Unlock a world of teaching opportunities. TESOL & Intercultural Studies (M.A.)

An M.A. in TESOL and Intercultural Studies is the standard professional degree for positions in universities, language institutes, community colleges, and adult education programs throughout the world.

Credential Type

  • M.A.

Major Credits Required

  • 36

Program Duration

  • 18 months to 3 years


  • Residential or Online

Additional Options

  • TESOL graduate certificate (24 credits)

3 Levels of Professional Training

Prepare for three teaching areas: K-12, adult & higher education, or volunteer/short term service.


World-Class Faculty

Our faculty are internationally experienced, published, and maintain a broad network of global connections.



Alumni Around the World

Our TESOL program attracts international students from East Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Europe -- and our alumni teach around the globe.

Request Information

Or reach out to us anytime at graduate.admissions@wheaton.edu.


Teach and inspire English language learners Why Wheaton for TESOL?

Learn to effectively teach English to non-native speakers in elementary and secondary schools, colleges and universities, language institutes, international schools, company-sponsored programs, adult education, and centers for immigrants and refugees. 

Program Overview

Designed for both novice and experienced English language teachers, our rigorous and experience-rich program provides a solid foundation in the field of TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). Graduates can teach English as a Second Language (ESL) in the United States or English as a Foreign Language (EFL) worldwide.

Flexible Learning Format

As one of the first Christian universities to bring its TESOL programs online, Wheaton College Graduate School is an experienced leader in delivering a robust multi-platform learning experience. In addition to our residential program, we offer a fully-online MA degree. The online learning modules feature professionally-recorded lectures that are available on-demand (asynchronous) for students across many time zones.

Student Engagement

Residential students will have opportunities to get involved in the greater Wheaton College community through student organizations, chapel service, and campus events and activities. But even if you're learning from afar, you can attend chapel remotely and engage with your professors and classmates through lively online discussions. Regardless of the format you choose, you'll get to know your classmates well.

A Flexible, Faith-Based TESOL Program

Learn more about becoming a servant-scholar and humble leader in the field of teaching English to ESL and EFL learners.

Putting Learning into Practice A World of Rich Learning Experiences

As you pursue your master's degree in TESOL and Intercultural studies, you'll have an opportunity to apply what you're learning through internships and practicums. Plus, you'll engage with others through rich cross-cultural experiences in and outside the classroom.

TESOL Students

TESOL Internships

Experience real-world training through a customized internship program aligned to your personal goals. Explore specific areas of teaching (business English, elementary ESL instruction, higher education) and areas of the world (Thailand, Bolivia, Hungary). Internship experiences include:

  • Refugees and immigrants
  • Teaching English abroad
  • Literacy programs
  • Urban teaching contexts
  • Higher education programs
  • NGO programs
TESOL Students Enjoying a meal together

Practicums & Cross-Cultural Activities

In practicum field placements, you will be observed by faculty and receive valuable mentoring feedback that fine tunes your teaching skills. Practicums involve 8-10 weeks of engagement in a Chicago-area or global classroom, including supervised teaching or co-teaching of an ESL class. It is possible to complete a practicum or internship in an online ESL classroom. Students who work part-time or full-time as ESL teachers can use their current teaching situations for the field placement.

Outside of supervised practicums, you'll also enjoy a rich range of cross-cultural activities in the Chicago metro area, including field trips to ethnic communities and opportunities for teaching and tutoring in a host of local ESL programs.

TESOL Students Overseas

International & Overseas Internships

Earn elective credits while gaining real-world experience. If you’re especially interested in EFL you might want to participate in a summer internship program in countries such as Costa Rica, Colombia, Croatia, China, South Korea, Lithuania, and Vietnam.

Many students seek out opportunities with faith-based EFL programs offered at schools, camps, and agencies such as GEM English camps, TeachBeyond English camps and the Association of Christian Schools International.

Our Curriculum

The M.A. in TESOL and Intercultural Studies focuses on the teaching and learning of languages. A multifaceted discipline, this degree includes a mix of linguistics, education, communication, and related coursework.

