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Michigan State University
Master of Arts in Foreign Language Teaching
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQS)

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If you are considering whether to apply to the MAFLT Program

If you are in the process of applying to the MAFLT Program

If you are a graduate student in another MSU program

If you are interested in taking a few MAFLT courses

If you have been accepted and want to get started

If you are a current student

 

If you are considering applying to the MAFLT:

Who is the MAFLT Program designed for? How can I figure out if I am the kind of student who completes the MAFLT? 

The MAFLT was originally designed (going back to about 2011) to reach non-traditional students; to provide professional development for teachers of less-commonly-taught languages as well as the more frequent Spanish, French, and German teachers; and to contribute to raising the standard of foreign language education across the U.S. and beyond. If you are a full-time teacher in your twenties, we have had many students like you. If you are in your fifties and changing career paths or looking for enrichment, we have had many students like you, too. If you are living and working in Tokyo or Dubai or Buenos Aires and you want to get a degree from Michigan State, without moving to the U.S., you will also see students like you on the Students page. And if you have a new story to tell about your journey into the language teaching profession, you may be just the student we need to round out our community. Undergraduate degrees in related fields are not required. Teaching experience is very helpful, but not required. You just need to be ready to work hard, learn fast, and open up about your experiences and intentions. 

How are MAFLT courses delivered, and how do I participate? Do I have to be online at a specific time every week or what?

Course work in the MAFLT is designed to be asynchronous, meaning that you can do the work at any time, from anywhere. However, there are deadlines on a weekly or biweekly basis, and you will be communicating with your instructors and classmates throughout the semester. Some courses are more interactive than others, and occasionally instructors will schedule a virtual meeting online once or twice per semester. Any synchronous live meetings are, of course, scheduled to accommodate students schedules as much as possible. Instructors will also use a range of technology to "personalize" the course, and we are accessible via email, phone, and video conference.

Do I have to come to campus in East Lansing at all? Can I come to campus if I want to? 

The program has no residency requirement. All courses are taught online. Nevertheless, many students decide to visit campus at some point during the program, to come to MSU for summer professional development workshops, or to come to East Lansing and walk in the graduation ceremony and join us for celebratory events. You can see some of our proud graduates walking on the Showcase page.

How much computer-related technology background is needed to be successful in these online courses? Will I be at a disadvantage if I am not a real "techie?"

No. The MAFLT courses require only that you know how to navigate the Web and webpages and that you are willing to learn to use new tools. At minimum, you should have reliable internet access, a webcam, a microphone, and word processing software. MSU provides Microsoft Office software to students, as well as your own dedicated MSU access to Google Drive and Sites, MediaSpace for sharing presentations, Zoom for video conferencing, and other tools we use in our courses. Most courses involve a certain amount of training in the online course management system, D2L, and distance learning skills and resources. The computer-assisted language learning (CALL) related courses will give you the opportunity to develop and expand specialized technology skills for language teaching. 

How much does a course in the MAFLT program cost?

All students in the MAFLT pay in-state tuition for online courses at MSU, whether you live in Michigan, in another state, or in another country. Currently, in 2018-19, that rate is $695 per credit hour plus fees, so about $2200 per 3-credit course. Students must be officially accepted to the MAFLT Program to receive this rate (Lifelong Learning students pay a bit more). To get further details and calculate the exact costs, see the Student Accounts page of the Office of the Controller: http://www.ctlr.msu.edu/COStudentAccounts/. Look for the Tuition, Fees, and Housing Calculator. Remember that you should consider the reputation and resources of the school when comparing graduate programs. Also note that comparable face-to-face programs may be twice as expensive and might require you to quit your job and move. 

Is financial assistance available for the MAFLT program?

The same MSU financial assistance is available for online programs as for regular face-to-face programs. Information about financial aid for graduate students may be found here. The MAFLT program itself has no financial assistance available to students. Graduate students taking 6 or more credits who are U.S. citizens can usually apply for support through FAFSA. 

How long does it take most people to get through the program? Can I just take one or two courses per semester? 

The majority of MAFLT students have full-time jobs and other commitments. If that is the case for you, one or two courses per semester is the recommended pace. If you are not working full-time and you want to take two or three courses per semester, you can. As a general rule, you should allow up to 12 hours a week per course. Look in the MAFLT Handbook to see some sample trajectories for students who want to complete the program very quickly, relatively slowly, or somewhere in between. You will not have a fixed cohort, but you will see familiar faces in each course as time goes on. Most students finish in two or three years. The maximum time allowed by the College of Arts and Letters is six years. 

Can I transfer courses from another program into the MAFLT Program? 

Yes, you may be able to transfer up to 9 credits if the faculty believe that your prior courses are sufficiently similar to MAFLT courses. You must submit the syllabi and request approval. That said, the MAFLT is a carefully designed sequence of courses in which assignments from courses feed into the master's project and final portfolio, so if you transfer in a course, you may need to do assignments or readings on your own later to fill in the blanks. 

