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Gain the skills to teach English to speakers of other languages and put your learning into practice with an overseas teaching placement.
Whether you are a qualified teacher or have no previous teaching experience, the MA Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) at Ulster is designed to enhance your teaching and communication skills and explore how people from different cultures learn languages.
Ulster’s TESOL programme is the only master's level TESOL course in the UK which offers an overseas teaching placement.
You will have the opportunity to complete a placement in Gyor, Hungary, and teach English to non-native speakers, in either a state primary or secondary school.
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About this course
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Offered on both a full-time and part-time basis, the MA TESOL at Ulster is an exciting programme for individuals who wish to develop their teaching ability and knowledge about language.
You will study both the theory and practice of teaching, from classroom management to syllabus design, and gain the expertise and confidence to teach English in a variety of settings to students from across the globe.
Throughout the programme you will enhance your creativity and learn to adapt your teaching style and approach in order to effectively support a range of learners, with consideration to ethical and cultural differences.
You will also improve your research skills which will enable you to further your knowledge, particularly when completing the dissertation component of the MA, on a topic of your choice.
Employability is embedded within the programme design. A unique feature of the course is the eight-week ERASMUS-funded teaching placement in Hungary. This offers an authentic environment where you will have the opportunity to put your learning into practice.
MA full-time: normally 4 days per week in semester one; 3 days per week (6 weeks) plus 6 weeks teaching practice in sem 2; followed by independent study for the dissertation during semester three (summer semester). This can be done at a distance.
MA part-time: Year 1: normally, 2 days per week in semester one, 4 weeks teaching practice semester 2. Year 2: normally, 2 days per week in semester one, and 4 weeks teaching practice in semester two. This is followed by independent study for the dissertation during semester three (summer semester) and during semester one and two of year 3. This can be done at a distance.
- September 2017
We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.
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A second class honours degree from a University of the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland, or from an institution of another country which is recognised as being of an equivalent standard; and evidence of competence in written and spoken English (GCSE grade C or equivalent).
English Language Requirements
English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.
Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.
Teaching and learning assessment
Interactive workshops and lecturesare a key element in teaching on the programme. Students engage in a diverse range of interactive activities including role-plays, simulations and micro-teaching reviews. Group work is an important element too. It is used to help students integrate learning from a variety of sources, to provide opportunities to apply knowledge or case studies for class work. Individual and group tutorialsare used to build student University teacher relationships and to promote the concept of the reflective learner. Course work assignments are used as an essential part of students’ learning process and as a means of assessment. The teaching practice placementprovides trainees with challenging, high-impact encounters with the world of professional English language teaching; the feedback tutorials which follow teaching practice allow TESOL trainees to reflect on what they have encountered in the classroom.
A wide variety of course work is completed during the programme; such as, assignments, presentations, case studies, class tests, teaching practice performance and portfolios.
Exemptions and transferability
You can make an APEL application (accreditation of prior experiential learning). However, you cannot apply to be exempt from the teaching practice module.
Careers & opportunities
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Graduates of this programme have gained work as English language teachers in private language schools, further education colleges, universities and schools in the UK, Ireland and in many countries all over the world. Some have progressed to doctoral study whilst others have got jobs as on-line English language teachers. Students have gone on to work in teaching related areas: for example, the Inclusion and Diversity Service and developers of online English language teaching materials; whilst some of the students use their qualification to work for charities abroad in developing countries.
Our TESOL graduates have rewarding careers all over the world:
- Llceo Europa primary school in Zaragoza, Spain
- Belfast Metropolitan College
- Kanda University of International studies, Chiba, Japan
- Centre for English Studies: University of Southampton, University of Ulster, Queens University Belfast
- Sohar International School, Oman
- Foyle International School; North West Academy, Londonderry
- Baku English School, Azerbaijan
- Dublin Emerald Cultural Institute, Ireland
- School of Foreign Languages, University of Zhengzhou, China
- Salerno Cambridge School, Italy.
