There is nothing more rewarding than teaching English as a foreign language. English is one of the main business and cultural languages worldwide, and speaking it is essential to a variety of people in countries around the world. The MSc TESOL opens the door to an exciting future in English language teaching by instilling the methods you will need to teach students with ease.

This programme is studied on campus.

English is a world language and the world places a high value on those professionals who can teach English well. Once qualified with an internationally-recognised TESOL MSc from The University of Aberdeen, you will be well placed to travel and teach English worldwide, with confidence and skill.

With a strong commitment to global standards for excellence, our MSc also reflects a refreshing practical approach and clear focus on your career goals. A comprehensive programme that will allow you to develop academically and professionally, it is built around giving you:

  • Choice
  • Practical skills
  • Expert linguistics knowledge.

You will gain a solid grounding in the latest research-based methodologies for language teaching, which will be of direct use to you in your professional life. You will also develop specialised skills through practice in the classroom.

Through a combination of learning methods and assessments, including experiential teaching sessions, seminars and observations, you will develop a deep understanding of the diversity of language teaching methods. You will assess situations from different perspectives to master appropriate teaching techniques.

Instead of a dissertation, you can choose to have a Focused Teaching Portfolio to show to prospective employers, which is completed in the final summer term. This practical document builds into a valuable record of your growing knowledge, skills and experience - tangible proof you can show to any future employer that adds allure to your CV.

Along with other students from a wide range of cultural backgrounds, you will be tutored by a group of highly qualified and committed academic staff who will help you develop not only your critical but also your but also your creative thinking skills.

By seeing things from different viewpoints, our students often find more meaningful ways to teach as an individual and develop the confidence to write it, test it, prove it…then go out into the world and do it.

Key Programme Information

At a Glance

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
12 months or 24 months
Study Mode
Full Time or Part Time
Start Month

What You'll Study

Semester 1

Semester 1

Compulsory Courses

    Theories of Learning (LN5023) - 15 Credit Points

    This course will focus on key concepts, hypotheses and models related TESOL-oriented theories of learning, including behaviourist, cognitive and socio-cultural perspectives. The structure of this course will facilitate development of and reflection on teaching beliefs and teaching philosophy. Strengths and weaknesses of common learning theories will be identified and their applicability to the English language teaching context will be examined.

    View detailed information about this course

    Exploring TESOL Research (LN5024) - 15 Credit Points

    This course will focus on how to critically read and reflect on TESOL research. Students will develop their ability to critically aranalyse an article’s structure and content. They will also develop their ability to read academic articles more effectively by analysing what information can be found in sections of a typical research article on TESOL. In the process of analysing research articles, students will be encouraged to develop and reflect on their beliefs about teaching pedagogy and how these beliefs relate to recent research findings.

    View detailed information about this course

    TESOL Methodology: Teaching English as A Second or Other Language (LN5025) - 30 Credit Points

    Students will explore a range of approaches to Teaching English as a Second or Other Language, tracing a change of focus from traditional grammar translation to a greater emphasis on meaning, communication and context. Parallel to this is how these approaches have impacted on classroom practice with regard to teaching the language skills, grammar and lexis.

    View detailed information about this course

    Semester 2

    Semester 2

    You will have the opportunity to study a range of topics in your second semester, including Peer Teaching in TESOL, Discourse Analysis, Advanced English Structure and Use and Individual Difference in Second Language Acquisition. These topics will provide you with a firmer foundation for your studies and your future career. They are also likely to make you more attractive to employers.

    Compulsory Courses

    Second Language Acquisition (LN5523) - 15 Credit Points

    This course on the processes that are involved in the learning of second language vocabulary, morphosyntax, collocations, formulaic language, language functions and phonology. In addition to critical analysis of theory and research, students will have an opportunity to engage in designing EFL (English as a Foreign/Second Language) classroom activities that address areas of difficulty for English language learners from different linguistic backgrounds.

    View detailed information about this course

    Research Methods in TESOL (LN5524) - 15 Credit Points

    The course will provide an introduction to the theory and practice of qualitative and quantitative research in TESOL. It will focus on the research methods that are frequently used in TESOL research and that are appropriate for postgraduate research, but it will enable students to develop practical research skills which are applicable in a range of different fields. Quantitative research methods are introduced in conjunction with training in how to use a statistical package (SPSS) to analyse data. This course will give students the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of TESOL-related research and areas of debate. ​

    View detailed information about this course

    Optional Courses

    Select two of the following courses:

    Peer Teaching in TESOL (LN5516) - 15 Credit Points

    Through a process of observation, delivery and reflection, learners will develop the ability to plan and teach coherent and structured lessons which meet stated aims and objectives. This will consolidate content covered in the TESOL methodology course.

