The Master’s level program for TESOL Professionals (PMA TESOL) helps to prepare graduates to engage in positions in the very dynamic and diverse areas of English language teaching—abroad and in the US. Our focus is on the teaching/learning of young adult and adult learners for whom English is not a native or standard language.

Successful students in our program benefit from the two-fold emphases in our program: gaining an academic grounding in the core areas of linguistics and developing a professional foundation for English language teaching.

The Department provides a high-energy intellectual community in which learning is facilitated by close interactions with peers and professors, outstanding research facilities, lively classroom discussions and exposure to the work of eminent thinkers in lectures, colloquia and conferences that are a fact of daily life at Colorado’s premier research institution.

We are committed to a student-centered program that allows us to differentiate aspects of the program for students who come to us with limited or no prior teaching, as well as for those who come with considerable teaching backgrounds. For example, some of our students with less teaching experience have benefited from doing an additional practicum in a second teaching site, while several of our students with experience have been able to take advantage of practicum teaching opportunities with our university partners in Chile, Mexico and China. Our local partners include university and community programs that provide English-as-a-second-language instruction. We suggest you read the testimonials that speak to some alumni’s experiences in the program.

TESOL students are also encouraged to develop one or more areas of specialization, drawing from the many resources within the Linguistics Department as well as in other departments and programs on campus. These areas include but are not limited to:  Cognitive Linguistics; Conversation Analysis, Language Development/Psycholinguistics; Language Description/Documentation (of Native (North) American and Chadic (Central African) languages); Literacy; Phonetics/Phonology; Semantics; Sociolinguistics; Teaching Endangered Languages; Teaching Language through Technology; and Writing/Second Language Writing.

The main components of the PMA TESOL program are 30 semester hours of courses, of which 12 are required courses in general linguistics, 12 are required in TESOL/applied linguistics, and 3 are a TESOL Practicum that involves supervised classroom teaching or tutoring of non-native English speaking students in a partner or cooperating program.

All students need to take and pass the comprehensive exam in the third or fourth semester of study.

Students electing to write a MA thesis need to arrange to register for 4 to 6 thesis hours with the Linguistics faculty member who has agreed to direct their thesis.

Our graduates have very successful records in building their professional networks and obtaining relevant positions: in language institutes in the US and abroad, in university writing programs, and in community colleges and adult education centers. Some of our alumni set up their own independent consulting businesses (focused on improving spoken English/pronunciation, or other aspects of English or a foreign language), and we have heard from some who have integrated pro bono work in developing countries with their professional activities. Others have returned to prior positions as teachers of foreign languages or language arts, equipped with new knowledge and skills in linguistics and language teaching, or embraced further graduate study in related areas such as Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences. A number of our graduates have gone one to pursue doctoral study, for example, in Education, Applied Linguistics and Chinese Linguistics.

What Graduates are Saying

“The MA in Linguistics with TESOL Emphasis has provided valuable tools to further prepare me for a dynamic future as an ESL/EFL professional … I was able to do my teaching practicum at the Universidad Católica del Maule in Talca, Chile. It was the perfect culmination of my studies and prior experiences.”

“My experience with the Linguistics TESOL PMA program was wonderful. The coursework and practicum experience have helped me feel confident and prepared to teach in a variety of settings. I also love that TESOL is rooted within the larger CU Linguistics department; I'm emerging not only with a strong knowledge of teaching methods and excellent classroom experience, but also with a firm foundation in areas that will only augment my future teaching: language morphology, sociolinguistics, phonetics/phonology, syntax, and pragmatics.”