Masters – a matter of focus
This year the EL Gazette has gone for a new approach in its listing of UK and Irish masters degrees – the focus of each course. Melanie Butler explains why it was time for a change.
For the first time in over twenty years the Gazette has redesigned its annual listing of ELT-related masters in the UK and Ireland, following an analysis of feedback from postgraduate students on such courses published in the ‘Good MA Guide’ in our June edition last year.
This year we arranged the masters degrees into four categories. This table lists the teaching-focused ones. For more information on how we organised the listings, please see below the chart.
* = programme open to new teachers (does not list teaching experience as an entry requirement)
Fees for the courses below are listed according to the most recent data on the universities’ websites. They are shown here as an indication only; for more current information, please contact the institutions themselves (by clicking on the course names below).
|Centre name||Course name||Teaching practice||Course length||Course fees||Start dates||Entry requirements|
|Anglia Ruskin University||MA Tesol and Materials Development||Teaching observation||FT: 1 year; PT: 2 years||FT: £5,665 (EU), £9,800 (O); PT: linked pro rata to full-time rate||Sep, Jan||Good honours degree in languages, linguistics, English or education, plus 300 hours’ experience in language teaching. Ielts 6.5 or equivalent, with no individual score below 6.0|
|Brighton, University of||MA Media-assisted Language Teaching||Digital teacher materials development||FT: 1 year; PT: up to 6 years||FT: £4,500 (EU), £11,500 (O)||Sep||Relevant first degree or equivalent and normally two years language teaching experience. Ielts 6.5 overall, and 6.5 in writing|
|MA ELT||No||FT: 1 year; PT: 2 years||As above||Sep||As above||MA Tesol||No||FT: 1 year; PT: up to 6 yrs||As above||Sep||As above|
|Canterbury Christ Church University||MA Tesol||Experience: teaching practice/practical project and lesson observation. Non-experience: experiential learning, microteaching and lesson observation||FT: 12–15 months; PT: up to 5 years||FT (2013–14): £4,470 (EU), £10,510 (O); PT: £2,490 (EU)||Sep||For the ‘experience’ route: relevant bachelor’s degree at 2:2 or above; approximately one year’s classroom teaching experience. For the ‘non-experience’ route: relevant bachelor’s degree at 2:2 or above; proven language learning ability. Both: for non-native English speakers, Ielts 6.5 or equivalent|
|Cumbria, University of||MA Tesol*||Yes||FT: 1 year||£3,825 (EU), £10,275 (O)||Sep||Second class honours degree. Ielts 6.5 with 6 in each band, or equivalent|
|MA Tesol with Dyslexia (SpLD) pathway (subject to validation)||No||FT: 1 year||£4,500 (EU), £10,500 (O)||Sep||2:2 and above in a related subject, two years’ teaching experience, Ielts 6.5|
|Essex, University of||MA Tesol||Advanced teaching practice||FT: 12 months; PT: 24 months||£6,500 (EU), O: TBA||Oct||2:1, minimum two years’ teaching experience. Ielts 6.5 with at least 6 in writing|
|MA Tefl / ELT*||Yes||FT: 12 months; PT: 24 months||£5,500 (EU), £13,500 (O)||Oct||As above, minus experience|
|Glasgow, University of||MEd Tesol*||Unassessed practice-teaching, observation of classes.||FT: 12 months; PT: up to 72 months||FT: £5,350 (EU), £13,750 (O); PT: £594 per 20 credits||Sep||First degree in English, education or a relevant subject plus a teaching qualification, or first degree, Celta (or equivalent); two years’ experience. Ielts 6.5 (6.5 in all bands)|
|MSc Tesol||Microteaching, observation of recorded classes||FT: 12 months; PT: 24 months||As above||Sep||2:1 honours degree or equivalent in English, education or similar subject. Ielts 6.5, with no less than 6.5 in any section, or equivalent.||Leeds Metropolitan University||MA English Language Teaching (online or in Leeds)||Route 1 – Delta module 2 teaching practice. Route 2 – teaching observations and micro-teaching||FT: 1 year; PT/DL: 2 years||£6,000 (EU), £11,000 (O)||FT/PT: Sep, DL: Sep, Jan||FT: Route 1 – either a second-class honours degree and at least two years’ full-time ELT experience or substantial ELT work experience. Native speaker or Ielts 7.5 with no band less than 7.0. Route 2 – either a second-class honours degree or substantial ELT work experience. Ielts 6.0 with no skill less than 5.5. PT/DL: Routes 1 & 2 – as above||Leeds, University of||MA Tesol||No||FT: 1 year, PT: 2 years||FT: £5,100 (EU), £13,300 (O); PT: £2,550 (EU)||Sep||Bachelor degree or equivalent professional qualification and two years’ relevant experience. Ielts 7.0 with no grade below 6.0||MA Tesol Studies*||Students observe classes and undertake micro-teaching||as above||as above||Sep||Bachelors or equivalent professional qualification. If you have more than two years’ relevant experience you should apply for the MA Tesol (above). Ielts as above||MEd Tesol||No||as above||as above||Sep||Bachelors or equivalent professional qualification and two years’ experience. If you do not have two years’ experience apply for the MA Tesol Studies (above). Ielts as above||MA TEAPP||No||as above||as above||Sep||A first degree and at least two years’ experience in the field of education.