Featured M.A. TESOL Alumni
English has become the most widely used language in the world today, particularly in the areas of science, commerce and education. Tens of thousands of students in developing countries are required to learn English in school. Thousands more study English in order to pursue careers or educational programs demanding English language skills. Refugees and immigrants to the United States desire English to survive and to establish themselves in their new homeland. There is thus a considerable demand for qualified teachers of English both here and abroad.
To help meet the need for trained teachers of English as a Second Language (ESL) or English as a Foreign Language (EFL), the Department of TESOL and Applied Linguistics offers two regular programs in TESOL: a Certificate in TESOL and an M.A. in TESOL. The programs are academically rigorous, yet focus on the practical aspects of teaching in a variety of settings. The department also seeks to serve teachers desiring to continue their professional advancement or upgrade their qualifications, and non-degree students interested in gaining basic teaching or tutoring skills, by offering a variety of separate courses, from introductory to advanced.
The M.A. in TESOL encompasses the goal of the certificate program plus
the additional goal of broader academic training. Teachers are equipped
for work in and beyond the classroom in administration, training, course
The focus of the TESOL programs is post secondary and adult education. Those interested in K-12 ESL in U.S. schools should consult with the Education Dept.
The TESOL graduate programs require nine units of foundational work in language,
culture, and Bible. Students who enter without such a background are required
to take three units each of Introduction to Linguistics, Intercultural Communication
and Bible (or their equivalents).
The M.A. TESOL program consists of 32 graduate units beyond the
foundational units. A portfolio is required as a culminating experience
for the degree. For specific details, refer to the TAL Handbook.
The M.A. in TESOL requires practice teaching.
The M.A. program requirements may be reduced for students with
a background in TESOL, linguistics, or English, but the minimum
number of graduate units required is either 32 or 33, depending on
the program, of which 24 must be taken through Biola. A minimum
of 12 graduate units must be taken on campus.
Applicants must meet the qualifications specified in the Admission
to the School of Intercultural Studies section. In addition to
these, foreign applicants who are non-native English speakers must
demonstrate both spoken and written proficiency in English through
an oral interview and by submitting their TOEFL (Test of English as a
Foreign Language) results. The TOEFL must have been taken within
the past five years. A score of 600 paper / 250 computer with a TWE
score of 5 is normally required for admission to the graduate programs
in the department. Non-native speakers are also expected to
demonstrate oral English proficiency by means of an interview with
a faculty member.
Because teachers and applied linguists are expected to have a high
degree of competence in written English, all new graduate students,
both native and non-native English speakers, are required to take
the department’s Writing Proficiency Exam. If the results of the exam
indicate that additional work in written grammar and composition is
needed to enable a student to perform at the level expected for this
field, he or she will be expected to do independent supplementary
work on writing or to take and pass one or more writing courses
available on campus, including special studies courses, SS 500 or SS
501, described below.
All graduate programs in the department require as a prerequisite
a minimum of three semester units of acceptable Bible or theology
coursework at the upper division or graduate level in addition to the
specified foundational units. Foundational units may be taken concurrently with regular program
courses but should normally be completed by the end of the first
Students normally begin their program in the fall.
All students must successfully complete all required coursework with
a minimum grade point average of 3.0 to qualify for graduation. No
TAL course with a grade less than a B (3.0) will be counted for the
Certificate or M.A.
The M.A. degrees
are usually completed within two years by full-time students, but
part-time students may have up to seven years.
