AU TESOL students and faculty.

Get ready to answer the global call for effective and engaging English language teachers. American University’s MA in Teaching English Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) will prepare you to work with students in the United States and across the world.

At AU, you’ll experience a combination of hands-on practice, research, and community involvement. Our courses will give you a deep understanding of applied linguistics, language theories, and teaching methods.
Request Info    How to Apply

  • Mode of Study
    On campus
  • Time to Complete
    4 semesters or your own pace
  • Course Scheduling
    Afternoon and evening
  • Requirements
    30 credits
  • Tuition and Funding
    $2000 per credit. All applicants automatically considered for merit scholarships; visit Tuition and Funding.
  • Admissions
    Start in fall or spring; no GRE scores required: Admission and Requirements.

In the Nation’s Capital

Studying TESOL in DC is unlike anywhere else! Our network of community partners gives you an opportunity to experience a wide variety of classrooms and contexts.

Varied Professional Paths

We prepare our grads to pursue many professional paths, from teaching in the US and abroad, to advocating for language learners, to research and publication.

Diversity Is Our Strength

Each student is unique, with different experiences and professional goals. We specialize in meeting you where you are and helping you get where you want to go.

AU TESOL FairApril 19, 2:00-5:30 | Mary Graydon Center 1st Floor, 247, & 245

Come interact with TESOL employers in the DC metropolitan area and learn about various career opportunities in teaching English as an additional language from AU TESOL alumni. Also, come celebrate outstanding work and retirement of Dr. Robin Barr, TESOL's Linguist in Residence. Registration is not required, but is appreciated: Schedule details and RSVP on Eventbrite.

Specialize Your Studies: We Practice What We Teach

AU TESOL students and faculty gathered during commencement.

In our TESOL courses, we model instructional practices that prepare our students for Teaching English as an Additional Language in an ever-changing world:

  • Knowing our students’ needs, goals, and strengths, and incorporating them into our tailored instruction.
  • Scaffolding our instructional practices to meet our students where they are in their development as English teachers.
  • Assessing our students’ progress in meaningful ways and providing feedback to optimize professional development.
  • Integrating and celebrating the many varieties of English used in the world.
  • Providing hands-on activities and authentic experiences to make research more accessible and useful.


What is life like as a graduate student in AU’s TESOL Program? With a diverse student population that includes domestic and international students, novice and in-service teachers, mid-life career switchers and twenty-somethings, we know that everyone’s experience will be unique. Our faculty specializes in meeting graduate students where they are and helping them get to where they want to go. That’s why we offer our MA in TESOL, as well as our Graduate Certificate.

Whatever your previous experiences and professional goals may be, here’s a glimpse of a typical full-time student’s trajectory through our MS degree program.

Semester Outside of Class Coursework Practicum Experiences
Semester 1 Get acquainted with AU’s campus and resources, meet faculty and students, explore Washington, DC.  TESL 601: English Language Teaching 1: Begin exploring the profession through learner needs assessment, teaching methods, and materials for English learners. 

TESL 604: Writing and Research in TESOL: Begin global academic dialogue through training and mentorship in academic reading, research, and writing. 

Tutor an English language learner for a minimum of 10 hours.

Observe two+ different EAL classrooms.  
Semester 2 Spend time in local EAL classes through community partnerships and networking opportunities.  TESL 602: English Language Teaching 2: Create content-based lesson plans that emphasize communicative ability in speaking, listening, reading, and writing.

TESL 623: Second Language Acquisition: Conduct a qualitative case study on an English learner and present the results in a formal talk and journal-length paper.
Tutor an English language learner for a minimum of 10 hours. 

Interview an experienced EAL teacher. 

Begin drafting your teaching philosophy. 
Semester 3 Take a little break – you worked hard all academic year!  TESL 654: Technology for Language Learning and Teaching: Identify how to use the latest apps, platforms, and digital tools to strengthen your classroom practice.   Tutor an English learner for a 5+ hours.

Design a digital story about your teaching experiences. 

Begin revising your previous work for inclusion into your Teaching Portfolio. 
Semester 4 Attend career fairs, the local WATESOL conference, and other networking opportunities for post-graduation employment.  TESL 620: TESOL Practicum and Portfolio: Ground yourself in postmethod pedagogies while completing your culminating practicum and compiling your teaching portfolio. 

