TESOL: Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

MSEd in TESOL

MSEd in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)

The Master of Science in Education in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages provides students with the knowledge base and practical skills related to English as a Second Language (ESL) acquisition by English language learners (ELLs). The emphasis is on developing proficiency and literacy in English as a Second Language and/or English as a Foreign Language. The program provides practitioners with the skills needed to assess language and implement instruction to improve learners' proficiency for competent second language use.

The MSEd in TESOL is the only degree of its kind in Maine and is designed to accommodate the needs and goals of a wide range of ESL professionals working with culturally and linguistically diverse students, including K-12 teachers, adult educators, and those who teach or want to teach abroad. International students are encouraged to apply. This 30-credit program may be completed in one year with careful planning alongside a faculty advisor and summer or fall matriculation. The TESOL practicum (EDU 623) provides students with numerous and varied placement opportunities and can be completed in the United States or overseas. Many courses are offered fully online or in blended formats.

The program offers courses in different delivery modes, such as online, blended, and on campus. The accelerated online MSEd in TESOL with a special tuition rate offers courses in 7-week format year-round. Blended and on-campus courses are offered in 15-week format in fall and spring, and one-week and 7-week formats in the summer. This program does not lead to initial K-12 ESL teacher certification in Maine. It does lead to a Maine K-12 ESL endorsement for educators who are already certified to teach in Maine in another content area or grade level.

Program Requirements (30 credits)

First Tier Courses (21 credit hours)

  • EDU 557 Teaching Writing to Multilingual Learners*
  • EDU 558 Content-Based Curriculum for English Language Learners* or,
  • EDU 560 Aspects of Teaching English Language Learners in PreK-12 Schools
  • EDU 559 Aspects of Reading for Multilingual Learners*
  • EDU 561 Aspects of the English Language*
  • EDU 562 Linguistic and Cultural Diversity in the Classroom*
  • EDU 563 ESL Testing and Assessment*
  • EDU 600 Research Methods and Techniques

Second Tier Courses (9 credit hours)

  • EDU 607 Teacher Research in Literacy
  • EDU 635 Seminar in Second Language Literacy
  • EDU 623 TESOL Practicum (3 credits)

Passing the department’s comprehensive examination is an additional graduation requirement. This week-long, take-home exam allows students to select from among six essay prompts and write three essays, which are scored without identifying information by program faculty. The exam is completed during EDU 635 Seminar in Second Language Literacy. More information may be found on the program’s website: https://usm.maine.edu/literacy-education/comprehensive-exam

A student may choose to complete the Praxis Subject Assessment in English to Speakers of Other Languages (5362) in lieu of completing the comprehensive examination. The passing score set by the Maine Department of Education must be achieved to waive the comprehensive examination requirement.

* These courses meet state requirements for endorsement as an ESL teacher, K-12. State endorsement in ESL requires prior teacher certification and a passing score on the Praxis Subject Assessment exam (5362) for Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages. The master's degree in TESOL does not qualify graduates for Maine literacy specialist certification; however, additional courses may be taken beyond this master's degree to qualify, and EDU 607 should be selected during the MSEd in TESOL for those interested in pursuing this certification. Students should consult with their advisor for more details. Students interested in initial K-12 ESL certification in Maine should consider the 33-credit initial certification pathway.

Applicant Requirements

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.

Application Procedures and Required Materials

Application Deadline: Rolling

Applicants are required to provide the following materials:

  • Application: Online Application
  • Application fee: Waived for all applicants
  • 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.
    • International College transcripts: In addition to an official copy of the transcript, an official evaluation of college-level transcripts from a NACES (National Association of Credential Evaluation Services) approved transcript analysis agency is required.
  • Resume: Submit a resume or CV that outlines professional, volunteer, and community experience.
  • 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.
  • References: Names and contact information of three references who can speak to the applicant’s interest in pursuing graduate study.
  • Recommendations: One letter of recommendation attesting to the applicant's knowledge of current scholarship, capacity to connect theory and practice in posing and solving educational problems, achievement of excellence in educational practice, and demonstrated capability and motivation to engage in advanced graduate study.
  • TOEFL or IELTS: Students whose first language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and submit official scores as part of the application process. See additional information below regarding test scores.

Where to send transcripts and application materials

Official transcripts and other supporting documents can be sent to:

Application Processing Center
University of Maine System
P.O. Box 412
Bangor, ME 04402-0412

Colleges and universities that participate in electronic submission of transcripts can send official transcripts to edocs@maine.edu. Resumes, essays, and other documents can also be sent to edocs@maine.edu.

For a transcript or recommendation to be considered official, it must be sent by the institution or the person writing the recommendation.

International Applicants

In addition to the standard application materials, international students must also provide the following materials:

  • College transcript evaluation: official course-by-course evaluation of college-level transcripts from a NACES (National Association of Credential Evaluation Services) approved transcript analysis agency
  • Declaration of Finances form accompanied by the appropriate financial documentation
  • International students whose first language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and submit official scores as part of the application process. Only applicants with TOEFL scores of 79 or higher on the internet-based test, 550 or higher on the paper-based test, or 213 or higher on the computer-based test; or IELTS scores of 6.5 or higher will be considered for admission to a graduate program.

English Proficiency Test Scores

Official English proficiency examination scores are required from international applicants and/or applicants whose primary language is not English, unless the applicant has received a degree from an English-speaking institution. The University of Southern Maine accepts the following score reports sent directly from the testing agency.  TOEFL scores of 79 or higher on the internet-based test, 550 or higher on the paper-based test, or 213 or higher on the computer-based test; or IELTS scores of 6.5 or higher will be considered for a graduate program

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.

Students should plan to complete First Tier courses before Second Tier courses.

First Tier Courses (21 credit hours)

  • EDU 557 Teaching Writing to Multilingual Learners*
  • EDU 558 Content-Based Curriculum for English Language Learners* OR
  • EDU 560 Aspects of Teaching English Language Learners in PreK-12 Schools
  • EDU 559 Aspects of Reading for Multilingual Learners*
  • EDU 561 Aspects of the English Language*
  • EDU 562 Linguistic and Cultural Diversity in the Classroom*
  • EDU 563 ESL Testing and Assessment*
  • EDU 600 Research Methods and Techniques

Second Tier Courses (9 credit hours)

  • EDU 607 Teacher Research in Literacy and Language Development
  • EDU 635 Seminar in Second Language Literacy
  • EDU 623 TESOL Practicum

The MSEd in TESOL offers two options for program completion: