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MA TESOL and Applied Linguistics Programme

The MA in TESOL and Applied Linguistics programme offers excellent opportunities for those starting out in the field, and for both inexperienced and experienced language teachers to develop careers in English language teaching.

The course is designed for anyone with an interest in the wider aspects of teaching English as a foreign language, combining innovative classroom practices with an understanding of issues such as language structure and research methodology.

Find out more about this course and apply


Course Structure

The course offers a core of English language teaching and English language focused modules, focusing on both theoretical and practical aspects of the English language and classroom practice. You will then have the opportunity to broaden your knowledge base by taking 4 optional modules, covering a wide range of areas relevant to English language teaching and linguistics. The MA is completed by a 15,000-word dissertation.

Core Modules

  • Classroom Methods 
  • Language for Teaching
  • Fundamentals of English Language Teaching
  • Research Methods
  • Dissertation

Optional Modules

You can choose 4 optional modules. Optional modules are divided into two pathways, one more TESOL focused, and one more Applied Linguistics focused. You can choose modules from different streams where the timetable allows.

N.B. Optional module availability is driven by factors including staff availability and student interest.  Not all optional modules will run in a given year, and we will not normally run a module if fewer than 8 students register for it.

'TESOL' pathway options can include:

  • Evaluation and Assessment
  • ELT Management
  • ELT Materials Development and Evaluation
  • English for Specific Purposes
  • ELT Methodology
  • Teaching Young Learners
  • Technology Enhanced Language Education
  • The Practice of ELT

'Applied Linguistics' pathway options can include:

  • ELT Management
  • Global Englishes
  • Intercultural Communication and Education
  • Pragmatics and the Language Classroom
  • Sociolinguistics


Watch our video on the MA TESOL and Applied Linguistics below, or scroll down for further information.


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MA courses are delivered via lectures, seminars, practical sessions and micro-teaching sessions, giving you a solid grounding in both the theoretical and practical aspects of the field. In many cases, contact hours will be a mixture of these approaches (rather than, say, a session consisting solely of a two-hour lecture). The balance will depend on the particular module, with some more suited to a lecture/seminar approach, others being of a more practical nature.

A key focus throughout the courses is on independent learning and student engagement. You will have an average of 12 weekly contact hours over the first two terms, and you will be expected to fill your remaining time with reading, class preparation and assignments.

In addition, starting in term 2, you will attend a series of dissertation sessions (typically 2 hours per fortnight) culminating in a poster conference at the end of term 2 before you write your dissertation over the summer. You are assigned a dissertation supervisor, and can expect three or four meetings during the third term and the summer.

You will have an academic tutor, with whom you will meet approximately twice a term, and all MA staff are contactable through Teams and email.


Possible additions to your MA course


Part-Time Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults (CELTA)

The CELTA is a widely recognised initial teacher training qualification in English Language Teaching which can help you obtain work as an English language teacher in many countries around the world.  

In partnership with International House, Newcastle, we offer you the opportunity to take the CELTA qualification via part-time study alongside your full-time MA programme.  CELTA input sessions and teaching practice are timetabled alongside your MA lecture programme. Input sessions will usually take place in Durham or online,  while teaching practice generally takes place at International House in Newcastle.

If you wish to take this qualification, you will need to apply and be interviewed by International House Newcastle and satisfy their entry requirements, including their language level requirements.

The CELTA course is provided at an additional cost (approximately £1500) which is payable to International House, Newcastle.

Further information will be provided to all incoming students prior to arrival in Durham.


Olomouc University (Czech Republic) Reciprocal Visit Opportunity

In 2023-2024, 10 students from the Department of Linguistics at Olomouc University in the Czech Republic visited the MA TESOL and Applied Linguistics programme in Durham, with 6 of our students visiting Olomouc University in return later in the year.

These students enjoyed taking part in a range of activities, including teaching activities in Czech schools, and it is hoped that more of our students will be able to go to Olomouc in 2024-2025.   

This trip is self-funded (not included in your MA fees), but Durham colleges often offer grants for study overseas which can cover flights and other costs.

More information about this will be provided during your induction at Durham. 


Entry Requirements onto the MA TESOL and Applied Linguistics

A good first degree (normally a UK 2.1 or equivalent)


English Language Requirements

Click here to read more on English language requirements for this course.


Fees and funding

The tuition fees for the 2024/25 academic year have not yet been finalised. They will be displayed here once available.

The tuition fees shown are for one complete academic year of full-time study, are set according to the academic year of entry, and remain the same throughout the duration of the programme for that cohort (unless otherwise stated).

Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.