M.A. TESOL Culminating Experience

The M.A. TESOL-required culminating experience is a Capstone Project (consisting of a paper and presentation), which is completed while taking English 895: Field Study or Applied Reseach Project

M.A. TESOL Capstone Project


(For examples of past Capstone Project topics, see links to past MA TESOL Conference Web sites below.)

The M.A. TESOL Capstone Project (CP) provides students with an opportunity to demonstrate their in-depth knowledge and practical expertise in a specific area of the TESOL discipline, and to showcase their work through two formats: a 15-20 page academic paper, and a professional conference presentation. The Capstone Project, completed in the context of ENG 895, builds on work the students have completed for their M.A. TESOL coursework – for example, ENG 702 annotated bibliography entries; ENG 732 research project, ENG 734 curriculum project; ENG 731 lesson plans, among others (see sample CP scenarios below). CPs are meant to be opportunities for reflection, expansion, and meaningful revision of coursework which students view as central to their professional development. For this reason, in general, students are discouraged from launching brand-new projects in their final semester for their CP. In selecting a focus for their CP, students should be able to demonstrate how their CP builds on prior work in a meaningful and productive way.

Students’ CPs should be consistent with their career goals; a CP work should be viewed as a culminating display of ability, demonstrating that M.A. TESOL graduate is prepared to become a professional in the field of TESOL. The excellence in writing and oral presentation requirements reflect the competencies that are essential to success in the field of TESOL. The CP academic paper is intended to assess students’ familiarity with the rigors of writing for a professional audience in the TESOL field and the conference provides a venue for giving a professional presentation.

The CP is prominently featured in the student’s M.A. TESOL Portfolio; the reflection and expansion/revision work of the CP paper and presentation is carried out in the context of ENG 895, under consultation with the students’ faculty portfolio advisors and peers. The CP yields two products which are required components in the students’ M.A. TESOL Portfolio:

  •  An academic paper [15-20 pages] A paper that demonstrates your in-depth knowledge and practical expertise in a specific area of TESOL and may take on a variety of formats (e.g., an action research paper, a curriculum development plan, a theoretical essay, a grant proposal, a program assessment plan, among others). While the format, scope, and purpose of papers will vary, all papers are expected to include: discussion of actual ESL/EFL learning contexts, a solid review of relevant literature, and applications to classroom practice. Papers should also demonstrate students’ ability to write competently for a target audience of TESOL professionals, using logical argumentation, appropriate formal voice, and standard academic writing conventions.
  • An oral presentation and handout for your end of semester professional conference presentation

Students are free to collaborate during the preparation of their CP work and are strongly encouraged to seek on-going peer input/critique. Students are also free to co-present at the conference, but each individual student must independently prepare a CP paper with a unique focus.

Websites from past English Dept. conferences:

Websites from past MA TESOL conferences: