These notes are intended to help you make the best possible application when you fill in your application form. Omissions that typically delay consideration of applications include, for example:
- no indication of the classification or level of an initial i.e. BA (Hons) or equivalent degree,
- unclear specification of financial support during the period of study,
- little evidence of previous substantial independent study,
- or unclear evidence of proficiency in English from non-native speakers.
The more information we have about you, the easier it is to come to a decision. In particular, please complete “reasons for application”, carefully, and in detail.
We would like to see a clear statement, in your own words, telling us in as much detail as you can about why you want to take the programme or undertake the research that you have chosen and what you hope to achieve by doing it. You should think very carefully about this statement and treat it as an opportunity to show what your interests are and how you will be able to benefit from postgraduate study in our department.
If you have written an essay or dissertation that received a high mark, or have published a paper on a topic relevant to the degree for which you are applying, you can send us one copy of one such item as part of your application. If you are sending a piece of coursework or a dissertation, we would prefer to have a copy which includes the mark given and the examiner’s comments.
English language level (for applicants whose native language is not English)
IELTS: Our official requirement for IELTS is a score of at least 6.5 overall with at least 6.5 in the reading and writing elements and 6.0 in the listening and speaking elements.
PTE Academic: Pearson Test of English Academic scores of at least 62 overall (with at least 62 in the reading and writing elements and 55 in the listening and speaking elements). Please see Pearson PTE Academic pages for more information.
TOEFL iBT: with a score of at least 93 overall (with at least 24 in the reading and writing elements and 22 in the speaking and listening elements).
If you have taken exams in the last two years we can accept your test scores; otherwise we ask that you take the exam again. If, however, you have done your undergraduate studies in Britain, the US or another English-medium educational system and have successfully completed your degree within the past two years then you may not need to submit a test score.
If you are unsure whether your English language qualifications are acceptable, please contact the Faculty Postgraduate Admissions Office.
Please choose your referees carefully. Each referee should be someone who:
- is familiar with you and your work
- can tell us about your suitability for postgraduate work
- can speak with authority about your abilities.
The best referees will be your former tutors, department heads or senior colleagues. If you are applying to take an MA in TESOL, it will be useful if your employer or a more senior colleague can comment positively on your professional work, especially in the area of professional development.
It is usually helpful if your referee can mention some specific examples of relevant work that you have done, and comment on its quality. Please make sure that you tell your referees that a reference which is written purely according to a formula, or which only mentions that you are of a good character and perform your duties well, is not useful. We want to know in detail what relevant things are special and interesting about you. A reference which is an ‘open testimonial’, rather than a confidential statement is also not useful. We expect referees to send us confidential references, and to send them direct to us.
Academic career and qualifications
We look at any certificates and transcripts you send to see how well you have done in your academic and/or professional career. Most of our successful applicants have above average grades. However, we realise that students learning changes over time and you will not be ruled out simply because of some low grades in the distant past. We will look especially carefully at your performance in areas related to linguistics and language study. We will also take into account anything your referees say about your academic performance and readiness for postgraduate work.
We accept people to study our MA programmes who have a good BA (Hons) degree from an approved university or college, or hold a qualification which can be regarded as equivalent. It is expected that applicants will have a basic knowledge of linguistics or that they will prepare themselves in this and related areas before coming to Lancaster by undertaking preliminary reading.
We accept people to study on the MA TESOL primarily on the basis of the kind of teaching experience they can bring to the programme. We endeavour each year to bring together a group of participants who collectively have a wide range of experience from teaching situations in different parts of the world. You will therefore be expected to have at least two years’ full-time teaching experience. If you are a British applicant, you are likely to have worked in more than one overseas situation unless you have been a specialist in ESL or in the teaching of English to native speakers, or have experience in teaching a language other than English.
If you are an overseas applicant, you will be fluent in English and you are likely to have a good range of experience in your own country. You are likely to have a good first degree from an approved university or college or you hold a qualification which can be regarded as equivalent to a first degree. It would be beneficial if you also have a qualification such as a certificate or diploma in the teaching of a foreign or second language, although this is not essential.