Search for courses or information

MA English Language Teaching (Distance Learning)

Course overview

Start date

September 2018

Subject area

Cass School of Education and Communities




Distance Learning

Course summary

Whether you are interested in the global spread of English and the impact and implications in education; the language system of English and how to teach speaking, listening, reading and writing, this fascinating course will provide the answers.

It is aimed at English language teachers and graduates with relevant teaching experience and will enhance your career opportunities, both nationally and internationally.

It will prepare you to teach English to speakers of other languages, for a more senior position in a school or for a career in shaping curriculum or education policy, in the UK or around the world.

In addition to specific topics such as pedagogic grammar, theories of second language learning and the global spread of English, we offer an overview of the theoretical, philosophical and ethical principles that underpin educational research.

You will also be introduced to different methods of language teaching and the design of ELT materials to address the needs of young and adult learners in a variety of contexts, including teaching English for Specific Purposes (ESP), English for Academic Purposes (EAP), Business English, and others.

Contact us

If you have any questions, talk to a member of our Applicant Enquiries team on +44 (0) 20 8223 3333 or email

Get in touch

Flexible study

This distance learning course has been designed with flexibility in mind. It allows working teachers the freedom to continue working while pursuing their studies and you can complete it in anything from two to six years.

Tutors with first-hand experience

Tutor knowledge on the course is informed by first-hand experience of English language teaching in the classrooms of east London, with its rich multilingual and multicultural heritage.

Collaborative learning

The course is grounded in collaborative learning, which means that your knowledge will be enhanced and informed by the direct experiences of your fellow students as much as by your tutors.

Enquire Visit UEL

What we're researching in our School

Dr Paula Bosanquet, who teaches on both the MA Education and MA Special Educational Needs courses, is a world-renowned expert on independent learning and scaffolding. Her talks on the subject are in high demand locally and nationally for teaching assistants and teachers, focusing on how they can enable pupils, particularly those with special educational needs, to be independent learners. 

Dr Wayne Tennent, who teaches on the MA Education course, is an expert in reading comprehension, having written two books on the subject and led numerous projects in schools which have demonstrated impact on pupil achievement in this area. He works extensively with the United Kingdom Literacy Association.

The research of Nicole Whitelaw and Julie Gariazzo, both of whom teach on the MA Special Educational Needs course, is in the area of autism, while Dr Margaret Etherington, course leader of the MA Education, is an expert on art and gender in education.

John Macklin, leader of the MA Leadership in Education, carries out research into leadership in schools in relation to complexity theory. Warren Kidd, PGCert Teaching and Learning in Higher Education Course Leader, researches in the area of teacher identity and has published extensively in the area of sociology and teaching and learning.  

Our Professional Doctorate (EdD) course draws on the input of researchers from across the Cass school of Education and Communities. It is led by Dr Gerry Czerniawski, who has published extensively in the areas of teaching and learning, teacher and teacher educator identity, continuing professional development (CPD) and pupil voice.

A founder member of the International Forum for Teacher Educator Development (InFoTED), he serves on the British Educational Research Association (BERA) Council and is chair of BERA's British Curriculum Forum. Gerry is a National Teaching Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Making a difference

UEL is one of the UK’s leading modern research universities. In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF), 17 per cent of our overall research submission was classified as ‘world-leading’ for its quality and impact – almost double our previous REF score. A further 45 per cent of our work was considered ‘internationally excellent’.

Entry requirements

Minimum 2.2 Honours in Social Sciences or Humanities subject (e.g. Languages, English, Education, Psychology)


(Including European Union)

We accept a range of qualifications from across the world. Please see our country pages for information on specific entry requirements for your country.

Evidence of relevant classroom experience
Overall IELTS 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in Writing, Speaking, Reading and Listening (or recognised equivalent).

