Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)

Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma, MSc


1st in Scotland for Education - The Guardian University Guide 2015

This course offers a thorough understanding of the principles and practice of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) at a level appropriate to graduates who already have a sound academic training. The course is taught by staff in the Centre for English Language Teaching, within the School of Education, also offered with:

  • MSc Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (Applied Linguistics)
  • MSc Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (Computer Assisted Language Learning)

Key information

  • Degree type: Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma, MSc
  • Study methods: Part-time, Full-time, Campus based
  • Duration: One year, full-time. Two years, part-time.
  • Start date: September
  • Course Director: Anne Lawrie
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Tracy Hoggan
TESOL Secretary
University of Stirling
+44 (0) 1786 467934 www.stir.ac.uk/education/contact/

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  1. You will gain a Masters level qualification in teaching from a school of Education that is ranked first in Scotland and one of the best in the UK.
  2. We specialise in training both novice and experienced teachers.
  3. The course offers an excellent balance between theory and practise using a range of innovative teaching methods that facilitate engagement with new and complex ideas.
  4. You will have the opportunity to join a class with students from across the world.
  5. You will be taught by professionals who have combined experience of living and teaching in all continents of the world

Course objectives

TESOL provides an advanced training and professional qualification for people presently engaged in any area of the teaching of English as a foreign or second language. It also offers professional development to people new to TESOL who are seeking a career change. On completion, you should possess the knowledge and practical classroom skills to be a confident, critically reflective and enterprising teacher.

What makes us different?

World-class library and teaching facilities

Studying for a degree means learning in different ways; managing your own time; conducting research; mastering new computer skills. We have the facilities and advice on hand to help you do all this - and do it well.

Learn more

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Life at Stirling

Of the many reasons students come to Stirling, such as academic reputation and research standards, one factor is always cited: the outstanding beauty of the University's Stirling campus.

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Entry requirements

Academic requirements

A minimum of a second class Honours degree (2.1 preferred) or equivalent in a relevant subject.  Applicants without these formal qualifications but with significant appropriate/relevant work/life experience are encouraged to apply.

INTO University of Stirling offers a Graduate Diploma for those students who do not meet the required criteria for this course. If you successfully complete the Graduate Diploma in Media, Humanities and Social Sciences and meet the required progression grades, you will be guaranteed entry onto year one of this Master's degree.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your English language skills:

  • IELTS: 6.5 with at least 6.0 in speaking and listening and 6.5 in reading and writing
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): Grade B
  • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE): Grade B
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic): 60 with a minimum of 60 in reading and writing and 56 in speaking and listening
  • IBT TOEFL: 90 with minimum 23 in reading and writing and minimum 20 in speaking and listening

For more information go to English language requirements

If you don’t meet the required score you may be able to register for one of our pre-sessional English courses. To register you must hold a conditional offer for your course and have an IELTS score 0.5 or 1.0 below the required standard. View our range of pre-sessional courses.

Structure and teaching

Structure and content

The MSc TESOL programmes have been re-developed for the academic year 15/16. Registering students will have the opportunity to specialise in the following areas which will be confirmed on your award certificate at the point of graduation:

  • Applied Linguistics
  • Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL)

Those entering the course with a recent Cambridge DELTA or Trinity College London Licentiate Diploma can apply for accreditation for one of the two pedagogic modules:

Autumn Semester modules:

TESP001 Principles of Language Learning and Teaching (20 credits at SCQF level 11) Core module
Gives an overview of the research necessary for understanding the processes involved in learning a second language, and introduces research methods relevant to the dissertation.
TESP002 TESOL Methodology (20 credits at SCQF level 11) Core module
This presents an overview of current theory and practice in the teaching of the skills: listening, speaking, reading, writing and of the elements: grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation.
TESP003 Teaching English to Young Learners (20 credits at SCQF level 11) Optional module
Focuses on teaching English to primary and secondary aged pupils.
TESP004 Grammar for TESOL (20 credits at SCQF level 11) Optional module
Explores English grammar and use with reference to the needs of learners and teachers.
TESP005 Introduction to CALL (20 credits at SCQF level 11) Optional module
Comprises a rationale for using CALL; background theory and research on how computers process text, images and sound; consideration of how to choose and exploit general purpose software for EFL purposes.

