Iowa State University of Science and Technology logo
  • Tuition Fee:
  • Local: $ 19.2k / Year
  • Foreign: $ 33k / Year
  • Deadline:
  • 5 January 2017
  • StudyQA ranking:
  • 1010pts.

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    The MA in TESL/Applied Linguistics prepares students for careers in teaching English to nonnative speakers of English, either in the U.S. or abroad. Students with MA degrees in TESL teach adults and younger learners in a wide variety of contexts, supervise language programs, work for testing organizations, and create language teaching materials. Students choose among optional specializations: Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL); Language Assessment; English for Specific Purposes (ESP); Literacy; and Literature in ESL. Additional specializations planned to be offered beginning Fall 2016 (subject to approval) include the following: Teaching English to L1 Spanish Learners; Corpus and Computational Linguistics. The degree requires a minimum of 30 hours of graduate credits, including a final thesis or creative component (3 credits) and meeting a foreign language requirement that may be fulfilled in a number of ways.


      • English Grammar (ENGL/LING 220 or the equivalent, or pass ENGL/LING 220 test-out)
      • Introduction to Linguistics (ENGL/LING 219, ENGL/LING 511 or the equivalent)
      • Introduction to Computers in Applied Linguistics (ENGL/LING 510 or the equivalent)

    (3 credits – ENGL/LING 511 or ENGL/LING 510 – can be counted towards the specialization credits of the degree, but can be counted only once each if double specializing)


    Linguistic Analysis and Interpretation

    • ENGL/LING 514: Sociolinguistics
    • ENGL/LING 537: Corpus Approaches to Grammatical Analysis

    Applied Aspects of Second Language Acquisition

    • ENGL/LING 512: Second Language Acquisition
    • ENGL/LING 518: TESL Methods and Materials
    • ENGL/LING 519: Second Language Assessment
    • ENGL/LING 588: Supervised Practice Teaching in Teaching English as a Second Language or ENGL 500 Proseminar: Teaching English Composition, or 3.0 credits of SpCm 513.

    (Students who do not count ENGL/LING 511 or ENGL/LING 510 towards their degree need to select another relevant elective chosen with the advice of the program of study committee; double specialization requires a minimum of 18 credits)

    Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL)

    • an appropriate course in instructional technology
    • ENGL/LING 526: Computer-Assisted Language Learning
    • Other relevant elective

    Language Assessment

    • ENGL/LING 527: Discourse Analysis
    • ENGL/LING 513: Language Assessment Practicum
    • Other relevant elective

    English for Specific Purposes (ESP)

    • ENGL/LING 527: Discourse Analysis
    • ENGL/LING 528: English for Specific Purposes
    • Other relevant elective


    • ENGL/LING 524: Literacy: Issues and Methods for Nonnative Speakers of English
    • Two courses taken with prior approval from the student’s advisor/ major professor and chosen from relevant electives in literacy (see below).

    Suggested courses for the Literacy specialization inside the English Department include:

      • ENGL/LING 503: Theory and Research in Composition
      • ENGL/LING 525: Methods in Teaching Listening and Speaking Skills to Nonnative Speakers of English
      • Any relevant graduate literature courses

    Suggested courses for the Literacy specialization outside the English Department include:

      • Curriculum and Instruction 554: Reading and Responding to Children’s Literature
      • Curriculum and Instruction 533: Educational Psychology
      • Any courses with a significant component relevant to research in and/or pedagogy in literacy

    Literature in ESL

    • Three appropriate electives, two of which must be from English Department graduate literature course offerings.

    Teaching English to L1 Spanish Learners

    • Three appropriate courses with a significant component relevant to research into and/or the teaching of learners of English whose first language (L1) is Spanish.

    Suggested courses for the Teaching English to L1 Spanish Learners specialization outside the English Department include:

      • SPAN 554: Intro to Spanish-English Interpretation
      • SPAN 563X: Hispanic Dialectology
      • SPAN 545: Seminar on the Literatures and Cultures of Latin America

    Corpus and Computational Linguistics

    • Three appropriate courses with a significant component relevant to either corpus-based analyses of language or the computational analysis of language.

    Suggested courses for the Corpus and Computational Linguistics specialization inside the English Department include:

      • ENGL/LING 516: Methods of Formal Linguistics Analysis
      • ENGL/LING 520: Computational Analysis of English
      • ENGL/LING 527: Discourse Analysis

    Suggested courses for the Corpus and Computational Linguistics specialization outside the English Department include:

      • Any courses in Human Computer Interaction (HCI)

    Open Option

    (no declared area of specialization)

    • Three appropriate electives approved by the POS committee

    INDEPENDENT RESEARCH= 3 CREDITS (only 3 credits count towards the degree)

    • ENGL 699: Thesis or ENGL 599: Creative Component on topic related to area of specialization

    USA requirements for international students

    Each university in the Unites States of America sets its own admission standards so there isn't the same criteria for all the students and the university can decide which applicants meet those standards. The fee for each application is between $35 to $100. 

    After the selections of the universities you want to attend, the best of all would be to contact each university for an application form and more admission information for the international students. Moreover, for a graduate or postgraduate program it's necessary to verify the admission requirements. Some programs require that you send your application directly to their department. 

    Admissions decisions are based on students's academic record and different test scores, such as TOEFL, the SAT or ACT (for undergraduate programs) and GRE or GMAT (for graduate programs). Admission decision is based on your academic results and motivation.

    University requirements

    Program requirements

    • MA applicants must have completed a Bachelor’s degree, or its equivalent, prior to their first semester in the program.
    • Minimum scores for M.A. applicants who are nonnative speakers of  English: 100 TOEFL iBT/ 600 TOEFL PBT/ 7.0 IELTS/ 63 PTE
    • All nonnative speaking applicants must provide an audio/video of spontaneous spoken English emailed to
    • Three letters of recommendation (LOR)
    • Curriculum vitae/resume
    • Statement of purpose and personal goals
    • Writing sample according to our guidelines
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