Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) (MA)

Year of entry

2018

Start date

October 2018

Location

Central London

Status

Fully Approved

Duration

One year full-time or two years part-time

Attendance

Two to three evenings a week, October to September

This programme is designed for people who are already English language teachers and want to develop their career opportunities, or those with less experience but a strong interest in pursuing a career in this field.

The programme will develop your understanding of both classroom practice and key areas of research that inform practice. Through your acquaintance with current literature and the research you carry out in completing course assignments, you will be able to engage critically and constructively in debates relating to a wide range of aspects of language teaching.

The programme focuses on the multilingual and multicultural contexts of language learning and teaching. It allows students from all over the world the opportunity to share their experiences with locally based teachers, thus gaining insight into a range of language teaching contexts in the UK, including the state education system. In addition, you will be studying alongside students on the MA Language Teaching programme, thus benefiting from an exchange of experiences and perspectives with teachers of languages other than English.

The MA TESOL will enhance your career prospects in a number of ways. If you are an experienced teacher it will help you to progress to a more senior or specialised position in language teaching, such as a senior teacher, director of studies, teacher trainer, consultant or materials developer.

An MA TESOL is an essential qualification for those who wish to teach English at university level, whether for general or more specific purposes. For those with less teaching experience, an MA TESOL will give you a competitive early career advantage as you gain more experience in teaching posts.

Highlights

  • In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), Modern Languages and Linguistics achieved 100% for a research environment conducive to producing research of the highest quality, while 73% of our research was recognised as world-leading or internationally excellent.
  • You will be part of a vibrant scholarly and research community in the heart of London.
  • You will enhance your career prospects by gaining a highly valued qualification in a profession that is in constant and growing demand.
  • The Birkbeck Applied Linguistics Society, an official University of London society, was formed to bring together students interested in applied linguistics and related fields (for example multilingualism, intercultural communication and TESOL) in the London area.
  • Birkbeck’s Centre for Multilingual and Multicultural Research hosts visiting scholars from all over the world and runs regular research seminars given by speakers from overseas and other UK institutions. The Centre also supports postgraduate training in applied linguistics, bilingualism, intercultural communication and translation.
  • Read a blog post by Professor Penelope Gardner-Chloros that considers what linguistics is.

Course structure

You take two core modules (worth 30 credits each) and two or three option modules (worth 30 credits each), and complete a 12,000-15,000-word dissertation (worth 60 credits) or a 4500-5000-word independent literature review (worth 30 credits).

Note: please check with the programme office for availability of the modules listed.

Module groups

To find out more, read our programme handbook.

Sample timetable

PDF document icon ALC Masters Timetable 2017-18.pdf — PDF document, 72 KB (74743 bytes)
  • Entry Requirements

    Entry requirements

    Usually an upper second-class honours degree or above, or overseas equivalent, in a relevant subject and/or relevant professional training and language teaching experience.

    This programme is designed for candidates with recent and relevant experience of, and/or professional training in, classroom language teaching. However, candidates with limited classroom language teaching experience may apply if they have an excellent academic record in a field related to language teaching/TESOL and can demonstrate a strong interest in, and the ability to reflect critically on, key issues in language learning and teaching.

    You may be called to interview and you may also be asked for a lesson plan and post-lesson reflection of no more than 500 words.

    You must also provide one academic reference.

    If you have been awarded the Cambridge Diploma in English Language Teaching to Adults (DELTA) in the last five years, you may apply for credit for one option module (please indicate this in your application).

    International entry requirements

    If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, our usual requirement is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.

    If you don't meet the minimum IELTS requirement, we offer pre-sessional English courses, foundation programmes and language support services to help you improve your English language skills and get your place at Birkbeck.

    Visit the International section of our website to find out more about our English language entry requirements and relevant requirements by country.

    Visa requirements

    If you are not from the European Economic Area (EEA) and/or Switzerland and you are coming to study in the UK, you may need to apply for a visa.

    The visa you apply for varies according to the length of your course:

    • Courses of more than six months’ duration.
    • Courses of less than six months’ duration.
    • Pre-sessional English language courses.

    International students who require a Tier 4 visa should apply for our three-year evening study BA/BSc/LLB degrees, as these are classified as full-time study and qualify for student visa status. If you are living in the UK on a Tier 4 visa, you will not be eligible to enrol as a student on Birkbeck’s part-time evening study degrees.

    For full information, read our visa information for international students page.

    Credits and Accredited Prior Learning (APL)

    If you have studied at university previously, you may have accumulated credits through the modules you studied. It may be possible to transfer these credits from your previous study to Birkbeck or another institution. You should discuss this with the Programme Director when you are making your application.

    Find out more about credits and Accredited Prior Learning (APL).

  • Fees

    Fees

    Part-time home/EU students: £4075 pa
    Full-time home/EU students: £8175 pa
    Part-time international students: £7425 pa
    Full-time international students: £14850 pa

    Students are charged a tuition fee in each year of their programme. Tuition fees for students continuing on their programme in following years may be subject to annual inflationary increases. For more information, please see the College Fees Policy.

