MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) (Online)

APU’s M.A. in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages prepares students to teach English to nonnative speakers in U.S.-based institutions and around the globe.

For more information: (626) 815-3844

The Master of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) offers prospective and experienced teachers of English as a second or foreign language a 33-unit degree program comprising courses in language acquisition theory, English grammar and pronunciation, intercultural communication, sociolinguistics, language teaching methods, observation and practice in classroom teaching, language assessment, and program design.

In the online TESOL program, full-time students can complete coursework in one and a half years via online delivery from anywhere in the world. Students complete courses sequentially in a cohort model, which connects participants to a learning community with a rich diversity of experiences.

Mission Statement for TESOL Programs

The TESOL programs at Azusa Pacific University prepare present and future educators, international and domestic, with the competencies and perspectives needed to teach English in a manner marked by professional excellence, intercultural sensitivity, integrity, and compassion. To this end, the department offers an 18-unit undergraduate TESOL minor, an 18-unit graduate certificate in TESOL, a 6-unit graduate certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL), and a 33-unit master’s degree in TESOL—all taught by experienced Christian faculty who are motivated to serve God and their students, and who engage students in practical training grounded in theory and research.


TESL 501Language Learning through Technology 13
or TESL 537 Critical Perspectives on Christianity and English Language Teaching
TESL 505Second-language Acquisition3
TESL 515Teaching English Grammar3
TESL 525Teaching English Pronunciation3
TESL 530Intercultural Communication and Language Teaching 23
or TESL 535 Sociolinguistics and Language Teaching
TESL 545Second-language Pedagogy I 33
TESL 550Second-language Pedagogy II3
TESL 557Reflective Teaching 33
TESL 560Language Program Design3
TESL 570Second-language Assessment3
TESL 580TESOL Portfolio3
Total Units33

Students may select between TESL 501 and TESL 537 to fulfill the elective requirement for the program. 


TESL 535 is not offered online; students opting for TESL 535 must take this course on campus.


Required for the TEFL certificate. 

TESOL Portfolio

To complete the program, students create a professional TESOL portfolio that demonstrates competence in each of the TESOL program learning outcomes. The required course TESL 580 guides students in the process of developing their portfolios.

Program Corequisites

  1. Language Proficiency
    1. For the master’s degree, prior to graduation, native speakers of English must verify completion within the last 10 years of a minimum of 6 semester units of college-level foreign language with at least a 3.0 grade-point average on a 4.0 scale, or its equivalent. Options to satisfy the foreign language requirement include formal coursework and community language learning. Students may also demonstrate proficiency via an exam.
    2. All students graduating from non-English-speaking institutions must satisfy APU’s English Proficiency Requirements. In addition, the following scores on the internet-based TOEFL (IBT), or equivalent proof of proficiency, are required for admission to the online TESOL program.
      1. Reading: 25
      2. Speaking: 25
      3. Writing: 25
      4. Listening: 25
  2. Professional Development
    Prior to completion of the master’s degree, students are required to provide evidence of attendance at a national, regional, or state conference related to language teaching.

Time Requirements

Students may begin TESOL studies in summer, fall, or spring.

The program is offered in a five-session format: Fall 1, Fall 2, Spring 1, Spring 2, and Summer 2. Full-time students typically enroll in two courses per 8-week session and can complete the entire program of 11 courses (33 units) in approximately six sessions (one and a half years). Part-time students taking one course each term can complete the program in about three years. Students may move between full-time and part-time study as needed. The time limit for completing all degree requirements, including coursework and corequisites, is eight years. 

Other Requirements

Students must have a computer and reliable online access. Prior to graduation, students must complete an online portfolio that displays selected student work and provides evidence that the student has met and reflected upon the TESOL program learning outcomes. Students start their portfolios in a course dedicated to creating a portfolio and then submit them for review at the end of their coursework. In addition to the portfolio, students must also complete foreign language and conference corequisites in order to be eligible for graduation. 

Cross-Program Enrollment

Students in the TESOL master’s degree programs may take up to four courses in a different format—on campus or online. The program director’s approval is required prior to enrollment.



University graduate admission and program-specific requirements must be met before an application is complete (see Admission to the University). Program-specific application requirements are available online.

International students should contact Graduate and Professional Admissions for application procedures.

Program Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete this program shall be able to:
  1. Speak and write English at a level appropriate to their anticipated English teaching context.
  2. Reflect upon and apply the experience of learning a foreign language to one’s teaching of English.
  3. Analyze their own and other cultural and/or language systems and how this affects the teaching of English.
  4. Articulate a coherent understanding of the process of language acquisition and the effect on language acquisition of individual and contextual variables.
  5. Interact with Christian views of language learners, language teaching, and the nature of language.
  6. Describe the grammatical and phonological structures of English and analyze learners’ production to create appropriate/related learning activities.
  7. Evaluate and use technology in teaching English.
  8. Apply, through anticipated or actual teaching, the principles of classroom language pedagogy to teach oral and written English.
  9. Apply the techniques and principles of second language assessment, and to interpret the results of such assessments in determining language proficiency and student progress.
  10. Evaluate language teaching materials and design a course of language instruction based upon an articulated working philosophy of language learning and teaching.
  11. Use various classroom research procedures and integrate the TESOL literature with their work.
  12. Identify and discuss ethical issues entailed in English language teaching.
  13. Articulate how one’s worldview/faith, identity, and teaching philosophy impact one’s pedagogy and professional activities.
  14. Participate in the professional TESOL community, including the abilities to give and receive collegial feedback, participate in professional conferences, and apply insights gained to future or current teaching contexts.