 

If you are in the process of applying to the program:

Have you read the How To Apply page carefully? Before you apply, contact three people who can write recommendation letters and have them submit the letters to MSU (you should waive your right to see the letters). Make arrangements to take the GRE, TOEFL or IELTS exams as needed. Work on writing your personal and academic essays. When you submit your application, here the main steps: 1) Fill out the general Graduate School application online at https://grad.msu.edu/apply; 2) submit your test score (GRE or an English-proficiency-test score, TOEFL or IELTS) or request a waiver; 3) contact institutions that have granted you a degree (your undergrad, mainly) and have transcripts sent electronically or mailed in; 4) submit your recommenders' names; 5) complete the application and submit your personal and academic essays; 6) email any materials that you would like to share and that cannot be submitted through the online system (such as evidence of your teaching skills so far).    

Once all of my application materials have been received by MAFLT, how long will it be before I receive notification of acceptance into the program?

If we have received all your materials and your application is complete by the admissions deadline, then the MAFLT Admissions Committee will typically make a decision within two weeks following that deadline. The Program Director will notify you of the Admissions Committee's decision by email. We then send documentation forward to the College of Arts and Letters, which reviews it and in turn forwards it to the MSU Office of Admissions. Here is the typical timeline: Acceptance at the MAFLT Program level takes 1-2 weeks. Acceptance at the University level for students with U.S. transcripts takes about 2 months. Acceptance at the University level for students with international transcripts takes about 3 months. Transcript verification by the MSU International Transcript Credentialist requires additional time for many international students. Once you have been officially admitted to the university, you will receive an official confirmation via email with your identification numbers (PID and PAN). You can then use these ID numbers to enroll in MAFLT courses.  

I have missed the application deadline for next semester, but I would really like to start taking MAFLT courses. Is there any way I can do that?

To guarantee that your application will be considered for the immediately following semester, you must have all of your application materials in by the dates below. If your materials are late, you may need to apply for the following semester. In some cases, you may be able to begin courses immediately as a Lifelong Learner at MSU (for continuing education) and officially apply to the program in the following semester.

  • June 1 >>> Begin coursework in Fall semester (early September)
  • October 15 >>> Begin coursework in Spring semester (early January)
  • April 1 >>> Begin coursework in Summer semester (mid-May or early July)

Can I fax or email a scanned copy (copies) of my undergraduate transcript(s) to the program while I wait for the original one(s) to be sent by my previous institution(s)?

No, not for official consideration. Applicants must request original transcript(s) from the degree granting institution(s) and the institution(s) must send them directly to the MAFLT Program. These original transcripts, with their original envelopes, will be used for formal admission to the university and must be submitted by the Admissions Coordinator to MSU's Office of Admissions for the final step in the process. MSU does accept e-transcripts from domestic (U.S.-based) institutions. If your prior university can officially send electronic transcripts from their admissions office, ask them to send your e-transcript to Amanda Lanier at maflt@cal.msu.edu. 

  

If you are a graduate student in another MSU program:

How do I enroll in a MAFLT course, if I am a graduate student in a different program?

Students in language and literature programs, master's degrees in the College of Education, etc. are welcome to enroll in MAFLT courses. If the MAFLT course you want to take is not listed as an an option for your program, discuss your decision with your advisor or program director. To enroll, you must contact the instructor (or the Program Director, if the instructor is not yet listed) and ask for an override. This prevents students outside the MAFLT Program from filling our courses before our MAFLT students have enrolled. 

I would like to get a credential in language teaching that I can add on to my current degree. Is there a way to do that? 

Yes! If you are a graduate student in the College of Arts and Letters (CAL), you can enroll in the Graduate Certification in College Foreign Language Teaching. See details here: http://gradcerts.cal.msu.edu/pages/ccflt. If you are not currently enrolled at MSU, there may be other options, but you will need to contact the Program Director.

 

 

If you are interested in taking a few MAFLT courses:

Can I try a MAFLT course before I apply to the program or take just a few courses to fulfill another requirement?

Yes. If you would like to take a few courses in the MAFLT Program but you do not wish to apply for the full degree, and you are not currently a student at MSU, you can enroll through a program called Graduate Lifelong Education. You must have a BA or BS to be considered for Graduate Lifelong Education student status. (See the Lifelong Ed webpage here.) To apply as a Lifelong Learner, complete the easy online Lifelong Education Application. If you later decide to apply for the full MAFLT degree (and many students do), you can convert up to 9 credits received as a Lifelong student into MAFLT Program credits. Ask the program director any questions you might have about taking MAFLT courses as a Graduate Lifelong Education student. Current MSU graduate students are welcome to enroll in MAFLT courses, but you must confirm with your own advisor or program director that you will be able to apply these credits toward your current program.

Will the MAFLT Program help me to get certified as a public school teacher in my state? 

Not directly, no. You should talk to the advisors for education programs at universities near you. However, many alternative routes to certification and even some traditional programs may accept MAFLT courses to meet some of their requirements. 

