Institute of Education


Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) In-Service MA

The UCL TESOL MA programme comprises two routes: In-service and Pre-service. The TESOL MA In-service aims to enhance the career prospects of a second or foreign language teacher and contribute to professional development. Students will explore the latest developments in the theory, policy and practice of TESOL, working with leading experts in the field and other MA students from around the world.

Key information

Programme starts

September 2021

Modes and duration

Full time: 1 year
Part time: 2 years
Flexible: up to 5 years

Application dates

All applicants
Open: 9 November 2020
Close: 31 May 2021
Applications may close earlier if all places on the programme are filled.

Tuition fees (2021/22)

£10,500 (FT)
£5,250 (PT)
£23,300 (FT)
£11,650 (PT)

Note on fees: The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees. Fees for flexible, modular study are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session.

Fee deposit: All full time students are required to pay a fee deposit of £2,000 for this programme.

Location: London, Bloomsbury

Entry requirements

Applicants should have a second-class Bachelor's degree in a relevant subject (e.g. English, languages, education, linguistics). Applicants normally need at least two years' full-time language teaching experience or part-time equivalent post first degree. Applicants normally also have a teaching qualification although this is not an entry requirement. Please note that having sufficient language teaching experience after having completed your undergraduate degree is an essential entry requirement. If you do not have the required teaching experience, you might be interested in applying for either the Applied Linguistics MA or the Teaching of English to Speakers of other Languages (Pre-Service) MA, which do not have previous teaching experience as an entry requirement.

English language requirements

If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.

The English language level for this programme is: Good

Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English

UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level. International Preparation Courses

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

International students

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

Visa information

This programme is suitable for international students on a Student visa – study must be full-time, face-to-face, starting October.

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below.

Select your country:

About this degree

This programme will give you the opportunity to discuss and debate issues related to teaching second and foreign languages. You will also develop your knowledge of how theory can inform practice in second and foreign language education. You will deepen your understanding of key concepts and ideas, and develop your ability to select, design and evaluate language teaching materials.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of one core module (30 credits), one compulsory research dissertation (60 credits), and three optional modules (90 credits).

Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded a MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) In-Service.

Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability is subject to change.

Compulsory module

The core module for the MA TESOL is Fundamentals of Second and Foreign Language Teaching (30 credits). Students also complete a compulsory research dissertation with guidance (60 credits). 

Fundamentals of Second and Foreign Language Teaching
Dissertation Applied Linguistics and TESOL

Optional modules (indicative list):

Bilingualism and Multilingualism
Discourse, Society and Culture
English in Diverse World Contexts
Language at Work: Communication in Professional, Institutional and Cultural Contexts
Language Testing and Assessment
Materials Development for Language Teaching
Multimodal Communication
Second Language Acquisition
Sociolinguistics and Sociocultural Theory
Teaching and Researching Speaking and Listening

Dissertation/research project

All students submit a 2,500-word research proposal and a 15,000-word dissertation.

Teaching and learning

Teaching combines various forms, such as lectures, workshops, projects, student presentations, and student-led discussions. Within sessions, students often engage in individual, pair and group tasks. Assessment is by coursework and presentation. Various coursework types are used.

Students spend about 20% of their time in lectures, seminars, or one-to-one supervisions. The remainder is dedicated to preparing for lectures and seminars, and pursuing students' own interests via independent study.

Additional costs

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble accessable.co.uk. Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support & Wellbeing team.


Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed below.

Digital Media Programme Bursary

£5,000 (One year)
Based on financial need

IOE Windle Trust Scholarship

Deadline: 31 December 2020
Full tuition fees and some allowances (Up to 3yrs)
Based on both academic merit and financial need

IOE Centenary Masters Scholarships

Full tuition fees and accommodation (1 year)
Based on both academic merit and financial need

IOE-Clarke Scholarships

Tuition fees, stipend, flights (1 year)
Based on both academic merit and financial need

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.


Graduates of the MA TESOL In-Service programme work in a broad range of areas. Some are employed as teachers of English (or other languages) working in early years and adult education, or with specific populations (e.g., higher education, business professionals, newcomers). Others work as managers or directors of study in the private sector or state schools. Graduates of the programme can also be found working as curriculum or materials developers, language assessment professionals, education journalists, editors, publishers, NGO and development officers, education consultants, teacher trainers, or policy advisers. Some choose to pursue doctoral studies or embark on research careers.


The programme provides graduates with a rigorous, research-based education based on the latest developments in the area of TESOL. This will give them a natural advantage when applying for teaching or other TESOL-related posts. We also help students focus on employability skills whilst they are here, for example, through departmental talks and other networking opportunities within the department and the wider UCL community.

Why study this degree at UCL?

This TESOL degree combines research-informed learning with the opportunity to reflect on and enhance your own professional practice. You will receive strong support throughout from our team of tutors all of whom have international experience in EFL and ESL.

You will also become part of one of the oldest and most well-known centres for English language teacher development, and will have the opportunity to work with leading researchers from the UCL Centre for Applied Linguistics as well as MA students from all around the world.

Department: Culture, Communication & Media

What our students and staff say

Student view

"In addition to gaining relevant experience, which is important for continuing research or for implementation in classroom practices, the network you establish in this programme is truly precious. Usually, there were 30–40 students in a class and we all had different backgrounds. The lecturers gave us ample opportunities to communicate and discuss with peer students and it was always wonderful to learn from others. I treasure the connections with friends and teachers I established during the programme – I still work with them in research projects together. As I am aiming at becoming a university lecturer in the future, I found the experience at the IOE is considerably valuable in terms of gaining the specialised knowledge and the research skills. The knowledge and experience I gained throughout the programme now help me tremendously to conduct research and to further expand my knowledge in the field. Read Aki's Q&A"

Aki Tsunemoto

Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) In-Service MA
Student view

"I enjoyed so many things during my time at UCL: the rich experiences shared by each of my instructors; the opportunity to learn from classmates from all over the world with diverse perspectives; the incredible library; the insights I got from different types of assessment used in all the courses I took; and the opportunity to learn from my tutor during my dissertation period, discussing and analysing possibilities for my research project. I feel that the most valuable thing that the UCL Institute of Education gave me was the opportunity to develop my criticality and creativity. The way I do everything now is more critical and creative – that’s why I can participate in conferences, do research and teach with a different style. Read Flor's Q&A"

Flor Toledo-Sandoval

Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) In-Service MA

Application and next steps


Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

This programme only requires one reference in support of your application. Your reference should be academic unless you have been out of university education for more than four years. Further information regarding references can be found in our How to apply section.

There is an application processing fee for this programme of £90 for online applications and £115 for paper applications. Further information can be found at: ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/taught/application.

Who can apply?

This programme is suitable for practising teachers of English as a second or foreign language (ESL, EFL, ESOL) throughout the world. We accept teachers of other languages on the understanding that most of the examples used during the programme will be drawn from English language teaching.

Application deadlines

All applicants
31 May 2021

For more information see our Applications page.

Apply now

What are we looking for?

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study Teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) at graduate level
  • why you want to study Teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to the chosen programme
  • how your academic and professional background meets the demands of this challenging programme
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree

Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to illustrate whether your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver.

* Note that if you do not have any language teaching experience, please consider applying to our MA TESOL Pre-service programme. If you have some language teaching experience, but not the full requirement for In-Service, please consider applying to our MA Applied Linguistics programme.

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Page last modified on 28 August 2021