Taught course

TESOL and Applied Linguistics

Durham University · Durham Centre for Academic Development (DCAD)

Entry requirements

A good first degree (normally a UK 2.1 or equivalent) plus at least one year of English language teaching experience. Check the full list of equivalent qualifications

Months of entry


Course content

The MA in TESOL and Applied Linguistics offers excellent opportunities to develop your career in English language teaching whether you’re an inexperienced teacher, starting out in the field or a more experienced teacher looking to take your skills to a new level.

Guided by our English language specialists, you can build a skillset that you can take into primary, secondary and higher education institutions as well as specialist language schools and adult education settings. This flexible MA opens the door to a wider range of career pathways, whether you’re interested in teaching non-native speakers in the UK, applying your learning to curriculum development or teaching English overseas.

The course offers a core of theory and practice which is informed by contemporary developments in the TESOL field. It combines innovative classroom practices in areas such as syllabus design and assessment with an understanding of issues such as language structure and research methodology. This approach provides opportunities to test your knowledge of contemporary TESOL theory in a classroom setting and refine your skills as you progress.

Optional modules covering a wide range of areas relevant to English language teaching are divided into two pathways, a TESOL pathway and an Applied Linguistics pathway with some shared modules. This allows you to build the course around your interests and career goals.

The course culminates in the MA dissertation in which you plan, research and write an independent research project on a related area of interest.

Course structure

Core modules:

Language for Teaching examines the phonological, lexical, grammatical and discoursal features of spoken and written language. You will learn to identify the key features, understand concepts, use linguistic terminology and critically evaluate language. You will also develop a deeper understanding of the differences between written and spoken text, and how to predict, identify and explain linguistic errors.

Classroom Methods teaches the core theories and methodologies from the field of applied linguistics that underpin the teaching of both skills and language knowledge in second-language classrooms. You will learn to consider the most appropriate approach to use in different teaching contexts and provide a rationale for your decisions.

Research Methods supports you in developing an understanding of key research approaches and methods in the fields of TESOL and Applied Linguistics. You will learn to apply and critically evaluate the approaches and methods in your own research.

Fundamentals of English Language Teaching introduces core ideas and issues relevant to second language acquisition, syllabus design and methodology. You will learn to critically discuss key issues in English language teaching and to evaluate the merits of various language syllabuses.

The Dissertation is an in-depth independent study focusing on an area of language description, pedagogy, acquisition or related area of TESOL and Applied Linguistics studies. The 15,000-word dissertation is the culmination of the MA, bringing together elements of learning from across the course.

You then choose four further modules from a wide range of options. The optional modules are divided into two pathways, TESOL and Applied Linguistics and have previously included:

TESOL pathway

  • Evaluation and Assessment
  • Practice of English Language Teaching
  • ELT Management
  • ELT Materials Development and Evaluation
  • English for Specific Purposes
  • ELT Methodology
  • Teaching Young Learners
  • Technology-enhanced Language Learning

Applied Linguistics pathway

  • Sociolinguistics
  • Intercultural Communication and Education
  • Global Englishes
  • Pragmatics and the Language Classroom
  • ELT Methodology
  • ELT Management

Information for international students

If you are an international student who does not meet the requirements for direct entry to this degree, you may be eligible to take a pre-Masters pathway programme at the Durham University International Study Centre.

Fees and funding

UK students
International students

For further information see the course listing.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MA
    part time
    24 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Recruitment and Admissions