||MA Tesol for Young Learners||No||as above||as above||Sep||A first degree or equivalent professional qualification and two years’ relevant experience||MA Tesol & ICT||No||as above||as above||Sep||As above, plus basic ICT skills.||MA Tesol Teacher Education||No||as above||as above||Sep||Good first degree in a relevant discipline, two years’ relevant experience||MA Linguistics and English Language Teaching||FT: 12 months||as above||Sep||2:1 in a relevant discipline. Ielts 6.5 (with no less than 6.0 in all components)||Liverpool, University of||MA Tesol*||Classroom observation, teaching techniques, research training||FT: 1 year||£5,300 (EU), £12,200 (O)||Sep||2:1 bachelors degree in English studies or similar. Ielts 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component or equivalent.||London Metropolitan University||MA Tesol and Applied Linguistics*||No||FT: 1 year; PT: 2 years||FT: £6,570 (EU), £10,215 (O); PT: £730 per 20 credit module||Sep, Jan||Good degree in a relevant field, some experience of language teaching. Ielts 6.5 (or equivalent), with minimum 6.0 in all components.||Manchester, University of||MA Tesol||No||FT: 1 year; PT: 27 months; DL: 3 years||FT: £6,300 (EU), £14,000 (O), PT: £3,150 (EU), DL: £2,600||Sep||Bachelor-level degree and a teaching qualification plus three years’ full-time relevant teaching experience. Ielts 7.0 with 7.0 in writing and no other component below 5.5||NILE (Norwich Institute for Language Education)||MA in Professional Development for Language Education Core Module: Language Teaching Methodology. Elective Modules: Content and Language Integrated Learning; Developing Learner Autonomy; Materials Development; Teaching English for Academic Purposes; Teaching Young Learners; Technology Assisted Language Learning; Testing, Evaluation and Assessment; Trainer Development||No||1–7 years PT or DL||Core Module (Language Teaching Methodology): £1,980; Elective Modules (x2): £990 each; Dissertation: £1,980; Total Cost: £5,940||Various, contact institution||Degree (or equivalent) in a relevant discipline, plus language teaching experience and the level of English needed for successful completion of a course of study at postgraduate level. Delta or equivalent qualification is credit-bearing towards the MA, exempting candidates from the Core Module.||Nottingham, University of||MA Applied Linguistics and English Language Teaching||No||FT: 1 year; DL (Web-based): 2–4 years||FT: £5,380 (EU); £13,730 (O); DL: £7,560||FT: Sep; DL: Sep, Feb||2.1. For DL: as above plus minimum of two years of approved teaching experience. Ielts 7.0 (with no less than 6.0 in any element, 6.5 for DL)||Nottingham Trent University||MA English Language Teaching||FT: 1 year; PT: 2–5 years||FT: £4,950 (EU), £11,500 (O); PT: £700 per module (EU)||Oct||Two years’ English language teaching/Tesol experience and a minimum 2:2 in any subject, or no teaching experience but a minimum 2:2 in applied linguistics or English language, or five years English language teaching/Tesol experience without a degree (non-graduates)||Queen Mary’s University of London||MA Applied Linguistics for English Language Teaching*||Teaching observation and peer teaching practice||FT: 1 year; PT: 2 years||FT: £5,500 (EU), £13,000 (O); PT: £ 2,750 (EU), £6,500 (O)||Oct||Upper second-class honours (or overseas equivalent) in an undergraduate degree. Ielts 7.0 with 7.0 in writing (or equivalent)||Sheffield, University of||MA Applied Linguistics with Tesol*||No||FT: 1 year; PT: 2 years||FT: £4,990 (EU), £12,760 (O)||Oct||2:1 honours degree in a relevant subject or Certificate of Education. Ielts 7.0 (6.0 in reading, listening and speaking, 6.5 in writing)||Sheffield Hallam University||MA Tesol||No||DL: 2–3 years||£1,785 a stage (EU and O)||Oct||A degree, two years’ experience, currently teaching in the field, initial English language teaching qualification||MA ELT*||No||FT: 1 year||£5,355 (EU) for 2013/2014, £11,250 (O) for 2014/2015||Sep||Honours degree containing a significant element of English language or ELT or education. Ielts 6.5 with minimum 6.0 in reading and writing and 5.5 in all other skills||Southampton, University of||MA English Language Teaching||No||FT: 1 year; PT: 2 years||FT: £5,400 (EU) for 2013–14, £14,440 (O) for 2014–15; PT: £2,700 (EU) for 2013–14||Oct||A good first degree (eg in UK upper second class honours) in a language or other relevant discipline, plus two years relevant professional experience related to English language teaching.||MA ELT (online)*||No||PT: 2.5 years||Contact institution||Oct||2:1 honours degree or equivalent. Ielts 6.5||MA Tesol / ELT Studies||No||Contact institution||Contact institution||Contact institution||Contact institution||Stirling, University of||MSc Tesol*||No||FT: 1 year; PT: 2 years||FT: £5,500 (EU), £11,500 (O)||Sep||A degree, Ielts 6.5 (6.0 in speaking and listening and 6.5 in reading and writing)||MSc Tesol and Applied Linguistics*||No||As above||As above||Sep||As above||MSc Tesol and Call*||No||As above||As above||Sep||As above||MSc Translation Studies and Tesol*||No||FT: 12 months; PT: 27 months||FT: £4,750 (EU), £10,900 (O)||Sep||As above (2:2 minimum), plus near-native fluency in a language other than English||Sussex, University of||MA ELT||Yes, teaching observation; foreign language