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Teaching of Languages - Master's

Availability: Hattiesburg, Hybrid and Online Options

Master of Arts in the Teaching of Languages

The MATL program, with emphases in Spanish, French, and TESOL, focuses on developing and enhancing the knowledge, skills, and theories in language, language acquisition, and language instruction that are essential for both effective teaching and successful learning. Our large variety of courses, offered online and on campus, year-round, meet the multifaceted needs of today's language teachers.

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50Students from 50 states and beyond
8highly-qualified and engaged professors
33credit hours

What Will I Learn?

Core course requirements:

  • Teaching Second Languages: Theory into Practice
  • Applied Linguistics in Second and Foreign Languages
  • Second Language Acquisition Theory and Practice
  • Sociocultural and Sociolinguistic Perspectives in Language
  • Practicum in Second or Foreign Language

Emphasis areas in Spanish and French, Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) require additional coursework.

In a 300-500 word statement, written in the language you will be pursuing (English, French, Spanish), indicate your career and professional goals and explain why you wish to pursue graduate study in language teaching. Be sure to highlight particular interests, academic accomplishments, travel abroad, teaching experience, or other relevant preparation.

Non-native applicants to the French and Spanish emphases should have an undergraduate degree in the language or present evidence of equivalent language experience. Otherwise, applicants will be required to complete more coursework before taking language emphasis courses or take the ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) and score in the Advanced range.

For applicants whose native language is not English, the official score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) must be at least 83, with no section lower than 19. The program will also accept an IELTS score of a 6.5, with no sub-test score below a 6.

Core course requirements (15 hours):

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

Other requirements:

TESOL: A minimum of 12 hours of TSL courses, plus two electives; for students whose first language is English, 9 hours of foreign language study with a "B" average or better
Spanish and French: 18 hours in the language emphasis
Successful defense of a professional portfolio

World Languages has approximately eight assistantships available yearly for qualified individuals to tutor, assist in, and teach introductory language courses in French or Spanish ​on the Hattiesburg campus. Assistants receive a monthly stipend, access to health insurance, and a tuition waiver during fall and spring, usually for two years. An assistantship in French or Spanish to teach courses at the university generally requires the completion of 18 hours of graduate credit in the target language. Interested applicants must complete their online program applications by March 5. A separate letter, addressed to the MATL Director and that describes the applicant's interest in the assistantship, is also required by that date. 

Graduate students in the MATL or from other institutions who wish to study at a language institute can combine travel, study, and research for graduate credit. Students take language courses, in addition to conducting work on a specific research project for a total of six hours of graduate study. The French program supports learning opportunities in Paris; check with Dr.%20Joanne%20Burnett. Spanish graduate students can study at the Summer Teacher Institute in Cádiz, Spain. A faculty member from USM will be on site to supervise the students' program of studies.

Experienced Teacher Educators

World Languages faculty are dedicated teachers who value cross-cultural sensitivity and have a keen awareness of differences in cultural perspectives. We offer a broad range of courses including in Latin American and Francophone culture and history; we also feature courses on French and Spanish in the Americas, as well as topics such as conversation, phonetics, comics, cuisine, and cinema. We are involved in helping students conduct and present their own research.


Degree Plan Availability
Teaching of Languages (French) MATLHattiesburg, Hattiesburg Hybrid, Online 100%
Teaching of Languages (Spanish) MATLHattiesburg, Hattiesburg Hybrid, Online 100%
Teaching of Languages (TESOL) MATLHattiesburg, Online 100%
Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages Graduate CertificateHattiesburg, Online 100%

Contact Us

School of Social Science and Global Studies

118 College Drive #5108
Hattiesburg, MS 39406
Liberal Arts Building (LAB) 456

Hattiesburg Campus

Campus Map



  • College Instructor
  • Elementary Language Teacher (Certification Needed)
  • Secondary Language Teacher (Certification Needed)
  • Private Corporate Language Instructor
  • Private School Teacher
  • Elizabeth Watson, 2013, 
    Spanish teacher, Biloxi Junior High School, Biloxi Public School District (Biloxi, MS)
  • Franchesca Jones, 2017, 
    TESOL instructor, Abu Dhabi Vocational Education Training Institute United Arab Emirates
  • Claire Holderman, 2010,
    Spanish professor,  University of West Florida
  • John Anthony Bassett, 2009,
     Executive Director of The Attic Learning Community (Seattle, Washington)
  • Chelsea Lawrence, 2015, 
    Spanish teacher, UMS-Wright Preparatory School (Mobile, Alabama)
  • Tatiana Schuss, 2012
    French Instructor, Florida Gulf Coast University, (Fort Myers, Florida)