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Department of English

Mission Statement

The Masters of Arts in English as a Second Language, an applied linguistics degree, exists to train a group of language educators for professional credibility within the international profession of TESOL, teachers of English to speakers of other languages and dialects. Our mission is threefold:

  • to continue education for those teachers and administrators who interact with second language learners within the public and private school sectors in the environment of the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas;
  • to prepare new teachers, researchers, and administrators for working with second language learners, particularly of English, throughout the world under varying social, political, economic, and cultural conditions; and
  • to legitimize the profession of English as a second language for the local, state, national, and international communities by basing fieldwork applications, whether in the ESL/EFL classroom, program administration, or research, on solid theoretical backgrounds both in theoretical and applied linguistics

Program Goals

  1. Give students a comprehensive understanding of the English language, including its organization phonologically, morphologically, syntactically, and semantically.
  2. Insure that students graduate with a working knowledge of how linguistic decisions regarding vying theoretical approaches are made and how these decisions impact the ESL/EFL teacher, administrator, and researcher in their application.
  3. Sensitize students to the importance of language identity as personal and cultural identity.
  4. Prepare students to teach English as a second or foreign language while recognizing the importance of native (heritage) language maintenance.
  5. Enable students to understand the complex social, cognitive, and personal variables which impact second language learning and acquisition.
  6. Actualize students’ abilities to reflect and continue professional development as teachers and researchers beyond the formal university classroom.
  7. Ground students in current applications of methodologies for classroom teaching, classroom evaluative research, program preparative and evaluative research, applied and basic formal research, and theoretical linguistic research.
  8. Supervise students in practical applications of ESL/EFL professionals in classroom teaching, professional research, second language testing and evaluation of ESL/EFL students, and in disciplines related to applied linguistics such as sociolinguistics, dialectology, discourse analysis, psycholinguistics, literacy, regional variations, composition, etc. as the needs and desires of the individuals within the program dictate.

Coursework (an * denotes that course topics vary)

  • Goal 1: English 6350, 6351*, 6317, 6302, theoretical comprehensive exam
  • Goal 2: English 6350, 6302, theoretical comprehensive exam
  • Goal 3: English 6350-limited, 6321, 6328, applied comprehensive exam
  • Goal 4: English 6321, 6328, 6329*, 6352, applied comprehensive exam
  • Goal 5: English 6328, 6329, 6352, applied comprehensive exam
  • Goal 6: English 6352, 6351*, applied comprehensive exam
  • Goal 7: English 6351, 6352, 6328, 6329, 6302, 6317, both comprehensives
  • Goal 8: English 6352, 6353, 6351, 6321, 6344, 6345, 6325, applied comprehensive exam

Previous topics for English 6351 include critical discourse analysis, psycholinguistics and reading, research design and implementation, contrastive linguistics, contrastive analysis, error analysis, and discourse analysis. Previous topics for English 6329 include ESL/EFL methodologies and second language curriculum design, as well as a teaching internship abroad.

English 6390 is also available for individuals interested in a particular topic or groups of students interested in a course not generally offered. It has been offered as a course for UDEM students in methodologies and techniques for EFL and to individuals with the following topics (some cross listed with undergraduate courses where no graduate number exists): history of the English language, language development in the elementary school years, advanced minimalist syntax, introduction to semantics, first language acquisition, and bilingual and ESL writing.

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