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In the English speaking world, Masters degrees, commonly known as MAs, are   postgraduate degrees lasting at least one and sometimes two years, they are taught degrees normally requiring some original research. MA is the most common name for a Masters degree and is often used even if the actual name is slightly different – people say I have an MA Tesol even if the actual name of their qualification is Med or MPhil. Except in the US where Tesol MAs are often done before a teaching career is started and include teaching practise or practicum, most MAs in the field of Tefl are designed for experienced teachers and do not have teaching practise.  Most, but not all MA Tesols and MA Applied Linguistics include the requirement for a written thesis.



Outside the US, any Masters degrees can only be awarded by universities recognised by the national government, though they can often be taught by institutions other than that university. In the US there is a complex system for accreditation.  Because of the number of “bogus” MA Tesols on the net the EL Gazette only lists Masters awarded by universities accepted by the national governments of the countries in which they are awarded.



Applied Linguistics and theory-based Masters. MA Applied linguistics is the most common of a number of Masters, or MAs as they are commonly known, which have a higher concentration on theory and focus less on classroom practise than MA Tesols and other teaching related MAs. English language teaching is just one of the areas covered in these degrees and an Applied Linguistics MA or Linguistics does often not require teaching experience but will require a good first degree.




Applied Linguistics looks at how the theory of linguistics, the scientific study of linguistics, can be applied in areas such as English language teaching, communication skills and Corpus linguistics for lexicography. While almost all Applied Linguistics MAs cover English language teaching, perhaps the area in which linguistic science has most commonly been applied, they are open to candidates from other disciplines and normally focus on what theory says we should teach and why rather than how we can teach it, though the balance varies from university to university. To find the right Applied Linguistics MA or other theory based masters, please use the English Language Gazette Master’s search engine at the top of this page.

Applied Linguistics MA Links: 

The Higher Education Academy                                   www.llas.ac.uk
Anglolang Academy of English                                     www.anglolang.com
Centre of English Studies- Dublin               
CES/Swandean School of English-Worthing             www.swandean.co.uk
GEOS Auckland
Glasgow, University of Language Centre                   www.gla.ac.uk
Languages International Auckland & Christchurch  www.languages.ac.nz
Manchester, University                                                    www.manchester.ac.uk
Norwich Institute for Language Education                  www.nile-elt.com
Sussex Language Institute                                            www.sussex.ac.uk
Trinity College, University of Dublin                              www.tcd.ie/slscs
UCP Marjon                                                                       www.marjon.ac.uk
University of Alberta
University of Bradford                                                      www.bradford.ac.uk
University of Dundee
University of Edinburgh                                                   www.ed.ac.uk
University of Exeter                                                           www.exeter.ac.uk
University of Limerick                                                       www.ul.ie
University of Otago                                                           www.otago.ac.nz
University of Sheffield                                                      www.sheffield.ac.uk
University of Tasmania
University of Western Australia                                       www.uwa.edu.au