Master of Education in TESOL, Literacy and Culture

Department of Learning and Teaching

Program of Study


The MEd in TESOL, literacy and culture program is a 30 unit program designed to develop a scholarly and practical approach to literacy and second language instruction. Embedded in the MEd program's course of study is the 15 units of coursework required to earn the TESOL certificate from USD. Students who complete the program graduate with both a master's degree in education and a TESOL certificate.

We prepare reflective practitioners who can successfully engage and ensure the academic success of students from diverse cultural, linguistic and socioeconomic backgrounds. The program's common goals are to:

  • Create critical understanding of theory and practice
  • Develop research-based and culturally responsive teaching practices that can create progress toward closing the achievement gap and systems that perpetuate educational inequity
  • Provide opportunities for development as change agents and teacher-scholars at local, national and/or international levels.

International Experience

At SOLES, all masters and doctoral students participate in an international experience designed to support the growth of cultural competency. Our goal is to inform best practices in working with culturally diverse populations locally, nationally and globally.

For many students, this experience will include a one- to two-week, faculty-led course abroad. For students who prefer to stay in southern California, this experience may be fulfilled through research or coursework on international issues. Service trips and site visits across the border in Tijuana are offered regularly.

Department of Learning and Teaching courses with an international component include:

  • Research Methods in Japan (Summer 2015)
  • Cognition and Learning in Japan (Summer 2015)
  • International and Comparative Education at St. Clare's, Oxford, England (Summer 2015)


Fall I (9 units)

EDUC 529* Language, Literacy and Culture 3
EDUC 540* Introduction to Language & Linguistic Analysis 3
EDUC 541* Second Language Acquisition & Development 3

Spring I (9 units)

EDUC 510 Cognition and Learning 3
EDUC 543C*
Methods of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

Fall II (6-9** units)

EDUC 500 Research Design and Methodology 3
EDUC 548 Special Topics in ESL
**EDUC 5XX International Students - Approved Elective - Consult with Advisor 3

**International Students are required to maintain full time enrollment at 9 units per semester, an additional course is required for International Students in Fall II.

Spring II (6 Units)

EDUC 549P Practicum in TESOL 3
EDUC 580 Master's Capstone Seminar 3
EDUC 595 Thesis 3


Elective offerings may vary by term.  Course selection is subject to change. 

EDUC 546 Teaching English as a Foreign Language 3
EDUC 548 Special Topics in ESL 3
EDUC 501 Family, School and Community Partnerships 3
EDUC 505 Discourse, Schooling, & Learning Communities 3
EDUC 511 Educational Reform 3
EDUC 516 Innovations in Reading and Writing 3
EDUC 530 Critical Literacy, Popular Culture and Media Studies 3
EDUC 545 Language, Politics, & Education 3
EDUC 547 Development and Evaluation of TESOL Programs 3
EDUC 564 Cross-Cultural Communication 3

Electives other than those listed above may be accepted with the approval of the student's faculty advisor.

*Courses marked with an asterisk are the 15 units necessary to earn the TESOL certificate. Students who complete the program graduate with both a master's degree in education and a TESOL certificate.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will the program take me?

Students complete this program in two years or four academic semesters:  Fall I, Spring I, Fall II and Spring II.

How many units are included?

The MEd consists of 30*** graduate level units.

*** International Students are required to maintain full time enrollment, an additional course is required for International Students in Fall II, for a total of 33 units.

When are classes scheduled?

SOLES classes typically meet once per week during afternoon or evening hours for two hours and 50 minutes at a time. Practicum typically takes place during evening hours.

Can I work while completing this program?

It is possible to work full-time while completing this program since the practicum and much of the coursework take place in the late afternoon and evening. However, some required courses are offered on a daytime schedule which may require a flexible work schedule.

Will this program prepare me to teach in an elementary school, middle school, or high school classroom?

This program is primarily oriented toward preparing graduates to teach in adult education settings such as community colleges or English language academies in the United States and in the Kindergarten through adult sector in international contexts.

It is important to note that this program does not include coursework required to earn a California teaching credential or CTEL certification, which are qualifications necessary to teach English learners in the K-12 sector in California. These qualifications are not necessary to teach English to adult learners in California community colleges or language academies. Candidates who plan to teach in K-12 public schools in the United States must earn a preliminary teaching credential through a separate program. Each state has its own credential requirements.

If candidates in the MEd program are interested in learning about English teaching in the K-12 sector in California they may take elective coursework as part of the program, but this will be for experiential purposes only and will not result in a teaching credential for California public school systems.

SOLES does offer Preliminary Single SubjectMultiple Subject and Education Specialist teaching credentials through separate programs.

SOLES does not offer a separate CTEL/CLAD certification program. Qualifications for the CTEL/CLAD can be received through a state exam or through coursework in an approved CTEL/CLAD authorizing institution.

Is this program offered online?

No, this program is offered on campus at the University of San Diego only. There is no online, hybrid, or distance learning option available.