Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)

Program Type
Master’s Program
Master of Science in Education (MSEd)
Mode of Study

Cost per credit hour

In-state: $445.
Out-of-state: $1,350. See details and other costs

Credit hours

30 required credit hours. Most courses are equal to 3 credit hours. Browse course list

Financial aid

Over 150 graduate assistantships available with stipend & tuition assistance, plus scholarship & fellowship opportunities. Explore aid


No GRE required. Apply for fall, spring, or summer term. View application process & deadlines

Program highlights

  • Obtain your Maine K-12 ESL endorsement — and become qualified to serve as an adult and community TESOL educator, ESL program director, K-12 ESL teacher, or TESOL instructor overseas.
  • Earn your degree on your terms — study full-time and finish in as few as 18 months or study part-time and finish in 3 years and 6 months.
  • Take advantage of flexibility in our blended program, which includes a mix of in-person and online courses.
  • Acquire hands-on, practical ESL/EFL teaching experience through volunteer, practicum, and internship opportunities.
  • Study with supportive faculty who provide personal guidance and mentorship for your academic and professional success.
  • Join an alumni community that includes those who have been named a Maine Teacher of the Year, a Boren Fellow, and a Fullbright Fellow.
A map of the world with the word 'Welcome' written in different languages.

One-of-a-kind program

The need for teachers with ESL certification continues to grow. We offer the only MSEd in TESOL in Maine, designed to meet the goals of a wide range of ESL professionals—including K-12 teachers, adult educators, and those who want to teach abroad.

An aerial view of the University of Southern Maine Gorham campus.

Diverse, expert faculty

Every full-time faculty member holds a doctoral degree in the field of Literacy, Language, and Culture. Our part-time faculty are experienced members of the professional education community and many are current practitioners in the field.

A student writes on a large piece of paper, taped to the wall.

Program requirements

We provide a rigorous and experiential curriculum to ensure you graduate with all the tools needed to teach English language learners and linguistically and culturally diverse students.

Buoys painted with the flag designs of different countries.

Global alumni network

Our graduates teach all over the world, including in the United States, Japan, United Arab Emirates, Belgium, and Egypt, among other countries.

Students sit at desks in a classroom with a map of the world on the wall.

ESL endorsement

This program leads to a Maine K-12 ESL endorsement. You can add the state-issued ESL endorsement to an existing teaching license.

“During my time as a graduate student in the MSEd in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) program, I grew as a researcher, teacher, mentor, writer, and overall human being.
Additionally, not only did I gain experience in a university classroom setting through structured observation and have the opportunity to serve as a peer mentor thanks to the engaging and connecting teaching practicum built into the degree, I was invited to participate as a fellow in the 2019 Southern Maine Writing Project.”
— Meaghan Bradbury ’18, ’20

BS in Recreation and Leisure Studies
MSEd in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)

Meaghan Bradbury ’18, ’20
Students sit at desks in a classroom.

Put theory into practice

A 40-hour practicum in the field gives you the opportunity to observe and practice teaching. The setting will be determined by you and your instructor.

A woman in a red sweater sits and works on a laptop.

Connect with us

Our monthly Graduate Information Sessions are an excellent way to learn more about the benefits of our program, as well as our admissions and financial process.

Register today
A man smiles and waves while holding a large flag, among many other large flags of various countries.

Frequently asked questions

In this program, you’ll gain the practical knowledge and skills to help students develop proficiency and literacy in English as a Second Language (ESL) and/or English as a Foreign Language (EFL).

Two women sit at a table and review paperwork together.

Scholarship opportunities

Scholarships offer financial aid that doesn’t need to be repaid. We encourage students in graduate degree programs to apply for scholarship opportunities.

Graduate students attend their orientation in a lecture hall, with a staff member speaking at a podium.

Graduate student support

Our Office of Graduate Studies connects you with opportunities for professional development, scholarships, and graduate assistantships. They also foster our graduate student community through Peer Mentorship and the Graduate Student Board.

A group of adult students sit at a table, reviewing papers, while a teacher provides instruction.

Looking for more flexibility?

Our TESOL MSEd program is also available in an accelerated online format.

You may also be interested in…
Next steps

Our graduate admissions counselors are here to answer your questions about the admissions process, our academic programs, and student support services.

Get info
Meet us

Students walk down the sidewalk by Wishcamper Center on the Portland campus on a sunny day.

Admission information: MSEd in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) | Blended

The information below is for our MSEd in TESOL with a blended mode of study, which includes a mix of in-person and online classes. If you are interested in the fully online program please review the Online TESOL Admission Information.

Application deadlines

We accept applications on a rolling basis and review them continuously.

Application deadlineFall term startSpring term startSummer term start
RecommendedMay 1October 15March 1
FinalAugust 1December 15April 15
International applicantsJune 1October 15Not available

Applicant must have a bachelor’s degree and have earned a cumulative grade point average of 2.5 (on a 4.0 scale) in a baccalaureate degree program. Applicants who do not have a 2.5 overall GPA must enclose a letter asking for special consideration, in which they provide evidence of an ability to complete graduate studies successfully. Without such a letter, applicants who fail to meet eligibility requirements may be automatically denied.

Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. Exceptions to this policy will be considered on a case-by-case basis and are up to the discretion of the admitting program.

Applicants are required to provide the following materials:

General requirements

  • Application: Online application
  • Application fee:
    • In-state, out-of-state, and Canadian applicants: Free to apply
    • International applicants: Submit US $50 fee to apply
  • Transcripts: Official transcripts from all colleges or universities attended, excluding the seven campuses of the University of Maine System (UMS transcripts are accessible to USM). A transcript is official when sent directly from the institution.
  • Resume: Submit a resume or CV that outlines professional, volunteer, and community experience.
  • Students whose first language is not English may be required to take one of the following: Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or the Pearson Test of English (PTE) or Duolingo. Applicants must submit official scores as part of the application process. See additional information regarding test scores and requirements.

Additional requirements

  • Essay: Type a brief essay (300-500 words) stating your reasons for pursuing graduate study, your professional goals, and how you think this program of study will contribute to these goals. You may include a statement of any special interest you would like to pursue in your study.

Transfer Credit

Previously completed graduate courses may be approved for transfer into a graduate program within the Literacy, Language, and Culture programs if credits for the courses were earned no more than five years prior to matriculation, with grades of B or better.

For previous work completed through the University of Maine System, up to twelve credits may be accepted if the courses meet the requirements above and are equivalent to core courses or elective courses in the relevant USM program of study. Up to six graduate credits completed at institutions outside of the University of Maine System may be accepted if the courses meet the requirements above and are equivalent to core courses or elective courses in the relevant USM program of study. A syllabus for each course submitted for transfer credit from outside the University of Maine System must be provided upon application.

Transfer of more than twelve University of Maine System credits or six non-University of Maine System credits may be approved by the program coordinator and faculty. These credits may include certificate of graduate study program courses and professional development in-service graduate courses. Requests for the transfer of credits taken more than five years prior to matriculation may also be evaluated and approved by the program coordinator and faculty.

International student instructions

View additional application requirements

English proficiency test scores

View test requirements

Where to send application materials

Get our mailing address and email address