Michigan State University
Michigan State University
Department of Linguistics & Germanic, Slavic, Asian and African Languages
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The TESOL program is designed to assist graduate students in completing their programs in a timely manner. Initially, the program director will advise new students in choosing courses for their first semester of study. At or following orientation, students will be assigned an academic advisor from among the faculty associated with the M.A. TESOL program.


Students must complete 36 credit hours of coursework in the M.A. TESOL Program. Up to nine graduate credits may, with approval, be transferred from other accredited institutions toward the fulfillment of these 36 credits. To have courses transferred, you must provide the program director with the syllabus for each course when it was taken. Below are the requirements for all students. In addition to these requirements, students must complete a thesis or comprehensive exam (online portfolio).

The following two required courses are taken in the first semester. These serve as a foundation for the remainder of the curriculum.

  • LLT 822 Interlanguage Analysis 

    This course provides a background in phonetics, phonology, morphology, and syntax within the context of second language acquisition and teaching. Topics include phonetics for language teachers, phonological processes, and the role of morphological and syntactic structures in the acquisition of second languages. Applications to ESL pedagogy will be discussed and students will have the opportunity to analyze data from learners of English.
  • LLT 895 ESL Classroom Practices

    This course is designed to give students the skills that they need to teach effectively in LLT 896, the TESOL Practicum and beyond. These skills will differ for each student and may include some attention to language for students whose first language is not English. The main goal of this course is to develop and implement ESL lessons. More specifically, students will be able to:
    1. Write a lesson plan with appropriate sequencing of activities.
    2. Choose authentic spoken and written materials for a variety of levels.
    3. Develop lessons using those authentic materials while maintaining language-related objectives.
    4. Effectively manage a classroom by giving appropriate instructions and managing interaction.
    5. Give implicit and explicit feedback as problems arise.
    6. Check students’ comprehension.
    7. Assess whether or not lesson objectives are met.


  • LLT 807 Language Teaching Methods 

    This course is an introduction to the teaching of English to speakers of other languages. After an introduction to some basic concepts and various historical approaches to language teaching, this course will focus on the various skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) with regard to theory, research, and practice. Some integrated approaches will be presented as well as some recent controversies in the field. Although this course is intended for those planning to teach English, all of the concepts presented are applicable to foreign/second language teaching in general. Assignments include classroom observation, lesson plan presentation, textbook review, research article presentation, weekly readings and responses, and a take-home final exam.
  • LLT 808 Assessment for Language Teaching and Research
    This is a course in language assessment methods. It includes a discussion of classroom diagnostic and achievement assessment and program-level assessment. The use of standardized proficiency tests is covered as well as alternative methods of assessment such as portfolios. Basic concepts related to testing including reliability and validity are addressed. Students will also learn about specific techniques that are useful for research purposes.
  • LLT 809 Teaching Second Language Reading and Writing
    This course focuses on teaching reading and writing in foreign and second language contexts. Topics include vocabulary and prereading activities, materials development, integrating reading and writing, and assessing the development of reading and writing skills. Students will learn to develop lessons for these skills in a variety of contexts, evaluate teaching materials related to reading and writing, and understand current related research.
  • LLT 841 Special Topics in Second/Foreign Language Learning and Teaching

    The focus of this class varies each year. Instructed Second Language Acquisition will be offered in the fall of 2017, and two courses will be offered in the spring of 2018: Corpus Research and Vocabulary Acquisition.
  • LLT 846 English Structures and Functions

    This course provides a description of English grammar for those planning to teach English. The course begins with a comparison of different theories of language and what language teachers can draw from these theories. This is followed by a discussion of how grammar instruction fits into current trends in language teaching and of what it means to teach grammar. The bulk of the course is a description of English grammar with discussion about how to teach grammar and how to evaluate instructional materials for ESL students. The course objectives are:

    1. To have a thorough understanding of English grammar, both prescriptive and descriptive
    2. To be able to explain aspects of English grammar
    3. To understand what it means to teach grammar
    4. To demonstrate techniques for teaching grammar
    5. To evaluate grammar instruction and materials
  • LLT 860 Introduction to Second Language Acquisition 

    This course is an introduction to the main theories of Second Language Acquisition (SLA) and current approaches to Second Language Acquisition Research (SLAR). As a first step, the course will outline most mainstream theories including the interactionist hypothesis, nativist and environmentalist approaches, and cognitive perspectives on SLA. Factors influencing the ways in which second languages (L2s) are learned will be considered. These include age, L1, developmental level, motivation, attitude, cognitive style and the effect of formal instruction. Findings from empirical studies of these factors will be considered. A secondary emphasis of the course will be to review the way in which SLAR is carried out. Research design, data collection and analysis, and the measurement of L2 development will be addressed. Finally, the course will provide an overview of the use of tasks and the interactionist approach to carrying out second language research and will discuss current perspectives on bridging the gap between second language research and teaching. The concepts presented in this course are applicable to foreign/second language learning and teaching in general regardless of the L2 in question.
  • LLT 872 Research Methods for Language Teaching and Foreign/Second Language Learning

    This course provides an introduction to research design in the field of second language (SL) acquisition and teaching. The main goals of the course are: (a) to develop the ability to read published research critically, (b) to become familiar with the various stages involved in carrying out research on SL learning and teaching, and (c) to understand commonly used statistical tests in the field. The course will include such topics as the development of research questions and generation of hypotheses, defining/describing variables, data collection procedures, data analysis, and basic statistical concepts. Both qualitative and quantitative research designs will be discussed in context through discussion of a range of studies. There will be hands-on practice with the interpretation of research results. Activities will include data analysis, and presentation and submission of a detailed literature review, research proposal, or pilot study.
  • LLT 896 Practicum in TESOL 

    In this course, students work in teams to prepare lessons and materials for, and then teach a six-week ESL program for adult learners from the MSU and Greater Lansing Area communities (see EPIC: English Partners in Communication). The classes focus on developing learners' oral communication skills and strategies. Prior to teaching, students will review lesson plans, conduct demonstration lessons, and receive feedback.
  • Course on Language in Context. This requirement can be met by one of the following: LLT 855 (Language Identity and Ideology in Multilingual Settings), LIN 471 (Sociolinguistics), ANP 420 (Language and Culture), or COM 828 (Cross-cultural Communication).


Most students take one elective course. LLT 841 (a different topic) and LLT 896 may be taken a second time as an elective. Students who are completing a thesis will take 4 credits of LLT 899 (master’s thesis research) as their elective.

Thesis Option

There are two master's degree plans available: Plan A (thesis), Plan B (non-thesis). Detailed information can be found in the M.A. handbook.