Work placement / study abroad
TESOL student teachers go to teach in Gyor, Hungary for 8 weeks (full-time) or 4 weeks (part-time). They depart in February and return in April. Gyor is a beautiful central European city located midway between Budapest and Vienna. Our students teach in primary or secondary schools and are supported by Hungarian host teachers and staff of the university who stay in Gyor for that purpose. The module gives an authentic opportunity to teach English to non-native speakers of English.
Dr Barbara Skinner graduated from the University of Bristol with an MA in TESOL and also a Doctorate in Education. Barbara has published widely in international journals, gained research funding to explore language learning and teacher education issues and is a member of the University’s Institute for Research in the Social Sciences. Her current research interests focus on English as an Additional Language, teacher talk, and classroom interaction in the L2 classroom, as well as teaching practice supervision and teacher education. She is currently supervising two PhD students. She is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
Dr Helen Hou joined Ulster University as Lecturer in TESOL in 2010. She gained her PhD in Education from the University of Manchester in 2012. She used to work as an English language teacher trainer in Guizhou Normal University in China. Her major research interests include online communities of practice and student teachers’ learning, ELT methodology, e-pedagogy and teacher education, educational technologies in the language classroom, Chinese learners, and qualitative research methodology and design. She began to supervise PhD students in the field of TESOL in 2013 and became an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in 2014.
Fees and funding
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Fees (total cost)
Important notice - fees information
Please note fees displayed are for 2017/18 Academic Entry. Fees are correct at the time of publishing. Additional mandatory costs are highlighted where they are known in advance. There are other costs associated with university study.
View Ulster University’s 2017 fees policy
Scholarships, awards and prizes
Each year the student who gains the best overall mark in the taught modules which make up the Postgraduate Diploma will receive the Pritchard Prize.
Additional mandatory costs
Teaching Practice in Hungary cannot gain ERASMUS funding because the placement does not meet their minimum requirement of being 8 weeks long. Due to this, part-time students need to cover costs of accommodation and subsistence whilst they are there, although the University will pay for flights.
Tuition fees and costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges), and normal living are a part of university life.
Where a course has additional mandatory expenses we make every effort to highlight them. These may include residential visits, field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering) inoculations, security checks, computer equipment, uniforms, professional memberships etc.
We aim to provide students with the learning materials needed to support their studies. Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. Computer suites and free wifi is also available on each of the campuses.
There will be some additional costs to being a student which cannot be itemised and these will be different for each student. You may choose to purchase your own textbooks and course materials or prefer your own computer and software. Printing and binding may also be required. There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines. Additional costs vary from course to course.
Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs as well as tuition fees.
Please contact the course team for more information.
Comments from External Examiners
'The main strength of the course is the teaching practice in
Hungary. This provides an invaluable experience for both the
new teachers as well as the experienced teachers….I was also
particularly impressed by the way in which the experience in
Hungary was integrated into other modules of the course'.
‘The students were highly complimentary about the course
and commended the team spirit that had been generated, as
well as the commitment of the teaching staff.’
Comments from students
‘The teaching practice course in Hungary is organised
extremely well, and links between the various schools there
and the University are strong and mutually beneficial’.
‘We are all aware of the fact that it is people who make up
Departments within a University. I am in no doubt that all
students stand to benefit from the high standard that has
already been set. Sincere thanks to all involved in making the
course of studies so enjoyable’.
‘I’m in my fourth year working as a lecturer at Kanda
University of international Studies in Chiba Japan. It’s an
amazing job which hired me right after I graduated. We
get over three months holiday per year and there are lots
of opportunities for professional development. There are
over 60 English lecturers here so that adds to the sense of
community and the students are angels. During the interview
process my boss was impressed by the placement in Hungary
that you sent us on! They accepted me while I was still
finishing off my Thesis. Thanks so much for looking after us
so well Barbara – That was a really special year’.