Moray House School of Education and Sport

Programme structure

This programme can be studied full-time or part-time. To graduate with a Master's degree, you will need to study a number of compulsory and option courses and complete a dissertation.

Masters degrees at the University of Edinburgh comprise 180 credits. The first 120 credits make up a Postgraduate Diploma and assuming an average mark of 50% or more is achieved, students can progress to the final 60 credits of the programme which is known as the dissertation component. Successful completion of the 180 credits leads to the award of MSc 


Our courses are informed by research and current developments in theory and practice surrounding language teaching and learning and are led by insights from our own research and publications.

Teaching mainly consists of lectures, which include interactive input sessions, followed by workshops, consisting of smaller discussion groups, where you will benefit from being the centre of the activity and receiving individual attention.  

Compulsory courses:

Option courses may include:

Please note that courses and course content may change each year.

Should you wish to study part-time, please contact the Programme Director to discuss structure and courses.

Course descriptions (2023-24)

This course gave me an opportunity to think critically and engage with concepts that were valuable to other courses. [The course organiser's] detailed responses to final course assessment was very helpful; I will be able to employ the recommendations to improve performance in future assessments.

Sources of Knowledge: Understanding and analysing research literature - nominated for Outstanding Course in the EUSA Teaching Awards 2021


You will need to read extensively in preparation for lectures and workshops as well as course assignments, requiring you to demonstrate an ability to critically evaluate concepts and literature, and apply theory to practice. Other forms of assessment include presentations, lesson plans and reflective diaries.


On satisfactory completion of programme courses, you will produce an independently researched 12,000-word dissertation. You may choose any TESOL-related topic that is of interest to you and of relevance to your teaching context.

Examples of previous dissertation topics include:

  • Adapting an Egyptian primary school EFL (English as a Foreign Language) coursebook by adding authentic texts and communicative exercises.
  • How to apply intercultural pragmatics in Business English speaking classes in a Polish private school.
  • Investigating grammatical and structural errors in argumentative writing of 2nd year Chinese English major students.
  • Learner corpora in contrast: The use of delexicalized verbs by learners at different proficiency levels.
  • Students’ reaction to feedback in an online TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) teacher training course.

You will be well-supported in the dissertation process. Each student is assigned to a staff member who supervises their study. Dissertation supervision occurs in groups and one-to-one tutorials. One of the benefits of our large department is the wide range of staff skills to draw upon, so supervisors are more likely to be specialists in your area of research.

We also offer five programme tutorial lectures in the Spring semester to help students navigate through each step of the dissertation, as well as a year-long Dissertation Support Strand lecture series, focusing on Research Design. 

Each year the programme team submits one outstanding dissertation to the British Council for the ELT Masters Dissertation Award. Previous students who have entered the national competition include one winner (Thomas Jameson) and three finalists (Natalia Blackman, James Scholl, Richard Wilson).


View of Edinburgh


Masters programmes can be demanding and new cultural and learning contexts may also challenge students who come from a variety of cultural and educational backgrounds. To address students’ academic and social needs, we have a number of systems in place.

In your first weeks, you will be allocated a Student Advisor, who will help to guide you should academic or pastoral questions or challenges arise.

Weekly or bi-weekly programme tutorial sessions take place to support you academically and help with a variety of programme issues.

We offer additional lectures and workshops related to specific learning needs such as critical reading, understanding assessment, intercultural communication, and other topics.

Our staff are very involved in the professional development of our students and are regularly nominated by students for EUSA (Edinburgh University Students’ Association) awards.   

Combine theory and practice

Being a member of our academic community provides you with the opportunity to take part in visits to schools in Scotland where you can access real classrooms and gain insights into teaching and learning in a new educational environment.

Research activity in Language Education and TESOL is taking a new and exciting turn. The old ETAL seminar series is currently being revised to take these changes into account - watch this space for updates.

Students are also encouraged to join university groups and associations, like the Edinburgh University Language Education Society, as well as international academic communities, such as the International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language (IATEFL) and the British Association for Applied Linguistics (BAAL).

Edinburgh University Language and Education Society

International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language

British Association for Applied Linguistics