Course overview

Designed for both experienced teachers and those with little or no classroom experience, our MA Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) programme at Aston University offers a comprehensive foundation in language pedagogy and effective teaching practices.

Through a blend of academic theory and practical application, you will explore key aspects of TESOL, including language acquisition theories, classroom management strategies and innovative teaching methodologies. Our expert faculty guide you through the latest developments in language education, empowering you to create engaging and effective learning environments for English language learners.

Whether you are looking to advance your career or embark on a new teaching journey, Aston University's MA TESOL programme provides the knowledge, skills and confidence needed to excel in the field of English language education. Join our vibrant learning community and become a transformative force in language teaching and learning worldwide.

Saba Azimi MA TESOL graduate

“I can confidently attest that Aston [University] offers an unparalleled experience. The academic atmosphere is vibrant, creating an environment where learning feels engaging. The friendly attitude of the staff and the approachability of professors contribute significantly to this positive experience.”

Read more

Saba Azimi
MA Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
ESOL lecturer, Walsall College

Why TESOL at Aston University?

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Skills development
100% of students agreed that their research skills had developed during their course (MA TESOL; PTES, 2023)
Graduate outcomes
Graduates are employed as teachers in a wide range of educational settings, both in the UK and internationally
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Active involvement
100% of students agreed that they were encouraged to ask questions or make contributions in taught sessions (MA TESOL; PTES, 2023)
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Our full attention
We were ranked 5th in the UK for ‘student to staff ratio’ (English; Guardian, 2024)
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Excellent prospects
Aston University was named runner-up in the University of the Year for Graduate Employment Award (Times/Sunday Times Good University Guide, 2024)

Course description

MA Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)

Our MA TESOL programme blends cutting-edge linguistic theory with practical teaching skills, equipping you for impactful careers in English language education globally.

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What we will provide
First-class TESOL education in the UK’s second-largest city, provided by leading academics and experienced practitioners. You will benefit from a blend of theory and hands-on teaching experience, including innovative pedagogical methods and access to cutting-edge research.

We are also an Adobe Creative Campus meaning you will have access to top-notch software licenses, including Adobe and Solidworks, commonly used in industry.

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What you will provide
It is important to learn how to adopt a growth mindset in your studies, understanding that intelligence and success stem from applying yourself, willingness to learn and having ambition and drive to excel.

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What skills we teach
Our MA TESOL programme hones essential English teaching skills including pedagogy, language assessment and classroom management. You will gain expertise in intercultural communication, curriculum development and research methods, preparing you for success in diverse teaching environments globally.

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Career prospects
As an Aston University TESOL graduate, you will be equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to thrive in the diverse landscape of language education. This preparation opens doors to rewarding teaching positions, educational management roles and entrepreneurial opportunities, both in the UK and internationally.

How you will learn

In our MA TESOL programme, you will engage in dynamic and interactive learning methods that are tailored to enhance your teaching capabilities. You will participate in seminars, presentations and group activities, as well as have opportunities for classroom teaching and observation. Additionally, you will conduct individual research and complete a dissertation, which will prepare you for impactful roles in language education.

At the start of your course, you will be allocated a personal tutor who can offer individual study advice and guidance. You will also benefit from access to the University Library's extensive collection of over 25,000 books and electronic journals. Aston University's virtual learning environment supports your journey, providing resources like lecture slides, e-books and online journals.

What you will learn

The MA TESOL programme offers an immersive exploration of English language teaching, equipping you with the theoretical knowledge and practical skills needed for a career in TESOL.

In the taught phase, you will delve into the principles of pedagogy, linguistic theory and classroom dynamics, fostering a comprehensive understanding of how to effectively teach English to speakers of other languages. Through examining contemporary research and engaging in hands-on teaching practice, you will learn to design effective syllabi, utilise cutting-edge teaching technologies and adapt your teaching strategies to meet the needs of diverse learners. This phase sets the groundwork for your professional development and prepares you for the research-focused challenges of the dissertation stage.

In the dissertation phase, you will complete a research project on a TESOL topic of your choice, showcasing your ability to conduct independent research with a clear consideration of ethics, theory and methods.

