English Language Center2013 - 2014 Graduate Catalogue
Master of Arts in Teaching English as a Second Language

Master of Arts in Teaching English as a Second Language

Director of Graduate Program: James D. Hunter, Ph.D.
Associate Professor: M. Jeannot, Ph.D.
Assistant Professors: R. Harris, Ph.D; M. Runyan, MA; J. Hunter, Ph.D; M. Savage, Ph.D.
Instructors: J. Akins, MA; H. Doolittle, MA; J. Sevedge, MA

The Master of Arts in Teaching English as a Second Language (MA/TESL) program offers courses and a practicum for students who are interested in the learning and teaching of English to speakers of other languages. The MA/TESL degree is designed to prepare professional and knowledgeable ESL teachers as well as language specialists who help students develop linguistic and intercultural communication skills. In addition to persons interested in pursuing TESL education preparation, current and future teachers of foreign languages are also invited to enroll in coursework dealing with language acquisition and language teaching methodology, which have broad applicability in a variety of settings.
The MA/TESL knowledge base examines these areas:

  • Knowledge about language, language use and culture and their interrelationship; understanding of how the target language is taught.
  • Knowledge of both the theoretical and practical bases for language teaching and learning in schools and communities.
  • Knowledge of the process of language acquisition as it concerns first and subsequent language learning and an understanding of the principles of language pedagogy.

In the Gonzaga University MA/TESL program, theory and practice are integrated rather than sequenced. Courses and projects aim to provide authentic, holistic, and integrated opportunities to plan, teach, reflect, research and lead in the schools, community and within the university.

MA/TESL courses and experiences are rich and complex enough to support students from diverse backgrounds, with diverse goals, at varying stages of development. In addition, students from the diverse cultures and perspectives represented in the program are important resources, helping us to better understand issues of second language acquisition and learning and teaching in a pluralistic world.
Students and faculty work together to explore new ideas on learning and teaching. Students work with ESL faculty members on classroom projects. Students are introduced to, and encouraged to participate in professional organizations, and other ESL programs and schools.

In consultation with a faculty advisor and peers, students select experiences and courses that will meet their own goals, the stated goals of the MA/TESL program, and the University requirements for a master’s degree.

The program encourages the students and faculty to engage in research and critical reflection on the form and substance of language learning and teaching in order to understand the factors of communication and community building.


Applicants are required to have a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited U.S. college or university. Students from other countries must have the equivalent of an American Bachelor’s degree. The undergraduate GPA should be at least a 3.00 on a 4.00 scale. Applicants should also have two years of successful university-level instruction in a modern language, or other evidence of second language competence deemed satisfactory by the program director. This requirement is waived for students whose first language is not English. Students may be admitted without this language background, but they will be required to gain it while enrolled in the program.


Each applicant must submit the following materials:

    1. A completed application form (see appendix) and a nonrefundable fee.
    2. A written statement of purpose (750-1000) words addressing the applicant’s interest in graduate studies, outlining the applicant’s current strengths and what the applicant hopes to gain from MA/TESL study.
    3. Two letters of recommendation sent directly from the recommending persons using the official confidential recommendation form (see appendix).
    4. Two official transcripts from each college or university attended (International applicants must submit foreign transcripts in the original language and in English). International students must also provide official TOEFL score of at least 550 if English is not the student’s native language or a recommendation from Gonzaga University’s English Language Center.  Only degrees and courses from a regionally accredited institution will be accepted.
    5. Completed Financial Declaration form (see appendix) with original supporting bank statements.
    6. Upon completion of all above requirements, students will be asked to come to campus for an interview. When this is not possible, applicants are asked to submit a video responding to the interview questions, which will be provided to the applicant via email. Interviews and the procedures for the interviews will be arranged by invitation by the program director.

    Program Outline: 35-36 credits

    Required Courses: 32-33 credits

    One of the following two options:
    MTSL 500 Methods and Materials for ESL Teachers* 3 credits
    MTSL 501 and MTSL 580 Summer Institute* 4 credits
    MTSL 502 Pedagogical Grammar* 3 credits
    MTSL 504 Introduction to Sociolinguistics* 3 credits
    MTSL 508 Principles of Second Language Acquisition* 3 credits
    MTSL 510 Testing, Evaluation and Assessment in the English as a Second Language 3 credits
    MTSL 514 (EDTE 566) Literacy and the English Language Learners* 3 credits
    MTSL 517 Phonology
    1 credit
    MTSL 570 History of the English Language 3 credits
    MTSL 600 Research Perspectives in Second Language Education 3 credits
    One of the following two courses:
    MTSL 602 Thesis 3 credits
    MTSL 604 Master’s Research Project 3 credits
    MTSL 610 Practicum in Teaching English as a Second Language
    3 credits
    MTSL 680 Professional Seminar 1 credit
    Elective 3 credits

    ESLK-12 Endorsement *

    In conjunction with Gonzaga’s School of Education, the MA/TESL Program also offers a 15 credit ESL endorsement which consists of a combination of the asterisked courses shown above. In consultation with an advisor, the K-12 teacher candidate will design a hands-on course of study that examines the following:

    • 1) Contexts and orientations for TESOL and bilingual education.
    • 2) An introduction to fundamental concepts of first and second language acquisition.
    • 3) Ideas for teaching language through content and developing materials for the content-based classrooms
    • 4) Strategies for working with English language learners in classrooms.
    • 5) Cross-cultural training for working with diverse populations.
    • 6) Strategies for incorporating state standards into instruction and assessment for English language learners.

    TESL Summer Institute

    In conjunction with the public schools, Gonzaga MA/TESL also offers a three-week intensive Summer Institute each year. The institute consists of coursework (MTSL 501) and a language camp for ESL students (MTSL 580). Students receive a certificate of attendance at the completion of this institute.