Graduate Program Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

PSU student teaching english to speaker of other languages

Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages Master's Degree Overview

Are you curious about other languages and eager to help learners succeed as they use English? Do you want to work to remove language barriers in society? Our graduate program in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) will prepare you to work with people from different languages and cultures and encourage positive change in societies.

With a master’s in TESOL, you’ll gain the skills you need to teach English in the U.S. or abroad, or work in other language-related careers. Graduates of our program have gone on to find jobs in immigrant services, test development, literacy program administration, international student advising, interpretation and translation, and program evaluation, as well as in teaching.

You can also use this degree as preparation for doctoral studies in Applied Linguistics, Linguistics, and other language fields.

PSU's MA TESOL also offers specialized academic tracks so that you can pursue your goals with more flexibility:

  • The Teaching track prepares students for teaching, providing them with the knowledge and skills to be an effective, adaptable teacher.
  • The Applied Linguistics track prepares students for language-related careers outside the classroom.
  • You can also choose between a thesis or a culminating experience portfolio to complete your degree. A thesis allows you to pursue a topic in-depth and do your own original research, while the portfolio allows you to polish your projects, resume, and writing samples from the program, so you'll graduate ready for job interviews.

In our two-year program, you will gain practical skills as well as develop a thorough knowledge of how humans use languages and how you can analyze interactions. Unlike some programs that just train you in specific teaching techniques, PSU's program provides you with a foundational skillset, so you can figure out for yourself how to be effective in new contexts.

Degree Details

Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages Master's Degree: Why PSU?

The MA TESOL degree at PSU helps you excel by providing individual attention and mentoring.  Small class sizes allow faculty to get to know you and your career plans, and to give you individualized feedback. We'll help you find a placement for at least one term of practice teaching. With diverse second-language populations in the city of Portland, there are many opportunities here to gain practical experience.

Our program’s hands-on experience means that you can work closely with faculty on research, teaching, and activism projects. Many students present at conferences and co-author papers with faculty. Our connections put you in touch with our partners in Portland and the rest of the world, helping you develop your professional network as an MA TESOL student.

What can I do with a master's degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages?

You can work anywhere in the world with your graduate degree from Portland State. Graduates of our program have found jobs on almost every continent! Our MA TESOL graduates teach English in the U.S. and throughout the world and work in universities, community colleges, community programs, private language schools, corporations, and online programs. Some alumni have gone on to careers relating to language and culture in other ways, including as a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State, online curriculum developer, international student advisor, technical writer, program evaluator, language assessment director, interpreter and translator, and literacy program specialist.

Our graduates who decided to pursue a Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics, Linguistics, Language & Literacy Education and related fields have been accepted into strong programs at Penn State University, Georgetown University, University of California Santa Cruz, University of British Columbia, University of Minnesota, and Iowa State University.

Featured Courses

  • LING 521 Applied English Grammar
  • LING 513 Applied Phonetics and Phonology
  • LING 531 Language, Identity and Culture
  • LING 577 TESOL Methods I
  • LING 578 TESOL Methods 2
  • LING 509 Language Teaching Practicum
  • LING 575 Curriculum Design & Materials Development
  • LING 539 Language Assessment
  • LING 516 Discourse Analysis
  • LING 538 Sociolinguistics
  • LING 581 World Englishes
  • LING 514 Linguistic Pragmatics
  • LING 578 Corpus Linguistics
  • LING 565 Research in Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics




The program consists of 20 credits of required courses, 24 credits of additional coursework from one of the two tracks, and 4-6 credits of culminating experience.

Based on their professional goals and previous experience, and in consultation with their advisor, students choose one of two tracks:

  1. MA TESOL - Teaching Track
  2. MA TESOL - Applied Linguistics

For both tracks, students must complete either a four-credit Culminating Workshop course (Ling 566), in which they prepare their professional portfolio based on work throughout their MA, or a six-credit Thesis (Ling 503). All electives must be advisor approved.


Portland State University is fully accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

The TESOL International organization recommends that Certificates have at least a minimum of 100 hours and supervised practice teaching. PSU's TESL Certificate exceeds these minimums so you gain a deeper understanding of teaching, learning, and language. Your supervised practice teaching experience includes observations as well as your own teaching.