Laura Toninelli TESOL and Translation Studies student


Laura Toninelli praised her course for its well-balanced mix of theory and practice, highlighting how it improved employability through practical teaching experiences and insights into classroom dynamics.

Course objectives

  1. Develops your familiarity with the various literatures and key issues in the interdisciplinary field of TESOL.
  2. Introduces you to a range of research methods and techniques relevant to your academic and professional development.
  3. Enables you to make informed decisions on any aspect of TESOL.
  4. Supports your development as a reflective practitioner through a working integration of theory and practice.
  5. Helps you actively participate as a member of an international professional and scholarly discourse community.


Modules and learning outcomes

Taught stage modules

In the taught stage you will study the following core modules:

Module TitleCredits
Theory and Practice of English Language Teaching
This module provides you with both a practical and theoretical background to TESOL/ELT, helping to foster a principled approach to pedagogic practice.
Language Awareness
This module aims to provide you with a pedagogically sensitised approach to the linguistic description of the English Language and helps to develop your own understanding of the way the English Language works.
Research Methods in TESOL
This module introduces you to the general nature of research in TESOL/ELT and provides a foundation for your dissertation.

You will choose three of the following optional modules:*

Module TitleCredits
English Teaching Practice**
In the context of undertaking actual classroom teaching you will develop a deeper understanding of the key principles of classroom activities and procedures and will be able to evaluate different approaches to teaching and learning.
Analysing Discourse
You will develop your understanding of the fundamentals of text analysis and gain an overview of major theories and methodologies associated with analysing spoken and written texts.
Teaching English to Young Learners
In this module, you will explore global contexts for teaching English to young learners (TEYL). You will delve into second language acquisition theories and syllabi preparation, while honing skills to evaluate materials for TEYL settings.
Language Contact and Multilingualism
In this module, you will study multilingualism and language contact in a globalised world. Analyse English's role as a lingua franca and its impact on other languages. Explore how new media influences multilingual communication.
Research Topics in TESOL
In this module, you will choose and research a TESOL topic under supervision. Dive deep into your chosen area within TESOL, tailored to your interests and preferences.
Technology in Language Teaching and Learning
In this module, you will explore current learning technologies' theoretical and procedural implications for language teaching. Familiarise yourself with various digital tools and their application in language education.
Multimodal Analysis
In this module, you will examine the significant role of visual elements in text interpretation and meaning. Exploring typographical choices, colour use, image selection and their social implications, you will gain insights into the physical composition and layout of multimedia texts.
Variation and Change in English
In this module, you will explore sociolinguistic variations in English, considering factors like gender and region. Understand how language ideologies shape language use and change over time.
Corpus Linguistics
In this module, you will acquire advanced digital analysis skills for investigating linguistic datasets. Learn corpus linguistics theories and methods to enhance your digital literacy across academic and professional domains.

*Availability of any optional modules will be subject to staff availability and a minimum number of students who express an interest in studying the optional modules.

**English Teaching Practice is a compulsory module for students with less than two years’ classroom-based teaching experience, and it is optional for those with more than two years’ experience.

Dissertation stage modules

In the dissertation stage you will study the following core modules:

Module TitleCredits
You will undertake an independent research project relevant to your masters programme, demonstrating your ability to design, conduct and report findings. Guided by a supervisor, this complex exercise will strengthen and test various subject-specific and transferable skills, including research methodology and academic writing.

Programme outcomes

On successful completion of both the taught and dissertation stage, you will be able to:

  • Understand and describe relevant research traditions, methods and techniques in TESOL.
  • Compare a variety of cultural, organisational and social contexts in which language is taught and explain the implications for TESOL.
  • Evaluate critically a variety of approaches to language curriculum design, language learning and language teaching.
  • Use linguistic awareness and analytical skills to inform pedagogic practice.
  • Design appropriate language teaching syllabuses, materials and lessons.
  • Relate teaching experience to theoretical and ideological underpinnings.
  • Reflect critically on theoretical issues and their relationship to professional practice. 
  • Formulate, implement and evaluate research projects of an appropriate scale.

