Requirements for Completion


To complete the Master’s Degree, students must complete 10 required courses and 2 electives with a GPA of 3.0 or higher and they must complete one Exit Option: Comprehensive Exams, Independent Research Project, or Capstone Integrative Seminar.

Full-time students can finish in 2.5 years, sometimes less.  Part-time students can finish in 4 years, often 3. Students have 7 years to complete the degree although a petition for more time can be made in the case of extenuating circumstances.

Exit options for the MA-TESL program consist of the Capstone Integrative Seminar, Comprehensive Exams, or an Independent Research Project.

To be eligible for the exit option, the student should have completed 24 or more hours in the program and (5040) Phonology, (5050)  Morphology and Syntax, (6170) Linguistic Assessment, and (6100) Theories and Principles of TESL.

Exit Option: Comprehensive Exams

The comprehensive exams are given twice a year (late October and the middle of April).  The exams consist of four parts: Linguistics (morphology and syntax or phonology), Assessment, Theories and Principles of TESL, and a choice among Writing Theories, Reading Literary Texts in the English Classroom, or the other linguistics exam.  Students take two exams during a three hour period. In the past the exams have been split over 2 days, but it can be arranged for students to take all four exams on one day.

Students should ask for an application and a study guide at the beginning of the semester in which they plan to take the exams.  The exams are usually one to three essay questions to which the students must satisfactorily respond. Students are encouraged to prepare responses to the sample questions in the study guide  and meet with the professors during their office hours to discuss those answers.

Students must receive 75% or higher in each exam to pass the exams.  If a student does not pass one exam, the student may retake that exam any time the exams are next offered.  If a student does not pass more than one exam, the student must retake all four exams the next time or any time after that the exams are next offered.  If students do not pass the exam, they may opt to do either the Integrative Seminar or the Independent Research Project. The exams currently cost $25 and confer no additional credits.

Exit Option:  Independent Research Project

For the Independent Research Project, students will take a three-credit (3) course where they will carry out a Research Project. Throughout this Project, students will demonstrate their capability to interpret and integrate theoretical concepts for the practical solution of problems related to their field of studies. Students will have up to one consecutive academic year to complete their Project. The student will receive a semester grade of Pass (P) or Not Pass (NP) or Project in Progress (PP).

An Independent Research Project in the field of TESL may be an analytical article (review of secondary literature) or an actual study.  Students must consult a professor about doing this project. The Graduate Coordinator is happy to suggest potential professors. Any study involving human subjects must have permission from the IRB and students should allow two to three months to obtain permission.

Students need to have already completed the Research Methods course for this option.  This Project requires payment of an additional course (usually not covered by the Dept. of Ed.) and a further payment of $19 if the student does not finish the Project in the first semester.