Postgraduate study

Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) MSc, PgDip (ICL), PgCert (ICL), PgCert, PgDip

Awards: MSc, PgDip (ICL), PgCert (ICL), PgCert, PgDip

Study modes: Part-time Intermittent Study, Full-time, Full-time Part Session

Funding opportunities

The year I spent completing the programme has brought me a lot of unforgettable experiences and memories. The informative lectures, inspiring workshop discussions, practical microteaching, intensive literature reading and essay writing, all have helped to build up my confidence in my future teaching and research.

Jia-yuan Meng MSc TESOL 2019
Jia-yuan Meng               MSc TESOL 2019

Suitable for both experienced teachers and newcomers to the field, this Master's degree is designed for students who plan to teach English as a second, foreign or additional language (ESL, EFL, EAL) in the UK or internationally, as well as students who plan to work or do research in the contexts of teacher education, teacher training, management, course design, materials development, policy design, language analysis and/or assessment.

The programme combines theory and practice to equip you with cutting edge teaching skills to teach English to speakers of other languages. It will lead you into an exploration of evidence based research at the frontiers of language learning, methodology and curriculum design. It will investigate learning centred ‘learnscapes’, enabling you not only to practise but to contribute to knowledge in these areas.

You will learn to design, implement and evaluate substantial research or development tasks, and adapt your planning and teaching approaches to the 21st century demands of rapidly changing teaching and learning contexts and circumstances.

You will graduate with expanded minds and hearts; with professional knowledge, understanding and enhanced confidence in your ability to teach the English language across widely differing contexts.

This programme can be studied full-time or part-time.

To graduate with a Masters (MSc) degree, you will complete five compulsory courses and two option courses, plus a dissertation.

The Diploma (PgDip) and Certificate (PgCert) comprise similar combinations of compulsory and optional courses.

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:

  • Language and the Learner
  • Second Language Teaching Curriculum
  • TESOL Methodology
  • Sources of Knowledge: Understanding and analysing research literature
  • Conceptualising Research: Foundations, Assumptions and Praxis

Option courses are subject to change each year but may include:

  • Bilingual Education
  • Corpus Linguistics and Language Teaching
  • Critical literacies and critical pedagogies in L1 and L2 contexts
  • Evaluation and Design of TESOL Materials
  • Global Englishes for Language Teaching
  • Investigating Individual Learner Differences
  • Language and Intercultural Communication Pedagogy
  • Language Awareness for Second Language Teachers
  • Language Testing
  • Online Language Learning
  • Second Language Teacher Education
  • Teaching Languages to Young Learners
  • Teaching Texts Across Borders - from picture books to teenage fiction and film
  • Text, Discourse and Language Teaching

(Not all options run every year.)

Find out more about compulsory and optional courses

We link to the latest information available. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScUp to 6 YearsPart-time Intermittent StudyProgramme structure 2020/21
MSc1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2020/21
PgDip (ICL)Up to 4 YearsPart-time Intermittent StudyProgramme structure 2020/21
PgCert (ICL)Up to 2 YearsPart-time Intermittent StudyProgramme structure 2020/21
PgCert4 MonthsFull-time Part SessionProgramme structure 2020/21
PgDip9 MonthsFull-timeProgramme structure 2020/21

With a strong foundation in teaching and research, our students are employed worldwide in all areas of the English language teaching profession.

Examples roles include:

  • training other TESOL teachers
  • management of TESOL education
  • teaching English at primary, secondary or tertiary level
  • teaching English in specialised fields (for example, business English)
  • designing TESOL curricula, materials and policies

Representatives from international teacher recruitment agencies visit our campus every year to talk to our students and conduct on-campus recruitment interviews with shortlisted candidates for TESOL-related posts.

The MSc is a good introduction to an advanced research degree. You will also develop a range of highly transferable communication and professional skills which can be applied to roles in any field.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in a relevant discipline. Previous teaching experience is not required.

Alternatively, you may be considered on the basis of employment or relevant experience; please contact us to check.

If you are studying at a Chinese 211 institution, you must have a minimum overall average of 80% for courses and at least 80% on the dissertation. For non-211 institutions, you must have an average of 85% for courses and 80% on the dissertation.

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

If you have received a Diploma in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (DELTA) from a Cambridge English Teaching Qualification centre within the last 5 years, you may apply for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) and exemption from the following two core modules in semester 1:

  • TESOL Methodology
  • Second Language Teaching Curriculum

The fees for the MSc TESOL will be reduced accordingly.

Applications for RPL must include a copy of your diploma and should be sent to College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences, Postgraduate Admissions Office via email: cahss.pgadmissions@ed.ac.uk

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

For 2021 entry we will accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.5 in each module)
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Special Home Edition): total 100 (at least 23 in each module). We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements
  • CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 176 in each module)
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

Find out more about our language requirements:

Deposit for the MSc programme

You will need to pay this deposit within 28 days of receiving your offer of admission (either unconditional or conditional) for the MSc programme.

  • £1,500 (this contributes towards your tuition fees)

Additional programme costs

You may incur additional costs for fieldwork, if taking Environmental Education option courses.

Living costs

You will be responsible for covering living costs for the duration of your studies.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScUp to 6 YearsPart-time Intermittent StudyTuition fees
MSc1 YearFull-timeTuition fees
PgDip (ICL)Up to 4 YearsPart-time Intermittent StudyTuition fees
PgCert (ICL)Up to 2 YearsPart-time Intermittent StudyTuition fees
PgCert4 MonthsFull-time Part SessionTuition fees
PgDip9 MonthsFull-timeTuition fees

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments.

The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on:

  • your programme
  • the duration of your studies
  • your tuition fee status.

Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Programme Director, Janet de Vigne
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 651 6418
  • Contact: tesol@ed.ac.uk
  • Moray House School of Education and Sport
  • Old Moray House
  • Holyrood Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 8AQ
Programme start date Application deadline
13 September 2021 29 July 2021

Due to high demand, the School operates a number of selection deadlines.

We will make a small number of offers to the most outstanding candidates on an ongoing basis, but hold the majority of applications until the next published selection deadline when we will offer a proportion of the places available to applicants selected through a competitive process.

Deadlines for applicants applying to study in 2021-2022 are shown below.

Round Application deadline Places awarded by
1 21 October 2020 10 December 2020
2 16 December 2020 4 March 2021
3 17 February 2021 15 April 2021
4 28 April 2021 10 June 2021
5 16 June 2021 29 July 2021

You must submit one reference with your application.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • Programme Director, Janet de Vigne
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 651 6418
  • Contact: tesol@ed.ac.uk
  • Moray House School of Education and Sport
  • Old Moray House
  • Holyrood Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 8AQ