Master of Arts in Teaching - TESOL

The Master of Arts in Teaching - TESOL prepares educators with TESOL training to become English language teaching specialists in a variety of settings.

Learn more about the online Masters of Arts in Teaching - TESOL program for current and aspiring English language teachers from the University of Southern California’s Rossier School of Education.

Delivered online, this program prepares you to educate non-native English speakers in culturally responsive learning settings, explore the foundations of English-language teaching putting theory into practice with field experience in a TESOL setting, and enables you to work in a range of settings teaching English-language learners in the U.S. and abroad.

Bachelor's degree*
30 - 32 credits
1-3 Years
100% online and self-paced
Graduate degree
Program can be completed in 1 - 3 years

*Bachelor's degree, 3.0 GPA or higher, a Statement of Purpose that indicating professional career goals and completion of a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) for candidates whose academic work has been in a country other than the US, UK, Australia or English-speaking Canada.

Course Curriculum

Explore the course curriculum

This module is the first of a two-part series that offers ways to explore the English language systems, including words, sounds, sentence structure, discourse and application of this knowledge to teaching English as a second or foreign language.

This module will prepare participants to have a better understanding of the content that they’ll teach. In addition to the content on English language systems, this course will also begin to introduce ways to teach English reading and writing to speakers of other languages.

This module explores the relationship of learning theories to second language learning, instruction, student assessment, motivation and investment, self-regulation and engagement in the TESOL classroom.

It also introduces a broad range of theories that inform and underpin second language learning and teaching. Critical review and practical applications of these theories of second language learning will assist you in designing classroom learning experiences, developing a classroom learning community and assessing progress toward expected student outcomes. The course surveys research on learning a second language and explores its primary theories and perspectives, including behavioral, developmental, cognitive, social cognitive and constructivist learning theories. It also introduces sociocultural theory and sociolinguistic approaches to second language learning. Course participants closely observe and analyze classroom instruction to see how these different theories are applied. Discussion, analysis and theory-in-practice exercises address student assessment, motivation and investment in language learning, self-regulation and classroom management.

This module highlights facilitation, mediation and intervention in the development of English as a second or foreign language through instruction across a variety of educational contexts including, but not limited to very young learners, K12, adults, mixed-level learners, US and overseas students and formal and informal learners within private and public schools. The course focuses on the connection between inquiry, sociocultural contexts and awareness of language variation as a vehicle for developing and articulating one’s personal praxis in TESOL.

This module covers topics including curriculum and lesson planning, lesson sequencing, and methods for teaching reading, writing, speaking and listening. The purpose of this module is to provide an introduction to methods of teaching English as a second/foreign language that can be used to design lessons appropriate for various students’ ages, English abilities and student backgrounds.

This module provides a comprehensive overview of the history and development of methods for TESOL along with a critical examination of the underlying principles of these various methodologies. Included is an examination of the theory and practice of teaching the four skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking) along with grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation.

The module will further focus on how various approaches and techniques can be realized in practice, in a range of contexts or educational settings, for a variety of different learners. Throughout the module, participants will look at examples of different teaching methods in classrooms, both on video and in live observations of teachers.

This module will prepare participants to have a better understanding of the English language system, specifically in speaking and listening. In addition to the content on English speaking and listening, Participants will also begin to learn about ways to teach English speaking and writing to their students.

This module covers ways to structure learning opportunities for diverse student populations based on sociolinguistic and sociocultural understandings of second language learning. The course examines the instructional needs of English language learners (ELLs) and presents a variety of appropriate programs and services to accommodate them. The course explores sociolinguistic and sociocultural theories, issues, procedures, methods and approaches for use in various English language learning environments.

Module participants apply their theoretical understanding through on-site observations and a mini-ethnographic case study research project investigating the experiences and linguistic development of an English learner at their field placement school.

This module introduces micro-components of effective teaching, including curriculum and unit planning, lesson sequencing and delivery, and creating a classroom environment conducive to English language learning.

In addition, the module addresses classroom management issues, including how to teach mixed-level classes, large classes and classes with diverse student populations. Participants carry out their unit and lesson plan in their fieldwork site while completing their fourth key assessment focusing on its teaching component.

This module offers assessment practices and strategies in English language instruction, with special attention to learner differences that influence academic performance.

This module is also intended to engage participants in exploring different theories, issues, procedures, methods and approaches related to assessments for English language learners. By introducing relevant theory and current practice in the area of assessment, this module is designed to integrate theory and practice in order to provide participants with both conceptual understanding and practical experience with language assessment.

In this module, participants build on their previous teaching and learning design experience in the program in order to establish the skills they will need to become creative, competent and professional online English language instructors. This module has a practicum component and involves working together with peers to design and teach an online English language workshop.

This capstone module offers a culminating experience for candidates in the program. Candidates work on summative assessment of the program and a professional development project.

The Capstone course is structured to provide participants with the opportunity to demonstrate their abilities by synthesizing and expanding upon what has been learned in previous modules. It is designed for both the new and experienced teachers to reflect on and modify their ability to facilitate learning and then to prepare themselves to exert leadership in their professional field. The module aims to provide candidates with a final opportunity to complete a project that is directly useful to them in practice.


"The real gem of the MAT-TESOL program is the commitment and passion that our professors and classmates bring to the program. The faculty’s desire for students to reach their full potential and fellow classmates’ professionalism and dedication to their work have brought out the best in me as a graduate student. I am constantly encouraged by professors’ feedback on my work, the high quality work that my classmates produce and the precious camaraderie that has been developed with teammates."

Sherrie Lee
MAT-TESOL Student, Singapore

Frequently Asked Questions


Bachelor’s degree. Successful applicants typically have a GPA of 3.0 or above.

For master’s degree programs such as the Masters in Teaching and Masters in TESOL, professional work experience in your field of interest is not required. USC Rossier’s PhD in Education program requires applicants to have at least three to five years of full-time professional work and leadership experience.

Request more information on the application process here.

The online master’s degree programs maintain the same selective admissions standards as the school’s on-campus programs. Applications must include the following:

  • Online application
  • Application fee
  • Official transcripts
  • Personal essays
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Current resume or CV
(For Doctor of Education (EdD) in Organizational Change and Leadership program: Writing Assessment, GRE score, or GMAT score)

A word processor is required when taking the course as you will need to download materials and submit assignments.

The course is compatible with most electronic devices. While the recommended device is a laptop or desktop, the course can be accessed via a browser on most smartphones and tablets.


USC Rossier's programs feature a blend of live, face-to-face online class sessions, self-paced coursework, and hands-on field-based teaching experiences. The programs are composed of live, online classes which allow students to network with classmates around the world in an intimate, collaborative environment. The course also includes hands-on field work which students complete in their own communities or classrooms.

Check with your district and state licensure requirements as the certificate may satisfy these requirements.

Each program follows an academically rigorous curriculum designed and delivered by USC Rossier faculty members.

Request more information on tuition and payment process here.

Request more information on program costs here.

For more information on financial aid, departmental grants and long-term financing options, contact USC's Financial Aid Office.

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