Master of Arts in Teaching English as a Second Language (MA)
The Masters programs develop an awareness of current thought and practice in TESL education. The MA program has a research emphasis and includes a thesis. TESL graduate students gain experience and understanding in such areas as: current issues in TESL theory and practice, second language acquisition, second language reading and writing, language socialization, language and identity, second language assessment, discourse analysis, critical applied linguistics, and research methods.
What makes the program unique?
The program faculty have expertise in TESL methods, applied linguistics, critical applied linguistics, discourse analysis, intercultural communication, second language acquisition and socialization, content-based language education, pedagogical and functional grammar, second language reading and writing, issues of language and identity, language in education, multilingual literacies, language policy, and English in immigrant and international communities.
MA program in the department can be pursued either full time or part time.
Contact the program
Admission Information & Requirements
Assessments for M.A. applicants are based on:
- Undergraduate credits (3rd and 4th level coursework) prescribed by the Department as prerequisite to the program.
- Minimum GPA of 76% average In cases where applicants have also completed graduate level coursework toward a master’s or doctoral level program, or as an unclassified student, this coursework is assessed separately. A considerably higher standing may be required because of competitive demand.
1) Check Eligibility
Minimum Academic Requirements
The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies establishes the minimum admission requirements common to all applicants, usually a minimum overall average in the B+ range (76% at UBC). The graduate program that you are applying to may have additional requirements. Please review the specific requirements for applicants with credentials from institutions in:
Each program may set higher academic minimum requirements. Please review the program website carefully to understand the program requirements. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission as it is a competitive process.
English Language Test
Applicants from a university outside Canada in which English is not the primary language of instruction must provide results of an English language proficiency examination as part of their application. Tests must have been taken within the last 24 months at the time of submission of your application.
Minimum requirements for the two most common English language proficiency tests to apply to this program are listed below:
TOEFL: Test of English as a Foreign Language - internet-based
Overall score requirement: 92
IELTS: International English Language Testing System
Overall score requirement: 7.0
Other Test Scores
Some programs require additional test scores such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Test (GMAT). The requirements for this program are:
The GRE is not required.
Prior degree, course and other requirements
Prior Degree Requirements
An approved Bachelor’s degree and, for K-12 teachers, one year of teacher education;* OR a 5-year Bachelor’s degree in Education; OR a 4-year Bachelor’s degree in Education or other appropriate area provided the applicant has completed all the necessary prerequisites listed below. Holders of 3-year Canadian degrees require a fourth or honours year. Students applying for MA in TESL normally have earned a degree in English, English language education, linguistics, or related areas, or have had coursework in these areas. Two years of formal teaching experience is preferred.
- Bachelor’s degree in relevant Educational discipline or other appropriate area with high standing.
- Sample of work demonstrating an ability to undertake research and scholarly writing (max. 30 pages).
- CV or resume outlining work experience and academic background.
- Well-written 500 word (maximum) Statement of Intent to describe your proposed research. Be sure to indicate how your previous education and professional experience have prepared you to undertake your research, and note which people in the department have expertise in your intended area of study. State any work you have done in this area already (mention specific skills/techniques you have picked up).
- Three letters of recommendation; at least one reference letter must be an academic reference by a university instructor.
- Scanned copies all official transcripts (including a key to transcript grades and symbols) and degree certificates from all post-secondary institutions attended outside UBC.
At least two years of successful teaching experience or equivalent. Applicants who received a degree from a North American university are not required to submit their English test scores. Similarly, applicants who completed their degree outside North America from an institution in which English was the primary language of instruction of the entire university (not just a program) are not required to provide English test scores as part of their application. Please note that we can only accept your English test scores if the test has been taken within the last 24 months at the time of submission of the application. An official test score report ordered from the testing agency has to be sent to UBC. Acceptable English language proficiency tests for applicants to UBC Grad School are: - TOEFL – Test of English as a Foreign Language, minimum score 580 (paper-based) or 237 (computer based), or new minimum TOEFL score of 92 (with a minimum of 22 for each component). and - TWE – Test of Written English. For those who take either the paper-based or computer-based TOEFL should also take TWE (Test of Written English) and have a minimum score of 5. or - MELAB – Michigan English Language Assessment Battery. Minimum overall score 85. or - IELTS – International English Language Testing System – Academic. Minimum overall band score 7, with no component less than 6.5.
