Doctor of Philosophy in Teaching English as a Second Language (PhD)

Canadian Immigration Updates

Applicants to Master’s and Doctoral degrees are not affected by the recently announced cap on study permits. Review more details

Overview

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. 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, 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. The program also jointly sponsors the UBC/Ritsumeikan Joint Academic Exchange Program.

 

Program Enquiries

Still have questions after reviewing this page thoroughly?
Contact the program

Admission Information & Requirements

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

Reading

22

Writing

22

Speaking

22

Listening

22

IELTS: International English Language Testing System

Overall score requirement: 7.0

Reading

6.5

Writing

6.5

Speaking

6.5

Listening

6.5

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

Master’s degree with high standing in a relevant educational discipline

Document Requirements
  • Master’s degree with high standing in a relevant educational discipline.
  • Sample of work demonstrating an ability to undertake research and scholarly writing (max. 30 pages).
  • CV or resume outlining work experience and academic history.
  • Well-written 500 word (maximum) Statement of Intent to describe your proposed doctoral research. Be sure to indicate how your previous education, professional experience, and research have prepared you to undertake your proposed research, and note which people in the department have expertise in your intended area of study.
  • The support of three referees including an assessment by at least two university instructors, preferably one of whom is the supervisor of the masters thesis. 
  • Scanned copies all official transcripts (including a key to transcript grades and symbols) and degree certificates from all post-secondary institutions attended outside UBC.

 

Other Requirements

Awards; fellowships; scholarships; and distinctions.

Relevant professional and academic experience including conference presentations, professional workshops, and publications.

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).

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

Application open dates and deadlines for an upcoming intake have not yet been configured in the admissions system. Please check back later.

3) Prepare Application

Transcripts

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.

Supervision

Students in research-based programs usually require a faculty member to function as their thesis supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.

Instructions regarding thesis supervisor contact for Doctor of Philosophy in Teaching English as a Second Language (PhD)
The program will review research interests of applicants and recommend/match faculty members during the application/evaluation process. Applicants should not reach out to faculty members directly.

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.

Citizenship Verification

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.

Research Information

Research Highlights

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 writing; Issues of language and identity; Language in education; Multilingual literacies; Language policy; English in immigrant and international communities.

Research Focus

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 writing; Issues of language and identity; Language in education; Multilingual literacies; Language policy; English in immigrant and international communities.

Program Components

The program consists of 18 to 24 credits of course work (including the LLED 601 Doctoral Seminar), comprehensive exam followed by an oral examination, a dissertation proposal, and a doctoral dissertation.

Geographic Restrictions

The TESL/TEFL program accepts well-qualified students from around the globe into a richly international and multicultural academic community.

Tuition & Financial Support

Tuition

FeesCanadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / DiplomatInternational
Application Fee$114.00$168.25
Tuition *
Installments per year33
Tuition per installment$1,838.57$3,230.06
Tuition per year
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
$5,515.71$9,690.18
Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible) $3,200.00 (-)
Other Fees and Costs
Student Fees (yearly)$1,116.60 (approx.)
Costs of livingEstimate your costs of living with our interactive tool in order to start developing a financial plan for your graduate studies.
* Regular, full-time tuition. For on-leave, extension, continuing or part time (if applicable) fees see UBC Calendar.
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.

Financial Support

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

All full-time students who begin a UBC-Vancouver PhD program in September 2024 will be provided with a funding package of $24,000 for each of the first four years of their PhD. The funding package may consist of any combination of internal or external awards, teaching-related work, research assistantships, and graduate academic assistantships.

Average Funding
Based on the criteria outlined below, 6 students within this program were included in this study because they received funding through UBC in the form of teaching, research, academic assistantships or internal or external awards averaging $34,652.
  • 3 students received Teaching Assistantships. Average TA funding based on 3 students was $6,036.
  • 5 students received Research Assistantships. Average RA funding based on 5 students was $10,150.
  • 1 student received Academic Assistantships valued at $7,664.
  • 5 students received internal awards. Average internal award funding based on 5 students was $26,278.

Study Period: Sep 2022 to Aug 2023 - average funding for full-time PhD students enrolled in three terms per academic year in this program across years 1-4, the period covered by UBC's Minimum Funding Guarantee. Averages might mask variability in sources and amounts of funding received by individual students. Beyond year 4, funding packages become even more individualized.
Review methodology
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.