As an inclusive university we recognise that applicants who have been out of education for some time may not have the formal qualifications usually required for entry to a course. We welcome applications from those who can demonstrate their enthusiasm and commitment to study and have relevant life/work experience that equips them to succeed on the course. We will assess this from the information provided in your application (particularly your personal statement) and may ask you to attend an interview or submit a piece of work to help us decide on your eligibility for the course. Our pre-entry Information Advice and Guidance Team are able to provide further advice on entry requirements and suitability for study.

You can speak to a member of our Applicant Enquiries team on +44 (0)20 8223 3333, Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm. Alternatively, you can visit our Information, Advice and Guidance centre. Please click here for details.

What you'll study

Pedagogical Grammar for ELT
Approaches to Teaching and Learning ELT
Second Language Acquisition and ELT
Teaching English in Diverse Contexts

How you'll be assessed

Due to the practical nature of the course, there are no examinations. Assessment is by a 14,000-word dissertation and written assignments for each module (either one of 5,000 words or two of 2,500 words each). Assignments vary in form and may include essays, book or article reviews, the creation and evaluation of pedagogic materials and small-scale action research projects. Research methods training is an integral part of the dissertation and forms part of the overall assessment.

Course specification

How you'll learn

Teaching on the course is carried out exclusively by distance learning, supported by online group discussion and independent study.

There will be an introductory tutorial on the uses of WebCT two weeks before the course begins and you will receive an introduction to distance learning.

Because we want you to develop a sense of community with your fellow students on the course, we have devised a series of online ice-breaker activities to help you become familiar with each other as well as the nature of online research.

You will study one module per term. Each module consists of reading material and a series of self-check and interactive tasks in which you discuss the issues raised in the light of your own teaching context and educational background.

As a distance learning student, you are required to study between 12 and 15 hours a week. You will be in communication with and supported by the module tutors through email, Skype or Moodle (our virtual learning environment), which you will also use to submit your coursework.

Additionally, you will be able to access our state-of-the-art library and online resources to support your learning and professional development, just as if you were studying on campus.

What you'll learn

The course consists of four modules and a dissertation, which includes research methods training. 

It is informed by a variety of areas within the field of applied linguistics, ranging from a description of English to an examination of how a language is acquired.

For instance, in the Second Language Acquisition module, you will learn about the developmental stages of language acquisition and how learning a second language when the brain has matured differs from learning your first language during the various stages of childhood.

In the ELT and its Contexts module, emphasis is placed on the sensitivity to local culture and beliefs and how they inform your teaching.

For example, how do you avoid coming across as patronising? And how can you incorporate an inter-language stage such as Indian English or Malaysian English into the teaching process so that your learners do not feel alienated by a language that belongs to a different culture and tradition?

Through study and active data collection, you will also become familiar with the principles and practice of action research.

Your future career

The MA English Language Teaching degree is partly a professional qualification, which will make it much easier to secure a job teaching English to speakers of other languages. This could be in the UK in a mainstream school or a specialist language school, or abroad, anywhere in the world.

Perhaps you already have a BA in English Language Teaching or have a degree in a different subject with a certificate in language teaching.

If so, this course will upgrade your professional standing and afford you promotion opportunities within the education sector. 

For example, you could become the head of English language teaching in your school or the leader of the school’s English as a Second Language (ESL) panel.

Instead of teaching, you could choose a different route, perhaps taking up a government position as a curriculum coordinator or as a member of the board for a certain subject, helping to devise language learning policies and learning materials. 

That could be in your home country if you are one of our international students. Past graduates have gained this sought-after qualification in order to secure high-ranking positions within the education department in their countries.

You may also be interested in

  • Why study at UEL?

  • Open Evenings

  • Accommodation

  • Applying to UEL

  • Your offer

Related courses

Meet us in your country

Our international team travel overseas regularly to meet prospective students and attend recruitment fairs. Our academics also give regular lectures overseas and are happy to speak to prospective students. In addition, we have a large worldwide network of advisors who can provide guidance and support with applying to study at the University of East London.

Visit Country Pages
Global scholar students