Total units required for MA: 33

Program Description

The MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) requires extensive study of linguistics and pedagogy, as well as actual teaching and/or tutoring experience with second-language students. The culminating experience of the MA TESOL Concentration is the comprehensive examination.

The MA TESOL provides professional preparation and training in the theory and practice of teaching English to non-native speakers. The program is designed for graduate students who expect to teach in community college or secondary or adult education settings in the U.S. or in adult or university level courses overseas. The program is also preparation for the Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics.

Admission Requirements

To ensure that students entering the program have the potential to succeed, both in the program and in their teaching careers, the MA TESOL has the following admission requirements:

  • a baccalaureate degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA, including a 3.0 GPA in the final 60 units;
  • Students from foreign universities must provide proof of English language proficiency prior to admission by achieving a minimum score on one of three approved tests:

    • 90 on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), with a score of 22 on the writing subsection
    • 6.5 overall band score on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
    • 65 on the Pearson Test of English (PTE)
  • completion of prerequisite courses (or their equivalents1) with a grade of "B" or better:
    ENGL 110ALinguistics and the English Language3
    ENGL 110QEnglish Grammar for ESL Teachers3
  • Students should complete all prerequisites before enrolling in a graduate-level (200 and above) courses. A student who has not completed all prerequisites may be dropped by the instructor from a graduate-level course; 
  • Preference will be given to those students who have completed 2 semesters of college-level foreign language (6 units).

Admission Procedures

Applications are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Enrollment is limited, so applicants should file as early as possible in the semester prior to intended admittance. Students not meeting all requirements may be conditionally accepted as long as space is available in the program. Applicants must complete a university application by the posted application deadline date for the term applying. For more admissions information and application deadlines, please visit

Note: Because of the budget constraints, undergraduates and unclassified graduate students can be admitted to TESOL graduate courses on a space available basis only.

The following materials must also be submitted:

  • Personal statement of no more than 300-500 words. The personal statement should discuss the applicant's interest in the program and the experiences (academic and non-academic) that have shaped this interest and prepared the applicant for graduate work in this field.
  • Three confidentially submitted recommendation forms for all students (both California State University, Sacramento and other institutions). Students graduating from universities other than California State University, Sacramento, must also provide formal letters from their three recommenders in addition to the completed recommendation forms.

Minimum Units and Grade Requirement for the Degree

Units required for the MA:  33

Minimum Cumulative GPA:  3.0


  • Up to 3 units of ENGL 299 may apply to the degree.

Advancement to Candidacy

Each student must file an application for Advancement to Candidacy indicating a proposed program of graduate study. The procedure should begin as soon as the classified graduate student has:

  • removed any deficiencies in admission requirements;
  • a plan of study that has been filled out with the help of the TESOL Advisor;
  • completed at least 12 units of 200-level courses in the Master's Degree program with a "B" or better in each course; and
  • take a Graduate Writing Intensive (GWI) course in their discipline within the first two semesters of coursework at California State University, Sacramento.
  • Advancement to Candidacy forms are available on the Office of Graduate Studies website. The completed form is then returned to the Office of Graduate Studies for approval.

The MA in TESOL includes the Certificate of Advanced Study in TESOL. Coursework for the Certificate must be completed with grades of "B" or better. Credential candidates may apply for Supplemental Authorization in ESL through the Commission on Teacher Credentialing. Candidates for the Adult Education Credential in ESL may apply through their local County Office of Education. An extensive job file for employment in the U.S. and overseas is maintained in the TESOL Program Office, Calaveras Hall 138.

Program Requirements

Required Courses (27 Units)
ENGL 200DMaterials and Methods of TESOL Research 3
ENGL 410BInternship-ESL Teaching3
ENGL 200ECurriculum and Assessment Design for Language Classrooms3
ENGL 210BSociolinguistics and TESOL3
ENGL 210GSecond Language Acquisition3
ENGL 215AReading/Vocabulary Acquisition3
ENGL 215BESL Writing/Composition3
ENGL 215CPedagogical Grammar for TESOL3
ENGL 215DPedagogy of Spoken English3
Electives (3 Units)
Select one of the following: 13
Technology in Second Language Teaching
Teaching College Composition
Topics in Composition Studies
Writing Center Theory and Practice: Internships
Internship in Teaching Writing
Internship in Teaching Adult Reading
Culminating Requirement (3 Units) 2
ENGL 598TCulminating Experience - TESOL3
Total Units33

Certificate - TESOL

Option B: Required Courses (15 Units)
ENGL 110ALinguistics and the English Language3
ENGL 110PSecond Language Learning and Teaching3
ENGL 110QEnglish Grammar for ESL Teachers3
ENGL 215BESL Writing/Composition 13
ENGL 410BInternship-ESL Teaching3
Elective (3 Units)
Select one of the following:3
Curriculum and Assessment Design for Language Classrooms
Technology in Second Language Teaching
Reading/Vocabulary Acquisition 1
Pedagogical Grammar for TESOL 1,2
Teaching College Composition
Topics in Composition Studies
Total Units18