Master of Arts in Teaching of English as a Second Language

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Our TESL degree combines a strong theoretical foundation in applied linguistics with practical training in the teaching of English to people who speak other native languages.

Program goals

The principal goals of the program are to:

  • provide the linguistic theory necessary for ESL/EFL teachers
  • equip teachers with the practical skills needed for effective language teaching
  • prepare students for further study in English language teaching, applied linguistics, and related fields


The MA-TESL program has three tracks:

Employment after Graduation

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Teaching abroad

Over 90 percent of our MA-TESL graduates have obtained ESL/EFL teaching positions. Graduates have taught in many countries, including:

  • Argentina
  • Egypt
  • Hungary
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Laos
  • Namibia
  • Russia
  • Saudi Arabia

ESL positions

Our graduates have also been employed in:

  • adult education
  • community colleges
  • programs for refugees
  • K-12 public schools
  • US Defense Language Institute

Literacy volunteers

Our grads have worked as literacy volunteers with:

  • US Peace Corps 
  • adult education programs

Publishing house positions

Our graduates have worked as curriculum specialists or lexicographers with:

  • Cambridge University Press
  • Longman

Length of program

The MA-TESL program is a one-and-a-half to two-year course of study. If you have a teaching assistantship, you should plan on a two-year commitment.

General information

TESL / Applied Linguistics Faculty

MA-TESL and PhD in Applied Linguistics Handbook 

Please see the academic catalog for the most recent information regarding courses and academic plans.

MA TESL Catalog Information

The NAU academic catalog is the official, authoritative source for all academic requirements and policies. Any discrepancies in curricular requirements from other sources will default to the catalog as the official, authoritative source. 

Graduate Student Association of Applied Linguistics

MA TESL Comprehensive Exam Information Sheet
Comprehensive Exams from previous years: 2015 (January, August), 2014 (January, August), 2013 (January, August), 2012 (January, August), 2011 (January, August), 2010 (January, August)

MA-TESL Writing Requirement Form

Financial aid

Find information on financial aid, including Tuition Waivers and Graduate Assistantships.