2) Meet Deadlines
3) Prepare Application
All applicants have to submit transcripts from all past post-secondary study. Document submission requirements depend on whether your institution of study is within Canada or outside of Canada.
Letters of Reference
A minimum of three references are required for application to graduate programs at UBC. References should be requested from individuals who are prepared to provide a report on your academic ability and qualifications.
Statement of Interest
Many programs require a statement of interest, sometimes called a "statement of intent", "description of research interests" or something similar.
Students in research-based programs usually require a faculty member to function as their supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.
Instructions regarding supervisor contact for Master of Arts in Teaching English as a Second Language (MA)
There is no need to find a supervisor prior to applying for the program. If you are successful in the application process, you will be assigned a pro-tem supervisor whose research is closest to your area of interest. However, if you are interested in working with a particular faculty member, you can indicate it in your statement of interest or in the application form.
Permanent Residents of Canada must provide a clear photocopy of both sides of the Permanent Resident card.
4) Apply Online
All applicants must complete an online application form and pay the application fee to be considered for admission to UBC.
TESL methods; Applied linguistics; Second language acquisition and socialization; Content-based language education; Pedagogical and functional grammar; Second language writing; Issues of language and identity; Language in education; Multilingual literacies; Language policy; English in immigrant and international communities
The TESL MA program requires 30 credits. A minimum of 24 credits must be in graduate-level courses (including 9 credits for the required MA Thesis competed as part of LLED 599). A maximum of 6 credits at the undergraduate level in courses numbered 300 to 499 (e.g., TESL Certificate Courses) may be counted toward the requirements of an MA degree. All master’s students in LLED must take EDUC 500 as a basic research methods requirement.
The TESL/TEFL program accepts well-qualified students from around the globe into a richly international and multicultural academic community.
Tuition & Financial Support
|Fees||Canadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / Diplomat||International|
|Installments per year||3||3|
|Tuition per installment||$2,476.94||$4,716.34|
|Tuition per year|
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
|Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible)||$1,500.00 (-)|
|Other Fees and Costs|
|Student Fees (yearly)||$969.17 (approx.)|
|Costs of living (yearly)||starting at $17,242.00 (check cost calculator)|
All fees for the year are subject to adjustment and UBC reserves the right to change any fees without notice at any time, including tuition and student fees. Tuition fees are reviewed annually by the UBC Board of Governors. In recent years, tuition increases have been 2% for continuing domestic students and between 2% and 5% for continuing international students. New students may see higher increases in tuition. Admitted students who defer their admission are subject to the potentially higher tuition fees for incoming students effective at the later program start date. In case of a discrepancy between this webpage and the UBC Calendar, the UBC Calendar entry will be held to be correct.
Applicants to UBC have access to a variety of funding options, including merit-based (i.e. based on your academic performance) and need-based (i.e. based on your financial situation) opportunities.
Program Funding Packages
Students may be funded with up to $3000 in the first year based on the budget of the department.
Scholarships & awards (merit-based funding)
All applicants are encouraged to review the awards listing to identify potential opportunities to fund their graduate education. The database lists merit-based scholarships and awards and allows for filtering by various criteria, such as domestic vs. international or degree level.
Teaching Assistantships (GTA)
Graduate programs may have Teaching Assistantships available for registered full-time graduate students. Full teaching assistantships involve 12 hours work per week in preparation, lecturing, or laboratory instruction although many graduate programs offer partial TA appointments at less than 12 hours per week. Teaching assistantship rates are set by collective bargaining between the University and the Teaching Assistants' Union.