Please see the graduate course catalog for current requirements as well as the most up-to-date course numbers, titles, and descriptions.

Sample Courses

Your program includes a mix of core requirements and electives. Courses include the following:

  • Theological Perspectives on Language & Education
  • Intercultural Communication
  • Descriptive English Grammar for TESOL
  • Teaching Speaking & Listening to ESL/EFL Learners
  • Theoretical Foundations of TESOL Methodology
  • Second Language Acquisition

Our Faculty Compassionate and Intelligent Educators

Be mentored by experienced faculty members who have served internationally and developed courses around their areas of interest. Our educators are committed scholars and published authors in the field of TESOL. You'll benefit from their global network of connections to schools, universities, and agencies throughout the world as you prepare for work after graduation.

Pam Barger, Ph.D. Headshot

Pam Barger, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of TESOL, ELIC Program Director, and Fulbright Program Advisor
Kimberly Croy, M.S.  Headshot

Kimberly Croy, M.S.

Guest Instructor
Lonna Dickerson, Ph.D. Headshot

Lonna Dickerson, Ph.D.

Adjunct Professor
Dianne Dow, M.A. Headshot

Dianne Dow, M.A.

Adjunct Instructor of TESOL - ICCT, Associate Director of the Institute for Cross-Cultural Training
Robyn K. Hackett, M.A. Headshot

Robyn K. Hackett, M.A.

Guest Instructor of TESOL - ICCT, TESOL and ICCT Linguistics Specialist
Juliette Kletzing, M.A.  Headshot

Juliette Kletzing, M.A.

Guest Instructor of Education - TESOL
Bill Merrifield, Ed.D. Headshot

Bill Merrifield, Ed.D.

Guest Instructor and TESOL Internship Coordinator
Natalie Mullen, Ph.D. Headshot

Natalie Mullen, Ph.D.

Guest Instructor of TESOL and Intercultural Studies, Director of the Institute for Cross-Cultural Training
Cheri Pierson, Ed.D. Headshot

Cheri Pierson, Ed.D.

Associate Professor of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages Emerita
Alan Seaman, Ph.D. Headshot

Alan Seaman, Ph.D.

Professor of TESOL, Director of TESOL and Intercultural Studies Programs
Jennifer Shepherd, Ph.D. Headshot

Jennifer Shepherd, Ph.D.

Guest Instructor
Sara Vroom Fick, Ph.D. Headshot

Sara Vroom Fick, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Education
TESOL Graduates at Commencement
Investing in You

Financial Wellness

The Wheaton College Graduate School Student Financial Services team can help you understand how much your degree program will cost and what scholarships, loans, and aid may be available to you. Wheaton’s TESOL programs have partnerships with several agencies which provide significant tuition discounts.

Of special note, TESOL master's candidates are encouraged to apply for a Billy Graham Scholarship, a program designed to financially support international Christian leaders with their graduate studies.

Learn About Graduate Financial Aid
Beata Keller headshot for Wheaton College Graduate School
Christian. Immigrant. Teacher.

Alumni in Action

“Wheaton’s TESOL degree comes with an emphasis on intercultural studies, which has always been a fascination of mine. In my current job, I get to learn little bits and pieces of other cultures daily, which is rewarding. While I share my own knowledge and experiences as an ESL educator, I also get to participate in really cool conversations and continue to learn so much from other people’s stories.”

— Beata (Lasmanowicz) Keller '09

As student in the Wheaton TESOL program, Beata encountered God on a deeper level than she ever had before.

Today, as an ESL lecturer and program coordinator at University of Chicago Illinois, Beata draws from her personal experiences as an immigrant and a Christian to serve the many adult language learners who filter through her office. She knows what it feels like to be a stranger in a foreign land, whether that was coming to the States or immersing herself for the first time in an explicitly Christian academic environment like Wheaton. She’s grateful to play a part in helping others find their place in a new country and fulfill their responsibilities more effectively.

Next Steps

Interested in helping others learn the English language? Consider pursuing your master's degree in TESOL and Intercultural Studies at Wheaton College. Request more information or start your application today.