Master's Degree

Teaching English as a Second Language (M.A.)

Basic Degree Information/Description

This program of study is designed for students interested in teaching English as a Second Language to children or adults in schools and programs in the United States or in international settings. It is an interdisciplinary program that presents systematic instruction in applied linguistics, second language acquisition theory, and Teaching English as a Second Language program implementation. Students must take at least 24 semester credit hours of Teaching English as a Second Language courses and 9 hours of Bicultural-Bilingual studies courses. The Master's degree is offered under two options: thesis and non-thesis.

Why pursue an M.A. in Teaching English as a Second Language?

  • MA-TESL degree is internationally recognized as the terminal degree in the field of Teaching English as a Second Language.
  • MA-TESL faculty have extensive teaching experience in K-12 and adult education contexts in the United States, Latin America, Asia, and Europe; are creative and talented teachers who possess expertise in the courses they teach; and are internationally recognized scholars who maintain active research agendas in the field.
  • MA-TESL students include current, former, and future K-12 teachers and adult educators from the United States and around the world.

Degree Requirements

Degree candidates are required to successfully complete a 36-semester-credit-hour program. Upon completion of at least 30 semester credit hours of coursework, the candidate is required to pass a comprehensive examination.

For a complete list of degree requirements please see the Graduate Catalog.

Admission Requirements and Prerequisites

Admission prerequisites: Bachelor's degree with 18 credit hours in field of study or in another appropriate field of study.

Transcripts: Official transcripts from all institutions attended. All international transcripts must be recorded in English or officially translated to English.

Graduate Studies Application: Yes

Department Application: No

Test Scores: If GPA is less than a 3.0 in the last 60 hours, a GRE may be required.

Resume or CV: Recommended if GPA does not meet minimum requirement.

Letters of Recommendation: Recommended if GPA does not meet minimum requirement.

Statement of Purpose: Recommended if GPA does not meet minimum requirement.

Minimum TOEFL Score (for International Applicants): 550 paper/80 internet

Minimum IELTS Score (for International Applicants): 6.5

Additional Requirements: International students and those with international degrees may be required to submit additional documents per our admissions policies and procedures. The Graduate School reserves the right to request any additional documents needed to fairly and consistently evaluate applicant credentials.


Application Deadline Dates

Domestic Applicants (Citizens and Permanent Residents):

  • Spring: November 1
  • Summer: April 1
  • Fall: July 1

International Applicants:

  • Spring: September 1
  • Summer: March 1
  • Fall: April 1

Contact Information

Graduate Advisor of Record: Rahnuma Islam
Telephone: (210) 458-6619

Degree Catalog:

Degree Website:

Contact the Graduate School: Contact now for more information

Career Options Available for an M.A. in Teaching English as a Second Language graduate:

  • Teaching English language learners in K-12 schools (MA-TESL can be combined with an accelerated teacher certification program)
  • Career advancements for current K-12 teacher
  • Adult ESL (community-based programs, college and university-based programs, U.S. military programs, private schools, etc.)
  • ESL and ELL Program administrative positions in K-12 and adult education
  • International ESL/EFL programs (K-12, adult, public and private schools, colleges, and universities)
  • Private Tutoring and Consulting

Course Scheduling and Offerings

  • Courses are offered in the evenings (6 PM to 8:45 PM) to fit the schedules of working professionals
  • Daytime courses are available in the summer
  • This program is housed on the UTSA Main Campus

Research taking place in the M.A. - TESL program

  • Computer assisted second language acquisition
  • Impact of U.S. federal and state language and education policies on language minority students.
  • International language policy
  • Linguistic landscapes
  • Language maintenance, shift, and loss
  • Effective policies and programs for language minority students
  • Heritage language education
  • Language contact and Language Variation