About the Program

Mission Statement

The TESOL programs at Azusa Pacific University prepare present and future educators, both international and domestic, with the competencies and perspectives needed to teach English in a manner marked by professional excellence, intercultural sensitivity, integrity, and compassion. To this end, the program offers a 21-unit undergraduate TESOL minor, an 18-unit graduate Certificate in TESOL, a 6-unit graduate Certificate in TEFL, and a 36-unit master’s degree in TESOL taught by experienced Christian faculty who are motivated to serve God and their students, and who engage students in practical training grounded in theory and research.

Program Details

The Master of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) prepares students to become exemplary classroom teachers committed to continued professional development within a variety of contexts. Graduates of the program currently serve in the United States and several foreign countries in public and adult schools, colleges, universities, private institutions, and businesses.

APU's TESOL programs blend compassionate Christian service with strong academic preparation and practical training in language teaching. Project-based coursework engages the student in a variety of practical tasks, allowing students to:

  • Formulate a working philosophy of language learning and teaching.
  • Teach English grammar and pronunciation.
  • Organize student interactions, activities, and tasks.
  • Understand the influence of social and cultural differences on language development.
  • Engage in practice-teaching experiences and student-teacher observation.
  • Plan, implement, and assess student achievement.
  • In the on-campus and online formats, develop a teacher portfolio that demonstrates their competence in teaching English as a second language.

Learning in the Field

APU's field-based master's degree can be completed in 24 months with two summer terms on the APU campus and two winter terms abroad in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Courses are offered in an intensive one-week format with additional reading and writing assignments completed over six months. In lieu of writing a thesis or completing a portfolio, teachers demonstrate their competence through an Action Research course.

In-service teachers complete their degree while teaching abroad and attend a series of intensive, one-week classes in July and January with a cohort of 6-28 classmates. Over the next six months, they complete additional assignments and class projects while teaching abroad. Classes are taught in an intensive format, yet coursework is completed in an extensive format, which allows teachers to apply and adapt what they are learning in their own classrooms overseas. In addition to the two face-to-face courses, one online course is completed each term to earn the degree in two years.

Field-based program candidates must be admitted to APU and have secured a teaching contract abroad. Students enrolled in either the on-campus or online TESOL program may take up to three courses in the field-based program without having secured a teaching contract abroad.

Service Opportunity

The growth of the use of the English language worldwide presents English teachers with unprecedented opportunities for intercultural service.

  • In the last 50 years, English has rapidly become a global language, particularly for international politics, business, transportation, science and technology, the media, and higher education.
  • Although English is the principal mother tongue in less than a dozen nations, it has significant or official status as a means of communication in more than 70 countries. Nearly a quarter of the world's population, more than 1.2 billion people, are already at least reasonably competent in English. This surpasses the spread of any other language in history.*
  • English is now taught as a foreign language in more than 100 countries, making it the most widely taught foreign language in the world. In most of these countries, it is becoming the primary foreign language in the educational system.* Consequently, almost every nation in the world is demanding competent English teachers to help develop their professional labor force.
  • Those who hold master's degrees in TESOL are among the most sought-after professionals in the world today. TESOL instruction represents an extraordinary opportunity for a meaningful career in education, both at home and abroad.

*David Crystal. English as a Global Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997.

Career Opportunities

Opportunities for teaching English can be found both within and outside the U.S., in both private and public sectors. In the U.S., ESL teachers work with newcomers at all levels of the education system as well as in community or church-based programs; they also work with international students in higher education settings. However, schools prefer to hire trained professionals. While teachers with minimal training are hired for many classroom-teaching positions, those with graduate degrees hold an advantage and command higher salaries. In addition to teaching posts, they are considered for jobs in teacher training, curriculum and materials development, and program administration.

Why Study TESOL at APU?

  • APU's TESOL certificate programs combine an orientation toward compassionate Christian service with strong academic preparation and practical preparation for language teaching.
  • The programs represent a blend of coursework and practical experiences which equip graduates to respond to the wide range of language needs, sociocultural differences, and program requirements they will encounter.
  • Qualified faculty share their professional and cross-cultural experiences while adapting coursework to the unique needs and interest of students.
  • APU is located in the greater Los Angeles area, where more than 150 languages are spoken. This diverse linguistic and cultural environment offers students an unmatched variety of multicultural practice-teaching and research opportunities.
  • Graduates of APU's TESOL programs are currently serving both internationally and in the U.S.—in public schools, colleges and universities, private institutes, and businesses. Others have gone on to complete doctoral work in such fields as applied linguistics, international education, or intercultural studies.

Housing Options

While taking summer classes in Azusa, California, teachers will be living in the dorms with other colleagues enrolled in the program. The current location in Asia is the International Hotel in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Note: This information is current for the 2016-17 academic year; however, all stated academic information is subject to change. Please refer to the current Academic Catalog for more information.