Research Assistantships (GRA)
Many professors are able to provide Research Assistantships (GRA) from their research grants to support full-time graduate students studying under their direction. The duties usually constitute part of the student's graduate degree requirements. A Graduate Research Assistantship is a form of financial support for a period of graduate study and is, therefore, not covered by a collective agreement. Unlike other forms of fellowship support for graduate students, the amount of a GRA is neither fixed nor subject to a university-wide formula. The stipend amounts vary widely, and are dependent on the field of study and the type of research grant from which the assistantship is being funded. Some research projects also require targeted research assistance and thus hire graduate students on an hourly basis.
Financial aid (need-based funding)
Canadian and US applicants may qualify for governmental loans to finance their studies. Please review eligibility and types of loans.
All students may be able to access private sector or bank loans.
Foreign government scholarships
Many foreign governments provide support to their citizens in pursuing education abroad. International applicants should check the various governmental resources in their home country, such as the Department of Education, for available scholarships.
Working while studying
The possibility to pursue work to supplement income may depend on the demands the program has on students. It should be carefully weighed if work leads to prolonged program durations or whether work placements can be meaningfully embedded into a program.
Tax credits and RRSP withdrawals
Canadian residents with RRSP accounts may be able to use the Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP) which allows students to withdraw amounts from their registered retirement savings plan (RRSPs) to finance full-time training or education for themselves or their partner.
Please review Filing taxes in Canada on the student services website for more information.
Applicants have access to the cost calculator to develop a financial plan that takes into account various income sources and expenses.
Enrolment, Duration & Other Stats
These statistics show data for the Master of Arts in Teaching English as a Second Language (MA). Data are separated for each degree program combination. You may view data for other degree options in the respective program profile.
This list shows faculty members with full supervisory privileges who are affiliated with this program. It is not a comprehensive list of all potential supervisors as faculty from other programs or faculty members without full supervisory privileges can request approvals to supervise graduate students in this program.
Corella Morales, Meghan (Other languages and literature; Academic Discourse; Children and youth; Discourse Analysis; Language ideology; Sociolinguistics)
Duff, Patricia (Adolescent Issues; Adult Education Issues; English as a Second Language; French and Second Languages; International Perspectives; language education; Literacy; Multiple Literacies)
Early, Margaret (Adolescent issues, English as a second Language, language education, literacy, teacher research)
Kubota, Ryuko (Specialized studies in education; critical applied linguistics; culture and language; Language Rights and Policies; language education; language ideologies; multicultural education; race and language teaching)
Li, Guofang (longitudinal studies of immigrant children)
Norton, Bonny (education, ESL, international perspectives, literacy, teacher research)
Shi, Ling (ESL, TESOL, LOTE and sign language curriculum, pedagogy and didactics; Academic Writing; Second Language Writing; Teaching English as a Second Language Writing)
Talmy, Steven (ESL, TESOL, LOTE and sign language curriculum, pedagogy and didactics; teacher education)
Zappa, Sandra (academic discourse socialization of (international) English language learners in higher education, examining the literacy socialization trajectories and the role their individual networks of practice (INoPs, a concept I coined) in becoming aware of the host culture values and expectations; projects examining the intercultural competence development of foreign language teachers studying abroad; foreign language-learning through peer exchange programs; academic English coaching for university-level English language learners; collaboration between language and subject specialists; and student perceptions of academic English language development in CBI courses.)
Sample Thesis Submissions
Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) examines the social, linguistic, educational, cognitive, cultural and political processes affecting the teaching, learning, assessment, and use of English as an additional language locally and globally. The program faculty have expertise in TESL methods, applied linguistics, second language acquisition and socialization, content-based language education, pedagogical and functional grammar, second language writing, issues of language and identity, language in education, multilingual literacies, language policy, and English in immigrant and international communities