non-native English speakers
  • Video Essay (included in online application)

Requirements from the TC Catalog

View Full Catalog Listing

The Applied Linguistics and TESOL Program offers a Master of Arts degree with the following tracks: Applied Linguistics, TESOL General, TESOL PreK-12 with Initial Certification, and TESOL PreK-12 with Transitional-B Certification. Please see the track descriptions below for detailed curriculum information.

We also offer a hybrid version of MA in Applied Linguistics and TESOL (general track):  https://www.tc.columbia.edu/arts-and-humanities/applied-linguistics-tesol/degrees--requirements/tesol-ma-hybrid/

Students earning the Masters of Arts degree have five types of requirements: (1) general courses,(2) track-specific courses, (3) elective courses within AL and TESOL, and (4) out-of-program breadth courses, and (5) an exit project. All course decisions must be made in consultation with the student's assigned faculty advisor. The track-specific courses, electives, and breadth courses for each track are included below.

General Courses (15 points for AL and TESOL General. See below for TESOL PreK-12.):

  • A&HL 4000: Educational Linguistics (3)

  • A&HL 4085: Pedagogical English grammar (3)

  • A&HL 4087: Introduction to second language acquisition (3)

  • A&HL 4088: Second language assessment (3)

  • One language use course from the list below (for AL and TESOL General only):

    • A&HL 4001: Sociolinguistics and education (3)

    • A&HL 4104: Discourse analysis (3)

    • A&HL 4105: Conversation analysis (3)

    • A&HL 4106: Text and textuality (3)

Track-Specific Courses for the MA in AL (9 points) 

  • A&HL 4077: TESOL classroom practices (3)
  • A&HL 5301: Practicum I: Integrated skills (3)
  • A&HL 5575: Research literacy in applied linguistics and TESOL (3)

Track-Specific Courses for the MA in TESOL (9 points) 

  • A&HL 4077: TESOL classroom practices (3)
  • A&HL 5301:  Practicum I: Integrated skills (3)
  • One course from the following:
    • A&HL 6301: Practicum II: Listening (3)
    • A&HL 6302: Practicum II: Speaking (3)
    • A&HL 6303: Practicum II: Reading (3)
    • A&HL 6304: Practicum II: Writing (3)

Elective Courses ( 6 points for AL and TESOL General only). (For TESOL PK-12, see below.)

  • Elective courses or workshops in Applied Linguistics and TESOL (3-6 points):

    •  A&HL 4101: Phonetics and phonology (3)

    • A&HL 5085: Advanced syntax (3)

    • A&HL 4001: Sociolinguistics and education (3)

    • A&HL 4104: Discourse analysis (3)

    • A&HL 4105: Conversation analysis (3)

    • A&HL 4106: Text and textuality (3)

    • A&HL 5020: Interactional sociolinguistics (3)

    • A&HL 5105: Classroom discourse (3)

    • A&HL 5106: Language socialization (3)

    • A&HL 6031: Advanced conversation analysis (3)

    • A&HL 4089: Teaching writing to ESL students (3)

    • A&HL 5011: Technology-based language teaching and material design (3)

    • A&HL 6097: Task-based language teaching  (3)

    • A&HL 5008: Interlanguage analysis (3)

    • A&HL 5087: SLA in the classroom (3)

    • A&HL 6087: Advanced second language acquisition (3)

    • A&HL 5199: Topics in language assessment (3)

    • A&HL 5512: Historical perspectives on language testing research (3)

    • A&HL 5519: Instructed second language acquisition and assessment (3)

    • A&HL 6000: Second language test validation (3)

    • A&HL 6040: Classroom-based language assessment (3)

    • A&HL 6060: Generalizability theory for second language assessment research (3)

    • A&HL 6089: Second language performance assessment (3)

    • Courses can be taken at an affiliate campus in the Columbia community with advisor’s approval.