TESL 631: Language Assessment - Develop meaningful formative and summative assessments of student learning and English language development. 

Complete the 40-hour practicum placement with your host instructor. 

Finalize your Teaching Portfolio. 

Prepare for the Oral Comprehensive Exam. 

Sample Elective Courses 

  • TESL 600: Principles of Linguistics: Learn how languages are structured and used in a variety of contexts for communicative purposes.
  • TESL 624: Reading and Writing in the ESL/EFL Classroom: Build skills in teaching reading and writing to English learners, from basic to advanced academic literacy.
  • TESL 627: Intercultural Approaches in TESOL: Develop intercultural communicative competence and learn how to integrate culture and language in English instruction.
  • TESL 641: Teaching Grammar: Create engaging, genre- and content-based English lessons that incorporate contextualized grammar instruction.
  • TESL 645: Curriculum and Materials Development: Gain professional skills in designing instructional materials while also exploring the entrepreneurial side of freelance design.

*If full-time study is not feasible for you, we will help you design a part-time course of study that fits in with your life. Contact Polina Vinogradova

Spotlight: Lauren White

Lauren White, AU TESOL alumna.I've worked with English language learners from all walks of life, from baristas to elementary school students, from housewives to refugees, from marketing managers to aspiring university students. The fact that I possess a master's degree from such a reputable university program has undoubtedly given me an advantage over the competition.
Lauren White, MA ‘07 Freelance English Instructor

Spotlight: Debora Amidani

Debora Amidani, AU TESOL alumna.AU transformed me on a whole other level. I am a better person after my MA. Job-wise, I feel prepared to take on new challenges in a foreign country and am also 100 pecent more culturally aware.
Debora Amidani, MA ’20, ESL Instructor at The Family Place in Washington, DC

Career Outlook

Our graduates work in schools, universities, online programs, nonprofits, corporations, and small businesses around the world. Some graduates are self-employed, establishing their own English language programs or working as freelance consultants, while others are integral members of educational teams. Read our newsletters for the latest updates from our alumni worldwide.

Here is a sampling of the organizations where our graduates work both domestically and internationally:

US Organizations

  • Asbury Park School District (Asbury, NJ)
  • Austin Independent School District (Austin, TX)
  • English Institute at the University of Maryland (College Park, MD)
  • English Language Training Solutions (locations in MD and VA) 
  • Northern Virginia Community College (Six campuses, VA)
  • The Lab School (Washington, DC) 
  • US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (Burlington, VT)
  • Washington College of Law, American University (Washington, DC)
  • Washington English Center (Washington, DC)
  • Worker Education and Resource Center (Los Angeles, CA)

International Organizations

  • Brac University (Bangladesh)
  • Everest English Academy (Myanmar)
  • Institut Universitaire de Technologie 1 (France)
  • Nanning Normal University (China)
  • New York University Shanghai (China)
  • Oslo Metropolitan University (Norway)
  • Temple University Japan (Tokyo)
  • University of the Free State (South Africa)
  • University of Jeddah (Saudi Arabia)
  • Universidad Técnica Nacional (Costa Rica)

What You'll Walk Away With

A professional graduate degree is an investment in time, money, and effort that has significant benefits for your future career goals. When you graduate from our 30-credit MA in TESOL, you will walk away with:

  • A solid foundation in EAL instructional design, from the creation of standalone classroom activities to coherent lesson plans and content-based units.
  • An understanding of human language as a communicative system, and the ability to engage your learners in student-centered explorations of authentic language in use.
  • 80+ hours of experience with classroom observation, individual tutoring, lesson planning, and teaching.
  • How to develop and implement marketing and promotion plans, create and manage websites and social media accounts, and write effective press releases — within a team and governing structure.
  • Strong academic research, writing, and presentation skills that bring you into conversations with other practitioners and thinkers in the field of applied linguistics.
  • A completed case study project that contributes to the existing body of research in second language acquisition.
  • A toolkit of technology tools to complement your teaching.
  • A comprehensive digital teaching portfolio ready to share with potential employers.
  • A strong network of supportive alumni around the world.

Ready to dive in?
Start Application