TESOL Graduate Programs

Program Overview

The curriculum of the Murray State University Master of Arts Program in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) is based on guidelines developed by TESOL, an international professional organization and on recognized programs at other institutions. It features instruction and experiences that contribute directly to competencies in linguistics, language pedagogy, assessment and culture.      

The MA in TESOL is offered by the Department of English and Philosophy of the College of Humanities and Fine Arts. Doctorally-prepared faculty in linguistics, second-language teaching, and related fields serve as the program's instructors. The TESOL Advisory Committee is made up of the TESOL program director, the chair of English and Philosophy and the TESOL faculty.

Choose the option that meets your needs


Earn your master of arts degree in TESOL. The traditional two-year program can be completed on-campus or 100% online.

Average time to complete:

Advising Information

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BA + MA Accelerated

If you are studying TESOL as an undergraduate student, the BA + MA Accelerated program will help you earn your master's degree more quickly.

Virtual Racer One Stop offers scheduled Zoom sessions for you to meet privately with various offices or with a general academic advisor to help you with all your "Semester Start-up" questions.


TESL/TEFL Online Graduate Certificate

Best option for students who want to meet face-to-face with university staff.

In-Person Racer One Stop offers a face-to-face experience immediately prior to the start of the fall and spring semesters. Staff are available to assist you while you are on campus.

In-Person Details

Affordable Tuition

Murray State University offers competitive tuition rates for graduate students.



The MA TESOL program offers courses online and on campus. The three options are:

  • Traditional or two-year MA curriculum
  • Online MA
  • ESL Endorsement for Kentucky teachers (online/on-campus)

Graduate TESOL Program Guide

Program Option Average Time of Completion Begin Study Full-time Part-time On-campus Off-campus
Traditional MA 18-24 Months Any Semester Yes Yes Yes Yes
Online MA 24-36 Months Any Semester No Yes No Yes
ESL Endorsement 18-24 Months Any Semester Yes Yes Yes Yes

Career Outlook

The MA in TESOL is the recognized teaching degree in English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction, a field that has shown phenomenal growth in recent years. This degree is regularly cited in position announcements for:

  • Community college and university teaching positions in pre-college English programs for international students
  • Industry positions in training programs for non-English speaking employees
  • Positions to teach English in secondary schools and colleges all over the world

The Murray State program collects information about internship and employment opportunities and makes it available to program participants. At the end of the program, you will complete a credit-bearing internship experience. In many cases, the internship can be an actual paid position in the United States or abroad.

Applying to the program

Applicants must comply with Murray State University's general admission requirements for graduate students (see the Graduate Bulletin).

Admission requirements

Following are the additional requirements for unconditional admission to the TESOL graduate programs:

  • an undergraduate major in English or a modern foreign language or approval by the TESOL Advisory Committee;
  • at least 6 semester hours in one modern foreign language or demonstrated proficiency at that level (permission may be granted to complete this proficiency during the program; for non-native speakers, language may be English);
  • for non-native speakers of English, a TOEFL score of 20 for each section of the iBT, an IELTS score of 6.5 with no band lower than 6.0 or a previous degree earned from an accredited U.S. institution or successful completion of Level 6 of the MSU ESL program.

Note: Admission to the program does not guarantee graduation. Students are expected to hold to the ethical standards expected of the teaching profes­sion, and unethical conduct, such as violations of the MSU Academic Honesty Policy, may result in dismissal from the program.

Students who have a minimum of 18 for each section of the iBT, an IELTS score of 6.0 with no band below 5.5 or successful completion of an in-house language exam (decided on a case-by-case basis), but meet all other conditions for admittance may be admitted conditionally by the TESOL Advisory committee.

Under these conditions, students will have their English language skills assessed by the director of the TESOL program immediately after they arrive on campus to determine if further classes are needed to develop English language proficiency.

After assessment the students may be assigned to full-time language study in the English as a Second Language Program, may be permitted to take graduate-level classes on a conditional basis along with further designated language study or may be permitted to begin graduate study without further restrictions.

Apply for admission to the Graduate School at Murray State University. The graduate admissions office will send a copy of your application materials to the TESOL program director.

Application Deadlines

If you live in the United States, we recommend you apply three months before the desired start term. The fall semester is typically August to December and the spring semester is January to May.

Learn more about Graduate Admissions

Application deadlines for international students are April 30 for the upcoming Fall semester, and October 15 for the following Spring semester to allow sufficient time to process all required documents before arrival on campus.

International Admissions


Dr. Latricia Trites

Director of TESOL Programs, Professor of TESOL and English


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