This is an archive of the 2019-2020 University Catalog.
To access the most recent version, Please visit

This is an archive of the 2019-2020 University Catalog.
To access the most recent version, please visit


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

Program Description

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 who are preparing to teach ESL in the United States 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. Speakers of languages other than English who hold postsecondary degrees from non-English-speaking institutions 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 graduate project 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

Candidates completing the program leading to an M.A. degree in TESL will have a fundamental understanding of the core areas in TESL at an advanced level.

1. Required Core Courses (30 units)

LING 502 Seminar in Research on Second Language Acquisition (3)
LING 506 Foundational Concepts of Phonetics and Phonology (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 455 Computational Linguistics (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 590A-Z Selected Topics in Linguistics/TESL (3)
LING 604 Acoustic and Instrumental Phonetics (3)
SED 514 Computers in Instruction (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 two 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)

In order to complete the M.A. degree in TESL, graduate students submit a graduate project, which is comprehensive in nature. Graduate students work on the different components of this project throughout the program; the final project is publicly presented during their last/graduating semester. These 3 units of culminating experience are part of the degree count.

Graduate Project

Students during their last semester will enroll in LING 698D. Students on probation or who have remaining incompletes, or who have not completed the foreign language component, will not be permitted to enroll in LING 698D until these issues are all resolved. Students who fail the graduate project on the first attempt will be required to register for LING 698D again the following semester. Students who fail the graduate project a second time are disqualified from the M.A. in TESL degree program.

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


Department of Linguistics/TESL
Chair: Kenneth Luna
Associate Chair: Stephanie Kim
Sierra Tower (ST) 805
(818) 677-3453

Graduate Coordinator: Tineke Scholten
(818) 677-5025

Student Learning Outcomes

Graduates of the M.A. in TESL will:

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