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
  • Start date: September
  • Course Director: Anne Lawrie

Tracy Hoggan
TESOL Secretary
University of Stirling
+44 (0) 1786 467934 www.stir.ac.uk/education/contact/

View fees and finance

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.

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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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Live Life

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

You will take eight modules from the following, and those marked * are compulsory for students with less than two years’ full-time English language teaching experience in a formal classroom setting. Language Learning Theory and Research is a required module for all students.  Those entering the course with a recent Cambridge DELTA or Trinity College London Licentiate Diploma can apply for accreditation for two of the four pedagogic modules:

Autumn Semester

  • Methodology I*: Presents an overview of current theory and practice in the teaching of listening, speaking, reading, and writing
  • Classroom Observation*: Develops critical awareness and theoretical understanding of current classroom practice through observation of experienced English language teachers
  • Language Learning Theory and Research*: 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
  • Description of Modern English: Explores English grammar and use with reference to the needs of learners and teachers
  • Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) Concepts and Materials: 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
  • Technologies in the 21st Century Classroom: Provides an opportunity for students to create multimedia materials using authoring programs for language teaching and learning

Spring Semester

  • Methodology II*: Provides an overview of current theory and practice in the teaching of grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation
  • Microteaching*: Develops critical awareness and theoretical understanding of current classroom practice through planning, teaching and reflection on lessons taught to peers
  • The ELT Curriculum: 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
  • Discourse Analysis: Introduces different approaches and techniques for exploring and analysing spoken and written texts
  • Corpus Linguistics in Language Teaching and Research: Explores the ways in which computerised collections of spoken and written texts can be analysed and used in language teaching and research
  • Internet Applications in Language Teaching: Addresses the use of virtual learning environments, multimedia and web technologies in collaborative language learning
  • Teaching English to Young Learners: Focuses on teaching English to primary and secondary aged pupils

The Postgraduate Certificate in TESOL is awarded on the successful completion of four coursework modules. The Postgraduate Diploma in TESOL is awarded on successful completion of eight coursework modules. The MSc TESOL is awarded upon successful completion of eight coursework modules plus a dissertation of 15,000 words.

For academic year 2015/16 onwards

The MSc TESOL programmes are currently in the process of being re-developed for academic year 15/16 and will be updated towards the end of summer when more detail is available.  Students registering for the programme in academic year 15/16 will register on the MSc TESOL programme and 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)

The areas/topics that will be covered within the programme will be:


  1. Principles of Language Learning and Teaching 
  2. TESOL Methodology
  3. Teaching English to Young Learners
  4. Grammar for TESOL
  5. Introduction to CALL


  1. Microteaching
  2. Research Methods in TESOL
  3. Syllabus Design and Language Testing
  4. Corpora in English Language Research and Teaching
  5. Discourse Analysis
  6. Designing and Implementing On-line Language Learning
  7. Technologies in the 21st Century Classroom 

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.


Academic Year 2015/16

  • Methodology II (TESP02)
  • Microteaching (TESP04)
  • The ELT Curriculum (TESP06)
  • Teaching English to Young Learners (TESP10)
  • Discourse Analysis (TESP12)
  • Internet Applications in Language Teaching (TESP22)
  • Corpus Linguistics in Language Teaching and Research (TESP24)

Recommended reading

This will be sent to you once you have completed the application process.

Modes of study

one year

two years

Study method

Part-time; Full-time

Example timetable

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

This will be available towards the end of the summer.

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, 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 Independent Complete University Guide for 2015 has rated the School of Education, as fourth in the UK as a provider of Education programmes and for its research in Education.

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

Our students

I undertook the MSc TESOL at Stirling because of the global reputation Stirling has, and because of its beautiful location and campus. I met students from all over the world and the MSc TESOL programme has improved my knowledge of theories as well as scholars in this field in order to put what I have learnt in to practice. The teaching skills I have acquired from studying at Stirling will help me in my future career, and will enable me to introduce these skills to language Education in my own country.

Ashley Ji Ye, MSc TESOL Graduate

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

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

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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