 Spring Semester modules:

TESP006 Microteaching (20 credits at SCQF level 11) Optional module*
Develops critical awareness and theoretical understanding of current classroom practice through planning, teaching and reflection on lessons taught to peers.
TESP007 Research Methods in TESOL (10 credits at SCQF level 11) Core module
This module provides an orientation to quantitative and qualitative approaches to research in TESOL and will enable students to critically evaluate new theory and research arising in their field
TESP008 Syllabus Design and Language Testing (20 credits at SCQF level 11) Optional module
The first part of this module provides an overview of the principles and practice of designing a curriculum and tasks for English Language teaching and learning; the second part focuses on testing and curriculum evaluation.
TESP009 Corpora in English Language Research and Teaching (20 credits at SCQF level 11) Optional module
Explores the ways in which computerised collections of spoken and written texts can be analysed and used in language teaching and research.
TESP010 Discourse Analysis (10 credits at SCQF level 11) Optional module
Introduces different approaches and techniques for exploring and analysing spoken and written texts.
TESP011 Designing and Implementing On-line Language Learning (10 credits at SCQF level 11) Optional module
Addresses the use of virtual learning environments, multimedia and web technologies in collaborative language learning.
TESP012 Technologies in the 21st Century Classroom (20 credits at SCQF level 11) Optional module
Provides an opportunity for students to create multimedia materials using authoring programs for language teaching and learning.

* The TESP006 Microteaching module is optional for experienced teachers only, for novice teachers, those with less than two years full-time teaching experience in a formal classroom setting, the module is compulsory.


Delivery and assessment

Delivery of modules is carried out mainly through seminars, workshops and video tutorials. Practical teaching skills are developed through classroom observation and videoed peer teaching sessions. Learning and professional development is facilitated by regular guided group work tasks. Progress is assessed by coursework assignments and, for the MSc, the dissertation.


  • The Postgraduate Certificate in TESOL is awarded on the successful completion of 60 coursework modules worth 60 credits.
  • The Postgraduate Diploma in TESOL is awarded on successful completion of coursework modules worth 120 credits.
  • The MSc TESOL is awarded upon successful completion of coursework modules worth 120 credits plus a dissertation of 15,000 words.


Recommended reading

Before the MSc TESOL course starts in September you may find it useful to do some preparatory reading, particularly if you have no background in language studies.

We recommend the books in the list below. You should find them useful for the particular Pathway you may follow.

For MSc in TESOL; MSc in TESOL and CALL; MSc in TESOL and Applied Linguistics:
Harmer, J. (2007). The Practice of English Language Teaching (4th ed.). Harlow: Longman

For MSc in TESOL and Applied Linguistics:
Parrott, M. (2010). Grammar for English Language Teachers (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

For MSc in TESOL and CALL:
Walker, A. and White, G. (2013). Technology Enhanced Language Learning: Connecting Theory and Practice, Oxford University Press, Oxford, England

Modes of study

One year, full-time.

Two years, part-time

Study method

Seminars, workshops, video tutorials and classroom observation.

Example timetable

The timetable below is a typical example, but your own timetable may be different.

MSc TESOL; MSc TESOL and CALL; MSc TESOL and Applied Linguistics Timetable: Autumn Semester 2015
Monday TESP001
Principles of Language Learning and Teaching

Wks 2-6, 8-12
Group (a) 10.00-12.00 P.C1/2
Group (b) 12.00-14.00 P.C1/2

Tuesday TESP005 14.00-17.00
Introduction to Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL)

Wks 1- 6, 8-11 P.G8

Wednesday   IS Induction session

Wk 1, 1.30-2.30pm, Logie Lecture Theatre, Cottrell Building

Thursday TESP003 9.00-11.00
Teaching English to Young Learners
Wks 1- 6, 8-11 tbc
Grammar for TESOL