    View detailed information about this course

    Individual Differences In Second Language Acquisition (LN5517) - 15 Credit Points

    This course is designed to cater for the needs of the students who are interested in exploring how individual differences affect second language learning and how to make language learning more effective.

    View detailed information about this course

    Advanced English Structure and use (LN5519) - 15 Credit Points

    English may be analysed at various levels, from the study of individual speech sounds, to investigation of the structure of words, sentences and whole texts. This course will cover each of these levels of linguistic analysis to an advanced level and enable students to apply these skills in a variety of contexts from the teaching of English as a second language to the analysis of language variation in different social contexts.

    View detailed information about this course

    English for Academic Purposes (LN5526) - 15 Credit Points

    As Education is becoming increasingly globalised more and more people are studying through a second language . To meet the needs of these learners a distinct form teaching EAP has been developed.

    The course will take a historical look at the development of English for Specific Purposes and the impact it has had on current EAP practice.

    View detailed information about this course

    Psychology of Well - Being in Language Teaching (LN5530) - 15 Credit Points

    The course aims to help students develop a theoretical and practical understanding of psychological, physiological and environmental factors that influence the well-being of language teachers and learners. Course is an elective course for the MSc in TESOL.

    View detailed information about this course

    Semester 3

    Semester 3

    Optional Courses

    Select one of the following courses:

    TESOL Focussed Teaching Portfolio (LN5906) - 60 Credit Points

    This course leads to the production of a portfolio of reflective and informed pieces analysing both the student’s own and others’ teaching practice in line with what has been learned throughout the programme. Students will gain hands-on teaching practice under the supervision of highly qualified personnel; the experience will then be analysed and related to relevant theory and methodology. Students will gain a sense of what planning and executing a programme of TESOL teaching will involve. This portfolio is a unique feature of the Aberdeen MSc in TESOL and gives a strongly practical flavour to the degree as a whole.

    View detailed information about this course

    Dissertation for MSc in TESOL (LN5908) - 60 Credit Points

    If you want to carry out in-depth research on a single topic within the field of TESOL, this is the course for you. You will be given regular support and supervision from experts in their fields on how your research should be carried out.

    View detailed information about this course

    Course Availability

    We will endeavour to make all course options available; however, these may be subject to timetabling and other constraints. Please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

    How You'll Study

    • Lectures and seminars designed to enhance individual and team work skills and group discussion.
    • Peer review and critique.
    • A variety of learning styles.
    • Language teaching.
    • A focussed teaching portfolio.
    • Written dissertation with practical work in teaching.

    Instead of writing an academically-oriented dissertation, you can compile a Focused Teaching Portfolio as the final element in your studies, an offering unique in the field. Preparing and presenting the Portfolio involves the same research skills as producing a dissertation, but with the added benefit of involving practical work aimed towards the goal of becoming a teacher of TESOL.

    Learning Methods

    • Individual Projects
    • Lectures
    • Seminars
    • Tutorials

    Assessment Methods

    Assessment is by a combination of coursework, written and oral examinations and by preparation of an acceptable portfolio of documents on language acquisition and language teaching methods and practice.

    Why Study TESOL - Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages?

    • Excellence with relevance.
    • A 'conversion' programme that can be completed in a single year from any background, any discipline at undergraduate level to kick start a career teaching English to speakers of other languages.
    • Master a very marketable set of skills as you embark on your career.
    • Excellent balance between theory and practice using a range of innovative teaching methods.
    • We draw upon the range of specialist academic knowledge from our Departments of Language and Linguistics and Education.
    • High quality teaching through face-to-face communication.
    • Observe and take part in language teaching in the University’s well-established Language Centre.
    • Practical assignment projects with constructive tutor feedback.
    • Having a wide choice of learning formats, courses and seminars helps give you a broader platform to gain greater knowledge.
    • Strong international flavour - students come from a range of countries. This adds a multi-cultural perspective. Surround yourself with students and teaching staff whose diversity of ideas and interactions become part of the learning experience.
    • Develop a Focused Teaching Portfolio showcasing your credentials, sampling evidence of your teaching and reflections on that evidence, adding depth to your CV.
    • We examine CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning), CMC (Computer Mediated Communication), Young Learners, Discourse Analysis and ESP (English for Specific Purposes).
    • Excellent career prospects, get a job anywhere in the world.
    • You will gain a Masters level qualification from a School of Language and Literature that is ranked 4th overall in the UK for research of an international quality (REF2014).
    • For English Language and Literature 'research outputs’, we rank number 1 in Scotland and Number 2 in the United Kingdom.
    • Learn from practitioners who are experts in their field.
    • Benefit from a strong international and multi-cultural mix. You will study in a group that mixes students from Europe to Asia and South America.
    • As a world centre for the energy industry, Aberdeen is the perfect cosmopolitan city, full of people from all over the world, working in Europe's energy capital with links to tourism and global business. Here, there’s a constant flow of new people and ideas from all over the world. It’s a perfect place to enjoy your international learning experience.
    • Our Alumni network of 82,500 , spanning 192 countries, provides valuable peer-to-peer networking for years to come.

