Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)

Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) includes a wide range of specialisms and has global relevance. In order to support the career ambitions of aspiring and existing TESOL practitioners, the University of St Andrews offers a variety of programmes, including on-campus and distance learning, full time and part time, and full degrees or single modules.

TESOL programmes are only offered at postgraduate level at the University of St Andrews.


All TESOL courses are available to study as a Master of Science (MSc), a Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) or a Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert). For information on the differences between these degrees, see the qualifications explained page


In studying TESOL at the University of St Andrews, you will become part of a community of experienced practitioners and postgraduate students with a wide range of teaching backgrounds.

  • You will take part in the University's annual EAP (English for Academic Purposes) Conference, and be invited to present a poster as part of the conference events.
  • You will be encouraged to participate in professional development events. Throughout the academic year, staff invite external speakers who are experts in their field to present and lead workshops. For example, in previous years Anne Burns and Nigel Caplan have presented to staff and TESOL students. Departmental staff present their own research projects to both staff and MSc TESOL students.
  • There are also opportunities to attend external conferences.
  • During the MSc TESOL programmes, you will integrate theory and practice. You will discuss theoretical concepts and frameworks in small groups and apply these through applied and practical assessments and peer teaching sessions.

    The on-campus and distance learning students will usually study the same modules at the same point in the academic year, and interaction between the two cohorts will take place via structured online discussion activities and projects, giving you first-hand exposure to different TESOL contexts.

    On campus

    • On-campus students will take part in observations of teaching within the department, in local high schools and at undergraduate level to provide exposure to a variety of teaching contexts.
    • As part of the Second Language Acquisition module, the on-campus students will engage in and reflect on a new language learning experience via the University’s evening language courses, to gain a 360-degree perspective on language teaching and learning.
    • You will also have the opportunity to explore the use of technology in language teaching and assessment.
    • As part of the Dissertation module, you will attend a one-week writer’s retreat to develop the skills required to write your dissertation. 

    Distance learning 

    For distance learning students, there are key elements designed to enhance your Master's experience.

    • In addition to the September Semester 1 entry point for on-campus students, distance learning students can choose to start at the beginning of Semester 2. This allows maximum flexibility for students who may have significant commitments beyond their studies.
    • There is an instalment based pricing plan to assist you with financing your studies.
    • You will use interactive learning technologies to enhance your study experience.
    • There is a bespoke two-week residential programme in July, which will give you the opportunity to be part of the St Andrews community and participate in the St Andrews experience. 
    • You will participate in a writers' retreat with fellow students and staff to develop the skills required to successfully complete a dissertation.
    • There will also be input from the University's Careers Centre to enhance graduate employability. You will typically participate in the residential course the summer before you plan to write your dissertation.
  • Not all students intend to study for a full Master’s degree. Applications are welcomed from students who would prefer to study either a Postgraduate Diploma (eight modules) or a Postgraduate Certificate (four modules).

    You can also choose to study for one of these qualifications with a specialism in a particular field. Alternatively you may prefer to study single modules, either on campus or through distance learning, as part of your own continuing professional development.

  • Whether studying on campus or by distance learning, you are supported by the University's Academic English Service, which provides tailor-made English language provision.


TESOL graduates are equipped with a range of skills and experiences which allow them to take on a variety of roles. The majority of TESOL students work within education, either as teachers or lecturers, as researchers, or as policymakers. Other graduates work in publishing, journalism and management.

Meet us

Visit St Andrews

The University holds visiting days throughout the year to offer prospective postgraduate students a chance to experience the University's unique atmosphere and see for themselves the quality of the teaching on offer. If you are interested in studying at St Andrews, join us at an open day to explore the town, find out about our courses and meet current students. 

Visiting days

TESOL virtual information sessions

If you are unable to visit St Andrews before you apply, the International Education Institute offers virtual information sessions to discuss the programmes. Upcoming TESOL virtual information sessions:

  • Tuesday 11 February 2020 at 11am
  • Tuesday 10 March 2020 at 2pm
  • Tuesday 7 April 2020 at 11am
  • Thursday 7 May 2020 at 2pm
  • Monday 8 June 2020 at 11am
  • Monday 6 July 2020 at 2pm
  • Tuesday 11 August 2020 at 11am

Learn more


Research and scholarship

The International Education Institute at the University of St Andrews is committed to delivering and facilitating high-quality teaching and learning in the areas of English language and English-medium education.

The department is strongly focused on the continuous enhancement of both its own teaching practices and the wider community’s, with scholarly and outreach activities reflecting this priority. Staff research output and other activities cover a range of areas of expertise, including: 

  • assessment and feedback
  • classroom teaching practice
  • English language teaching management
  • English for academic purposes
  • internationalisation in higher education
  • organising knowledge-sharing events
  • promoting educational programmes in an international context
  • teaching academic integrity
  • teaching young learners
  • technology-enhanced learning
  • world Englishes and English as a lingua franca.

International Education Institute research


The University of St Andrews offers a range of postgraduate funding opportunities. 

Recent Graduate Discount
The University of St Andrews offers a 10% discount in postgraduate tuition fees to students who are eligible to graduate or who have graduated from St Andrews within the last three academic years and are starting a postgraduate programme with the University of St Andrews.

Find out more about postgraduate scholarships


International Education Institute
University of St Andrews
Kennedy Gardens
St Andrews
KY16 9DJ

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 2255
Email: ie@st-andrews.ac.uk

International Education Institute website