10 Elite Universities Offering a Masters in TESOL Degree

Students from around the world are realizing that, as the official international language of business, learning to speak English fluently is one of the keys to leading a successful professional life. In response to this overwhelming demand for quality English teachers, major universities across the United States now offer Master’s in TESOL degrees.

Use our career guides to help determine what you would like to study, advice on the cost of a TESOL course, and search tools to help find the right Masters in TESOL program from an accredited school in your state.

If you’re interested in progressing your career as a ESL teacher or take a graduate degree to change to a rewarding career as a TESOL professional, the following ten universities offer Masters in TESOL programs for aspiring teachers:

University of Southern California

  • The University of Southern California is highly regarded as one of the top post-secondary educational institutions in the country. Similar to other programs that are offered at USC, the Master of Arts in Teaching TESOL features a rigorous course schedule that is designed to prepare future ESL teachers for career positions on an international level.
  • USC offers their Master of Arts in Teaching TESOL program in a format that combines both online class schedules and in-room teaching experiences.

Gonzaga University

  • Gonzaga’s TESOL program is mainly catered to current teachers who want to expand their knowledge base, improve their teaching skills and increase their chances of getting hired by an employer overseas.
  • Because of the unique program that Gonzaga offers, potential students should already have relevant experience in the field.

American University

  • American University was one of the first colleges in the United States to offer TESOL courses to its students. The school offers both a Master in TESOL Degree and a TESOL Graduate Certificate. Individuals who have no experience in teaching should obtain a Graduate Certificate, while experienced tutors will do better in the Master’s program.
  • Currently, American University accepts students from around the world. They only offer TESOL programs in an on-campus format.

Columbia University

  • Columbia University’s TESOL Graduate Studies program is catered to both people who wish to teach in the New York school system and for individuals who wish to go abroad to teach. This program is recommended for those who wish to hone their current skills as ESL teachers, and for teachers who need a certificate to teach ESL to K-12 students.
  • Currently, Columbia University only offers their TESOL programs in an on-campus format.

Concordia University

  • The TESOL graduate program offered by Concordia University is catered towards current K-12 ESL educators. The unique program combines real world experiences with new teaching techniques so that graduates enter the classroom fully prepared to make ability assessments and create lesson plans accordingly.
  • Concordia University offers their TESOL Graduate program in an online format only.

University of Pennsylvania

  • The University of Pennsylvania’s Master of Education in TESOL program focuses on providing a quality education to future ESL teachers. The university prides itself on combining quality, on-campus courses with real world experience in the Philadelphia area. Many of the university’s students spend hours in literacy centers and other ESL institutions in preparation for future careers.
  • Currently, the Graduate School of Education only offers TESOL courses on campus.

University of Cincinnati

  • The University of Cincinnati’s unique online TESOL master’s program is perfect for current ESL teachers who need to take classes on a part time basis. Graduate students are encouraged to participate in an online community that is geared toward students that wish to advance their education through peer support.
  • The University of Cincinnati currently only offers their TESOL program in an online format.

Pennsylvania State University

Part of the College of Liberal Arts, Penn State’s TESOL program is geared towards newly graduated teachers who wish to continue their education to pursue careers in the ESL field. The program teaches students the core competencies of both the learning and psychological issues associated with ESL and how they affect young students.

Pennsylvania State University currently offers the TESOL graduate degree program to students who attend physical classes.

New York University

  • New York University’s Steinhardt School of Education offers a Master’s degree, advanced certificate and Doctoral degree for individuals who wish to further their TESOL education. It is designed specifically for educators and curriculum developers alike, promoting a collaborative work and study environment for every student.
  • NYU’s TESOL program is currently offered to in-class individuals only.

University of San Diego

  • The University of San Diego offers a Master’s of Arts Degree in TESOL to students who wish to study on both a part time and full time basis. The core curriculum of the program includes both physical classes and on-the-job training. People who wish to take up employment overseas would find that this program fulfills their educational needs.
  • The University of San Diego only offers on-campus TESOL classes.


Hundreds of universities across the United States offer a Master’s in TESOL degree. While these top ten universities have great reputations, thorough research on the different programs will determine your university of choice.

Use our search tools to help you find the best accredited school in your state or find accredited universities offering specialist degrees such as an  MATESOL or MEd program you’re interested in.

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