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    Jun 20, 2024  
American University Catalog 2015-2016 
American University Catalog 2015-2016 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (MA)

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Admission to the Program

Applicants to the master’s program in TESOL are subject to the minimum university requirements for admission to graduate study. Further, a grade point average of 3.00 (on a 4.00 scale) in the undergraduate major, Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores, and two letters of academic reference are required. It is strongly recommended that native speakers of English have some background in at least one other language. Applicants whose native or first language is not English must demonstrate proof of language proficiency by submitting satisfactory results from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The minimum TOEFL score for full admissions consideration is 100 on the internet-based test (iBT) or 600 on the paper-based test. Part-time as well as full-time students are welcome in the program.

Master’s International Program (MIP) with Peace Corps

A joint program between the Peace Corps and American University enables participants to prepare for Peace Corps English teaching assignments while earning an MA in TESOL. Application is made separately to American University and the Peace Corps. Admission requirements for the MA program are the same as above. The Peace Corps accepts American citizens only and participants must meet all other Peace Corps requirements prior to beginning Peace Corps service. Successful participants will begin their Peace Corp training and service after they have completed the bulk of their academic work. The Peace Corps service experience constitutes the equivalent of a 6-credit hour internship, for which the tuition is waived. Also, TESL-620  may be waived for students in the AU/Peace Corps program, for a total of 33 credit hours for the degree.

Note: This program is not designed for K-12 ESOL licensure. K-12 public school licensure (or certification) in ESOL is available through the MAT track in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL). For more information, see the Education, Teaching and Health, School of, programs.

Degree Requirements

  • 36 credit hours of approved TESOL coursework
  • Completion of a teaching portfolio compiled during course of study
  • An oral comprehensive examination taken after completion of all required coursework and the teaching portfolio
  • Thesis or nonthesis option with grades of B or better in all courses

Course Requirements

Core Courses (27 credit hours)

Thesis or Nonthesis Option (9 credit hours)

Complete one of the following options with grades of B or better:

Thesis Option

Note: The thesis option is not available to students in the MIP program.

Combined Bachelor’s Degree and MA in TESOL

American University offers students the opportunity to earn both undergraduate and graduate degrees through its combined bachelor’s/master’s programs. See Combined Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees  for more information.

This program enables qualified students to earn both a BA or BS in any major and an MA in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). Note: This program is not designed for K-12 ESOL licensure.


  • The standards for admission as defined by the relevant undergraduate teaching unit’s requirements must first be satisfied. Undergraduates should apply for admission to the combined program by the end of the junior year.
    • Undergraduates whose overall grade point average is 3.00 or higher will be considered for the combined program. Applications must be accompanied by two letters of academic reference and a statement of purpose. Students should discuss their interest in the program with the TESOL MA director before submitting a formal application.
  • All requirements for a BA or BS in any major at American University.
    • Undergraduate students may apply up to 9 credit hours of approved graduate-level coursework to satisfy the requirements for both degrees.
  • All requirements for the MA in TESOL, including a minimum of 18 credit hours completed in residence in graduate status after the undergraduate degree has been awarded. Students must finish the master’s degree requirements within three years from the date of first enrollment in the master’s program.

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