Michigan State University
Michigan State University
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Department of Linguistics & Germanic, Slavic, Asian and African Languages
TESOL
Home > Degree Programs > TESOL > Resources for Current & Prospective Students > Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


FAQ (FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS) FOR PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS

How long does the program take to complete?
If you attend full time, it will take you two years (four semesters) to complete the program. If you have a B.A. in linguistics from MSU, you may be eligible for the linked program, in which case, the M.A. degree can be completed in three semesters. It is also possible to attend as a part-time student, but you must finish within five years. The five-year period begins with the semester of the first course you plan to apply to the degree.

Can I take M.A. TESOL classes through Lifelong Education?
Yes, with permission of the instructor, Lifelong Ed students can take M.A. TESOL classes. You can transfer up to 9 credits from Lifelong Education if you are eventually accepted into the M.A. TESOL program although taking courses through Lifelong Education does not imply acceptance into the program. We usually recommend that you begin by taking either LLT 807 or LLT 895. For further information, contact Lifelong Education. It is advisable to discuss your interests and objectives with the M.A. TESOL program director before requesting an instructor's permission to enroll in a course.

Is it possible to start the M.A. TESOL program in the Spring semester?
Students begin the TESOL program in the fall in order to follow a logical sequence of courses. For example, LLT 895 is a prerequisite for LLT 896 and LLT 895 is only offered in the Fall semester.

Can I transfer credit from other institutions?
If you have taken graduate courses at another university that you would like to count toward your M.A. degree, you must speak with the Director of the TESOL Program and provide her with a copy of the course syllabi. If she approves, you may transfer up to 9 credits. If you have credits in a course for which we do not have an equivalent, but it is clearly related to TESOL, you may be able to count such a course as an elective.

In some cases, students have taken courses that they cannot or do not wish to transfer, yet are equivalent to an M.A. TESOL course requirement. In this case, a course will be waived without transfer credit and may be replaced with an additional elective.

Can I get the practicum requirement waived?
The practicum requirement can be waived if you can provide documentation of having had the equivalent of two years full-time supervised teaching experience.

I have no time to take the M.A. TESOL degree but I am going abroad to teach English shortly. What books do you recommend?
There is no substitute for a degree in TESOL. However, one book that you may want to consult is More than a Native Speaker by Don Snow, 1996, Alexandria, VA: TESOL.

After graduating from the M.A. TESOL program, what sort of a job will I be able to get?
Many of our graduates who have been interested in working abroad have found full-time positions teaching overseas. Some graduates have gone on to direct programs, coordinate EFL education, or work full-time in US institutions. Full-time positions in Michigan, as in the rest of the U.S., are highly competitive. As with most things, the ability to find a good position often depends on how much you put into your education and whether you are prepared to go that extra mile by participating in activities such as giving conference presentations, working on teacher-education research projects, designing curricula and materials etc. There are many opportunities for such extra curricular CV-enhancing activities in the M.A. TESOL program.

What is the background of the students in the M.A. TESOL program?
The M.A. TESOL has a mix of domestic and international students, including Fulbright scholarship recipients. In terms of undergraduate work, some students have backgrounds in English, a foreign language, linguistics, psychology, or education. Other students have backgrounds in unrelated topics. It is generally helpful to demonstrate at least some experience or interest in language teaching in your application, for example tutoring English learners, if you have an unrelated undergraduate major.

Where can I get information about funding?
See Financial Aid for information.

I saw an interesting summer course offered by another institution, can I take it and get credit for the M.A. TESOL? See the answer to "Can I transfer credit from other institutions?"

How much does the program cost?
Information is available from the Office of the Controller - Student Accounts.

How do I register for a course?
Contact the Office of the Registrar.

Can I take a short course or get a certificate in TESOL?
We only offer an M.A. degree in TESOL. Students may take individual courses through Lifelong Education with the permission of the instructor but this will not result in any kind of certificate.

Where can I find information about housing?
Contact University Housing.

Can I complete the program by taking courses only in the evenings?
No, it is not possible to complete the program by taking evening courses. Nearly all M.A. TESOL courses are offered during the day, usually beginning in mid to late afternoon. LLT 896, the TESOL Practicum, is an evening course.

What institution and department code should I give to ETS to have my test scores reported?
MSU’s institution code is 1465. For GRE scores, select code 2903 "Humanities and Arts - Other - Linguistics". For TOEFL scores, the department code is 04 (linguistics).

Can I get the TOEFL/IELTS requirement waived?
To request a waiver of the requirement to submit recent test scores to demonstrate English language competency, applicants should contact the M.A. TESOL program director. Generally, students who have earned a bachelor’s degree in the U.S. (or other English-speaking country) may submit English language competency scores that were used for admission to the bachelor’s program (i.e., they may be older than 2 years). The bachelor’s degree program must be a regular 4-year degree, the majority of which was earned in the U.S. (or other English-speaking country).


It is advisable for applicants to submit English language competency scores (even if older than 2 years) with their application even if they have earned a master’s degree at an AAU institution on a U.S. campus. AAU institutions are the 62 largest research universities in the U.S. (http://www.aau.edu)