Explore this course:

    Applications for 2024 entry are now open. Apply now or register your interest to hear about postgraduate study and events at the University of Sheffield.

    2024 start September 


    School of English, Faculty of Arts and Humanities

    Gain practical teaching skills and classroom experience alongside theoretical knowledge in TESOL. You'll get advanced training in the theory and techniques of applied linguistics and have a chance to gain an internationally-recognised teaching qualification (TKT). You can also achieve professional recognition as TEFLi-qualified (certificate-level ELT qualification equivalent) based on criteria from Accreditation UK.
    Students with books

    Course description

    Study theoretical approaches to TESOL in the research environment of an academic department and put these into practice in our English Language Teaching Centre (ELTC).

    Through this unique combination of theory and practice, you'll develop awareness of the theoretical principles underpinning TESOL practice and be equipped with the practical skills to work in diverse international educational contexts.

    This degree is ideal for:

    • People with little or no English language teaching experience who are interested in pursuing a career in the field
    • People with up to two years of English language teaching experience who wish to develop their careers by deepening their knowledge and skills in TESOL
    • Those interested in applied linguistic and language teaching research and/or classroom-based practitioner research

    You'll focus on key areas of learning and teaching second languages, including language teaching methodology, teaching skills (reading, writing, speaking and listening) and systems (grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation and discourse), materials selection and use, classroom pedagogy and reflective practice.

    As part of the course you'll have the opportunity to complete a professional portfolio. You can also do six hours of assessed teaching practice, leading to professional recognition in the field of English language teaching.

    The MA TESOL is one of three linguistics MAs offered in the School of English.

    • If you're interested in learning more about the professional and research applications of linguistic theory and are seeking to build on your experience as a language professional then you may be interested in our MA Applied Linguistics course.
    • If you're seeking to deepen your knowledge of language and linguistic theory and looking for rigorous training in linguistic research applicable to a range of fields including social, historical, theoretical, and literary linguistics, then you may be interested in our MA Language and Linguistics.


    The English Language Teaching Centre is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK. The ELTC is also an accredited Cambridge English Language Assessment test centre providing students on this course with the option of taking the Teaching Knowledge Test qualification.


    A selection of modules is available each year - some examples are below. There may be changes before you start your course. From May of the year of entry, formal programme regulations will be available in our Programme Regulations Finder.

    Core modules:

    Language Teaching Methodology

    This unit reviews the principles, thinking and history underlying contemporary language teaching practices. It explores what we know of the processes involved in language production and reception in a second language and the implications for teaching the language skills. It also reviews and assesses developments in the teaching of grammar and vocabulary of a foreign language. Among other issues explored are the role of feedback, task-based approaches and the impact of language learning theory on teaching.

    15 credits
    Teaching Practice 1

    This module aims to provide you with an opportunity to develop practical TESOL skills and to demonstrate your theoretical knowledge of English Language Teaching applied in the classroom. Over the course of the module, you will reflect on your current practices in TESOL, develop your range of classroom procedures and techniques, and apply existing knowledge of approaches and methods. You will have to evidence your teaching skills linked to TESOL theory. You will receive support in both lesson planning and delivery. The teaching practice focus of this module is teaching learners in a one-to-one context. You can also gain an optional Cambridge Assessment Teaching Knowledge Test (TKT) Modules 1, 2 and/or 3 qualifications, provided its external criteria and entry costs are met.

    15 credits
    Teaching Listening and Speaking

    This module will equip you with the theoretical knowledge and practical skills needed to support the development of second language learners' listening and speaking skills. You will be introduced to different approaches to learning and teaching listening and speaking in a range of TESOL contexts and consider how to make principled pedagogical decisions, informed by underpinning theory and research. In addition, you will develop your ability to select, adapt or create appropriate listening and speaking materials relevant to learner needs and evaluate procedures and techniques for assessing and developing second language listening and speaking skills.

    15 credits
    Teaching Practice 2

    This module aims to build on the contents of Teaching Practice 1 and further develop practical TESOL skills and consolidate theoretical knowledge of English Language Teaching as applied in the classroom. This module will help you to reflect further on your current practice, further your understanding of practical classroom procedures and techniques and apply these with real learners and through micro- and peer-teaching. The teaching practice focus of this module is teaching groups in online contexts. As with Teaching Practice 1, you will have the opportunity to take the optional Cambridge Assessment Teaching Knowledge Test (TKT) Modules 1, 2 and/or 3 qualification, provided its external criteria and entry costs are met.

    15 credits
    Teaching Reading and Writing

    This module will familiarise you with the theory and practice of how to teach reading and writing in TESOL contexts. For the Teaching Reading part of the module, you will study the main approaches to teaching second language reading in the English language classroom; how you can develop learners' intensive and extensive reading abilities; how reading can be assessed; and how popular TESOL textbooks teach reading. For the Teaching Writing part of the module, you will study the main approaches to teaching second language writing; how writing can be corrected; whether correcting writing works; how writing can be assessed, and how popular TESOL textbooks teach writing. You will practice designing and assessing reading activities; and practice correcting and assessing writing.

