M.S.Ed. in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages


Part of the Educational Linguistics Division

The M.S.Ed. specialization in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) focuses on practical and theoretical aspects of the field. The TESOL Master’s specialization stresses understanding of the role and function of English language teaching as it relates to the political and social climate of today’s world. A strong interest in intercultural communication and in the interaction of social behavior and language form a dynamic backdrop to innovative and fundamental aspects of teacher preparation.


Fast Facts


  • Transfer Courses Accepted: 2 (as electives only)
  • Entry terms: Fall, Spring, and Summer
  • Course Requirements: 12 (7 required courses, 5 elective courses)
  • Typical Course Load: 
    • Fall: 3 courses; 
    • Spring: 3 courses; 
    • Summer: 1-2 courses; 
    • Fall: 3 courses; 
    • Spring: 1-2 courses (including EDUC 563-TESOL Seminar)
  • Culminating Experience: EDUC 563-TESOL Seminar (includes a service project of 30 hours of ESL teaching)


View Admissions Requirements



The highly acclaimed M.S.Ed. TESOL specialization, housed within the Educational Linguistics Division, prepares students to teach English in settings where English is a second, foreign, or international language. The program emphasizes the many roles and functions of English-language education in the political, social, and academic climate of today’s globalized world. 


TESOL’s interdisciplinary course of study keeps students highly attuned to the motivations and needs of immigrants who settle in English-speaking nations, international scholars and professionals, and students in countries where English is a second or foreign language. In-depth study and field-based practice prepare students to identify and analyze learner needs, design tailored language curricula, and use a variety of evidence-based teaching and assessment practices.

The TESOL specialization focuses on both the practical and the theoretical aspects of the field. The program is classroom-oriented, with a strong focus on pedagogy, sociolinguistics, intercultural communication, and the interaction of language learning and use. Together, these form a dynamic backdrop against which to study the foundational areas of linguistics, literacy, and education.

Academic training includes practical experience through observation, fieldwork, and internship in university language institutes and community language and literacy centers in the greater Philadelphia area, including PEDAL@GSE (Practical English for Daily Living), an in-house ESL program staffed by TESOL M.S.Ed. students.

M.S.Ed. TESOL graduates teach in a variety of local, national, and international settings.  Affiliations with TESOL alumni now in leadership positions at schools and universities worldwide make it possible for students to teach in international settings. 

Program of Study

Core Courses

EDUC 527 Approaches to Teaching English and Other Modern Languages
EDUC 537 Educational Linguistics
EDUC 546 Sociolinguistics in Education
EDUC 670 Second Language Development
EDUC 528 TESOL Practice Teaching
EDUC 563 TESOL Seminar

One Distribution Course (outside the Educational Linguistics & Reading/Writing/Literacy Divisions but within GSE)
5 Elective Courses (4 must be within the Educational Linguistics & Reading/Writing/Literacy Divisions)

Examples include:

  • EDUC 502 Citizen Sociolinguistics (Spring)
  • EDUC 516 Teaching Second Language Writing (Fall)
  • EDUC 517 Classroom Discourse & Interaction (Spring/Summer)
  • EDUC 539 Teaching Performance Arts for Cross-Cultural Education (TPACE) (Fall)
  • EDUC 566 Cross-Cultural Awareness (PACE) (Spring)
  • EDUC 572 Language & Gender (Spring)
  • EDUC 577 Selected Topics in Educational Linguistics
    • Autism, Language, & Reasoning (Summer)
    • Conversation Analysis for Second Language Teaching & Research (Summer)
    • Indigenous Education & Language Revitalization (Spring)
    • Listening in a Second/Foreign Language (Summer)
    • Task-based Language Teaching (Summer)
    • Teaching Second Language Literacy (Summer)
    • The Sociolinguistics of Super Diversity (Summer)
  • EDUC 579 Intercultural Communication & Miscommunication (Summer)
  • EDUC 583 Content-Based Instruction (Spring/Summer)
  • EDUC 593 Experiential Learning Design for Intercultural Communication (Spring)
  • EDUC 634 Language Assessment (Spring)
  • EDUC 641 Language & the Professions (Summer)
  • EDUC 650 Communication & Culture in Context (Spring)
  • EDUC 661 Language Diversity & Education (Fall)
  • EDUC 674 Curriculum & Materials Design for English Language Teaching (Fall)
  • EDUC 675 Structure of English (Fall/Spring/Summer)
  • EDUC 679 Language for Specific Purposes (Fall/Spring -- required  in first semester for international students)
  • EDUC 911 Issues in Second Language Acquisition (Fall)
  • EDUC 927 Language Policy & Planning (Spring)


PEDAL@GSE: Practical English for Daily Living

A Free ESL Program Taught by TESOL Students

TESOL student-teachers grow teaching skills by connecting the theories and readings of their courses with hands-on practice in a supported classroom setting. In PEDAL, teams of novice first-year TESOL students work with a second-year TESOL student to create and instruct communicative English lessons.

PEDAL@GSE offers English as a Second Language classes to adult family members affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania.

Community PEDAL@GSE reaches beyond the campus as classes are open to all members of the West Philadelphia community.


Learn more about PEDAL


Betsy Rymes, Ph.D. Professor; Division Chair & ICC Director

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

Yuko Butler, Ph.D. Associate Professor; TESOL Director

Stanford University

Nelson Flores, Ph.D. Assistant Professor

The Graduate Center of the City University of New York

Junko Hondo, Ph.D. Lecturer

Lancaster University (UK)

Nancy H. Hornberger, Ph.D. Professor; Educational Linguistics PhD Director

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Diane Larsen-Freeman, Ph.D. Senior Fellow

University of Michigan

Yumi Matsumoto, Ph.D. Assistant Professor

The Pennsylvania State University

Robert Moore, Ph.D. Senior Lecturer

University of Chicago

Anne Pomerantz, Ph.D. Senior Lecturer

University of Pennsylvania

Santoi Wagner, Ed.D. Senior Lecturer; TESOL Associate Director

Columbia University


Affiliated Faculty

Asif Agha, Ph.D. Penn Arts & Sciences, Department of Anthropology

University of Chicago

Christina Frei, Ph.D. Penn Arts & Sciences, Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures

University of California, Davis

Rebecca Freeman Field, Ph.D. Caslon Publishing, Director of Language Education

Georgetown University

Ellen Skilton-Sylvester, Ph.D. Arcadia University, School of Education

University of Pennsylvania

Alumni Spotlight


Penn GSE TESOL alumni are leaders in English language teaching throughout our country and the world. Their work impacts English language education in schools, universities, and community settings. Qianqian Zhang-Wu is one such alumna. Find out why she chose Penn GSE and the path she is pursuing now.


Read More

View Alumni Careers



Educational Linguistics Division

University of Pennsylvania
Graduate School of Education

3700 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Sarah Peyton Kaufman
Program Manager
(215) 898-5212

Jackie Lopez
Fieldwork & Service-Learning Coordinator
(215) 746-8237

Suzanne Oh
Program Assistant
(215) 898-6998


Katherine O'Morchoe
Program Assistant
(215) 898-7912