We may update our courses to reflect best practices and academic developments. If we do, we’ll let you know of any changes at the earliest opportunity by updating our course webpages. If you have already received an offer, we’ll write to you directly to let you know of the changes.


Entry requirements

One of the following:

  • 2:2 (lower second-class honours) degree or equivalent
  • Equivalent overseas degree recognised by Aston University (see international students tab below for more information)

Please note that applicants who have already completed modules 1 and 2 of the DELTA qualification and are able to provide the relevant documentation to confirm this, can be awarded 30 credits of accreditation of prior learning (APEL) and will be exempt from completing the ‘Theory and Practice of English Language Teaching’ module.

You will also need to provide:

  • A professional reference
    • If you are a current student or recent graduate (within the last 2-3 years), we will ask for an academic reference
    • If you are currently employed and not a recent graduate, we will ask for a professional reference
  • An official academic transcript of your university grades to date
  • A completed application form.

Aston University is a diverse, close community and welcomes international students on many of our postgraduate programmes. Students from over 120 countries choose to study with us every year. Based in the centre of Birmingham, Aston is not only a great place to study but also a great place to live.

Qualifications in your country

For details of equivalent qualifications in your country, use our area pages below:

English language requirements

Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to provide evidence of an English language qualification.

English language requirements

How to apply

Aston University provides a range of opportunities for international students to join our community and study on our campus. A key part of our strategy is our relationships with teaching partners, providing multiple pathways to Aston.

Aston’s professional work placements can improve your chance of securing a graduate job. Placements give you experience, confidence and opportunities and, as an Aston student, you’ll be better prepared for your future career. One of the great things about Aston is our focus on employability. Our close links with businesses, industries and professions make this possible.

Find out more about applying

Post-study work visa

Aston University welcomed the creation of a new Graduate Immigration Route which enables international students to remain in the UK for two years after you complete your studies to find work. This new post-study work visa applies to international students completing full-time undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

Graduate Immigration Route

Pathway programmes

If you don’t meet our entry requirements, we have a range of pathway programmes offered by our partner, ONCAMPUS Aston, which you can complete to progress onto one of our degrees.

We recognise the value of extensive professional experience. If you do not have the academic qualifications but have extensive and relevant professional experience and a proven ability to succeed, we would welcome your application.

The information contained on this website details the typical entry requirements for this course for the most commonly offered qualifications.

Applicants with alternative qualifications may wish to enquire with the relevant admissions teams prior to application whether or not their qualifications are deemed acceptable. For less commonly encountered qualifications this will be judged on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the academic admissions tutor.


Speak to our Admissions Team

If you have any questions about the application process please get in touch with our postgraduate admissions team:


Call: 0121 204 3200 (Please note this line is open Monday-Friday between 09:30-16:30)

Stephen Pihlaja programme director TESOL MA

Meet your programme director

Dr Stephen Pihlaja
Programme Director, MA TESOL

If you have any questions about the course or modules you will be studying, you can get in touch via email and I will be happy to answer your queries.

Fees and scholarships

Course fees

UK students

Annual tuition fees:£11,850

International students

Annual tuition fees:£21,750

More information on fees

The United Kingdom government has confirmed that European Union (EU), other European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss nationals commencing academic courses in England from August 2021 will no longer be charged the same tuition rates as UK students.

Tuition fees for students are reviewed annually and may increase in subsequent years in line with inflation linked to the Retail Price Index (RPI) to take account of the University’s increased costs of delivering the Programme. Any such increase shall always be in accordance with the law. When undertaking a placement year, a placement year fee applies.


At Aston University we are committed to supporting the most talented and hardworking students to achieve their potential by providing a range of scholarships to help lower tuition and living costs.


All assessment is by a variety of written assignments, except for English Teaching Practice where assessment involves a series of teaching practice sessions.

Career prospects

Graduates of the programme are employed in a variety of roles in the field of TESOL including teachers, directors of studies, educational managers, as well as setting up their own schools or working freelance. They work in a wide range of educational settings, both in the UK and internationally.

Parnaz Pourshakibaee MA TESOL

Applied learning

The programme's emphasis on practical learning was a highlight for Parnaz. "One aspect that I found particularly enjoyable was the comprehensive approach to learning", she reflected.

