Earn your online TESOL degree from Online at Southern Miss!
Our online TESOL degree program is offered fully online and is one of the largest programs of its kind in the United States addressing language teachers’ needs. The focus of the MATL is on developing and enhancing knowledge, skills, and theories in language, language acquisition, and language instruction, factors essential for effective teaching and successful learning.
This convenient and affordable online degree brings together world language teachers and teachers-to-be from all parts of the United States and abroad. The University of Southern Mississippi’s large variety of courses are aimed to meet the multi-faceted needs of today’s language teachers. This is your life, plus college!
Your future starts at Southern Miss!
The University of Southern Mississippi is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools of Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). That means you can expect a program with the highest standards and quality.
The Graduate School will be authorizing standardized test waivers to applicants to the Spring, Summer, and Fall 2021 terms.
Check out some of the jobs our graduates landed after earning this degree:
- College ESL/EFL Instructor
- Private Corporate ESL/EFL Instructor
- Language Institute Coordinator
- Private School ESL/EFL Teacher
- ESL/EFL Secondary Teacher (prior certification needed)
- ESL/EFL Elementary Teacher (prior certification needed)
General Program Academic Requirements
All students are expected to complete the following requirements:
- A total of thirty-three (33) hours of graduate-level courses, including eighteen (18) hours in courses numbered 600 or above. A 3.0 GPA is required for graduation.
- WL 561, WL 663, WL 664, and WL 665
- A practicum tailored to the teaching experience of each student (WL 694)
- For students in the TESOL emphasis, a minimum of nine (9) hours of courses with a TSL prefix, including the required TSL 612
- Students in the TESOL emphasis whose first language is English must also meet a foreign language requirement by completing nine (9) hours of undergraduate conversational foreign language study (i.e., through USM 201 level) or equivalent with an average of “B” or better.
- Comprehensive examination which consists of a successful defense of a portfolio
Please note that the above information is meant to be a guide and is not official. For further information regarding courses for this degree, see the University Bulletin. Please be aware that not all course choices listed in the University Bulletin are available online. However, sufficient online options are available to complete this degree.
Frequently Asked Questions
Licensure requirements and approval are determined by each state’s licensing board. For additional information about professional licensure, please review the Professional Licensure Disclosures web page.
Additional course fees may apply to the online MATL degree. Fees range between $20 – $60.
Yes, you can complete the online TESOL degree program entirely online. It will take approximately 5-6 semesters to do so. We offer courses in the fall, spring, and summer online. There are in-class options as well.
The online MATL degree program is designed for students who work and want to go to school part-time. We offer at least two courses a semester (fall, spring, and summer).
Students may take up to 9 hours of non-degree work with the school director’s approval. Students will be approved for this option if there are strong indications the student can do well in the courses. Taking courses as a non-degree student does not guarantee admission to the program.
Yes, all students who apply to the MATL program must take the Graduate Record Examination and submit the general section scores in verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing. We do not accept GRE scores that are more than 5 years old. In general, your grade point average from your undergraduate studies, along with letters of recommendation and your statement of purpose, serve as the best indicators of success in our program.
- Fall – August 1st
- Spring – November 1st
- Summer – April 1st
Yes, it is possible transfer up to 33% of the total credit-hours of appropriate graduate level course work needed to graduate into our online TESOL degree program. Coursework from a completed degree cannot be transferred, however.
The prospective student must complete the Graduate School admission application online and pay the application fee at http://apps.usm.edu/graduate-school/grad-school-apps/.
The graduate online TESOL degree program is different from traditional face-to-face course work. There will be required chats and discussion groups that will allow you to be part of an online community. But this type of participation also requires more self-discipline and personal motivation. You may have to make more effort to connect with instructors and fellow graduate students. Keep in mind that graduate school requires a lot more reading and writing, and this is especially true in an online environment. Students should expect to spend a significant amount of time weekly studying, attending online class meetings, and completing projects.
It is recommended that you have a fairly new computer and a high-speed Internet connection. For chat group sessions you will need a headset with a built-in microphone.
Yes, as long as you qualify for the languages in which you would like the dual emphases. A dual-emphasis degree is 45 hours. Please see the Graduate Student Handbook available on request from the program coordinator.
All international students must follow the same application procedures as everyone else. In addition they must take the IELTS or TOEFL to qualify for the program. Please see more the bulletin for details.
Yes, most courses have a chat component in the fall and spring semesters. You would need to be available to chat during those times. Times are listed on SOAR. Teachers can work with you to make up missed chats, if necessary, but keep in mind that chat is included as part of your grade and is considered important for increasing interaction with your classmates and professors. Chat usually occurs once a week and lasts an hour. It occurs either in late afternoon or early evening, making it convenient to working teachers.
Ask professionals (e.g., professors, supervisors) who know your academic and/or professional work to write letters of recommendation for you. Letters of recommendation from former professors and other credentialed academics carry more weight.
Please visit our programs page here: https://online.usm.edu/programs/
Visit online.usm.edu/military for more information on how Southern Miss can serve you and your needs. We will help you with funding and scholarship information, admissions, and course enrollment.
The materials listed below are reviewed in the admission process. Application Deadlines: November 1, April 1, and August 1
In addition to meeting the Admission Requirements and Procedures, the master’s program applicant in the Teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) emphasis must present the following items:
- Official scores for the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).
- A current resumé.
- A statement of purpose written in English (300-500 words) that explains your professional goals and why you want to pursue graduate study in language teaching. The statement can include particular interests, academic accomplishments, travel abroad, teaching experience, or other relevant preparation.
- For international students whose native language is not English, official scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) are required. Successful applicants should have a score of 83 on the Internet-based test, with no section lower than 19. Information on the TOEFL is available at http://www.toefl.org. The school will also accept an IELTS score of a 6.5 with no sub-test score below a 6.
- Three Letters of Recommendation
Program Requirements and Academic Policies
Students in the TESOL emphasis whose first language is English must meet a foreign language requirement by completing nine hours of undergraduate foreign language study or the equivalent, with an average of “B” or better. The comprehensive examination consists of a successful defense of a portfolio. For other requirements and expectations, see General Degree Requirements and General Academic Information.