Breadth Out-of-Program Courses (6 points for AL and TESOL General only). (For TESOL PK-12, see below.)

  • See recommended course list below. Must be chosen with advisor’s written approval.

Exit Project:

  • In addition to course requirements, students must complete a mMaster’s project written on a research topic arising from their course-related interests and subject to approval by their assigned advisor. This project can be a review of literature on a scholarly topic or a practice motivated review of literature. It is normally completed during the last semester of study. For more information, click here

Students can normally expect to complete the M.A. in Applied Linguistics or TESOL in four semesters (i.e., two years).

Master of Arts in TESOL, PK-12 Initial Certification Track (37 points)

The TESOL PK-12 Initial Certification track offers a 37-point Master of Arts degree in TESOL leading toward Initial New York State Teacher Certification. Students wishing to teach in a public school in a state other than New York are advised to consult the certification requirements for that state.

See section for TESOL Transitional B for PeaceCorps Fellows for specific requirements for this degree.

Candidates applying for initial certification in New York will be required to take and pass all required New York State exams for initial certification, including the edTPA. For more information, please visit our Office of Teacher Education (OTE) website: 

https://www.tc.columbia.edu/office-of-teacher-education/students/certification-requirements/certification-exams/

All courses must be passed with a grade of B- or above to count toward Initial New York State Certification.

General Courses (12 points):  

  • A&HL 4000: Educational linguistics (3)
  • A&HL 4085: Pedagogical English grammar (3)
  • A&HL 4087: Introduction to second language acquisition (3)
  •  A&HL 4088: Second language assessment (3)

 Track Specific Courses in TESOL, PK-12 (13 points):

  • A&HL 4076  TESOL methodologies for PK-6 (3)
  • A&HL 4171  TESOL methodologies for 7-12 (3)
  • A&HL 4185  Pedagogical approaches in the content areas for teachers of PK-12  ESL (3)
  • A&HL 4776  Supervised student teaching in TESOL: PK-6 (2)
  • A&HL 4777  Supervised student teaching in TESOL: 7-12 (2)

Elective Courses (3 points)

  • Elective courses in Applied Linguistics and TESOL (3 points):

    • A&HL 4077            TESOL classroom practices (3)

    • A&HL 4090   Teaching writing to ESL students (3)

    • A&HL 5011            Tech-based language teaching and materials design (3)

    • A&HL 6097:           Task-based language teaching learning (3)

    • A&HL 4001 Sociolinguistics (3)

    • A&HL 4104 Discourse analysis (3)

    • A&HL 4105 Conversation analysis (3)

    • A&HL 4106 Text and textuality (3)

    • A&HL 5105 Classroom discourse (3)

    • A&HL 5106 Language socialization (3)

    • A&HL 5008: Interlanguage analysis (3)

    • A&HL 5087 Second language acquisition in the classroom (3)

    • A&HL 6097:     Task-based language learning (3)

    • A&HL 5199     Topics in language assessment (3)

    • A&HL 5519     Instructed SLA and assessment (3)

    • A&HL 6040 Classroom-based language assessment (3)

Breadth Courses (9 points)

  • One out-of-program breadth course from each of the following three categories (9 points):

    • A&HB 4020 Bilingualism and disabilities

    • A&HB 4021 Foundations of bilingual/bicultural education

    • Bilingual/bicultural education or Foundations of education and urban education (3)

    • A&HB 4024 Linguistics foundations of bilingual/bicultural education

    • A&HB 4075 Cross-cultural communication and       classroom ecology

    • A&HB 4121 Bilingual/bicultural curriculum design

    • A&HH 4076           History of urban education

    • C&T 4078 Curriculum and teaching in urban areas

    • C&T 4501 Teaching and learning in the multicultural classroom

    • EDPS 4022 Sociology of urban education

    • ITSF 4060 Latinos in urban schools

    • Various topics courses in Bilingual/Bicultural Education

  • Elementary and secondary education (3)