    15 credits
    Teaching Vocabulary, Grammar, and Discourse

    This module is aimed at students who are interested in the acquisition, learning and teaching of vocabulary, grammar and discourse in second languages. Throughout this module, students will be introduced to some of the principal theories, concepts, descriptive categories, and methodologies which are central to the teaching of English vocabulary, grammar, and discourse. Taking a predominantly functional approach to language description, students will be familiarised with some of the key ways in which the lexico-grammar functions as a resource for creating meaning in use, and the implications for teaching the language systems with a functional and communicative purpose. Working practically with authentic spoken and written language data and language teaching materials, the module will encourage students to critically reflect on their prior experiences as learners and, where appropriate, teachers of English. Throughout the module, we will be drawing on the principles derived from second language acquisition research that inform effective teaching practice of vocabulary, grammar and discourse. The module aims to help you uncover your individual beliefs about the learning and teaching of vocabulary, grammar and discourse, and guide you to critically explore a variety of teaching principles, methods and techniques. Overall, this course has three main objectives: - Familiarise yourself with the current knowledge and developments on the learning and teaching of vocabulary, grammar and discourse (i.e. language systems) in second languages - Help you develop the necessary background knowledge to understand and critically examine the ways in which the language systems function and are taught in second languages - Prepare you to be able to evaluate, select and apply the teaching principles, techniques and methods that are most appropriate for the instruction of language systems in different educational contexts.

    15 credits
    Materials and Course Design

    This module will familiarise you with the theory and practice of TESOL course design and language teaching. You will look at different scholarly approaches to the design of language teaching curricula, materials, and tests, evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of these approaches, and their usefulness in various TESOL situations in diverse secondary and tertiary education contexts. The module will provide you with the opportunity to practise designing language courses and language teaching materials. The module therefore will provide you with an essential theoretical and practical foundation to design TESOL language courses and teaching materials, and to critically assess existing examples of each and their appropriateness in various learning contexts.

    15 credits
    Practitioner Research and Development

    This module aims to provide you with English language teacher skills and knowledge in the areas of practitioner research methods and techniques as well as theories and frameworks for teacher professional development. Over the course of this module, you will engage in reflective practice on your own teaching and learning experiences through engagement with current practice and literature. You will have to evidence your knowledge through critical analysis of a range of approaches to research and development skills that will aid your future teaching profession and help you plan for your educational career.

    15 credits
    Professional Portfolio

    This module aims to consolidate and deepen the work carried out in the core modules and provide opportunities for research and practice into agreed specialist areas of TESOL. Over the course of the module, you will complete a comprehensive professional literature review in the chosen area(s) and link this to subsequent final teaching observations. You will have to evidence your application of your teacher research skills and development plans in your extended essay and teaching practice. Successful completion of this module (along with EGF404 and EGH405) will allow for professional recognition as TEFLi qualified (Certificate-level ELT qualification equivalent) from criteria from the British Council and Accreditation UK.

    60 credits

    The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

    Open days

    An open day gives you the best opportunity to hear first-hand from our current students and staff about our courses.

    You may also be able to pre-book a department visit as part of a campus tour.Open days and campus tours


    • 1 year full-time
    • 2 years part-time


    You’ll be taught by a dedicated and enthusiastic team of teachers. Our internationally recognised research feeds straight into our teaching, with students sometimes taking a hands-on role in our research activities.

    The staff are leading figures in their fields, in many cases having written the books and papers you will be studying: Kook-Hee Gil (Second Language Acquisition), Nigel Harwood (TESOL Materials), Jane Mulderrig (Critical Discourse Analysis), Valerie Hobbs (English for Specific Purposes), Beth Melia-Leigh (Teacher Education) and Beatriz González Fernández (Vocabulary).

    You’ll spend about eight hours a week in lectures, seminars and workshops, and there are chances to take part in classroom-based research projects.


    Assessment depends on the module, but includes essay assignments and classroom coursework tasks.

    Your career

    Our graduates develop TESOL practitioner professional skills and valuable teaching experience and go on to advanced careers in TESOL all over the world. They also work in business, publishing, translation and interpreting. 

    Your career - the School of English

    Entry requirements

    Minimum 2:1 undergraduate honours degree in linguistics, English language and/or literature, or a modern language.

    We can also accept a related subject, such as education or psychology if you have experience of language teaching.

    You should demonstrate experience of, or a strong interest in, language teaching as part of your application.

    We also consider a wide range of international qualifications:

    Entry requirements for international students

    Overall IELTS score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component, or equivalent.

    Pathway programme for international students

    If you're an international student who does not meet the entry requirements for this course, you have the opportunity to apply for a pre-masters programme in Business, Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Sheffield International College. This course is designed to develop your English language and academic skills. Upon successful completion, you can progress to degree level study at the University of Sheffield.

    If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.

    Fees and funding


    There are a number of studentships and fee bursaries available, funded by either the University or the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Deadlines for funding applications are usually in winter/early spring. 


    You can apply now using our Postgraduate Online Application Form. It's a quick and easy process.

    Apply now


    +44 114 222 0220

    Any supervisors and research areas listed are indicative and may change before the start of the course.

    Our student protection plan

    Recognition of professional qualifications: from 1 January 2021, in order to have any UK professional qualifications recognised for work in an EU country across a number of regulated and other professions you need to apply to the host country for recognition. Read information from the UK government and the EU Regulated Professions Database.