(May be taken concurrently with program courses.)
||Bible / Theology
||Introduction to Language & Linguistics
Certificate in TESOL
||Structure of English
||Introduction to TESOL — Adult
||Materials Evaluation & Preparation
||Communicating Values through TESOL
||Second Language Acquisition
||Practicum in TESOL II
M.A. in TESOL
All the Certificate in TESOL courses, plus the following:
||Advanced Methods & Techniques in TESOL
||Language Testing & Assessment
||ISTE or ISAL Electives
||Bible or World Perspective Elective
Featured M.A. TESOL Alumni
Studying TESOL at Biola, with its community development courses, helped
prepare Sarah (2006 graduate) for her Peace Corps assignment in West Africa:
When I first decided to enroll in
the M.A. TESOL program at Biola two years ago, I wasn't quite sure how an English-language
teaching career would fit with my passion to aid those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS
in Africa. However, I took a step of faith and trusted that God had a reason for both
callings. During my second year of the program I took an elective course,
Community Development: Models and Strategies, with Dr. Katrina Greene. The
following semester, I decided to create an independent study with Dr. Greene on the
effects of HIV/AIDS on African youth. I also took Course Design in TESOL, in which I
designed a content-based EFL course combining preventative HIV/AIDS content with
English language instruction for Malawian (African) high school students. Looking
back, I can clearly see how teaching EFL is a form of educational development and that
health (specifically HIV/AIDS issues) can play a part of what is taught in the classroom.
Soon I will be leaving for West Africa with the Peace Corps to teach English to middle
or high school students in which I have been encouraged to integrate issues relating
to HIV/AIDS. I know God has used Biola's TESOL program as well as other departments
to prepare me for this teaching position.
Strong Biola community connections with faculty, classmates, and alumni helped
Darla (2003 graduate) build a career in TESOL:
I came to Biola's M.A. TESOL program with some teaching and teacher
training experience, after three years in Istanbul, Turkey, at Istanbul Technical
University. As my love for teaching English grew, I knew I needed training to continue
to grow professionally and to fill in the holes of my on-the-job training. During my time
at Biola, I learned TESOL methodology and research, as well as how to share God's heart
for the nations. I also grew through strong personal relationships outside of the classroom
with my classmates, the Biola faculty, and other Biola alumni. Biola's location in Southern
California means there are many opportunities to teach ESL while studying. During my first
year in the TESOL program, I taught ESL at Language Systems International, and in my second
year I taught at a more academic-intensive English program at Hope International University.
When I finished my M.A. in TESOL, I moved into a full-time position at Hope as the Academic
Coordinator of the ESL program, and I soon became the Associate Director of International
Student Programs. I then moved to California Baptist University in Riverside to found and
direct a new ESL program. At both Hope and CBU, my connections with Biola continued as I
mentored novice teachers from Biola, hired experienced teachers from Biola, used my Biola
connections to network throughout Southern California to develop both Hope and CBU's ESL
programs, and taught in a Biola summer teacher-training course. Now, my husband and I will
be moving to Saskatchewan, Canada, where I will begin ESL teacher training at Briercrest
College. I'm grateful for ongoing connections with my Biola classmates who continue to share
stories of teaching with me, and my Biola faculty who continue to mentor me by sharing course
outlines and suggestions as I move into this new stage of my career in TESOL. I'm so thankful
that God brought me to Biola. While my relationship with Biola started on the first day I
began classes, it didn't end when I finished my degree. It still continues to this day,
and I'm sure the relationships will continue into the future.
Practical courses and accessible faculty--that's what Belinda (1999 graduate), now in Central Asia,
appreciated about the Biola M.A. TESOL program:
During my first year of teaching conversational English in Central Asia, I fell in love
with teaching and knew then that I wanted a degree to prepare me for future work abroad.
I was thrilled at how practical the coursework in the Biola M.A. TESOL program was. The assignments
that I completed for courses such as Introduction to TESOL, Materials Evaluation and Preparation,
and Values and TESOL, I've been able to use over and over during my four years here. As we now
look to set up an English program through our non-governmental organization, I will be drawing
on what I learned from Course Design and Testing & Assessment to help create a solid program.
I was also pleased at how accessible the professors were during my degree studies. And even now,
I know they are only an email away!