 

 

If you have been accepted and want to get started

When do MAFLT courses begin each semester, and how long do they run?

MSU is on the semester system, with three semesters per year. Fall Semester at MSU runs from late August to early December. Spring Semester is from early January to early May. The Summer Semester may be a Full Session for the entire summer or may be divided into two sub-sessions. If a course is taught during a sub-session, it is normally taught intensively, i.e., with double the hours. Refer to MSU's Academic Calendar for current and future dates, but note that Fall Semester classes for the MAFLT Program start during the week after Labor Day, which may be a week later than the rest of the university. 

How do I enroll in FLT courses?

First, you need to make sure you have set up your MSU email account. Then keep your eyes out for an email from the MSU Registrar that will tell you when you can enroll. All MAFLT courses are under the FLT subject code on the online MSU course schedule, which is at http://schedule.msu.edu. We have a very short video on how to enroll. See the video here. Please note that the course schedule system is shut down at night (Eastern standard time), so if you are enrolling from abroad, you may need to do so during your night-time hours. Students who have not been accepted to the MAFLT Program (other MSU graduate students and Lifelong Learners) must request an override from the instructor or Program Director before enrolling. Find out more in the FAQ sections below. 

When and how will I get my bill from MSU?

Once you have enrolled in courses for the semester, a registration bill will be created according to the Fee Payment schedule (http://www.ctlr.msu.edu/COStudentAccounts/FeePaymentSchedule.aspx). Bills are available electronically in STUINFO only. An email will be sent to your university-provided email address when the bill is accessible. MSU does not process nor does it send paper bills.

Once I am enrolled, how will I begin the course, since everything is online?

All MAFLT courses operate in an online course management system. Here at MSU we use D2L Brightspace: http://d2l.msu.edu. Your instructor will notify you by email or through the D2L system when the course is open. You can then log in to D2L and look for the course home page, where there will be a welcome message and further directions from your instructor. Note that Fall courses begin after Labor Day. Spring courses begin within a week after January 1. Summer courses begin in mid-May (Session I and full summer) or early July (Session II). 

How can I find out when courses are offered and decide which course or courses to take each semester? 

The first place you should look is the Courses tab on our MAFLT home page. Also look up FLT courses in the MSU Schedule of Courses at http://schedule.msu.edu. There will be announcements about which courses are offered in a given semester, the general schedule stays the same from year to year. You can take one course or as many as four courses each semester (not recommended!). Contact the Program Director at any time to discuss a plan for completing the program on a timeline that works for you. 

 

  

If you are a current student

I am trying to decide what courses to take next semester. Who can I talk to about that? 

You should contact the Program Director or another core faculty member to discuss your plan for next semester. We can even lay out a plan for every course in the remainder of the program. Remember that we only offer certain courses each semester, so you need to be strategic about your sequence. 

I've taken most of my courses, and I want to get started on my Experiential Module project. What do I do? 

Your Experiential Module is an extensive project, so it is never too soon to start thinking about it. When you have taken most of the 8 content courses, you should contact the EM Mentor for the semester in which you want to start your EM, discuss your plan, and get approval. Begin by filling out the EM Application in the MAFLT Community on D2L (our online learning management system). The Module must be pre-designed by you and the faculty member before the Module starts to ensure the academic quality of the project. When you have decided on a project and when you will do it, you should enroll in the EM course for 2, 3, or 5 credits. You must request an override from your faculty mentor to enroll in the EM course, FLT 885. More information on this EM process can be found in the MAFLT Community page in D2L and in the MAFLT Handbook, available under Resources

I want to transfer in a course that I have taken elsewhere, or I want to take a course in another program. How do I go about transferring those courses into the MAFLT?

You can transfer up to 9 credits from another institution. If you take courses as a Lifelong Learner, those credits and transfers cannot add up to more than 9 credits together. You must submit the syllabus and course description of your previous course to the MAFLT program, where faculty members will determine whether to grant credit. MSU allows up to 9 transfer credits for graduate study, but the courses must been taken at a similarly accredited institution no more than five years previous to the MAFLT admission date. In addition, you must have completed the courses with at least a 3.0 and the courses may not have been used toward a graduate degree program.

I am considering not taking a class next semester. My finances and the coursework, combined with my teaching load this semester, are really taking their toll. What happens if I take a semester off?

The MAFLT allows you to set your own pace. If you need to take a semester off, take it. Consult with faculty about your plan, so that you can stay on track in the long run. If you skip three consecutive semesters (including summers), you must reapply to the program. 

 

Still have questions?

Future Students: Submit the MAFLT Contact Forminclude your questions, and someone will respond within a week. 

Applicants: Contact the Program Secretary to see if your documents have been received or to ask about logistics. For other questions, contact the Program Director or another instructor.

Current Students: Look in the MAFLT Community in D2L and the Handbook, and then contact the Program Director or another instructor.