EdM in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

Boston University’s Master of Education (EdM) program for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) produces innovative teachers who are well versed in theoretical and applied teaching principles. Our program offers two pathways: Licensure and Adult/College/International (Non-Licensure). Both pathways include a curriculum that integrates linguistic theory; current research and practice in language learning and development; assessment and instruction of oral language, reading, and writing; and field-based practicum work with emergent bilinguals.

For more information about our Licensure and Non-Licensure Pathways, please refer to the information below.

Master of Education, Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages: Licensure Pathway

Program Facts (Licensure pathway)

  • Summer/fall admission only
  • Full-time study encouraged
  • Minimum credits required: 36
  • Full-time program duration: 1 academic year

Teacher candidates who choose to pursue our Licensure Pathway can choose from one of two tracks: PreK-6 or 5-12. Upon completion of this program and state testing requirements, successful candidates receive an initial license for teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) PreK–6 or 5–12.

Throughout the Program of Study, significant emphasis is placed on the relationship among language, culture, and equity as it pertains to the linguistic, academic, and socioemotional development of emergent bilinguals. Our coursework focuses on language acquisition and linguistics, literacy instruction and assessment, culturally sustaining pedagogy, curriculum development, and policy issues that influence assessment and instruction of bilingual learners. Our program is grounded in developing asset-based perspective and teaching for social justice, focusing on essential questions such as How can teachers and advocates ensure that ELs have equal access to all educational programs? and What does culturally and linguistically sustaining pedagogy for emergent bilinguals look like?

Teacher candidates complete their coursework alongside a pre-practicum in the fall semester and a full-time practicum in the spring semester; the practicum experience includes student teaching with English Learners and will take place under the supervision of an ESL certified teacher in a Sheltered English Immersion, Bilingual Education, or Dual Language Immersion setting in a Boston-area public school. Practicing teachers who hold an initial license in another content area and wish to add an initial license in ESL are also encouraged to apply.

Contact Info

Faculty Contact Information, Licensure Program: Dr. Christine Leider, montecil@bu.edu, 617-353-3260

Graduate Admissions Contact Information:  whegrad@bu.edu, 617-353-4237

Next Steps


Master of Education, Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages: College/Adult/International Pathway (Non-Licensure)

Program Facts (Non-Licensure pathway)

  • Spring or summer/fall admission
  • Full-time or part-time study
  • Minimum credits required: 36
  • Full-time program duration: Three semesters

Those who choose to complete the TESOL program without licensure are prepared to work, research, and teach in college and adult language programs in the United States or to work for college, adult, primary, or secondary school programs abroad.

Graduates of our program teach in a variety of settings, and particular emphasis is placed on the development and evaluation of materials appropriate to students at all levels of proficiency. As a result, many of our students and graduates have published extensively, developing new approaches and materials for a rapidly expanding field in education. Several of our TESOL graduates’ syllabus projects have also been published as textbooks.

In the TESOL program at Boston University, the course of study includes linguistic theory, applied English grammar, language acquisition, methodology of teaching English to speakers of other languages, computer-assisted language learning, and cross-cultural communication. In addition to coursework, you also complete a semester of supervised teaching in a field setting that matches your particular interests.

Our Program may be completed in three academic semesters by full-time students; duration for part-time study varies. You may begin the program in the fall, spring, or summer semester; international students may begin in the fall or spring semester only.

Click here to view Frequently Asked Questions about TESOL. You may also be interested in Wheelock’s 16-Credit Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages.

Contact Info

Faculty Contact Information:

Graduate Admissions Contact Information: whegrad@bu.edu, 617-353-4237

Next Steps

Vision Statement of the Department of Language and Literacy Education

As faculty and students of the Language and Literacy Education Department:

  • We advocate for equitable and just education systems;
  • We strive to disrupt deficit discourses and foster asset-based approaches;
  • We cultivate practices that are based on research, theory, and community cultural knowledge;
  • We embrace multilingualism and multiliteracies; and
  • We engage in research that contributes to evolving understandings of language and literacy education.


Q: What degrees are granted by the TESOL (College and Adult) program?

A: Boston University’s School of Education grants both a Master of Education (Ed.M) degree and a non-degree certificate in TESOL.


Q: Where will I be qualified to teach do with a master’s in TESOL?

A: Our program prepares students to teach in a variety of settings. In the US, our graduates work in college and adult language programs, and in K-12 programs so long as they do not require state licensure. In international settings, TESOL graduates work in universities, primary and secondary schools, and adult education programs.


Q: What professional opportunities will I have besides teaching?

A: Because our program also focuses on developing and evaluating teaching materials materials for students at all levels, many of our students and graduates have published extensively, developing new approaches and materials for a rapidly expanding field in education. Other graduates have gone into program administration and nonprofit administration.


Q: What are the course requirements for the EdM in TESOL?

A: The course of study balances practical teaching methodology with linguistic theory. The required courses are:

  • Methods of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
  • Introduction to Language and Linguistics
  • Second Language Acquisition
  • Linguistic Problems in TESOL
  • Perspectives on Inquiry
  • Seminar in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages)
  • Student Teaching (US Students) or Field Observation (International Students)
  • 2 of the following 3 Options
    • Intercultural Education
    • Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL)
    • An approved elective


Q: How long will it take for me to complete the master’s degree?

A: A student can generally complete the program leading to the master’s degree in 2 semesters and the summer session, or in 3 semesters. US students may begin either in the fall or spring semester or in the summer session. International students may begin in the fall or spring (due to visa requirements).


Q: I’m not sure if a master’s program is right for me. Is there another program with fewer requirements?

A: The TESOL program offers a four-course, 16-credit graduate certificate that prepares future teachers of English to speakers of other languages. Students are exposed to a theoretical introduction to the nature and structure of language, key factors affecting second-language acquisition, and communicative approaches to the teaching of English as a second or foreign language.


Q: What if I enroll in the certificate program and then want to change to the master’s program?

A: A student in the certificate program may apply to the master’s program. If admitted, any required courses the student has satisfactorily completed in the TESOL certificate program will be credited towards the TESOL master’s degree.


Q: I’m worried about the cost of graduate school. Is there financial assistance for graduate students in TESOL?

A: There are several forms of financial assistance that may be available to graduate students in TESOL. First, some outright grants are made to students on the basis of achievement (rather than need). Students apply for financial assistance when they apply for admission. In addition, BU Wheelock has a special reduced tuition rate for students attending graduate school on a part-time basis (no more than 11 credits a semester, which is generally two courses). On a pro rata basis, the cost per course is only 50% of the normal tuition. Thus, a student completing the master’s degree on a part-time basis will, at the completion of the degree, have paid only 50% of the tuition that a student attending on a full-time basis will have paid.


Q: I’d like to get all the details about admissions requirements, tuition costs, fees, and other things I need to know. Where can I find out about these things?

A: Check out BU Wheelock Admissions website. You’ll find answers to those questions as well as other information that may be of interest to you.


Q: I’d like to visit and talk to someone about the TESOL program. Can I do that?

A: You certainly can. We hold several information sessions for prospective students in the fall, which you can learn about online or by contacting BU Wheelock’s Admissions Office. In addition, you can contact Dr. Marnie Reed by e-mail at any time arrange to meet with her to discuss the program.