This is an archive of the 2015-2016 University Catalog.
To access the most recent version, please visit

This is an archive of the 2015-2016 University Catalog.
To access the most recent version, please visit


Program: M.A., Teaching English as a Second Language


TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) also is termed Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) and is closely related to TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language). TESL deals with teaching methods, principles, ways to teach different kinds of students, curriculum design, lesson planning, attention to the four skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) and assessment. Along with its own focus, the field draws from research and methods in linguistics, education and other fields. This degree is for candidates preparing to teach ESL in the U.S. to adult school and community college students, as well as to adults overseas.

Program Requirements

A. General Admission Requirements for the M.A. Degree in TESL

Students should consult the Graduate Programs section of this Catalog for the University requirements.

Candidates must have a minimum GPA of 2.85 in the last 60 units of their B.A. degree work and satisfy the University requirements for Graduate Admission. Students who have GPAs below 3.0 will be required to take the GRE and achieve at least one score at the 50th percentile or higher. A satisfactory GRE score must be submitted within 18 months of admission. International visa students must have a minimum TOEFL score of 563 (paper-based) or 223 (computer-based) or 85 (Internet-based), or an IELTS score of 7.

B. Academic Standards

1. University Regulations

Graduate students will be placed on academic probation whenever their GPA falls below 3.0 in all units attempted. To be removed from probation, students must earn sufficient grades in the following semester of enrollment to raise their GPA to 3.0 or above. Failure to do so will result in disqualification from the University. University regulations allow graduate students to repeat up to 6 units of credit in which a grade of “B-” or below has been received. (See Graduate Studies section of this Catalog.)

2. Additional Regulations for the M.A. Degree in TESL

  1. Students will be disqualified from the M.A. in TESL program if they do not pass the comprehensive exam on their second attempt.
  2. No grade below “B-” can be counted in the formal program. Any grade of “C+” or lower must be repeated. If the student does not receive a grade of “B-” or better on the second attempt, the student will be disqualified from the M.A. in TESL program. University regulations allow graduate students to repeat only up to 6 units. The repeat grade will appear on the transcript. Students must request approval to repeat a course using the Course Repeat Request Form from their advisor in advance of enrolling in the course.

C. Requirements for the Master of Arts Degree in TESL

1. Required Core Courses (30 units)

LING 402 Phonetics and Phonology (3)
LING 502 Seminar in Research on Second Language Acquisition (3)
LING 510 Foundational Concepts in Linguistics (3)
LING 517 Foundational Concepts of Language Development and Acquisition (3)
LING 520 Issues in ESL Reading and Writing (3)
LING 521 Issues in ESL Listening and Speaking (3)
LING 525 English Structures for ESL/EFL Teaching (3)
LING 530 Introduction to TESL (3)
LING 555 TESL Practicum (3)
LING 568 TESL Testing and Assessment (3)

2. Electives (6 units)

Partial List:

EED 577 Language Arts Instruction and English Language Development (3)
EED/SED 626 Literacy Instruction for English Learners K-12 (3)
LING 403 Introduction to Morphology (3)
LING 404 Syntax (3)
LING 408 Semantics and Pragmatics (3)
LING 411 Introduction to Historical Linguistics (3)
LING 427 Languages in Contact (3)
LING 447 Bilingualism in the U.S. (3)
LING 500 Seminar in Phonetics (3)
LING 501 Seminar in Phonology (3)
LING 503 Seminar in Cognitive Linguistics (3)
LING 505 Seminar in Discourse Analysis (3)
LING 515 Survey of Applied Linguistics (3)
LING 541 Seminar in Sociolinguistics (3)
LING 566 Research Methods for Linguistics (3)
LING 578 English for Specific Purposes (3)
LING 604 Acoustic and Instrumental Phonetics (3)
SED 514 Computers in the Instructional Program (3)
SED 625ESL Theory and Research in Teaching ESL in Multilingual Classrooms (3)

For additional electives in other disciplines, see the advisor or the chair.

3. Foreign Language Component

Students should have studied two semesters or equivalent of a language foreign to them within 2 years of acceptance into the program, or students should plan to take two semesters of a new foreign language concurrently with their enrollment in the M.A. in TESL.

4. Culminating Experience (3 units)

Comprehensive Exam

M.A. degree candidates in TESL complete their degrees by taking a comprehensive exam. Students will enroll in LING 697—Directed Comprehensive Studies in the semester during which they plan to take the examination. Students on probation or who have remaining incompletes, or who have not completed the foreign language component, will not be permitted to take the examination. Students who fail the examination on the first attempt will be required to register for the examination again the following semester. Students who fail the comprehensive examination a second time are disqualified from the M.A. in TESL program. These 3 units of culminating experience are part of the degree count.

Total Units Required for the M.A. Degree: 39


Chair: Evelyn McClave
Sierra Tower (ST) 805
(818) 677-3453

Graduate Coordinator: Tineke Scholten
(818) 677-6475

Student Learning Outcomes

Graduates of the M.A. in TESL will demonstrate:

  1. A basic knowledge of linguistic theory in phonetics, phonology, morphology and syntax.
  2. A solid knowledge of TESL theory and methodology.
  3. An understanding of how theories of language structure and theories of language in context and pedagogy can be applied in teaching language.
  4. The ability to read, analyze and critically evaluate research and demonstrate a high level of critical thinking and problem solving.
  5. Skills in the design of TESL testing and assessment as well as TESL curriculum development.