Contact us today for more information about the TASAL program:

Steve Chandler, PhD  

TESL Minor
Caroline Payant, PhD  

Contact & Location


Department of English

Physical Address:
Brink Hall 200
(208) 885-6156 phone
(208) 885-5944 fax

Mailing Address:
English Department
c/o University of Idaho
875 Perimeter Drive MS 1102
Moscow, Idaho

M.A. in Teaching English as a Second Language

The TESL curriculum provides students with both theoretical background and practical training in teaching English as a second language. Students take course work in theoretical and applied linguistics and in teaching methods. This degree is the professional credential most widely recognized for, and most commonly required of, individuals preparing for a career in teaching English as a second language. The TESL program at the University of Idaho endorses and conforms to the ESL teacher preparation recommendations in the TESOL Guidelines for the Certification and Preparation of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages.

Credit and Grade Requirements:
A minimum of 33 semester hours (excluding credits earned to satisfy the language requirement or optional teaching certification) is required for the Master of Arts in Teaching English as a Second Language.  At least 24 credits are to be earned at the University of Idaho. By the time they receive their M.A., students must have a grade-point average of 3.0 or better.  At least 12 credits are to be taken from approved courses in language and linguistics, 12 from approved courses in pedagogy, 9 from approved electives in English and Education, and at least 21 credits must be earned in courses numbered 500 and above.

Course Requirements: 
Of the courses listed below, please note that ENGL 441—Introduction to the Study of Language, or an equivalent course in linguistics, is a prerequisite or corequisite of these courses. It does not count toward the 33 credits for the degree.  Courses listed below with asterisks are considered CORE courses, of special importance in the degree program (and the comprehensive exam). They are not required but are strongly encouraged.

Students who have little or no experience teaching formal TESL classes are encouraged to take a practicum or to arrange an appropriate internship. Any students desiring teaching practice are welcome to take as many practical-experience courses as they wish, but only 6 credits from among the following courses may be counted toward the MA-TESL degree: ENGL 505, ENGL 515, ENGL 597 or ENGL 598/498.

Language and Linguistics—At least 12 credits from the following courses: 

  • Introduction to English Syntax (ENGL 442 or 510)
  • Phonetics and Phonology (ENGL 507)
  • Introduction to Applied Linguistics (ENGL 517)
  • Advanced English Grammar (ENGL 518)
  • Studies in Linguistics (ENGL 510) (Topics vary: e.g., semantics, typology, discourse analysis)
  • Topics in English Linguistics (ENGL/WS 543) 

Pedagogy—12 credits from the following courses:

  • TESL Methods I: Basic Oral/Aural Skills (ENGL 513)
  • TESL Methods II: Advanced Reading and Writing Skills (ENGL 514)
  • Current Issues in Teaching ESL (ENGL 510)
  • L2 Teaching Practicum (ENGL 515)
  • Topics in Teaching ESL (ENGL/WS 546)
  • Internship (ENGL 598)
  • Approved courses in the College of Education


Electives—9 credits from the following courses: 

  • Language Variation (ENGL 443/510)
  • Psycholinguistics (ENGL 448)
  • History of the English Language (ENGL 496)
  • Composition Pedagogy and Practice (ENGL 505)
  • Rhetoric and Composition (ENGL 506)
  • Intercultural Communication (ENGL 516)


Language Requirement
Native speakers of English in the TESL program must complete or have completed two years of college work (or equivalent) in a modern foreign language. They must have studied a foreign language for at least a semester (or equivalent) within five years preceding the awarding of the degree.

Students in this program who are not native speakers of English are excused from the above language requirements by virtue of their experience in learning English, but all such students are strongly urged to take an advanced composition course in order to strengthen their control of written English.

Students may fulfill the requirements for the degree either by taking 33 credits of coursework and the comprehensive examination, or by taking 27 credits of coursework, the comprehensive examination, and 6 credits of M.A. research/thesis credits in conjunction with writing a thesis.

TESL Examination
In the second year students take a comprehensive examination on linguistics, pedagogy and TESL theory, and teaching methodology. Students must score a grade of B or higher on all parts of the exam. One retake of all or either part of the exam is permitted.