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The Master of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) and Linguistics combines the best of both fields, allowing students to consider language development at its most basic and complex levels.

This program allows you to complete the equivalent of two master’s degrees in three years.

What You Will Learn

Learning outcomes include:

  • a deep understanding of languages as an organized, interrelated system with multiple subsystems
  • the ability to apply linguistic methodologies to analyze language (English and other languages)
  • the skills to recognize and interpret differences across speech communities in language use
  • awareness of cross-cultural difference and respect for diversity
  • the ability to conduct a scientific research project and produce a quality research paper
  • language teaching methods
  • how to plan a lesson and create teaching materials
  • how to assess student learning

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.

Faculty has included work on:

  • second language (L2) vocabulary learning
  • prompt effects on language performance
  • discourse markers in L2 writing
  • collaboration in writing classrooms
  • language of politics
  • Totonac-Tepehua
  • the effect of syllable structure on language learning
  • the development of complexity, accuracy, and fluency in L2 English
  • language textbook content analysis

Read our faculty bios:

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.

Explore more professional opportunities.

Major Requirements

Coursework includes a core TESOL and linguistic topics (including methods and materials for TESOL, phonetics and phonology, morphology and syntax, and sociolinguistics), plus directed electives. The degree culminates in a capstone research paper or creative project.

Total Credits



  • Research in English Studies
  • Theories of Language Learning
  • Morphology and Syntax
  • Phonetics and Phonology
  • Materials Development for Teaching English Language Learners
  • Assessment in TESOL
  • Linguistics and Digital Communication

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

View Catalog


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 course work.

Some research topics of the linguistics faculty and students include:

  • pragmatics
  • discourse analysis
  • psycholinguistics
  • second language reading and vocabulary acquisition
  • TESOL pedagogy
  • syntax
  • lexical semantics
  • sociolinguistics
  • language documentation and description
  • typology
  • historical linguistics

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.

Application Process and Requirements

The first step is to apply as a graduate student to Ball State University. You will also need to meet admission criteria and apply to the program itself.

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.