Wks 1-6, 8-11
Group (a) 11:00-13:00 tbc
Group (b) 14:00-16:00 tbc

Friday TESP002
TESOL Methodology

Wks 1-6, 8-11
Group (a) 09.00-11.00 P.C1/2
Group (b) 11.00-13.00 P.C1/2
Group (c) 14.00-16.00 P.C1/2

PG Library Inductions
(Basic library Introduction and Advanced database searches)

Wk 1, 2-3.30pm, 2Y5, Cottrell Building


KEY: C = Cottrell; P = Pathfoot Autumn Semester: Monday 14 September 2015 - Monday 21 December 2015
Teaching starts: Monday 14 September
Mid-semester reading week: Monday 26 October - Friday 30 October (inclusive)
Teaching ends: Friday 4 December
Examination period begins: Thursday 10 December

Why Stirling?



In REF2014 Stirling was placed 6th in Scotland and 45th in the UK with almost three quarters of research activity rated either world-leading or internationally excellent.

In The Research Excellence Framework 2014 (REF), the School of Education had the highest quality of research outputs of any Scottish University, with 100% of research impact activity rated either world-leading or internationally excellent.


In The Guardian University Guide 2015, the School of Education is ranked first in Scotland and eighth in the UK. Criteria include; Satisfaction with Course, Satisfaction with teaching, Satisfaction with Assessment Feedback, Student/ Staff Ratio, Value Added, Career after 6 months.

The Times Good University Guide recently rated the School of Education as fourth in the UK, in its 2015 update.

Our students

Xianwen Li (TESOL graduate)Xianwen Li
MSc TESOL graduate

Why did you decide to study a postgraduate course? 

After completing a Bachelor’s degree majoring in English Language, I found that I wanted to further improve my English language skills and decided that by studying abroad, I could gain a postgraduate qualification and become more professional as an English teacher.

What attracted you to Stirling? 

There are many reasons to study TESOL at Stirling, the main two being the quality of the course and the campus. I received several offers from UK universities, but chose Stirling for its strong reputation and ranking in Education, the professional teaching methods and quality of the tutors. Also, the university campus has beautiful scenery which provides students a good environment to study in. 

What did you enjoy most about your time at Stirling University? 

 I really enjoyed all my classes, and although some courses were challenging, the tutors were all very helpful and understanding.

Which aspects of the programme did you enjoy the most? 

I enjoyed the microteaching course for its benefits to my teaching practice, and learning more on English grammar to help improve my English language teaching. All the tutors are professional, respectable, and a joy to learn from. 

Do you think the degree has made you more employable, or better prepared for further study? If yes, what are the key skills? What contacts/networks have you made in your time at Stirling? 

By graduating from the TESOL course I have definitely made myself more employable, I am now more skilled and have a competitive edge over others when job hunting. The salary in China is also higher for postgraduates!

What advice would you give a student considering studying at Stirling? 

  • Prepare for each class then review what you have learnt.
  • Pay attention to your teachers, you can learn a lot from them.
  • Don’t be shy to ask questions and discuss with your tutors and classmates.
  • Try hard on your assignments, but remember they are there to help you learn too.
  • When studying in the University library, use the reference books, they are a valuable resource.

How would you summarise your time at Stirling? 

The period I spent studying TESOL has left a lasting impression on my life, I had a fulfilling time studying and enjoyed daily life in Stirling. When I returned home to China I recommended Stirling to all my friends!

If you have now graduated, what are you doing now? 

Since graduating I have become a TOFEL teacher in a foreign language institute in Shanghai, China.

TESOL graduates 2015
TESOL group 2015 graduates

Mairi LawMairi Law new (TESOL graduate)

MSc TESOL graduate

Why did you decide to study a postgraduate course?

I realised that I needed a recognised ELT qualification in order to further my career and decided that it would be more worthwhile getting a recognised academic qualification than other ELT qualifications.

What attracted you to Stirling?

I was attracted to Stirling because it is a well-known university, the campus looked an attractive place to study and I saw that the School of Education was rated among the highest in the most recent Research Assessment Exercise (1st in Scotland) prior to my application.