Our graduates achieve amazing things all over the world – whether it’s setting up their own businesses, landing jobs with high profile organisations, or making real differences within their communities.

Hear from our graduates


Be part of our community

Once you have joined us at Aston University, you’ll always be part of our community, even beyond graduation.

Frequently asked questions

Why study TESOL at Aston University?

Studying Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) at Aston University immerses you in a vibrant, multicultural learning environment, blending rigorous academic theory with practical teaching experiences. This prestigious MA programme is designed to develop a deep understanding of English language teaching methodologies, preparing you for a successful career in TESOL. You will benefit from Aston University's innovative teaching approaches, incorporating the latest research and pedagogical strategies to equip you with the skills needed to teach in diverse educational settings worldwide.

At Aston University, you will join a supportive, global community of students and academics, engaging in collaborative learning and benefiting from personalised support. The programme includes hands-on teaching practice, allowing you to apply theoretical knowledge in real-world contexts, enhancing your employability. With Aston University's strong emphasis on professional development, you will graduate ready to make a significant impact in the field of English language teaching, equipped with the knowledge and confidence to lead in your chosen career path.

Is the TESOL programme suitable for experienced teachers?

The Teaching English to Speakers of other Languages (TESOL) masters degree at Aston University is suitable for both experienced teachers and those who are early in their teaching career with little classroom experience.

If you have less than two years’ classroom-based teaching experience, you will study English Teaching Practice as a compulsory module. In this module, you will develop a deeper understanding of the key principles of classroom activities and procedures and will be able to evaluate different approaches to teaching and learning.

For experienced teachers, this module is optional.

Why should I study my postgraduate degree at Aston University?

There are lots of benefits of studying a postgraduate degree at Aston University.

Watch this video from MBA student, Monique, who talks about just a few of them:

Is Birmingham a good place to study?

Our campus is based in the centre of Birmingham, the youngest major city in Europe and a great place to live, work and study.

  • Great music and entertainment with a vibrant nightlife. Bars, clubs, pubs, live music, festivals, concerts. Whatever your tastes, there's something here for everyone.
  • Fantastic food. Birmingham's diverse community means you can try anything from the famous Balti triangle, the Chinese Quarter, high street chains, halal and vegan food, and Michelin-star dining.
  • World-class shopping. The Bullring and Grand Central is a shopper's paradise. From the world's biggest Primark to luxury brands at the Mailbox.
  • Arts and culture. Museums, galleries, theatres, concerts and Birmingham's art collection is as wide as it is impressive - not to be missed.
  • Green, open spaces. One of the greenest cities in Europe, Birmingham has hundreds of publicly accessible parks and green spaces across the city.
  • Sporting action. Birmingham has some of the most exciting venues for watching or participating in sport in the UK.

Discover Birmingham

What will my timetable look like?

We understand how important it is to know your timetable in advance for planning around work, childcare, or other responsibilities. Here's some basic guidance on what to expect regarding your student timetable.

Full-time programmes
As a rough estimate, full-time postgraduate students in the College of Business and Social Sciences should expect to spend about 12-15 hours per week in lectures and on-campus seminars. This is in addition to independent study, and there may be additional guided learning activities during certain weeks. The exact distribution of these hours will vary depending on your course and module choices.
Part-time programmes
Part-time students will have fewer weekly on-campus hours compared to full-time students. This reduction is proportional to the number of modules you're enrolled in.
Timetable availability
Complete timetables are usually released shortly before the start of your programme. This timing is necessary to ensure that we accommodate all course requirements and that rooms are allocated based on the number of students likely to enrol on each programme. We aim to provide these timetables as early as possible, to assist you in your planning.

As your induction week approaches, you will be sent more information about your timetable via email, and you will be able to access your timetable by logging into MyAstonPortal. For any further queries or information regarding your timetable, you can reach out to your programme director or the Student Support team.

Online/distance learning programmes
The above information also applies to students enrolled in online/distance learning programmes. Please note that both full-time and part-time distance learning students are still required to attend scheduled synchronous learning sessions.


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Feel free to ask us anything about studying at Aston University.

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