Frequently Asked Questions

Check out our most frequently asked questions regarding:
General Questions

Yes, we have an online MEd. Program in TESL.

No, you cannot send photocopies. The Faculty of Graduate Studies will only accept transcripts and degree certificates that have either been sent directly from the originating university to UBC, or, if sent by the applicant, they must be received at UBC in envelopes that have been sealed and endorsed by the originating university.

We require three references including an assessment by at least one university instructor. If you have problems obtaining an academic reference, you should contact the Graduate Advisor.

Yes, it is possible, as long as it conforms to the transfer policies outlined here: The maximum number of credits that can be transferred is twelve providing the credits were not counted toward the completion of another credential, and that at least a B standing (UBC 74%) was obtained. The time limit for eligibility of courses for transfer to a graduate degree program is five years at the time the student commences their program. The student must request the transfer through their pro-tem Advisor.

We do not have the resources to supervise MEd students to do research. MEd students who wish to do research should apply to be transferred to our MA program. They should discuss the intention with their advisors at the end of the first year of their program. We will process the request based on an assessment of 1) the applicant's performance in courses during their first year; 2) their potential to do research; 3) their selection of a suitable research topic and preparation of a short proposal; and 4) the availability of a supervisor able to supervise research on that topic. For admission to our PhD Programs in LLED students must normally have completed original research (e.g., theses) in their masters programs. However, this requirement may not apply to admission to PhD programs at other institutions.

There is no minimum time. On average students take 12 to 24 months to complete their master's program. Normally, it takes 24 months of full-time study to complete an MA degree and 12-24 months of full-time study to complete an MEd degree.

Yes, you can complete an MA or MEd program by part-time study if you are a domestic student, however MA candidates are strongly encouraged to apply for full-time study. International students are not eligible for the part-time schedule option.

If you have a MA or MEd from a recognized North American university, TOEFL/IELTS is not required.

Graduate program applicants whose degrees are from a country other than Australia, Botswana, Canada, Ireland, Kenya, New Zealand, South Africa, United Kingdom, United States and the English speaking countries of the West Indies, are required to submit a satisfactory official score report from one of the following organizations, obtained no more than two years prior to the application date.

Transfer may be considered after the first year of your MEd program. The following are the criteria:

  • Outstanding academic performance during the first year of your program as judged by your GPA and assessment provided by the instructors of the courses that you have taken (see below)
  • Clarity, rigor, and feasibility of the topic and plans for your MA thesis
  • Approval of your supervisor

Here are the procedures:

  1. Talk to your current supervisor to make the request at the end of the second term of your MEd program.
  2. Submit the following two documents: (1) a short research proposal for your MA thesis. It should include research questions, a theoretical framework, rationale, methods, a timeline, and a list of references. The length should be no more than 500 words, excluding the timeline and references, and (2) a transcript for the courses taken during the first year with a list of instructors’ names and email addresses. Note that you are responsible for demonstrating your competence to pursue an MA degree.
  3. Identify a supervisor and, in consultation with them, a 2nd willing committee member for your MA research.
  4. If the faculty member who agrees to be your MA supervisor approves the short proposal, they will forward the transfer request to the Graduate Advisor and the Area Coordinator together with the two documents mentioned above.
  5. The Area Coordinator will obtain assessment from course instructors on the following aspects: (1) overall course performance, (2) writing skills, and (3) potential research skills.
  6. The faculty members in the program area will make the final decision based on the proposal, GPA, and assessment from the instructors.
  7. Once the transfer is granted, follow the steps for the MA thesis research.
TESL Related Questions

It is possible to transfer from a Master’s to a Doctoral degree. According to the Faculty of Graduate Studies, the requirements are: "Students who wish to transfer from a master’s to a doctoral program must have completed one year of study in the master’s program with a minimum 80% average in twelve credits, of which at least nine credits must be at the 500 level or above and at least nine credits must be at 80% or above. The student must show clear evidence of research ability." However, it can be difficult to get approval from the Faculty of Graduate Studies. We suggest that you apply for the PhD program after you finish your MA studies. Your PhD application will be assessed based on the quality of your course work and MA thesis.