  • Teaching and assessment

    Teaching

    At Birkbeck, almost all of our courses are taught in the evening and our teaching is designed to support students who are juggling evening study with work and other daytime commitments. We actively encourage innovative and engaging ways of teaching, to ensure our students have the best learning experience. In the 2017 Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), the government’s system for rating university teaching, Birkbeck was allocated a Silver award.

    Teaching may include formal lectures, seminars, and practical classes and tutorials. Formal lectures are used in most degree programmes to give an overview of a particular field of study. They aim to provide the stimulus and the starting point for deeper exploration of the subject during your own personal reading. Seminars give you the chance to explore a specific aspect of your subject in depth and to discuss and exchange ideas with fellow students. They typically require preparatory study.

    Our distance-learning and blended-learning courses and modules are self-directed and we will provide you with interactive learning opportunities and encourage you to collaborate and engage via various learning technologies. These courses involve limited or no face-to-face contact between students and module tutors.

    In addition, you will have access to pastoral support via a named Personal Tutor.

    Methods of teaching on this course

    Lectures, seminars, workshops and student presentations.

    Key teaching staff include:

    Contact hours

    On our taught courses, you will have scheduled teaching and study sessions each year. Alongside this, you will also undertake assessment activities and independent learning outside of class. Depending on the modules you take, you may also have additional scheduled academic activities, such as tutorials, dissertation supervision, practical classes, visits and fieldtrips.

    On our taught courses, the actual amount of time you spend in the classroom and in contact with your lecturers will depend on your course, the option modules you select and when you undertake your final-year project.

    On our distance-learning and blended-learning courses, discussion, collaboration and interaction with your lecturers and fellow students are encouraged and enabled through various learning technologies, but you may have limited or no face-to-face contact with your module tutors.

    Timetables

    Timetables are usually available from September onwards and you can access your personalised timetable via your My Birkbeck Profile online (if you have been invited to enrol).

    Indicative class size

    Class sizes vary, depending on your course, the module you are undertaking, and the method of teaching. For example, lectures are presented to larger groups, whereas seminars usually consist of small, interactive groups led by a tutor.

    Independent learning

    On our taught courses, much of your time outside of class will be spent on self-directed, independent learning, including preparing for classes and following up afterwards. This will usually include, but is not limited to, reading books and journal articles, undertaking research, working on coursework and assignments, and preparing for presentations and assessments.

    Independent learning is absolutely vital to your success as a student. Everyone is different, and the study time required varies topic by topic, but, as a guide, expect to schedule up to five hours of self-study for each hour of teaching.

    On our distance-learning and blended-learning courses, the emphasis is very much on independent, self-directed learning and you will be expected to manage your own learning, with the support of your module tutors and various learning technologies.

    Study skills and additional support

    Birkbeck offers study and learning support to undergraduate and postgraduate students to help them succeed. Our Learning Development Service can help you in the following areas:

    • academic skills (including planning your workload, research, writing, exam preparation and writing a dissertation)
    • written English (including structure, punctuation and grammar)
    • numerical skills (basic mathematics and statistics).

    Our Disability and Dyslexia Service can support you if you have additional learning needs resulting from a disability or from dyslexia.

    Our Counselling Service can support you if you are struggling with emotional or psychological difficulties during your studies.

    Our Mental Health Advisory Service can support you if you are experiencing short- or long-term mental health difficulties during your studies.

    Assessment

    Assessment is an integral part of your university studies and usually consists of a combination of coursework and examinations, although this will vary from course to course - on some of our courses, assessment is entirely by coursework. The methods of assessment on this course are specified below under 'Methods of assessment on this course'. You will need to allow time to complete coursework and prepare for exams.

    Where a course has unseen written examinations, these may be held termly, but, on the majority of our courses, exams are usually taken in the Summer term, during May to June. Exams may be held at other times of the year as well. In most cases, exams are held during the day on a weekday - if you have daytime commitments, you will need to make arrangements for daytime attendance - but some exams are held in the evening. Exam timetables are published online.

    Find out more about assessment at Birkbeck, including guidance on assessment, feedback and our assessment offences policy.

    Methods of assessment on this course

    For your coursework, you complete a dissertation of 12,000-15,000 words or an independent literature review of 4000-5000 words.

  • Careers and employability

    Careers and employability

    Graduates go into careers in education, the media and public relations, marketing and publishing, and lexicography and translation. Possible professions include language teacher (TESOL), special educational needs teacher, or careers adviser. This degree may also be useful in various roles within local government, the media, or tourism and hospitality, as well as becoming a higher education lecturer, youth worker, or community development worker. Find out more about these professions.

    We offer a comprehensive Careers and Employability Service to help you advance your career, while our in-house, professional recruitment consultancy, Birkbeck Talent, works with London’s top employers to help you gain work experience that fits in with your evening studies.

  • How to apply

    How to apply

    Your application will only be considered if you have completed initial training as a language teacher and if you have relevant classroom language teaching experience. Please give full details of your training and experience in your application.

    Application deadlines and interviews

    We recommend you apply as early as possible. Later applications may also be considered, subject to availability of places.