    • A&HF 4090 Philosophies of education

    • A&HF 4091 Call to teach

    • A&HW 4036           The teaching of social studies

    • A&HW 5030           Diversity and the social studies curriculum

    • C&T 4124 Curriculum development in elementary education

    • C&T 4133 Learning and teaching in the intermediate reading and writing classroom

    • C&T 4141 Literature for older children

    • C&T 4151 Teaching of writing

    • C&T 5037 Literacy, culture, and the teaching of reading

    • HUDK 4022            Developmental psychology: Childhood

    • HUDK 4023            Developmental psychology: Adolescence

    • MSTC 4040 Science in childhood education

    • MSTC 4044 Biology curriculum and methods laboratory

    • MSTM 5010 Mathematics in elementary school

  • Teaching students with learning disabilities (3)

    • C&T 4000 Disability, exclusion, and schooling

    • C&T 4001 Differentiating instruction in inclusive classrooms

    • C&T 4046 Curriculum and instruction in secondary inclusive education

    • C&T 4047 Curriculum development in secondary inclusive education

    • C&T 4301 Formal assessment of exceptional students

    • C&T 5080 Access to full participation in schools

    • HBSE 4001 Teaching students with disabilities in inclusive classrooms

Exit Project:

In addition to course requirements, students must complete a Master’s project written on a research topic arising from course-related interests and subject to approval by their assigned advisor. This project can be a review of literature on a scholarly topic or a practice motivated review of literature. It is normally completed during the last semester of study. For more information, click here

Master of Arts in TESOL, Transitional B Certification Track (Peace Corps) (32 points) 

We offer a 32-point Master of Arts degree in TESOL leading toward PK-12 Transitional B Certification. The program is designed for Returned Peace Corps Volunteers to transition into public school classrooms. Successful completion of this program of study leads to the M.A. degree and recommendation for New York State Initial Certification (grades PK-12). Students in this program balance full-time teaching in a NYCDOE school and graduate school coursework. They are supported in their program and teaching by the TESOL Program and the Peace Corps Fellows Program. Through comprehensive and innovative course work, hands-on experiences in New York City public schools, and research projects, Fellows explore the teaching and learning of English to PK-12 speakers of other languages.

In order to complete all degree requirements successfully, this program typically demands a minimum of two years. The first summer in the program is intensive coursework and fieldwork to prepare students for their first year of teaching.

Candidates applying for initial certification in New York will be required to take and pass all required New York State exams for initial certification, including the edTPA. For more information, please visit our OTE website: https://www.tc.columbia.edu/office-of-teacher-education/students/certification-requirements/certification-exams/

All courses must be passed with a grade of B- or above to count toward Initial New York State Certification.

General Courses (12 points):

  • A&HL 4000: Educational linguistics (3)
  • A&HL 4085: Pedagogical English grammar (3)
  • A&HL 4087: Introduction to second language acquisition (3)
  • A&HL 4088: Second language assessment (3)

Track Specific Courses in TESOL, PK-12 (14 points):

  • A&HL 4076         TESOL methodologies for PK-6 (3)
  • A&HL 4171         TESOL methodologies for 7-12 (3)
  • A&HL 4185         Pedagogical approaches in the content areas for teachers of PK-12 ESL (3)
  • A&HL 5207 Fieldwork in TESOL (2)
  • A&HL 5105 Classroom Discourse (or other TESOL/AL Elective) (3)

Breadth Courses (6 points)

  • C&T 4501: Teaching and Learning in the Multicultural, Multilingual Classroom (3)
  • C&T 4000: Disability, Exclusion and Schooling (3)

Required Exit Project

In addition to course requirements, students must complete a Master’s project written on a research topic arising from their course-related interests and subject to approval by their assigned advisor. This project can be a review of literature on a scholarly topic or a practice motivated review of literature review, and is normally completed during the last semester of study. For more information, click here

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