English & Modern Languages

TESOL MA Program

Students pursuing the MA in the Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) option (formerly "TESL") will be exposed to theoretical approaches to second language acquisition, grammar, pronunciation, and ESL composition, as well as their practical classroom applications. Students completing this intensive course of study will have the theoretical and pedagogical understanding required to teach English as a second/foreign language effectively in a variety of contexts, including the four-year university or college, the community college, and the secondary school in the US and overseas. Students completing course work for the option along with the comprehensive exam or thesis will also have a strong foundation for pursuing further graduate work leading to a Ph.D. in TESOL or applied linguistics.

For required coursework, see the University Catalog.

TESOL Culminating Experience

Students in the TESOL option must complete a two-part comprehensive exam:

  1. A 4-hour sit-down exam in three areas: Grammar, Pronunciation, and Second Language Acquisition (SLA)
  2. Three take-home exams in three areas: Grammar, Pronunciation, and SLA

Students receive the take-home exam when they finish Part 1 and are given four days to write an in-depth analysis or synthesis.

Students may also choose to write an M.A. Thesis, a directed, in-depth research project. For more information, see the guidelines (PDF). Then speak with an advisor before filling out the petition (DOC).

TESOL Certificate

The Certificate Program in TESOL (or optional TESL/TEFL) offers students in the M.A. in English the opportunity to acquire training in teaching TESOL without taking the specialized theoretical courses required of graduate students in the TESOL track. The Certificate in TESOL is not a teaching credential. It is recognized abroad as advanced training in English language teaching. In conjunction with an M.A. degree or a state teaching credential, it may be helpful in obtaining employment as an ESL teacher in the US. Universities throughout the area have recognized the demand for improved teaching for second-language students at all levels, from elementary, secondary, to post-secondary, as well from vocational/adult studies.

The certificate is designed for students in the Literature or Rhetoric & Composition option who might not be interested in specializing in TESOL, but who want to show potential employers, especially community colleges, that they are trained to teach TESOL.

While completing the TESOL certificate program, a student may work towards a Master's degree in any option, with any group of directed electives, except TESOL. The Certificate requires 3000-level and 5000-level courses in TESOL. Students who obtained their undergraduate degree at Cal Poly Pomona may already have completed some or most of these courses and may be required to take only the two graduate-level courses mandated. Students from other programs may be required to petition for articulation of undergraduate coursework. Please check with Dr. Russikoff for additional equivalency.

Students fill out an application for the TESOL certificate upon completion of certificate courses. Students may obtain an application by contacting the graduate program assistant in building 24, room 207.