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2023 Most Affordable Online Master's Degrees in ESL

By the OnlineU team | Updated 1/6/2023
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An online master's degree in ESL, or English as a Second Language, involves learning advanced teaching practices aimed toward individuals who don't speak the English language. Students gain an understanding of vocabulary, grammar, and language production — all from a teaching perspective. For graduates who aim to teach in a public or private school, they'll need to earn their Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) certificate. Some online graduate programs feature a track for certification in the state that the college is located in, which includes a supervised field experience that meets the certification requirements. 

Alternatively, there are other non-teaching language degrees that some students may find useful, such as a master's in Spanish, which is ideal for English speakers looking to advance their understanding of Spanish, as well as a master's in English that focuses on literature and writing within the English language. 

View our methodology for details about rankings or learn more about us. You can also check out our overall list of the most affordable online degrees for inspiration.

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All tuition numbers were manually collected and verified
Rank School Locations Annual Tuition
# 1 #1 Buena Vista University Storm Lake (IA) $4,080
# 2 #2 Fort Hays State University Hays (KS) $4,478
# 3 #3 Evangel University Springfield (MO) $4,500
# 4 #4 Wichita State University Wichita (KS) $4,620
# 5 #5 Asbury University Wilmore (KY) $5,700
# 6 #6 Kennesaw State University Kennesaw (GA) $5,745
# 7 #7 Texas Tech University Lubbock (TX) $6,534
# 8 #8 University of Alabama Tuscaloosa (AL) $6,600
# 9 #9 American Public University System Charles Town (WV) $6,660
# 10 #10 Marshall University Huntington (WV) $6,675
#1
#1

Buena Vista University

Storm Lake (IA)
Annual Tuition: $4,080
Annual Tuition: $4,080
Annual Tuition: $4,080

Buena Vista University (BVU) is a private institution with a Master of Education in Teacher Leadership, Curriculum, and Instruction - Teaching English as a Second Language that requires 30 credit hours. Generally, students complete this program online in around two years while studying at a full-time pace.

At BVU, students use Canvas as their learning management system (LMS), which delivers their curriculum completely online and allows them to study flexibly, schedule tutors, view assignments, and contact the course instructors. This online program is best suited for working teachers. It features a TESL emphasis that prepares students to teach English in K-12 schools by giving them the tools they need to develop a curriculum and understand the social challenges of a classroom. Required classes include Differentiating Instruction for Diverse Learners, Collaborating with Home, School and Community Partners, and Introduction to Second Language Acquisition. Graduates may also explore roles as English language teachers in public or private schools.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
  • Average SATs: 930 -1110
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 610
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 283
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
#2
#2
Annual Tuition: $4,478
Annual Tuition: $4,478
Annual Tuition: $4,478

Fort Hays State University (FHSU) is a public institution with an online Master of Science in Education - English for Speakers of Other Languages. This program requires 33 credit hours, and the average completion time for this degree is around two years for full-time students.

Students at FHSU use Blackboard as the LMS, which delivers courses entirely online and on a flexible timeline. Coursework is offered year-round to meet the needs of working teachers. The ESOL endorsement portion of the degree includes 15 credits of teaching strategy courses, such as Cultural Diversity, Linguistics, and Assessment and Appraisal. The core curriculum features Education Leadership, Literacy Development, and Instructional Design and Assessment classes. The full master's degree is recommended for students interested in a career as a professional K-12 teacher in English as a second language.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 96%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 4,411
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 2,453
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
#3
#3

Evangel University

Springfield (MO)
Annual Tuition: $4,500
Annual Tuition: $4,500
Annual Tuition: $4,500

Evangel University (EU) is a private, Christian institution with a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction Leadership - Teaching English as a Second Language, which requires between 30 and 32 credit hours. Students studying with a full-time schedule are likely to complete the degree in around two years.

EU uses Canvas to deliver online coursework. This software allows students to finish their degrees completely online and on a schedule that meets their needs. In this master's program, students learn how to design curriculums, instruct ESL classrooms, and engage in hands-on learning with experienced teachers. The TESL emphasis includes courses such as History and Structure of the English Language, Second Language Acquisition, and Language and Culture. Students are also required to complete a single credit practicum. Most graduates of this degree go on to become ESL teachers.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 250
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 159
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
#4
#4
Annual Tuition: $4,620
Annual Tuition: $4,620
Annual Tuition: $4,620

Wichita State University (WU) is a public university with a Master of Education in Learning and Instructional Design - ESOL (Thesis) requiring 30 credits. Students can expect to complete this degree in two years if studying full time.

Students at WU use Blackboard as their remote learning software. With this LMS, students can complete coursework flexibly and 100% online. Students can expect to learn best practices in education and corporate training, along with how to design curricula for K-12 teaching. Within the core coursework requirements, students must complete classes such as Change, Creativity and Innovation; Learning Theory and Curriculum Design; and Inquiry to Instructional Practice. The thesis option requires students to engage in applied learning and a research project. Graduates may go on to explore careers as ESL teachers.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 89%
  • Average SATs: 1030 -1270
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 2,272
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 632
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
#5
#5

Asbury University

Wilmore (KY)
Annual Tuition: $5,700
Annual Tuition: $5,700
Annual Tuition: $5,700

Asbury University (AU) is a private university with a Master of Arts in English as a Second Language P-12 Endorsement. This online master's degree requires 36 credit hours, which full-time students can generally complete in two years.

AU students use Discovery as their primary LMS, allowing them to finish courses online in either a synchronous or asynchronous format. The curriculum for this online ESL program looks at instructional technologies, intervention methods, and foundational learning techniques. Additionally, students engage in courses, such as Linguistics/Advanced Grammar, Sound Systems of Language, and TESL Methods/Culture.

AU also offers a Master of Arts in Teaching - English as a Second Language P-12 Alternative Certification, which covers similar courses but with more robust requirements — including a clinical component. Graduates for either degree may pursue ESL teaching roles.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
  • Average SATs: 1050 -1330
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 473
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 206
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC

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