Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) (M.A., Licensure)

Requirements and Details


Complete admission and program requirements are found in the University Catalog.


The Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) program has two major pre-requisites:

  • An introductory course in linguistics
  • One year of college or two years of high school study in one second language or the equivalent

If you have met both of these pre-requisites and all your application files are complete, you can be admitted to the program without any conditions. If you have not met one or both pre-requisites, you can be admitted to the program on the condition that the pre-requisites are met as soon as possible.  After the pre-requisites are met, Graduate Studies will regularize your admission by removing the conditions.

If you have not completed an introductory course in linguistics, you can take English 361: an introduction to linguistics online at St. Cloud State. You can also take this course at another university and transfer the credits. Without completion of this course, you are not allowed to enroll in English 564, 566, 663, 664 or 666, the major linguistics courses in the program, but could take other courses in the program simultaneously with English 361.

For the second language requirement, you can meet this requirement by having taken one year, two semesters or three quarters, of one second language or two years of high school second language can count as one year of college second language. Please note that American Sign Language would count as a second language.

Program Length

Program length will depend on program choices. For the TESL MA: Thesis or stared paper option, the TESL MA: TEFL emphasis and the TESL MA: K-12 ESL licensure emphasis for second licensure, full-time students can complete the program in four semesters or two years. 

For the TESL MA: K-12 ESL emphasis for initial licensure, the program can take six semesters with some summer courses or in three years. 

Part time enrollments could double the program length. 


Transfer courses

Unless special arrangements exist, Graduate Studies allows only 10 credits to be transferred.

These courses must:

  • Be graduate credits.
  • Come from a graduate program that is accredited by the national government of the country where the university is located.
  • Must not have counted for a previous graduate degree.
  • Fit into the Teaching English as a Second Language master’s program with names and course descriptions that match the courses for which they are being transferred.

Two other arrangements do exist:

  • Students who have completed graduate course work at other Minnesota State institutions can transfer up to 15 credits or five three-credit courses. The Minnesota State universities in Mankato, Moorhead and Winona have graduate course work in TESL, so students taking these courses at these institutions should be able to apply 15 credits of TESL related course work from their original universities to the TESL master’s program at St. Cloud State.
  • Students who are admitted graduate students at St. Cloud State’s international partner universities with dual degree program agreements can transfer up to 15 credits or five three-credit courses into the TESL master’s. St. Cloud State has a dual degree agreements with: 
    • Woosong University in Daejeon, South Korea
    • Kyunghee University in Jeonju, Korea
  • Under these agreements, students at partner universities could complete the St. Cloud State master’s by adding 15 more credits or five courses and a six credit thesis to 15 credits or five courses of TESOL MALL course work.

All transfer courses have to have been completed within seven years of when the student’s TESL degree is awarded.

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