Equipped for both language learning and teaching...Read Angie's (2005 graduate) story:
I applied to Biola's M.A. TESOL program while on a one-year internship in Central Asia, during
which I realized how important it was for me to be trained in English language teaching. Our
organization's goals align with Biola's and I was happy to be studying with faculty who shared
my international perspective and vision. It was also great that my husband could study at Talbot
at the same time! While I studied I also taught ESL locally--the teaching helped shape the
assignments I did, and the coursework helped me improve in my teaching. Upon graduation we returned
to Central Asia and to our original project. Eventually, I will be using my degree as I teach EFL,
but in the meantime we're studying Russian, and my TESOL studies have been valuable for that as well.
I now have dozens of perspectives, theories, and resources to address my daily struggles with Russian.
My time in Biola's M.A. TESOL program was definitely worthwhile. I have become a better language learner
and I feel well equipped to participate in the professional TEFL environment here in Central Asia.
Faith and academics in harmony is what Sherise (2003 graduate) valued in the Biola M.A. TESOL program:
I started the M.A. TESOL program at Biola after an abrupt end to my job in corporate America. I had
long been restless about where God was calling me in regards to the nations, particularly China.
Although I had had short-term TESOL experiences, I knew I needed training. I also knew my studies
needed the framework of a godly perspective, one that would sharpen my focus in my future plans.
The courses in the Biola TESOL program provided the pedagogical and theoretical underpinnings for
me to become a professional in the field. Most distinctive, however, was the allowance for faith
and academics to harmoniously reside. I still cling to the truths imparted in the Values in TESOL
course as I am now on the field. If I did not have the perspective of my role as an English
Language Teacher intertwined with my role as an Ambassador of the King, I would have quit the
profession long ago. Biola's TESOL program equipped me for both of these roles.
Teaching ESL full-time at UC Irvine, Jee-Eun (2002 graduate) still relies on a course she took as part
of her Biola M.A. TESOL studies:
Before starting Biola's M.A. TESOL program I had a TESOL certificate through the University
of California Irvine Extension and I had taught in China and Kenya. I thought I knew what the
courses would entail as I pursued the masters degree to both learn more and open up further
opportunities. I ended up getting even more than I expected. What I received included spiritual
support from the professors and my fellow students as well as strong academic coursework. I want
to especially mention the course Communicating Values through TESOL, which still guides my daily
lesson planning as I work with international students from various backgrounds in the Intensive
English Program at the University of California Irvine. This course brought everything I had
learned about theories of language and methods of teaching together with the role of the Christian
teacher. It taught me how to make discussions of values and beliefs relevant and practical for my
students. I still remind myself of the various activities I experienced in that class as I now try
to make my students aware of the values inherent in the issues we face in our daily lives.
An M.A. with lots of individualization prepared Carolyn (1999 graduate) for leading the ESL program in an international
school in Ecuador:
After five years of teaching ESL at a US-based school in Ecuador, I was sent by my school to Biola for my master's
degree in TESOL; I was to return to Ecuador to head up our growing ESL program. I was thankful for the individualization
that was possible in Biola's M.A. TESOL program, and that enabled me to prepare in focused ways for my job. For example,
I had been teaching literature-based units in Quito, but an assignment in the Advanced Methods and Techniques of TESOL course
enabled me to really explore the use of literature to teach language and understand the theory underlying its effectiveness. In the
same class I also spent time researching methods of teacher evaluation, knowing my new administrative position would entail
supervising other teachers. Even though most of my classmates did their Practicum in adult and university level language programs,
I was able to work in an elementary school context. I returned to Ecuador well equipped in the theory and practice of English language
teaching and have been able to mentor teachers and lay the groundwork for the growth of our school's ESL program.
"I knew nothing about teaching or linguistics," says Grace (2003 graduate). Read how she went from novice to master:
When I came to Biola's TESOL program, I knew nothing about teaching or linguistics. My career plans had changed from social work
to TESOL and I was a true novice. I remember my first few weeks were a disaster. I failed my first quiz and my first writing
assignment as a graduate student; I wanted to quit! But I was able to talk with my TESOL professors and get back on track with my
studies. They were of great encouragement to me and I finished the program well. I thank God for their accessibility, care, and prayers.
I am now teaching in a university in the Middle East and will soon realize my goal of using TESOL in missions.