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MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

Program Highlights

Are you looking to get ahead in your career or break into language education? Looking to open opportunities for new horizons at home or abroad as a language specialist? Do you enjoy learning about and interacting with people from other countries or cultural backgrounds?

If so, Virginia International University’s TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) program is perfect for you!

The online Master of Arts in TESOL program prepares students for the world of work as language specialists in the field of English language teaching. Graduates of the TESOL program are qualified to work in a broad array of teaching environments.

The program strives to be a pioneer in the field of language teaching by involving voices from employers in the creation and development of new courses and the program’s curriculum. This provides graduates with an edge in the job search, as the curriculum is focused on providing employers what they are looking for in current and future candidates.

Choosing the VIU TESOL difference prepares graduates with a solid foundation in the teaching of ESL/EFL. Graduates from the program are prepared for teaching experiences in a broad array of teaching environments including ESL/EFL teachers in public and private institutions both domestically and abroad.

Degree at Glance

The online Master of Arts in TESOL degree is earned by completing the program course requirements of 36 credit hours, beyond the prerequisite courses. To qualify for the online MA in TESOL degree, students must meet all credit requirements, as described below.

  1. Students enrolled in the graduate program must maintain a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 (B), out of 4.0, and a minimum of grade not less than 2.0 (C), out of 4.0, in all courses to remain in good academic standing and to graduate. The maximum time frame permitted for the completion of any graduate program is 54 semester credits.
  2. Only graduate-level courses may be applied toward the degree. A master's student may transfer up to 12 semester hours of graduate credit earned at other accredited institutions.
  3. Beyond the prerequisites, the student must have completed 36 credit hours, of which 21 credit hours of required core courses, and 15 credit hours of elective course must have been earned.
  4. No degree credit is earned by a graduate student for any grade below 2.0 (C), out of 4.0, received in a graduate-level course. However, any grades lower than 2.0 (C), out of 4.0, will be calculated in the grade point average.

The program consists of seven (7) core courses and students have the choice of any five (5) elective courses. The elective courses provide the opportunity for the students to develop further competencies covered in the core courses, based on their area of interest. This program can be completed within four (4) semesters of full-time study, offered in the online and residential formats. A total of 36 credits (12 courses) are required for graduation.

Area # of Courses Credit Hours
Core courses 7 21
Elective courses 5 15
Total 12 36

Program Description

The online MA in TESOL program prepares its students to work as English teachers in a world where the global need for English language skills is growing. Upon successful completion of the program, students will have a sound grasp of the structure of modern English as well as basic concepts of language acquisition and language pedagogy, and gain valuable classroom experience through observation and supervised teaching. Our graduates will be qualified to teach English in a variety of educational settings in the US and abroad, such as intensive language programs, and private language programs in non-English speaking countries.


The mission of the online TESOL program at Virginia International University is to effectively educate and enable students to be successful and knowledgeable language teachers in a wide variety of contexts and among diverse student populations in the US and abroad by equipping them with the skills, knowledge, and experience to contribute and excel in an innovative and collaborative work environment.

Academic Preparation

By completing our online MA in TESOL program, students will be comprehensively prepared to:

  • Apply a solid linguistic and pedagogical base to their classroom teaching
  • Manage a variety of classroom scenarios effectively
  • Develop and create interesting and meaningful teaching materials
  • Evaluate and assess student performance
  • Use innovative technology in the classroom
  • Communicate effectively with students from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds

World Class Faculty and Staff

VIU School of Online Education boasts a faculty and staff that are highly skilled and adept at classroom facilitation and personalized engagement. Additionally, faculty bring expertise in the areas of language acquisition, curriculum design and development, syntax, incorporation of technology and student engagement. The faculty are engaged in all parts of the program including curriculum development, student advisement and virtual classroom instruction. Delivery of the curriculum is only one part of the classroom experience – come experience the VIU Online difference in a classroom that is personalized, accessible, engaging and fun!

Program Overview

Benefits of a degree in TESOL:

Faculty with real-world ESOL/ESL, EFL, and ESP experience
A solid curriculum built with feedback from employers in the field
Receive a world class education in a fully flexible online learning environment
Improve upon teaching abilities and qualifications

Program Features

Eight week terms with flexible schedules
Regular and engaging virtual classroom experiences
Faculty are available outside of the virtual classroom for assistance
A dedicate program administrator for every online student


Virginia International University is an accredited institution of higher learning holding accreditation through the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) and is certified to operate by the Virginia State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV). Additional information can be found in the Accreditation and Certifications section the Academic Catalog.

NOTE: Please note that this program does not provide the licensure required to teach grades K-12 in American public schools. In order to obtain teacher licensure, please contact the respective state Department of Education to determine eligibility and requirements.