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.
MEd, Master of Education. An MEd is a Masters degree awarded by a university faculty of Education. Like other Masters, MEds Tesols are postgraduate degrees and you will normally need a good first degree and, if you are a non-native speaker of English a high score in a Language proficiency test such as IELTS or TOEFL. Mds often have a higher level of educational theory in them and may offer teaching practise, or practicums as they are known in the US. Some MEds do not require you to write a thesis. After MA Teosl, MEds are the most common second degrees in the fields of English language teaching and Tesl and people who have them usually say they have an”MA Tesol”.