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Department of English College of Arts & Letters

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TESOL Master of Arts

TESOL MA Program

The Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) MA program, first established at Sac State in 1983, is designed for students who plan to teach English to non-native speakers in community colleges, in adult education programs, or abroad. The TESOL MA program also prepares students planning to pursue Ph.D. programs in applied linguistics or education.

The goal of the TESOL MA program is to provide students with a thorough grounding in the structure of English; to give students a solid background in language acquisition theory; to provide practical training, including a unique methodology series, a carefully designed practicum, and a large variety of for-credit and paid internships; and to offer multiple opportunities to gain teaching experience.

If you have further questions, please contact the the TESOL Coordinator. For more information about the university application process, please contact the Office of Graduate Studies.

The English department at Sac State also offers a Master of the Arts program in English.

Concentrations & Certificates

TESOL MA Program

For course requirements and further details, please review the TESOL MA flyer.

For useful, general information about the TESOL MA program, please review the TESOL Student Handbook.

If you have further questions, please contact the TESOL Coordinator at

TESOL Certificate B

This 18-unit, supplemental program of study provides advanced training in language teaching. Certificate B prepares graduate students who want to teach English to speakers of other languages at the college level.

The TESOL Certificate B is not a degree program or teaching credential. However, it is recognized abroad as evidence of advanced training in language teaching. In conjunction with a bachelor's or master's degree or a state teaching credential, it may also be helpful in obtaining employment as an ESL teacher in the United States.

If you have further questions, please contact the English department TESOL Coordinator.

Learning Outcomes

Students who graduate from the MA TESOL program will be able to:

  • demonstrate advanced knowledge of various issues and research findings in SLA;
  • understand the theoretical issues underlying approaches to teaching reading, writing, grammar, and oral skills to second language learners;
  • assess the instructional needs of second language learners;
  • design appropriate and effective syllabi, lessons, and activities for reading, writing, grammar, and oral skills classes;
  • evaluate and use appropriately current ESL textbooks and other instructional materials;
  • competently read and critique research on second language acquisition considering the principles of qualitative/quantitative research design;
  • make informed decisions concerning the pedagogical applications of research;
  • demonstrate advanced knowledge of English phonology, syntax, morphology, and pragmatics;
  • apply advanced linguistic knowledge to teaching different language skills in order to help second language learners use language in a linguistically, pragmatically, and culturally appropriate way;
  • demonstrate advanced knowledge of language variation and change;
  • demonstrate effective oral skills in instructional and professional contexts;
  • demonstrate strong skills in instructional and academic writing.

How to Apply

Applying to the TESOL MA program must be completed in full by the application deadline to be considered for admission to the program.

International Students Contact the Office of International Programs and Global Engagement and follow their directions to complete the international application process.

All other applicants who meet admision requisites will submit an application to the Office of Graduate Studies via the Cal State Apply online application system, pay the application fee, and submit official transcripts for all undergraduate coursework completed.

Cal State Apply

For questions about the TESOL MA program application process, please contact the Office of Graduate Studies.

Admission Requirements

TESOL MA applicants must meet all of the following requirements for admission to the program. Some of these requirements may be satisfied with equivalent coursework or experience; the TESOL Coordinator will review all application materials and approve equivalencies on a student-by-student basis.

Basic Requirements

  • Bachelor's degree in any field, completed with
    • a minimum 3.0 overall GPA and
    • a minimum 3.0 GPA over the final 60 units
  • Prerequisite courses (or equivalents), completed with grades of 'B' or better as part of the applicant's undergraduate coursework:
    • English 110A: Linguistics & the English Language
    • English 110Q: Grammar for ESL Teaching
  • TOEFL score (for foreign student admissions only, see below)

The following additional qualifications are preferred, but not required, for admission to the TESOL MA program:

  • One year of college-level foreign language study or equivalent

English Language Proficiency Requirement

Students from foreign universities must provide proof of English language proficiency prior to admission by achieving a minimum score on one of three approved tests:

  • 90 on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), with a score of 22 on the writing subsection
  • 6.5 overall band score on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
  • 65 on the Pearson Test of English (PTE)

Application Deadline

Current Application deadlines can be found on the Office of Graduate Studies website.