Graduate 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 supervision. The duties constitute part of the student's graduate degree requirements. A Graduate Research Assistantship is considered a form of fellowship for a period of graduate study and is therefore not covered by a collective agreement. Stipends vary widely, and are dependent on the field of study and the type of research grant from which the assistantship is being funded.

Graduate 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.

Graduate Academic Assistantships (GAA)

Academic Assistantships are employment opportunities to perform work that is relevant to the university or to an individual faculty member, but not to support the student’s graduate research and thesis. Wages are considered regular earnings and when paid monthly, include vacation pay.

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.

International students enrolled as full-time students with a valid study permit can work on campus for unlimited hours and work off-campus for no more than 20 hours a week.

A good starting point to explore student jobs is the UBC Work Learn program or a Co-Op placement.

Tax credits and RRSP withdrawals

Students with taxable income in Canada may be able to claim federal or provincial tax credits.

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.

Cost Calculator

Applicants have access to the cost calculator to develop a financial plan that takes into account various income sources and expenses.

Career Outcomes

Career Options

Integrating research and practice, the graduate programs in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) offer professional development to teachers of ESL and prepare researchers and leaders in applied linguistics.

Enrolment, Duration & Other Stats

These statistics show data for the Doctor of Philosophy in Teaching English as a Second Language (PhD). Data are separated for each degree program combination. You may view data for other degree options in the respective program profile.

ENROLMENT DATA

 20222021202020192018
Applications4343554136
Offers22112
New Registrations22112
Total Enrolment1214161619

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 75% based on 13 students admitted between 2010 - 2013. Based on 7 graduations between 2019 - 2022 the minimum time to completion is 3.75 years and the maximum time is 8.21 years with an average of 6.06 years of study. All calculations exclude leave times.
Disclaimer
Admissions data refer to all UBC Vancouver applications, offers, new registrants for each registration year, May to April, e.g. data for 2022 refers to programs starting in 2022 Summer and 2022 Winter session, i.e. May 1, 2022 to April 30, 2023. Data on total enrolment reflects enrolment in Winter Session Term 1 and are based on snapshots taken on November 1 of each registration year. Program completion data are only provided for datasets comprised of more than 4 individuals. Graduation rates exclude students who transfer out of their programs. Rates and times of completion depend on a number of variables (e.g. curriculum requirements, student funding), some of which may have changed in recent years for some programs.

Research Supervisors

Supervision

Students in research-based programs usually require a faculty member to function as their thesis supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.

Instructions regarding thesis supervisor contact for Doctor of Philosophy in Teaching English as a Second Language (PhD)
The program will review research interests of applicants and recommend/match faculty members during the application/evaluation process. Applicants should not reach out to faculty members directly.

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.

 
 

Doctoral Citations

A doctoral citation summarizes the nature of the independent research, provides a high-level overview of the study, states the significance of the work and says who will benefit from the findings in clear, non-specialized language, so that members of a lay audience will understand it.
Year Citation
2017 Dr. Byean examined how tracking practices, by which students are placed and taught according to English test scores, had negative effects on students' academic socialization. This critical ethnographic study suggests the need for reexamining tracking practices to fulfil the needs, interests, and knowledge of students from diverse backgrounds.
2017 Dr. Lin examined four Western-educated, university Taiwanese teachers, their professional identities and teaching English writing as a global communication means. Her study provides pedagogical implications for teacher education programs to cultivate more agents of change in teaching English as a meaningful global language.
2016 Dr. Anderson examined the academic socialization dialogue of international and permanent resident Chinese PhD students at a Canadian University. His research highlights the importance of providing support and mentorship opportunities for culturally and linguistically diverse doctoral students to increase access into their respective academic communities.
2016 Dr. Deschambault examined the impact of fee-paying international students on BC's public schools. His analysis calls into question current understandings of international students in educational policies and practices, and acknowledges the important role English language learning plays in their school experiences.
2015 Dr. Dong developed a new approach to teach and evaluate critical thinking in second language writing. Her research provides pragmatic supports for those who wish to cultivate their students to become, not only proficient language users for effective communication, but also independent critical thinkers for their life-long learning.
2015 Dr. Heng Hartse studied the reactions of English teachers to language useage they perceived as incorrect in student essays. He found that their perceptions of correctness, and their explanations for the evaluations they made, were highly subjective. This work has implications for anyone who works with second language writers and their texts.

Pages

Further Information

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

Faculty Overview

Program Identifier

VGDPHD-XP
 
 
 
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