MATL Program Requirements (33 semester hours)

 Core course requirements (15 semester hours):

  • FL 561 Teaching Second Languages: Theory into Practice
  • FL 663 Applied Linguistics in Second and Foreign Languages
  • FL 664 Second Language Acquisition Theory and Practice
  • FL 665 Sociocultural and Sociolinguistic Perspectives in Language
  • FL 694 Practicum in Second or Foreign Language (prerequisite FL 561)

Other requirements:

  • 18 hours required in courses at the 600 level
  • 3.0 GPA for graduation
  • Plan of Study (for those admitted prior to Fall 2017)
  • A successful defense of a professional portfolio

Emphasis requirements in Spanish and French (18 semester hours):

  • 15 graduate hours in the language emphasis courses
  • 3 graduate hours course elective; (due to the SACS’ recommendation of 18 graduate hours in the field for post-secondary teaching, many students do their elective in the language emphasis)
  • A language proficiency requirement as determined by departmental policy

 Emphasis requirements in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) (18 semester hours):

  • A minimum of nine (9) semester hours of graduate-level courses with TSL prefix.
  • TSL 612 Options in the Teaching of Grammar is required as part of these nine (9) semester hours.
  • Students in the TESOL emphasis are encouraged to take courses in other departments related to the field of language education. Suitable course work is regularly offered in curriculum and instruction, technology education, adult education, English, History, Anthropology, or even in Spanish or French, for students who qualify.
  • A language proficiency requirement of nine (9) semester hours of foreign language study (through 201 language courses at USM or equivalent) with an average of "B" or better, for students whose first language is English. TESOL students who have had such language study within six years of commencing MATL work are considered to have met the requirement. Significant experience living or working in another country may meet the requirement, as long as the official language of the country is not English. Students without a background in a foreign language may take the needed language courses at any accredited university or college in the United States or at a recognized language institute in another country. A transcript or other formal documentation of study needs to be sent to the Graduate Director.


A dual-language emphasis degree in the MATL (45 semester hours) is available for students who qualify. Please see the Student Handbook for details, and keep in mind that the addition of any emphasis requires approval by the advisor and the Graduate Director.

AA Licenses in Mississippi: A master’s degree in the endorsement area of French or Spanish qualifies for an AA license in Mississippi for those who already hold either a traditional or alternative route license. See the Mississippi Department of Education. Students outside of the state should check with their respective state departments of education to determine specific requirements for master's degree level licenses. The MATL program does not lead to initial licensure for public school teaching in the state of Mississippi.

If you need to obtain assistance with professional licensing requirements in another state, we will work with our Compliance Coordinator to assist you in obtaining information with the professional licensing board. Alternatively, you may contact the professional licensing board for your state. A list of state licensing boards can be found by clicking the link to the Department of Education list:

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools: The SACS accrediting agency recommends that to teach at the postsecondary level a person hold a master's degree and at least eighteen (18) semester hours of graduate level coursework in the language.