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


Part of the Educational Linguistics Division

The M.S.Ed. in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) provides a foundation in the practical, theoretical, and professional aspects of the field of language education with a focus on English language teaching. 

Fast Facts

  • Entry terms: Fall
  • Priority Deadline: Feburary 1st; Rolling admission thereafter as space permits
  • Transfer Courses Accepted: up to 2 (as electives only)
  • Course Requirements: 12 (8 required courses, 4 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)
  • Most TESOL students complete the program within 2 academic years.
  • Options are available for students to graduate a semester early. This is contingent on previous experience and academic success during completion of the TESOL M.S.Ed. program.
  • Culminating Experience: EDUC 563-TESOL Seminar (includes a service project of 30 hours of ESL teaching)

View Admissions Requirements


The M.S.Ed. in TESOL, housed within the Educational Linguistics Division of GSE, offers a broad range of course work connecting theory with practice, and stresses understanding the role and function of English language teaching as it relates to the political and social climate of today’s world. 


In keeping with the interdisciplinary nature of educational linguistics and the TESOL field, students take courses covering methods of teaching, evaluation, and curriculum and materials development. Additionally, they gain a thorough grounding in linguistics, which includes work in the structure and development of the English language, first and second language acquisition, and sociolinguistics. Course content is based on research into the nature of language learning, the needs of specific populations of language learners, language and intercultural studies, and pedagogical approaches.  

While there are two courses designed as practicum courses, students also engage in fieldwork as tutors, interns, and teachers in a number of core and elective courses. Student-teaching is supported by individual mentorship and debriefs designed to stimulate discussion of current issues in teaching methods and language learning. Students are required to teach English as a second language for the culminating internship.

Program of Study

Core Courses

EDUC 527 Approaches to Teaching English and Other Modern Languages 
EDUC 537 Educational Linguistics
EDUC 679* Reading, Writing, and Critical Thinking for Applied Linguistics
EDUC 546
 Sociolinguistics in Education
EDUC 670 Second Language Development
EDUC 542* TESOL Classroom Fundamentals
EDUC 528
 TESOL Practice Teaching
EDUC 563 TESOL Seminar
* May be waived with faculty approval and replaced with a TESOL-related elective


Typical Program of Study

Year 1

Fall 1

  • EDUC 527
  • EDUC 537
  • EDUC 679

Spring 1

  • EDUC 542
  • EDUC 546
  • EDUC 670



  • 1-2 Elective Courses
  • EDUC 528

Year 2

Fall 2

  • EDUC 528 (if not taken in Summer)
  • Elective
  • Elective

Spring 2

  • EDUC 563
  • Distribution

* Students typically take 3-4 classes in their 1st spring semester and/or in their 2nd fall semester. In the Summer, 2nd Fall, and 2nd Spring semesters, the order in which electives and the distribution course are taken is flexible.

Accelerated Program of Study

Year 1

Fall 1

  • EDUC 527
  • EDUC 537
  • EDUC 679*

Spring 1

  • EDUC 542*
  • EDUC 546
  • EDUC 670
  • Elective



  • 2 Elective Courses
  • EDUC 528

Year 2

Fall 2

  • EDUC 563
  • Distribution
Student graduates at end of this semester.

* Course can be waived with Faculty approval and replaced with additional TESOL related electives. 
In the Summer and 2nd Fall semesters, the order in which electives and the distribution course are taken is flexible.

Elective Courses

1 Distribution Course (outside the Educational Linguistics Division but within GSE)
3 Elective Courses (All electives should be TESOL related)
Elective Examples include:

  • EDUC 502 Citizen Sociolinguistics  
  • EDUC 517 Classroom Discourse & Interaction 
  • EDUC 536 Indigenous Education & Language Revitalization
  • EDUC 539 Teaching Performance Arts for Cross-Cultural Education (TPACE
  • EDUC 566 Cross-Cultural Awareness (PACE
  • EDUC 577 Selected Topics in Educational Linguistics
    • Conversation Analysis for Second Language Teaching & Research
    • Technology in Language Education
    • Task-based Language Teaching 
    • Adult Literacy for ELLs
  • EDUC 583 Content-Based Instruction 
  • EDUC 593 Experiential Learning Design for Intercultural Communication 
  • EDUC 634 Language Assessment
  • EDUC 661 Language Diversity & Education 
  • EDUC 674 Curriculum & Materials Design for English Language Teaching 
  • EDUC 675 Structure of English 
  • EDUC 911 Issues in Second Language Acquisition (Fall)
  • EDUC 927 Language Policy & Planning (Spring)


Fieldwork in the TESOL M.S.Ed.

Fieldwork is an integral component of the TESOL M.S.Ed specialization at Penn GSE. Fieldwork allows students to bridge the theoretical concepts they are learning in their coursework with practical skills and experiences gained by teaching actual language classes. Learning to teach, therefore, happens not only in the classrooms at Penn GSE, but also in the experience of teaching and working with diverse learners in community and institutional classrooms. To learn more about where students have completed their fieldwork, check out our interactive heat map.

Community Impact

ELX in Philadelphia

Community engagement and service-learning are integral components of the ICC M.S.Ed. and TESOL M.S.Ed. specializations at Penn GSE. Service-learning allows students to bridge the theoretical concepts they are learning in their coursework with practical skills and experiences gained outside of the classroom. Our interactive map showcases the different teaching and fieldwork sites that our students engage with in Philadelphia. To learn more about our work in the community, contact Jackie Lopez, our Fieldwork and Service-Learning Coordinator, at jlope@upenn.edu.

To view a map of Penn GSE’s work in School District of Philadelphia and charter schools, visit http://www2.gse.upenn.edu/philly

View the Map

PEDAL@GSE: Practical English for Daily Living

A Free ESL Program Taught by TESOL Students

In PEDAL, TESOL students create and instruct communicative English lessons. As part of the TESOL program's dedication to experiential learning, all 1st year TESOL students work as PEDAL assistant teachers during the course EDUC 545: TESOL Classroom Fundamentals. 2nd year TESOL students can apply to be lead teachers in the PEDAL classrooms to gain further experience and fulfill their EDUC 528 and EDUC 563 practicum requirements.

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


Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) ESL Program Specialist Certification

The PDE English as a Second Language Specialist Certificate program is intended to prepare future teachers with the skills needed to reach diverse learners in classrooms.



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

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

Catherine Box, Ed.D. Lecturer

Columbia University

Yuko Butler, Ph.D. Professor; TESOL Director

Stanford University

Nelson Flores, Ph.D. Associate Professor

The Graduate Center of the City University of New York

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

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Iryna Kozlova, Ph.D. Lecturer

Georgia State University

Yumi Matsumoto, Ph.D. Assistant Professor

The Pennsylvania State University

Robert Moore, Ph.D. Senior Lecturer

University of Chicago

Anne Pomerantz, Ph.D. Professor of Practice;  Educational Linguistics EdD Director

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



The TESOL M.S.Ed. program prepares students for careers in teaching in a variety of local, national, and international settings. Their work impacts English language education in schools, universities, and community settings.

Recent TESOL M.S.Ed. graduates hold positions such as:

  • English Instructor, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Seoul, South Korea (2008)
  • Mandarin Teacher, Academy of Notre Dame, Villanova, PA (2015)
  • Education Consultant, ThinkTank Learning, San Mateo, CA (2014)

Alumni Spotlight

Click Read More and Alumni Careers to find out why our alumni chose Penn GSE and the different paths they have embarked on since graduation.


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