What did you enjoy most about your time at Stirling University?

I enjoyed learning from lecturers who really knew their subjects and who were passionate about TESOL.  I also enjoyed interacting with my course peers, who were from a variety of countries and had experience teaching in a wide variety of contexts.

Which aspects of the programme did you enjoy the most?

I most enjoyed the modules in which there was the most ‘real world’ application, especially Syllabus Design, Testing and Teaching Young Learners.

Do you think the degree has made you more employable, or better prepared for further study? If yes, what are the key skills? What contacts/networks have you made in your time at Stirling?

Absolutely!  Having the degree was key to me being employed as the Academic Director at an institute that I had previously worked at as a teacher.  Also, the knowledge I gained on the degree was key to giving me the confidence to set up my own ELT consultancy after leaving that institute.  Furthermore, I am interested in doing further study in the next few years and I know that the research skills I learnt at Stirling will stand me in good stead for that eventuality.  I have remained in contact with my course peers and lecturers that I met during the course.  Furthermore, I was able to join SATEFL as a result of events that they held on campus at Stirling.

What advice would you give a student considering studying at Stirling?

I would advise any prospective student considering Stirling to go for it and once they are at Stirling to fully immerse themselves in the Stirling experience!  Stirling is a great place to study with its beautiful, spacious, campus, knowledgeable lecturers and diverse student body.

How would you summarise your time at Stirling?

My postgraduate degree was very demanding, but it was worth every moment.  I immensely enjoyed studying at Stirling and living nearby in Bridge of Allan.  I made friends that I am still in contact with and gained a thorough knowledge of English language teaching.

If you have now graduated, what are you doing now?

After graduating I worked as the Academic Director of a private English institute in Bolivia and I now have my own English teaching consultancy, also in Bolivia.  In this new role, I am able to fully apply the valuable skills and knowledge I gained at Stirling and I am now able to design tailored curriculums and materials that are most suitable for each of my students to successfully learn English.  

Our staff

Studying, working and chatting together enables the MSc TESOL students to explore each other's cultures. What a bonus for their future teaching careers!

Anne Lawrie, Programme Director

Anne Lawrie Crop

MSc TESOL programmes at Stirling provide participants with a fantastic opportunity to engage with experts in the field of language education and the opportunity to consider the relevance of cutting edge research to their own learning and teaching context.

Fiona Copland, TESOL Professor

Fiona Copland crop

Careers and employability

Career opportunities

English is regarded as the most widely spoken language in the world and a qualification in TESOL can open up the opportunity of an English language teaching career or, in the case of experienced teachers, can provide access to promoted posts and management positions within English language teaching.

On completion of the MSc in TESOL, overseas graduates will be well prepared to sit all three modules of the University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations TKT.

Recent graduates have taken up posts overseas or in the field of ESOL in the UK. For more experienced teachers, the qualification has provided access to positions with the British Council or in the tertiary sector.


The course provides students with a ‘career change’ opportunity enabling them, on successful completion, to confidently seek employment as a TESOL tutor. For experienced practitioners, it enhances their professional knowledge and understanding of the TESOL sector which enables them to adopt greater responsibility and leadership in their own or future work environment.

Industry connections

The course draws on practitioners and best practice from across the TESOL sector, focusing on the development of advanced professional capabilities and knowledge in language learning and teaching.

Online application process

Please choose a start date and study method from the drop-down list below, and click the Apply Now button below to begin the online application process. (Please make sure you have consulted the Postgraduate Study pages on the University website and the Online Application Guidance Notes before continuing).



2016/17 Overseas £13,950
2016/17 Home/EU £6,100
2015/16 Overseas £13,500
2015/16 Home/EU £6,000


You should expect to pay fees for every year you are in attendance and be aware fees are subject to revision and may increase annually. Students on programmes of study of more than one year should take this into account when applying.

Scholarships & funding

Postgraduate Tuition Fee Loan

This course is currently approved for PTFL (Postgraduate Tuition Fee Loan) funding from SAAS.  More information

Information on possible sources of funding

Scholarship finder
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