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Degree type


Course length

1 year full-time, 2 years part-time


Durham City

Program code


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Course details

The MA in TESOL and Applied Linguistics offers excellent opportunities to develop your career in English language teaching whether you’re an inexperienced teacher, starting out in the field or a more experienced teacher looking to take your skills to a new level. 

Guided by our English language specialists, you can build a skillset that you can take into primary, secondary and higher education institutions as well as specialist language schools and adult education settings. This flexible MA opens the door to a wider range of career pathways, whether you’re interested in teaching non-native speakers in the UK, applying your learning to curriculum development or teaching English overseas. 

The course offers a core of theory and practice which is informed by contemporary developments in the TESOL field. It combines innovative classroom practices in areas such as syllabus design and assessment with an understanding of issues such as language structure and research methodology. This approach provides opportunities to test your knowledge of contemporary TESOL theory in a classroom setting and refine your skills as you progress.

Optional modules covering a wide range of areas relevant to English language teaching are divided into two pathways, a TESOL pathway and an Applied Linguistics pathway with some shared modules. This allows you to build the course around your interests and career goals. 

The course culminates in the MA dissertation in which you plan, research and write an independent research project on a related area of interest.

Course structure

Core modules:

Language for Teaching examines the phonological, lexical, grammatical and discoursal features of spoken and written language. You will learn to identify the key features, understand concepts, use linguistic terminology and critically evaluate language. You will also develop a deeper understanding of the differences between written and spoken text, and how to predict, identify and explain linguistic errors. 

Classroom Methods teaches the core theories and methodologies from the field of applied linguistics that underpin the teaching of both skills and language knowledge in second-language classrooms. You will learn to consider the most appropriate approach to use in different teaching contexts and provide a rationale for your decisions.

Research Methods supports you in developing an understanding of key research approaches and methods in the fields of TESOL and Applied Linguistics. You will learn to apply and critically evaluate the approaches and methods in your own research. 

Fundamentals of English Language Teaching introduces core ideas and issues relevant to second language acquisition, syllabus design and methodology. You will learn to critically discuss key issues in English language teaching and to evaluate the merits of various language syllabuses. 

The Dissertation is an in-depth independent study focusing on an area of language description, pedagogy, acquisition or related area of TESOL and Applied Linguistics studies. The 15,000-word dissertation is the culmination of the MA, bringing together elements of learning from across the course.

You then choose four further modules from a wide range of options. The optional modules are divided into two pathways, TESOL and Applied Linguistics and have previously included:

TESOL pathway

  • Evaluation and Assessment
  • Practice of English Language Teaching
  • ELT Management
  • ELT Materials Development and Evaluation
  • English for Specific Purposes
  • ELT Methodology
  • Teaching Young Learners
  • Technology-enhanced Language Learning

Applied Linguistics pathway

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


The MA TESOL and Applied Linguistics is delivered via a combination of lectures, seminars, practical sessions and micro-teaching sessions, giving you a solid grounding in both the theoretical and practical aspects of the subject.

During the first two terms there will be around 12 hours of teaching per week, with delivery methods varying depending on the module. Some modules are more suited to a lecture/seminar approach, with others being more practical in nature.

Structured learning sessions are supported by independent learning based around reading, class preparation and assignments. Student engagement is an important element of the course, and you are expected to participate in presentations and micro-teaching sessions throughout the course. 

Core modules make up one third of the MA, with a further third made up of optional modules. The MA dissertation makes up the final third of the course. This significant piece of independent research brings together the theoretical and practical elements of the course. While this is an independent piece of work, you will attend dissertation sessions (typically 2 hours per fortnight) culminating in a poster conference in the third term and you will be assigned a dissertation supervisor, who you will meet with three or four times during the final term and the summer.


The majority of core and optional modules are assessed via written assignments ranging from essays and teaching plans to assessment designs, reflections on teaching practice and presentations. 

The 15,000-word dissertation makes up one-third of your credits. In comparison to undergraduate study, you will find that a Master’s degree requires an increased level of independent learning.

Entry requirements

A good first degree (normally a UK 2:1 or equivalent)

For direct entry we require IELTS 7.0 overall including minimum 7.0 in writing and no component below 6.5, or an equivalent qualification as listed in the University’s English Language Requirements guide (

English language requirements

Fees and funding

Full Time Fees

Tuition fees
Home students £11,900 per year
EU students £23,900 per year
Island students £11,900 per year
International students £23,900 per year

Part Time Fees

Tuition fees
Home students £6,600 per year
EU students £13,200 per year
Island students £6,600 per year
International students £13,200 per year

The tuition fees shown are for one complete academic year of 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.

Scholarships and Bursaries

We are committed to supporting the best students irrespective of financial circumstances and are delighted to offer a range of funding opportunities. 

Find out more about Scholarships and Bursaries

Career opportunities

Durham Centre for Academic Development

English Language education at Durham produces inspirational teachers of English as a second language who are capable of using their learned skills and knowledge for a range of employers across the globe.

As the demand for English continues to grow, the countries of origin of graduates broadens and has included Algeria, Chile, China, Egypt, Germany, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Poland, South Korea, Spain and the USA.

The professional skills that our graduates develop enables them to find posts, not only as teachers but also as managers in language schools, colleges of further education, universities or working in organisations such as the British Council. Graduates have also gone into publishing and research.

We also offer the opportunity to enhance your degree, with specialisms in areas such as Teaching English for Academic Purposes, Young Learners, and English for Specific Purposes.

Department information

Durham Centre for Academic Development

English Language provision at Durham is based in Durham Centre for Academic Development. The Centre offers support to postgraduate, undergraduate or pre-university entry level students and accommodates a wide range of language teaching experience.

Reflecting the continuing growth in the worldwide demand for English, the Centre provides the MA in TESOL and Applied Linguistics. This highly successful course delivers a mix of theoretical and practical learning in English language teaching, teacher education and academic skills development, to equip students with the knowledge and skills to become outstanding teachers of English as a second language.

We focus on providing a learning experience that consistently goes beyond the expectations widely held by UK and international students, enabling our students to participate in a life-changing educational journey.

Through our academic staff, who are wide-ranging subject experts, we combine innovative classroom practices with an understanding of features such as language structure and research methodology. We provide many opportunities to apply your learning and to develop the necessary skills to be able to teach English as a second language.

The learning environment is vibrant and diverse with an engaged student body that is committed to making its teaching ambitions a reality and to inspire and educate communities and individuals across the world


The Durham Centre for Academic Development Centre offers a wide range of up-to-date resources that support the development of your teaching skills and your ability to carry out significant and effective research.

The Centre’s main teaching and learning space is located in the award-winning Teaching and Learning Centre on campus and near the centre of the city. It provides an important hub for students and teaching staff to contact each other.

The £40 million investment in the Teaching and Learning Centre created space for group and independent study, as well as a hub for teaching.


Find out more:

Apply for a postgraduate course (including PGCE International) via our online portal.  

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