learning course; pedagogic research methods||FT: 1 year; PT: 2 years||FT: £5,500 (EU), £13,000 (O)||Sep||2:1 in a Linguistics and/or English language or a modern languages degree, or 2:1 in any subject plus work experience in a related profession. Ielts 7.0, with at least 6.5 in each band||Swansea, University of||MA Tefl*||Dissertation route: no. Portfolio route: teaching practice and CELTA/TKT||FT: 1 year; PT: 2–3 years||FT: £4,300 (EU), £10,600 (O)||Sep||2:2 BA degree (with an overall average of at least 55%), or equivalent, in English language, Tefl, linguistics or a related subject area. Ielts 6.5 with 6.0 in writing or equivalent||University of South Wales||MA Tesol||Yes||FT: 1 year; PT: 2–5 years||£580 per module, plus £740 for dissertation (EU)||Sep||Graduate or proof of relevant experience. Two years’ experience of teaching English language, Ielts 6.5 (6.0 in each band)||MA TEAL*||Yes||FT: 1 year; PT: 2–5 years||As above||Sep||Graduate or proof of relevant experience||York, University of||MA Tesol||Peer teaching, teaching methods||FT: 1 year||FT: £6,200 (EU), £14,340 (O)||Sep||Relevant degree, Ielts 7.0 (6.0 in each band)|
Three of our listings identify the research focus of the university department offering the course: education, the English language and linguistics. The fourth category (listed third) comprises those MAs that focus on teaching. To be clear, this is a matter of emphasis. For example, masters degrees focused on teaching also cover related research. Which category each masters has been allocated is largely the choice of the course director, though we asked them to take into account the main area of research of the academic staff. In some universities, such as Birmingham and Edinburgh, different masters courses appear under different categories, reflecting the difference in research focus and balance between teaching and theory.
The decision to categorise masters courses according to research focus arose following two of the main complaints about masters courses in our ‘Good MA Guide’: around half the complainants thought the course they had done contained too much theory, while the other half thought there was too little. These are not new complaints, nor is the demand for more practical input in terms of teaching practice, teaching observation or work placements.
Part of the problem lies in the difference between the British tradition of masters for teachers and the US one. In the US a masters is usually a pre-service qualification with a heavy practical bias and a practicum, as teaching practice is known, whereas traditionally in the UK teachers take masters after an initial qualification and several years’ experience. An increasing number of British universities are offering masters suitable for graduates new to teaching (marked with a * in our listings), and there has been a sharp rise in the number including practical input. A small number, including Reading and Swansea, are even offering a portfolio route, in which teaching practice, lesson planning and materials design are offered as an alternative to the traditional research-based dissertation and can lead to an initial teaching qualification. The vast majority, however, still require a research dissertation and thus inevitably an introduction to research methodology. Moreover most UK masters are still designed for experienced teachers, as you will see if you read the entry requirements carefully.
We hope that this categorisation will make it easier for prospective postgrads to make a more informed decision about the sort of course that will suit them. It is certainly clearer than going by the name of the degree – applied linguistics certainly does not always imply more linguistics than a masters in Tesol or Tefl. In Britain even the titles MEd, MA and MSc are not a reliable indicator. The same department may offer more than one degree in the same field with the same name but a different title: Aston’s MA Tesol, for example, is open to students new to teaching, while its MSc Tesol requires two years’ teaching. And while only departments of education offer MEds and the Institute of Education (part of the University of London) awards an MA, the departments of education at Oxford, Edinburgh and Glasgow all award MScs, because as ‘ancient universities’ they all award MAs as a first degree.
Finally we apologise that this listing is less comprehensive than usual. However, while we spent over two working weeks on the research, emailing every course coordinator at least twice, copying emails to at least one other member of staff listed on the website, and calling, or attempting to call, those who did not answer written requests, we received no information on several of the courses we have listed in previous issues. Since the categorisations we are using depend on the designation of the course director, not Gazette guesswork, only in rare instances where we knew the courses well did we use our own discretion. We are happy to hear from any academics whose courses do not appear in this listing and will retain their information until the next time we run the grid. We will, however, not be able to publish apologies or updates regarding courses for which we have requested information but not received any.