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The MA in TESOL program prepares students to teach English to speakers of other languages, both in English speaking and non-English speaking environments.

As a foundation for language teaching, the program introduces the study of linguistic structure (phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics), the study of language use in social contexts, and the study of second language acquisition encompassing different theoretical frameworks (e.g., linguistic, cognitive, pragmatic, sociocultural, and input-interactionist).

This fundamental knowledge offers students a solid background for understanding practical aspects of language teaching, such as teaching methods, assessment, and curriculum and materials development.

Throughout the program, students are challenged to approach various issues in language teaching (e.g., age of acquisition, cultural difference) creatively and critically by incorporating theoretical understanding.

What You Will Learn

Learning outcomes include:

  • a deep understanding of languages as an organized, interrelated system with multiple subsystems
  • language teaching methods
  • how to plan a lesson and create teaching materials
  • how to assess student learning
  • the ability to conduct a scientific research project and produce a quality research paper

Our Alumni

Learn more about what our graduate-program alumni do.

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What Can You Do with an English Major?

We’re asked this question all the time. Our answer: A lot. You will learn skills that transfer across hundreds of possible careers and industries—some of which may not even exist yet. Our graduates go on to work in marketing, publishing, non-profit fundraising, speechwriting, as well as in countless other fulfilling occupations.

Explore Careers

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Program Benefits

You will learn directly from and collaborate with your faculty members, who offer diverse areas of expertise in linguistics and are actively conducting research in their fields, often with support from their students.

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You’ll produce published work and gain experience in the professional field through projects with your faculty, working as an assistant, presenting your work at conferences, and publishing journal articles.

Many of our graduate assistants work in Ball State’s Intensive English Institute, which provides English instruction to nonnative speakers. Through the work in the institute, the GAs receive ample practical training and can put into practice what they learn through their courses.

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Major Requirements

The MA in TESOL includes core graduate-level TESOL coursework, directed electives, research in English Studies, and a capstone research paper or creative project.

Total Credits



A few of the classes you may take include:

  • Theories of Language Learning
  • Methods for Teaching English Language Learners
  • Materials Development for Teaching English Language Learners
  • Assessment in TESOL

For a complete list of all the courses you will take and their descriptions, please see our Graduate Catalog.

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Some research topics of the linguistics faculty and students include:

  • communicative teaching methods
  • second language reading and vocabulary acquisition
  • the teaching of reading and writing
  • the teaching of grammar
  • second language speaking and pronunciation
  • pragmatics
  • psycholinguistics

Depending on the nature of your research, you may also be advised to take one or more courses in experimental design and statistics in addition to other coursework.

Paying for Your Education

Department Graduate Scholarships and Assistantships

A graduate assistantship is an excellent opportunity to gain meaningful professional experience while helping cover the costs of your degree. Learn more.

Ready to Apply?

Review our admission requirements, dates and deadlines, and instructions. Then complete our online application.

More Information

If you would like to learn more about this program or about Ball State Graduate School in general, please complete our online form to request more information. Or if you’d like to speak with someone in our department directly by phone or email, please contact us.