Applying to the MA TESOL

Priority deadline: Feb. 1 of each year for the following fall. After the priority deadline, applications are evaluated on a rolling basis until spaces in the cohort are filled.

Applications for 2021/2022 are currently open.

Once you've submitted your application, please visit the student portal for the latest updates on your application. If you have any questions regarding the application process, contact the Graduate School at or feel free to contact the Department of Applied Linguistics at

The MA TESOL program is a Western Regional Graduate Program. If you live in one of 15 western states, you pay in-state tuition. More information and the application form can be found here:

Want to take classes before applying?

Prior to admission into the MA TESOL program, students may take classes with "post-baccalaureate" or "non degree" status. Up to 16 credits (4 courses) can be taken pre-admission and applied to the degree after official admission. Are you wondering what our courses are like? Not sure you want to commit to the degree? Need a recommendation attesting to your ability in a graduate course? Taking pre-admission courses could be a good choice.  

Application instructions here:

Application requirements

Applicants for the M.A. TESOL degree must hold a B.A. or its equivalent with a minimum GPA of 3.00. The admissions criteria include academic preparation, relevant experience, and the fit between the program and the applicant's professional goals. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are not required.

Please submit ALL application materials through the online system only. Qualifying graduate applicants may submit a request for the application fee waiver with required documentation as part of the application process. See information at:

The required materials are:

a) A transcript (PDF, JPG, PNG, GIF, or TIF file) from each post‐secondary institution you have attended. Further information about what is considered an official transcript is at

b) The names and contact information for at least two academic or professional references who can write letters commenting on your ability to do graduate work and your potential for teaching or other language-related careers. We prefer that at least one letter comes from a professor who knows your academic work. If you have been out of school for many years and can not get a letter from a former professor, consider taking a pre-admission course so you can ask our department faculty member for a letter. You can also ask for letters from supervisors. If you are a recent graduate or are currently a post-bac student, former professors will likely be the best people to ask. If you have been out of school for several years, you may ask a supervisor. If possible, find recommenders who have completed graduate work so that they can comment on your aptitude for such work. 

c) A 2-3 page statement of purpose. In your statement, comment on your background and preparation for entering the field of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) / Applied Linguistics. Outline your reasons for selecting this field as a future profession, describe your future goals, and explain why the M.A. TESOL program at Portland State University is an appropriate program for achieving these goals.

d) A current resume or CV.

e) Proof of English language proficiency. All PSU graduate applicants must show proof of English language proficiency in one of three ways:

(1) A bachelor's or higher degree from an English-speaking country.
(2) Completion of PSU's Intensive English Language Program (IELP).
(3) Required minimum scores on the International Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the International English Language Testing Sytem-Academic (IELTS) exam, or the Pearson Test of English-Academic (PTE). Scores must be less than two years old at the time of matriculation. Test scores more than two years old are accepted if the score exceeded the minimum requirement and you have maintained continuous residency in the United States since the exam date. During the Covid pandemic, PSU will also accept equivalent test scores from the: TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition, IELTS Indicator or Duolingo English Test (DET). 

MA TESOL Minimum Test Scores



PTE 65

DET 120

The [Applied Linguistics Department] is a really cool environment in terms of how close everyone is here. Something that I didn't have during my undergrad is a really secure support system. The professors here take so much time to get to know all of the students that they work with. That's not something that I experienced before. It's been described as a private university with a public school cost. They do so much for the students. 

Sasha Reinwald-Albrecht, MA TESOL alum, 2019