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Birkbeck, University of London: Language Teaching/Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)

Institution Birkbeck, University of London View institution profile
Department School of Creative Arts, Culture and Communication
Telephone 0203 907 0700
Study type Taught


Birkbeck's specialist course in language teaching/teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) is ideal if you wish to progress to a more senior or specialised position in language teaching. You will already have experience of teaching second or foreign languages, or a strong academic background in a relevant subject and an interest in the theory and practice of language teaching.

This course is specially structured to bridge the gap between theory and practice and help you reflect on the important balance between them. You will develop knowledge in key areas of research and gain further confidence in your own practice through appreciating individual and cultural styles of learning and communication. By advancing your knowledge of current literature and carrying out your own research for course assignments, you will be able to engage critically and constructively in debates relating to many aspects of language teaching.

Our MA uniquely offers you:

  • a focus on the multilingual and multicultural contexts of language learning and teaching

  • the opportunity to learn with students from all over the world and share experiences with locally based teachers to gain an insight into a range of language teaching contexts in the UK

  • the chance to choose between your dissertation pathways - an empirical research investigation of an aspect of language teaching and learning or an independent library-based project on a relevant topic of your choice.

An important feature of this MA is its flexibility. You can follow your professional interests and choose to study aspects of teaching English and graduate with an MA TESOL, or you can focus on the teaching of languages other than English and graduate with an MA Language Teaching.

If you are not yet ready to commit to an MA, we also offer this course as a Postgraduate Diploma and Postgraduate Certificate, ideal if you have classroom experience of teaching second or foreign languages, including English, or have a broadly relevant first degree and an interest in the theory and practice of language teaching.


  • This is an essential qualification for those who wish to teach languages at university level, whether for general or more specific purposes. For those with less teaching experience, the MA will give you a competitive early career advantage as you gain more experience in teaching posts.

  • You will be taught by specialists from a centre of teaching and research excellence that prides itself on research-led teaching in French, German, Italian, Japanese and Spanish, making it an outstanding multidisciplinary team.

  • The Birkbeck College Applied Linguistics Society, an official University of London society, was formed to bring together students interested in applied linguistics and related fields (for example multilingualism, intercultural communication and TESOL) in the London area. Birkbeck’s Centre for Multilingual and Multicultural Research hosts visiting scholars from all over the world and runs regular research seminars given by speakers from overseas and other UK institutions. The centre also supports postgraduate training in applied linguistics, bilingualism, intercultural communication and translation.

  • We offer a number of bursaries for postgraduate students.

Careers and employability

If you are an experienced teacher this MA will help you to progress to a more senior or specialised position in language teaching, such as a:

  • senior teacher

  • director of studies

  • teacher trainer

  • consultant

  • materials developer.

Graduates can also pursue career paths in local and national government, the charity sector, public relations, media, marketing, lexicography, translation, and tourism/hospitality. Possible professions include:

  • language teacher

  • lecturer

  • publisher

  • translator

  • speech and language therapist

  • community development worker

  • youth worker

  • special educational needs teacher.


Postgraduate Certificate - PgCert

Postgraduate Diploma - PgDip

Birkbeck, part of the University of London, offers nearly 300 taught and research postgraduate programmes across arts and humanities, business and economics, law, science and social science. As an evening teaching specialist, Birkbeck offers its taught postgraduate courses between 6-9pm, with some courses available through distance learning. As with undergraduate courses, postgraduates can study full-time or part-time.

Home to 44 research and specialist institutes, Birkbeck is the sixth largest provider of taught postgrad courses for UK and EU students - some 44% of its 11,000-plus students are on postgrad programmes. Around 90% of its academics are active in research, and …

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