Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)

Our master's degree program in teaching English to speakers of other languages is for you if you want to (1) teach in college-level English as a second language (ESL) programs, (2) teach in adult-level ESL programs for immigrants and refugees in the United States, and (3) teach in all levels internationally. The EdM TESOL degree has been considered the terminal professional degree for those seeking opportunities to teach ESL/ENL (English as a new language) in national and international institutions of higher education.

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Why Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages at UB?

As a student in this program you will:

  • acquire a solid foundation in TESOL with coursework in methodology, second language acquisition, pedagogical grammar and a semester long practicum
  • add breadth and depth to your preparation with courses in second language literacy, assessment, online pedagogical uses of technology and intercultural communication
  • develop a practical approach, grounded by current theory and research, in the fields of applied linguistics, educational theory, best practices in pedagogy and second language acquisition
  • have opportunities to interact with and learn from graduate students in many fields of education, such as early childhood education and traditional teacher education specializations

Program Overview

Academic credential granted Master of Education (EdM)
Credits required for completion 33
Time to completion 2 to 3 full-time semesters
Course delivery On campus
Career opportunities

Teach in:

  • college-level ESL programs
  • adult-level ESL programs
  • all levels internationally


Application deadline Priority Deadlines

Nov. 1, then rolling until Dec. 1
Feb. 1, then rolling until July 15

Program Requirements

Required Courses (15-18 Credits)

  • LAI 581 Linguistics for L2 Educators
  • LAI 591 TESOL Methods and Materials
  • LAI 582 Principles Lang Acquisition, 1st & 2nd
  • LAI 594 Pedagogical Grammar of English
  • LAI 685 Academic Language Writing/Literacy
  • LAI 691 TESOL Practicum

Students with adequate preparation in linguistics may waive LAI 581 Linguistics for L2 Educators, which will allow you to take a 3-hour graduate elective in lieu of this course. Consult with your advisor.

Academic Language Writing/Literacy is required for international students unless waived by your advisor.

Select at Least 3 Courses (9 Credits)

  • LAI 681 Understanding & Teaching L2 Culture
  • LAI 682 Assessing Second Lang. Proficiency
  • LAI 579 ESL Literacy: Reading Focus
  • LAI 585 L2 Literacy: Focus Writing

Other courses in the L2 area offered by L2 faculty (consult with your advisor)

Electives (6-9 Credits)

Elective courses may be inside or outside the second language area of the Department of Learning and Instruction, including such areas as: anthropology, comparative education, educational psychology, foreign languages, historical/social/philosophical foundations of education, instructional communications, linguistics, reading, language arts or bilingual education. 

Comprehensive Examination

You will take your comprehensive exam during your second or third semester of coursework. Consult with your advisor.

Application Requirements

Submit your completed online application, which includes:

  • Application fee: A $50 non-refundable fee, submitted electronically through UB's ePayment system.
  • Unofficial transcripts from all colleges attended. (UB transcripts are automatically submitted for current UB students and alumni.)
  • Contact information for at least two individuals who will each be asked to provide an electronic recommendation letter.
  • Career goals statement: a clearly-written personal statement that speaks to your career goals, explaining your commitment to college teaching, and addressing an educational or social issue in college teaching of personal interest.

Former/Maiden Name: Please provide us with your former/maiden name if you have one. When requesting transcripts, please ask the sending institution to indicate your current name and former/maiden name.

International Applicant Additional Requirements
  • Official original proof of your degree
  • A copy of your passport biographical page
  • Official test scores for either the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) or PTE (Pearson Test of English) Academic. Test scores must be dated within two years of submitting your application.
    • TOEFL minimum score is a 250 for a computer based test, 600 for a paper based test and 96 for the Internet based test 
    • IELTS minimum score is 7.0 overall
    • PTE minimum score is 55 overall
  • Financial documentation — International graduate applicants must document their ability to pay for all costs incurred while studying in the U.S.
  • An official bank statement

All financial forms and supporting documentation with required signatures must be uploaded with your application, and must be dated within one year of your intended enrollment date.

Are you an international student and unable to take the IELTS, PTE or TOEFL?

If you are currently unable to take the IELTS, PTE or TOEFL tests because they are canceled due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19), the University at Buffalo will accept the Duolingo English Test (DET) for proof of English proficiency. This test can be taken online, in your own home. More information can be found on the Graduate School’s website.

The TOEFL iBT® Special Home Edition is a safe and convenient option for students who are unable to take the TOEFL iBT test at a test center due to public health concerns.

Learn More

University Computing Standards

You are required to have daily access to a reliable broadband connection and a computer that meets university computing standards. You are also expected to have basic computer competency before beginning your coursework.