MA in Teaching English as a Foreign Language

The MA TEFL programme is an introductory MA programme for newcomers to the teaching of English as a foreign language (TEFL), offering a strong practical orientation. It provides Masters level grounding for applicants who have less than two years' language teaching experience (see our MA TESOL programme for more experienced applicants).

This MA TEFL programme offers both practical and theoretical work across the main areas of language teaching, such as pronunciation, grammar, discourse, the four skills, and classroom management. MA TEFL students have the opportunity for more in-depth study of topics such as second language acquisition, and the teaching of grammar, and can also select modules from the wide range on offer across the Department. The programme focuses on EFL, but is also relevant to the teaching of other foreign languages.

Lancaster ELT is well-known around the world for the excellence of its MA training. Many Lancaster MA TEFL graduates have secured excellent early-career English language teaching positions in many parts of the world, and some have proceeded directly to doctoral study. The teaching team consists of members whose work in innovation in teacher education was recognised by the ELTons award of the British Council in the Excellence in Course Innovation category.

See what some of our former students say about the programme, and learn more about studying ELT at Lancaster.


  • To provide an academically-grounded introduction to the theory and practice of foreign language teaching.
  • To develop ability in critically choosing, using and evaluating different foreign language teaching materials, procedures and approaches.
  • To foster skills in undertaking independent investigation of areas of foreign language classrooms, so as to develop an evidence-based approach to language teaching.

Course Structure

Compulsory Modules

All MA TEFL students take the following compulsory modules:

‘Restricted Choice’ Modules

20 credits must be selected from among these modules

Free Choice Modules

The remaining 20 credits can be freely chosen from any other postgraduate modules including those listed above as ‘Restricted Choice’ modules (subject to any restrictions).

Postgraduate Academic Study Skills

Participants are also strongly encouraged to take the Postgraduate Academic Study Skills module, which provides support in English for Academic Purposes related to the other programme modules and the dissertation.

Key Facts

Director of Studies: Dr Jenefer Philp

Programme length: full-time (12 months), part-time (24 months)

Audience: those interested in developing a career in foreign language teaching, and who have less than two years of teaching experience (if you have two or more years of language teaching experience, please see our MA TESOL page)

Assessment: Coursework and dissertation

Deadline for applications: 2nd August

Enquiries: Marjorie Wood

Entry Requirements

Academic: Undergraduate upper-second class degree or higher, in a relevant specialism (language studies or linguistics-oriented ones preferred)

Experience: Foreign language teaching experience: from zero to less than 2 years

English language level (for applicants whose native language is not English):

IELTS: Our official requirement for IELTS is a score of at least 6.5 overall with at least 6.5 in the reading and writing elements and 6.0 in the listening and speaking elements.

PET: Pearson Test of English Academic scores of at least 62 overall (with at least 62 in the reading and writing elements and 55 in the listening and speaking elements). Please see Pearson PTE Academic pages for more information.

If applicants have taken any of these exams in the last two years we can accept their test scores; otherwise we ask that they take the exam again. If, however, they have done their undergraduate studies in Britain, the US or another English-medium educational system and have successfully completed their degree within the past two years they may not need to submit a test score.


What our Students Say

Shweta Jhamnani , 2009-10 (India)

<h3>Shweta  Jhamnani , 2009-10  (India) </h3>The MA TEFL programme was just the kind of platform I was looking for to establish my career as an ESL Teacher. Through the programme, I gained knowledge about the teaching and testing of four language skills and the latest developments and trends in the field of linguistics and language teaching. Also, the supportive courses like ADP introduced me to the essentials/basics of academic writing and even helped me develop a critical understanding of the theories and current practices in teaching English as a foreign language, all of which tremendously helped me with the assignment and the final dissertation writing. Hence, I can say that now I have grown by leaps and bounds as a language teacher and also an academic researcher in just a matter of months.

Yiota Papadopoulou (Cyprus)

<h3>Yiota  Papadopoulou  (Cyprus) </h3>I particularly liked the MA in TEFL because it offered a wide variety of different courses which enable you to study your specific areas of interest. The courses essentially help you make a head-start in teaching English as they introduce you to the basics of teaching English as a foreign language.

Charis Stefanou , 2009-10 (Cyprus)

<h3>Charis   Stefanou , 2009-10  (Cyprus) </h3>The MA TEFL provides a wide range of interesting subjects to choose from covering topics that are central to the area of teaching. The way the programme was structured was very helpful since each lecture was followed by discussion in which we had the chance to elaborate on topics of particular interest or difficulty. We were also given the chance to work with actual teaching material and so get in the process of planning lessons, choosing material and dealing with issues that influence teaching. Another beneficial part of the programme was the group work that we were given. Working in groups with people from different backgrounds gave us a great opportunity to discuss different teaching methods and systems and exchange ideas about how to make teaching as effective as possible. The lecturers were always willing to help-it was always very easy to contact them by email, knock on their office door or simply raise a question during lectures-, and they managed to create a very friendly atmosphere.

Beverley Young , 2009-10 (United Kingdom)

I thoroughly enjoyed the MA TEFL programme. I felt the module Introduction to Language Teaching 1 and 2 gave a detailed and helpful insight into the background of teaching principles and methods, especially as I had no experience in the area before starting the course. We also had the opportunity to test out these methods in the second term as well as learning about other important issues involved in language teaching such as classroom management and lesson planning. Whilst this was a compulsory module for those of us on the TEFL programme, there was a wide choice of other modules that I felt complemented this core course very well. I felt the way in which the courses were delivered was good. Usually they combined lectures for the first half followed by an hour of discussion or activities which really helped not only to exchange opinions and ideas but to clarify anything we were unsure of. I thought on all my courses, there was a good mix of independent and group work and often groups would be changed so that we had the opportunity to work with different students other than just our friends. All my teachers were great and very helpful, queries were always answered quickly and they always provided a lot of great content for use in the class and for further reading.


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