University of Southampton & British Council: MA ELT online

Enhance your career prospects with the world’s English experts and open up a world of opportunities with an internationally recognised post-graduate qualification in English language teaching from the UK. 

MA in English Language Teaching: Online

This entirely online Master’s programme studied part-time by distance learning has been developed by the University of Southampton in collaboration with the British Council. The programme provides postgraduate-level study in a number of important areas of current theory and practice in applied linguistics and language teaching. It provides English language teaching professionals with a route to advanced knowledge and skills in the English language curriculum, pedagogy and assessment. It also gives the opportunity to update knowledge in a flexible and supported learning environment.

Focusing on current theory and practice in applied linguistics and language teaching, the course will help you develop advanced knowledge and skills in English language curriculum, pedagogy and assessment.

Take this course and you will:

  • take part in online discussions with internationally renowned staff from the University of Southampton
  • learn through using interactive multimedia course materials including lectures and podcasts
  • have access to the University library and its stock of e-books and journals online
  • gain the skills and knowledge you need to take on leadership roles in ELT.

Course information

Start dates: January and September

Duration: 2.5 years (2 years for taught components plus 6 months for dissertation)

Who it's for: Experienced teachers who want to take on specialist or leadership roles in ELT

Level of English required: IELTS 6.5 with a minimum of 6 in each section (or equivalent)

Price: £7,500 (payable in 3 yearly instalments of 2500 GBP)

Programme structure: this programme is divided into 180 credits with 120 credits obtained from taught modules and the remaining 60 credits from the dissertation.

Course overview

Delivered entirely online, the course offers postgraduate study delivered by a dedicated team of experienced e-tutors from one of the UK's leading research universities.

The course is made up of two years of taught assessed modules and a final semester of research and writing a dissertation:


  Topic Description
Semester 1

Language Analysis for Teaching 


Covers all language analysis necessary for the teaching and learning of English

Principles of Communicative Language Teaching


Explores the context, methods and approaches of communicative language teaching
Semester 2

 A Critical Appraisal of Language Teaching Methodologies


 A comparison and evaluation of different teaching and learning approaches and methods

 E-Learning for English Language Teaching


 To understand and develop insight and skills in all aspects of e-learning, tutoring and moderation


  Topic Description
Semester 1

English as a World Language


Exploring the place and role of English as a world language

Discourse Analysis


The study of various approaches to analysing written and spoken language use
Semester 2

Second Language Learning


Exploring second language acquisition (SLA) and use

Research Skills for the Dissertation


Introduction to a range of research approaches relevant to dissertation study


  Topic Description
Semester 3 Dissertation Supervised 15,000–20,000 word dissertation research

How will students learn?

Students complete a core programme of research skills development in relation to a series of personally relevant modules and foci. Each module serves as a starting point to find out more about the subject. A large part of postgraduate study is independent learning. The Master’s programme develops critical awareness, encouraging reflection on the methodologies employed in further study. Videos about the graduate experience and the programme are available soon.


Students are assessed by written assignments for each module and research reports and also manage a large independent research project: the Master’s dissertation. The dissertation is a core element in establishing the acquisition of appropriate skills and the application of research techniques. The tutor is available to provide regular feedback and advice.

Professional development

A Master’s degree enables the student to further develop the key skills employers seek such as: time management; problem solving; teamwork; deadline and project management; cultural awareness; working independently; using initiative; relationship-building; critical thinking and research analysis. Above all, the student learns to communicate ideas and enthusiasm to a wide rang of audiences.

For any queries please contact the British Council Project Manager: or the Programme convenor:  

Scholarship opportunities

If you take our free online course, 'Understanding Language: Learning and Teaching', to get a taster of what studying the online MA will be like, you may become eligible to apply for a scholarship to cover part of the fees for our MA in English Language Teaching (Online) programme. The scholarship would cover first year fees on this 2.5 year online programme. The Understanding Language: Learning and Teaching short, online course in run jointly between the University of Southampton and the British Council, via the Future Learn platform. You will have opportunity to register your interest during the course.

Terms and conditions

  • You need to be a fully participating learner in our Understanding Language: Learning and Teaching free online course.
  • Scholarships will be awarded by the lead academics on the online MA programme, by judging applicants' personal statements.
  • Instructions on how to apply for a scholarship for the online MA programme will be given to you upon completion of the 'Understanding Language' free online course.