    Entry Requirements

    Prospective students requiring a visa to study in the UK are advised to apply as early as possible to secure a place. Submitting a CV with your application is optional.


    The information below is provided as a guide only and does not guarantee entry to the University of Aberdeen.

    Students are required to have a good 2.1 degree (or its equivalent) in a related discipline, such as English or Linguistics, and/or sufficient English Language Teaching experience as approved by the admissions officer.

    Please enter your country to view country-specific entry requirements.

    English Language Requirements

    To study for a Postgraduate Taught degree at the University of Aberdeen it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. The minimum requirements for this degree are as follows:

    IELTS Academic:

    OVERALL - 6.5 with: Listening - 5.5; Reading - 6.0; Speaking - 5.5; Writing - 6.0

    TOEFL iBT:

    OVERALL - 90 with: Listening - 17; Reading - 21; Speaking - 20; Writing - 21

    PTE Academic:

    OVERALL - 62 with: Listening - 51; Reading - 54; Speaking - 51; Writing - 54

    Cambridge English Advanced & Proficiency:

    OVERALL - 176 with: Listening - 162; Reading - 169; Speaking - 162; Writing - 169

    Read more about specific English Language requirements here.

    Document Requirements

    You will be required to supply the following documentation with your application as proof you meet the entry requirements of this degree programme. If you have not yet completed your current programme of study, then you can still apply and you can provide your Degree Certificate at a later date.

    Degree Transcript
    a full transcript showing all the subjects you studied and the marks you have achieved in your degree(s) (original & official English translation)
    Personal Statement
    a detailed personal statement explaining your motivation for this particular programme
    a reference letter from your university discussing your academic ability. If you have been out of education for a long time you may wish to use your current or most recent employer, or another professional person

    Fees and Funding

    You will be classified as one of the fee categories below.

    Fee information
    Fee category Cost
    Home / EU / RUK Students £9,000
    Tuition Fees for 2020/21 Academic Year
    International Students £19,000
    Tuition Fees for 2020/21 Academic Year

    Additional Fees

    • In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses, for example field trips. Any additional fees for a course can be found in our Catalogue of Courses.
    • For more information about tuition fees for this programme, including payment plans and our refund policy, please visit our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.

    Funding Opportunities

    The James Carnegie maintenance scholarship for postgraduate students is available with this degree.

    Our Funding Database

    View all funding options in our Funding Database.


    The English language is in ever increasing demand throughout the world. Knowledge of the English language and the ability to use this language is a valuable global commodity.

    • Employment anywhere in the world.
    • Native English teaching, English as a second language advisors, lecturers.
    • Teaching TESOL up to professor level at specialist colleges and institutes.
    • Centre Directors.
    • Language specialists, assessment specialists.
    • Continuation to a PhD by research from this degree.

    Travel Globally With TESOL

    TESOL offers you a 'career change' opportunity to travel and teach around the world, as demand is high globally

    Our Experts

    Other Experts
    Ms Julie Bray
    Dr Vincent Troy Greenier
    Programme Coordinator
    Dr Agni Connor

    Information About Staff Changes

    You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. Staff changes will occur from time to time; please see our InfoHub pages for further information.


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    Sir Duncan Rice Library

    Sir Duncan Rice Library

    The University’s award winning Sir Duncan Rice Library is listed in the “Top 20 spellbinding University libraries in the World”. It contains over a million volumes, more than 300,000 e-books and 21,000 journals.

    Find out more

    Virtual Learning environment MyAberdeen

    This the University’s virtual learning environment. This is where you will find learning materials and resources associated with your courses and where you will be notified of any announcements about your courses or the University.

    University Language Centre

    Home to state-of-the-art comprising audio-video facilities.

    Get in Touch

    Contact Details

    School of Language, Literature, Music and Visual Culture
    University of Aberdeen
    King's College
    AB24 3UB