Frequently Asked Questions

If you don’t find the answer to your question here, please contact Dr. Ke Zou, the M.A.

TESOL coordinator, at


Minimum qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in English, linguistics, communications, or a related field. (Applicants who do not hold a bachelor’s degree in one of these subjects will be considered for admissions, but may be required to take prerequisite courses.)
  • GPA of 3.0 or above in the last 90 quarter units (60 semester units) of a bachelor’s degree
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Academic or professional writing sample

Additional qualifications for international students whose undergraduate degree is not from an English-speaking country:

  • TOEFL of 80 (or 213 on the computer-based test or 550 on the paper-based test)
    or IELTS of 6.5

Preferred (but not required) qualifications:

  • Teaching or tutoring experience
  • Some degree of bilingualism

You are also encouraged to visit the main CSU East Bay Web site as you start your application process.

  • Make sure you submit your application by the deadline for the quarter you would like to start.The Application Deadlines for upcoming quarters.
  • Submit your application online through Cal State Apply.The admissions office will also ask you to send your transcripts and test scores (if required) directly to them by mail.
  • Send your letters of recommendation and your writing sample directly to the English department in care of the person and address listed below. (These documents can also be submitted by email to

Sarah Nielsen, M.A. TESOL Coordinator
The Department of English
CSU East Bay
25800 Carlos Bee Blvd.
Hayward, CA 94542

  • If you have any questions during the application process, please contact the English department at 510-885-3151 or the M.A. TESOL coordinator.

There are different deadlines depending on what quarter you are applying for and whether you are a local or international student. Please note the deadline for your particular situation. Application Deadlines for upcoming quarters.

Once your application is complete and all your supporting documents have been submitted, it typically takes about six weeks for your application to be processed and reviewed. If you have not heard from the admissions office within six weeks of submitting your application and supporting documents, please contact the M.A. TESOL coordinator.

Most students take two years to complete the program. However, depending on your individual case, you may be able to complete the program in under two years or take up to five years to complete the program. You are encouraged to discuss your particular case with the M.A. TESOL coordinator.

Of course, you still can apply for our program! Although most of our students have a relevant baccalaureate degree (English, linguistics, speech communication are obvious examples), you are also welcomed to apply for our program without one of these bachelor’s degrees. However, depending on your individual case, you will need to complete some prerequisite courses or their equivalents before taking graduate courses in the M.A. TESOL program.If you have specific questions about prerequisite courses, please contact the M.A. TESOL coordinator.

Up to 13 quarter units (about 8.7 semester units, usually the equivalent of three courses) of graduate-level, post-baccalaureate courses may be applied to the M.A. TESOL degree as long as those units were completed fewer than five years before your intended quarter of graduation. Decisions about applying units taken outside the M.A. TESOL program are made on a case-by-case basis by the M.A. TESOL coordinator and the English department chair. If you have other questions about this topic, please do not hesitate to contact the M.A. TESOL coordinator.

The GRE is not required for our M.A. TESOL program. If your preparatory education was primarily in a language other than English, you must demonstrate your English proficiency for graduate study. Most commonly, students prove their proficiency with the TOEFL or IELTS. The minimum required TOEFL score is 550 on the paper-based test, 213 on the computer-based test, or 79 on the Internet-based test. The minimum required IELTS score is 6.5.

An interview is not required for application to our M.A. TESOL program. However, if you do not meet the minimum qualifications for the program, during the application process, you can request an interview with the M.A. TESOL coordinator. The coordinator will use the interview along with the required application materials to make a decision about admission to the program.

Some M.A. TESOL graduates have gone on for Ph.D. studies in education, applied linguistics, or English. Some M.A. TESOL graduates have found work in the following areas.

  • As sales representatives, sales managers, editors, or material developers in publishing companies
  • As language consultants and trainers in companies that offer one-on-one training for executives, scientists, and other professionals
  • As program coordinators for language or writing labs that serve ESL/EFL students
  • As entrepreneurs who have started their own private language school or tutoring business

It is hard to answer this question in a general way. Around the world, there are many teaching opportunities for trained ESL/EFL teachers; however, you will need to do research on the region where you want to teach and type of institution you want to work in. You may find ESL/EFL Job Search a helpful resource. It is published by the international TESOL organization and can be purchased from the  TESOL Web site .

In addition to meeting the minimum qualifications for application to the M.A. TESOL program, international students whose undergraduate degree is not from an English-speaking country must demonstrate English language proficiency. This is typically demonstrated through a TOEFL or IETLS score. The minimum scores are listed below.

  • TOEFL of 79 (or 213 on the computer-based test or 550 on the paper-based test)
    or IELTS of 6.5

International students who are applying for a student visa will also need to complete some additional forms.

Current Students

At the beginning of each winter quarter, there is an informational meeting during which the M.A. TESOL coordinator explains the requirements for the thesis. This meeting is open to both first- and second-year students. The thesis is built around a portfolio that includes work completed in the program, a reflective essay on the student’s professional development, and a capstone project. There are four different choices of capstone projects: a small-scale primary research study, a classroom-based action research study, a course design, or an extended annotated bibliography. During the last quarter of enrollment, students will take a 5-unit independent study that focuses on their thesis work.

If you are interested in taking a class outside the English department and do not want it to apply to your M.A. TESOL degree, you can contact the professor teaching the class to see if you are eligible to take it.

If you are interested in taking a class outside the English department and you want it to apply to your M.A. TESOL degree, you should contact the TESOL coordinator in advance to be sure that you can apply the units from the class to your M.A. TESOL degree.

WST stands for the writing skills test. The WST is a graduation requirement for all CSUEB students who have not received a bachelor’s degree from CSUEB or another CSU campus. For more information and details, go to the Testing Office website.

GWAR stands for graduation writing assessment requirement. The GWAR requires all CSU students to demonstrate university-level writing proficiency. On the CSUEB campus, the GWAR can be fulfilled in a number of ways: a passing score on the WST, one or two writing proficiency classes, or a minimum score on certain standardized tests. For more details, visit the University Writing Skills Requirement.

You must file for graduate one quarter prior to the quarter you plan to graduate. Most M.A. TESOL students graduate in spring quarter of their second year, so this means filing for graduation at the beginning of winter quarter of their second year.

During the first week of the quarter before you plan to graduate, you will file for graduation through MyCSUEB and pay a small fee. You will also need to ask the M.A. TESOL coordinator to complete two forms for you: the change of graduate status and the graduation check. In addition, all your course work and your thesis must be completed before exam week of the quarter you are graduating.

For more information about filing graduation and participating in commencement ceremonies, see the Commencement site.