Master of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (MA-TESOL)*

* The MA-TESOL program currently is not accepting applicants.


About the program

Seattle Pacific University Master of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (MA-TESOL) program will prepare you for leadership and service in the field of teaching English as a second or foreign language. Close interaction with faculty committed to excellence in teaching and scholarship is integrated with active involvement in the ESL community.

A low faculty-to-student ratio is a hallmark of the program, which also includes:

  • Theory made practical.
  • Balance between academic preparation and teacher training.
  • Strong emphasis on ethical and intercultural sensitivity.
  • Practica to ensure your success and confidence in the classroom.

Additionally, the MA-TESOL program is rooted in a four-strand approach:

  • Academic preparation, including courses in phonology, morphology, syntax, and second-language acquisition.
  • Pedagogy, including methods courses that serve as a bridge between theory and practice.
  • Practica, including a language-learning practicum in which you reflect on the frustrations and rewards of learning another language. This strand also includes a two-quarter teaching phase during which, when you’re near the end of your program, you’re placed with seasoned “host teachers” for classroom observation and teaching experience.
  • Electives, giving you a chance to explore individual interests in the TESOL field, including courses in technology.

The MA-TESOL program is 54 credits. Students interested in this program may also consider pursuing the 69-credit TESOL (MA) with K-12 certification


The 3-credit courses generally meet once a week for two-and-a-half hours. TESOL courses are usually held during afternoon and evening hours, Monday through Thursday. This makes full- or part-time employment possible.

You are also free to take only one or two courses per quarter as other obligations must be met, or to take up to 9 credits per quarter. All coursework must be completed within six years.


Our program prepares you to teach in colleges and universities, and in various language institutes within the United States and abroad. The program may be completed in seven quarters of full-time coursework. Practica scheduling and other considerations may extend this period.

Many ESL programs run on a limited and shortened basis during Summer Sessions; practicum placements are typically unavailable at that time.


Proficiency in a foreign language equivalent to at least one year’s study at the college level and one or more basic courses in linguistic theory (e.g., LIN 2100) are required. With the approval of the program director, you may take these courses concurrently with the master’s coursework as you begin the program.

If you wish to apply coursework that you completed prior to application, you must provide applicable transcript data. You may transfer up to 12 comparable graduate credits into the SPU program with the director’s approval.

Admission requirements

  • Hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university, or its equivalent.
  • Submit at least two letters of recommendation. The letters submitted must come from unrelated individuals familiar with your intended field of study.
  • Submit a personal statement essay in response to questions provided in the online application packet.
  • Submit an official copy of your transcript(s) from the college or university that granted your bachelor’s degree and any institution attended since that time.
  • Present a GPA of at least 3.0 (4.0=A) in the last 45 quarter credits of coursework completed before applying for admission or in all undergraduate work, whichever is higher.
  • If English is not your first language, present a TOEFL score of at least 100 on the iBT or 600 on the paper-based test, or present an overall IELTS score of 6.5.  Note that both the TOEFL/IELTS score and the Personal Statement Essay are considered when determining English proficiency.
  • Provide an affidavit of support reflecting financial support covering each year of intended enrollment if you are not a citizen or permanent U.S. resident.
  • Complete the online application for the MA-TESOL program.
  • Include the $50 application fee.

If not also seeking K–12 certification, you may enter the program at the beginning of any quarter. The completed application packet must arrive in the MA-TESOL office by the applicable deadline below for admission to that quarter:

Quarter application deadlines

  • Autumn: August 1
  • Winter: December 1
  • Spring: March 1
  • Summer: May 1