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Frequently Asked Questions


Prospective Student FAQ

The TESOL Program does not handle the actual issuing of visas, I-20s or DS-2019s. To get definitive information on this topic, please check with International Student and Scholar Services Office (ISSS).

  1. Complete the online application, providing a statement of purpose, test scores, transcripts, and recommendation letters as required. The application fee must be paid before your application can be processed.
  2. Your application is entered into the University computer systems, your GPA is evaluated by professionals, and your application is verified to ensure all necessary documentation is included.
  3. Once your application is verified as complete, it is forwarded to the academic unit where faculty decide if they feel you should be admitted to the particular program.
  4. Once the academic unit has made its decision, a letter is sent by e-mail informing you of the decision. You will either be offered or denied admission. If you are denied admission, you cannot be reconsidered for one academic year.

Yes, you can defer admission for up to one year by sending a request to be deferred by email to This request should include the semester you wish to defer to and your reason for deferring.

This depends greatly on you. The sooner your application is complete and all official documents have arrived, the sooner we can begin reviewing and processing your application. General processing takes 3-4 weeks and academic evaluation at the program level usually takes 1-2 weeks.

Anyone can take a class at AU as a non-degree student. To do so, you have to register through the College of Arts and Sciences non-degree registration and pay your fees and tuition. You can apply up to 12 credit hours of TESOL graduate coursework at AU toward one of our master's programs and up to 6 credit hours toward a Graduate TESOL Certificate.

One of the biggest obstacles is changing addresses. When you apply, you should be sure that the address you put on the application will be one where you can easily receive mail for at least one year. Making sure students provide a dependable email address will also ensure a smooth admission process. Another issue that arises is missing official documents (e.g. transcripts, test scores, financial documents). Additionally, sometimes students do not have a good idea of how much an education in a private U.S. university costs. Some students go through the whole application process, receive admission, and then discover that they do not have the financial means to attend American University. See AU's cost guide for an estimate of expenses.

New TESOL Student FAQ

A full time graduate load is nine credit hours - three 6xx-level TESOL courses; enrollment in less than nine credit hours is considered to be part-time. You have to take at least one credit per semester to stay enrolled in the program. In certain circumstances, master's students can be granted a leave of absence for one semester only. Graduate Certificate students can choose to take a semester off and do not need to take a leave of absence. You do not have to take courses during the summer - summer sessions are optional.

Contact the TESOL Program ( for details about registering. Be sure to enroll no later than the Friday before classes begin; otherwise, you will be charged a $100 late fee. Your academic adviser will need to authorize your registration before you can enroll in TESOL classes.

Our core courses required for almost all programs are TESL-600: Principles of Linguistics, TESL-601: English Language Teaching I (ELT I), and TESL-602: English Language Teaching II (ELT II). Principles of Linguistics is offered every semester, ELT I every Fall, and ELT II every Spring. It is always recommended to begin with TESL-600 and TESL-601 if possible. You will also have a discussion with your academic advisor about your coursework and program of study.

No. The MAT:ESOL Program is designed to meet particular standards required to teach in public schools in the United States. The TESOL coursework for the MA in TESOL and the MAT:ESOL program is essentially the same and our courses are intentionally designed so that you can tailor your learning to best prepare you for the students you intend to teach. Our faculty does its best to keep abreast of curricular developments in K-12 programs throughout the world, and we work with you to make sure that what you learn in the AU TESOL Program will prepare you for where you will be teaching when you leave our program.

 It is possible to apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT), which allows you to stay in the U.S. for up to one year after your graduation date to gain non-academic professional experience in your area of training. For the official details on OPT, please visit the International Student and Scholar Services website. You will need to work with an International Student Advisor at ISSS to receive OPT authorization.

The TESOL program offers the following programs in TESOL: MA in TESOL, MA in TEFL online, BA/MA in TESOL, Graduate and Undergraduate Certificate in TESOL.

In these programs. you can prepare to teach adults in higher education, in professional settings, in adult education and adult literacy instruction environments typically oriented toward recent refugees and immigrants, and to children in ESL and EFL contexts. However, our TESOL programs do not provide certification to teach in K-12 settings in the U.S.

The School of Education (SOE) offers an MAT: ESOL degree in partnership with the TESOL program that provides K-12 teacher certification.

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