Some master’s programs do not require a thesis. We prefer students who have done a Master's Degree with a thesis so there is some evidence of research and report writing.

The one-year teacher education training is required for people who plan to teach in the Canadian public school system--for languages or anything else--but not required for adult education or for international students who have no intention of teaching k-12 in Canada.

The policy of the Faculty of Graduate Studies states, “Enrolment in graduate courses is restricted to students registered in the Faculty of Graduate Studies except in those specific instances where Senate has approved limited access to graduate courses for senior undergraduate students or unclassified students.”

We have a large number of applications each year hence we are unable to extend the deadline.

You can transfer a total of 6 credits from LLED 489 and LLED 478 (either 6 credits from one course or 3 credits from each course) to your MA or MEd program if you took the courses in the past five years and have not used them towards your undergraduate degree or diploma. Students who took the courses in the past five years for their TESL certificate can also claim the credits.

We suggest that you take our LLED 489 and LLED 478 to enhance your admissibility and also to prepare for our program. You can transfer 6 credits to the master program later.

We do not normally allow auditors who are not registered UBC students. However, you can officially audit a course by registering as an unclassified student and paying a fee after getting permission from the instructor and the Faculty of Graduate Studies (G+PS). The enrolment form can be downloaded from the web here. Visiting Scholars will generally be able to sit in (without auditing) courses of their choice in the Department but should request permission from the course instructor prior to the beginning of term.

We require students to have two years of teaching experience in a formal language classroom. It does not have to be continuous but should add up to approximately two years of teaching experience.

We expect students to make timely progress toward the completion of their program and apply for graduation after completing the required coursework. International students who have satisfactorily completed their program requirements yet do not apply to graduate cannot normally obtain permission from the Department to extend or renew their student visa.

PhD Related Questions

Applicants should carefully consider their projected research trajectory and interests to decide which PhD program to apply for. While there are overlaps between the Language and Literacy Education (LLED) and Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) programs, they have different focuses. If the applicant's interest lies in applied linguistics and second language acquisition, they might find the TESL stream more suitable. On the other hand, if the core of their research trajectory leans more towards literacies, such as digital and multimodal aspects, then LLED might be a better fit. Generally speaking, the LLED program is broader and encompasses both language and literacy education, while TESL has a narrower focus.

Additionally, applicants should consider how they want to position themselves for future job opportunities. If they plan to work primarily in TESL-related areas, choosing the TESL program may be wise. However, if they wish to highlight their expertise in both language education and literacy education or if they don't want to identify solely with TESL, the LLED degree might be more preferable.

Normally a year is required but it is flexible. Please consult the Graduate Academic Advisor or your pro-tem supervisor.

Students who wish to transfer from a Master’s to a Doctoral program must have completed one year of study in the Master’s program with an A+ (90% and above) average in 18 credits, of which at least 12 credits must be at the 500 level. A transfer from an MA to PhD degree would only be recommended in very exceptional cases. The student must show clear evidence of research ability. Transfer directly into a Doctoral program is not normally permitted after the first year of study and will not be permitted after the completion of the second year in a Master's program. If a student transfers from a Master’s program to a Doctoral program without completing the Master's degree, the initiation of the Doctoral program will be from the date of first registration in the Master’s program.

The 600-level courses are graded in percentage to help with scholarship application/adjudication.

The proposal is not an exam, students can write it under the guidance of the supervisory committee. Comps are to demonstrate the student’s comprehensive knowledge of the relevant research topic, whereas the proposal presents a rationale and specific methods of the proposed research.

Undergraduate courses are not counted toward PhD degrees. Students may take an undergraduate level course if it has specific knowledge, theories, or methodologies they wish to explore. However, these undergraduate level courses on their own would not count towards their PhD, unlike the allowable 6 credits at the 300 or 400 level for Masters students.