University of Colorado at Boulder

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I plan to apply to the Master’s Degree in Linguistics, with TESOL emphasis. How do I start?

A: You can get the basic information you need from our website  The posted deadline for applications for fall admission is December 1 for international applicants and January 2 for domestic applicants. Applicants can click here to apply online.

Q: Are there opportunities to work as Teacher’s Assistant, Research Assistant or Student Assistant?  Are fellowships offered?

A: Most of the department’s aid opportunities are for doctoral students. Please visit the department website for further information on financial aid. There you will find general information on teaching opportunities.

For those who qualify, there are also occasional opportunities for teaching in CU language departments, including East Asian Languages and Civilizations, French and Italian, Germanic and Slavic, and Spanish and Portuguese.While the language departments give preference to their own graduate students, some Linguistics students usually obtain such positions each year. Application should be made directly to the department in question.

Q: Could you give me some information about your program’ s curriculum?

A: The TESOL program is a graduate program with two components: The first is a 4-course theoretical linguistics component, which gives a perspective on how languages work and what to expect from other languages (especially the non-European ones). The TESOL component gives you in-depth knowledge of English (the kind of knowledge a teacher needs to help nonnative speakers develop their English language abilities) and a framework for teaching English, along with practical techniques for teaching and practice. Some of the practical components can apply toward the teaching of second or foreign languages generally.

If you select the “Curriculum” option on this web site, you will find more details about our program and courses and a number of elective options.

Q: What course work should I have completed before applying to your program?

A: Our curriculum is a combination of linguistics courses and TESOL courses and a practicum in English as a second or foreign language. Previous course work in linguistics can be helpful in preparing you for our program, but is not a requirement. Most of our students come to graduate study in Linguistics from other fields.

Q: Can I transfer credits to the Department of Linguistics Professional TESOL Emphasis program from another graduate program?

A: Credits that were part of another degree earned cannot be transferred. Otherwise, we are happy to review with you the possibility of transferring course credit you earned in another graduate program. We take into consideration how recent the course is and how closely the content matches the equivalent course. There is a limit of 3 equivalent courses, or 9 graduate credit hours, that can be transferred in.

Q: I am interested in starting the application process, what information beyond my test scores and transcript should I provide?

A: All applicants must provide original transcripts, 4 letters of recommendation, either a TOEFL or GRE test score, and a statement of purpose, in addition to the online application and fee.

Q: How many students will be accepted into the Professional TESOL Emphasis program?

A: We plan to accept eight to ten students each fall.

Q: What about the course sequence and length of program?

A: It is expected that students will follow the sequence for the four Linguistics core courses offered in fall and spring semesters. TESOL courses are also offered either in fall or spring, with the Practicum offered most semesters. By taking 2 or 3 courses per semester, or 5 courses per year, the courses can be completed in two years.

Q: What if I am an undergraduate interested in the TESOL area?

A: Undergraduate Linguistics Majors interested in the TESOL area should consult with the TESOL Advisor about possible study plans.

A TESOL course open to undergraduates is Linguistics 4610: English Structure for TESOL. (This course is cross-listed with Linguistics 5610 and is an English grammar course aimed at prospective teachers.) It is offered in the spring semester.

An undergraduate who has successfully completed 4610 may be able to follow up and take Linguistics 5630: Methods and Materials for Teaching English as an Additional Language.

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