Should I apply to a Foreign Language Teaching graduate program at MSU? Why?

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 like Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, and Russian, 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. Take a look at our community:

                 Students                 Alumni Portfolios                Social Media

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.

FLT courses are 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.

FLT courses are offered in Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters, and you can start the program in any semester

Course Descriptions This page will tell you when various courses are typically offered. Most courses are offered two out of three semesters each year.

Upcoming Courses Each semester, the available courses and important dates will be listed in a post that appears on this page. 

Schedule of Courses Current students can log in to the Student Information System (https://student.msu.edu) and use the Class Search tile.

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. 

All students in FLT courses pay in-state tuition for online courses at MSU, whether you live in Michigan, in another state, or in another country. Currently that rate is $700 per credit hour, or $2100 per course, plus fees and textbooks. 

Students who are taking courses with Lifelong Learning status can take one course at a time by completing only the Lifelong application will pay a slightly higher rate due to university policies and fees. Lifelong Education information page: 
reg.msu.edu/ROInfo/EnrReg/LifelongEducation

Remember that you should consider the reputation and resources of the school when comparing graduate programs. Not all online programs are created alike! Also note that comparable face-to-face programs may be twice as expensive and might require you to quit your job and move.

See this page for further details: Financial FAQs

As of Summer 2022, we have a set of fellowships available for teachers of LCTLs and heritage learners and for BIPOC language teachers. Learn more here: NEW Fellowships to Promote Linguistic Diversity.

Information about financial aid for all MSU graduate students may be found here. Graduate students taking 6 or more credits who are U.S. citizens can usually apply for federal support through FAFSA. 

See this page for further details: Financial FAQs

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. 

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 using the Transfer of Graduate Credits Request Form. 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. 

Which FLT Graduate Program is right for me?

We now offer two programs that meet the needs of different populations of in-service and aspiring language teachers.

30 credits in 4 semesters to 5 years

  • You want the full MAFLT experience with 8 excellent FLT courses and an extensive capstone project customized for your experience and goals.
  • You want to enhance and expand your approaches to FLT, your awareness of the reasoning behind “what works” in FLT, your leadership skills, and your online presence. 
  • You teach any target language, in the U.S. or another country. The program is designed for additional languages, such as French, Mandarin Chinese, Portuguese, or an indigenous language in the U.S. Alumni also teach English in other countries, including Argentina, Turkey, and Japan, and classical languages in the U.S. 

See: Program Requirements

10 credits in 2 to 4 semesters

  • You want the same things as prospective MA students, but you already have a master’s degree. OR
  • You are already enrolled in a master’s or PhD program at MSU. OR
  • You recently completed your bachelor’s degree, and you want to start with a few courses. 
Meanwhile, 
  • You want to pick and choose which courses you take, but you still want a coherent experience and an academic advisor. 
  • You might want to continue taking FLT courses beyond the three content courses required for the Certificate.
  • You want a credential on your resume or CV that shows you have training and skills in teaching, not just language and literature. 
  • You are NOT looking for state certification to teach in a public school. See the FAQ page. 

See: Graduate Certificate page and Program Requirements

Are you already a graduate student at Michigan State? You can take FLT courses as electives or add the FLT Graduate Certificate to your current program. See How to Enroll and the FLT Certificate page.

Are you interested in taking one FLT course at a time for professional development? You need to apply to MSU as a Lifelong Learner. Instructions are provided below. Consider doing the FLT Certificate instead!

Are you interested in the content of FLT courses but want a smaller “dose” of professional development for now? Look at the Online Language Teaching non-credit courses offered through our unit, CeLTA, or contact the Program Director to ask about scheduling a virtual visit or workshop.  

What are the steps in the Admissions process?

Read the Admissions Guide very carefully. 

We are prepared to answer questions about your plans, experience, and specific situation as well as the admissions process.

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 if English is your dominant language, or an English-proficiency-test score such as TOEFL or IELTS). You can also request an English proficiency 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’ contact information so that the system can request their letters.
  5. Complete the application and submit your personal and academic essays.
  6. Add any additional materials that you would like to share, such as your current teaching portfolio. You can upload files even after you have submitted your application.

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. 

The purpose of the GRE is to help graduate programs predict whether students will be able to manage the demands of a given program. Waivers are available for prospective students who can demonstrate in other ways that they are prepared for graduate-level work in the content areas of this program. If you have been teaching your target language in an established program for at least two years, if you have completed at least one MA-level course in a comparable program (particularly if this instructor is one of your recommenders), or if you feel that you have other documented evidence that you can thrive in graduate school, then we can request a waiver for you. That decision will also depend on the strength of your application overall. We may request a writing sample (prompt available). Further guidance and a link to the GRE Waiver Request Form can be found on the Admissions page. 

The MSU Graduate School has a strict procedure for determining whether students have sufficient academic English to participate in a graduate program. Automatic waivers are granted if you have completed a bachelor’s or master’s degree in an accredited program where English is the dominant language (in or out of the U.S.). Waivers can also be granted if you have worked full-time in the U.S. for more than two years and/or if you have successfully completed master’s courses (but not a full degree) in English. You may be asked to provide a lengthy writing sample demonstrating your proficiency before we will request a waiver.

The MAFLT places high demands on students in terms of reading, writing, listening, and speaking. The demands for reading and writing in particular may be higher than those in a typical face-to-face graduate course. The faculty, as language teachers as well as language teacher educators, are prepared to offer support to all students to improve academic writing, regardless of your first language. However, we cannot serve as ESL instructors while also serving well as MAFLT professors. That said, the MSU Writing Center and MSU Library offer support for students in distance learning programs, and there are a number of valuable resources online, including the Online Writing Lab at Purdue: OWL for ESL Instructors and Students.

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.  

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 listed on our Admissions Guide page: https://maflt.cal.msu.edu/admissions.

In some cases, you may be able to begin courses immediately through MSU Lifelong Learning (continuing education) and officially apply to the program in the following semester. You must have a BA or BS to be considered for Graduate Lifelong Education student status. To apply as a Lifelong Learner, complete the simple 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.

What if I already have a graduate degree or I am working on one now?

Graduate students in the Department of Linguistics, Languages, and Cultures (LiLaC), the Department of Romance and Classical Languages (RCS), the College of Education, and other related programs are eligible and welcome to enroll in FLT courses, as long as your program director or advisor approves them as electives. Also, you may complete the Graduate Certificate in Foreign Language Teaching as an additional credential that will appear on your transcript. Learn more about the certificate here: Graduate Certificate. Instructions for requesting an override are provided on this page: How to Enroll in FLT Courses. Contact the Program Office at maflt@cal.msu.edu with any questions.

We created the Graduate Certificate in Foreign Language Teaching primarily to serve experienced educators like you. If you already have a master’s or PhD in language and literature, linguistics, or another field, we recommend that you enroll in this “mini-MAFLT” program. It is fully transcriptable and will enhance your skills, your resume, and your access to like-minded educators. You will select three FLT courses and complete a final portfolio website similar to the MAFLT Portfolios. Learn more on the Program Requirements page and here: Graduate Certificate in FLT. If you want to take one course at a time, you can also choose the Lifelong Learning option. See the next FAQ section. 

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 using the Transfer of Graduate Credits Request Form. 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. 

Can I take FLT courses to get certified or fulfill other requirements?

The FLT Online Graduate Programs are housed in the College of Arts & Letters and offer a balanced curriculum in the theory and pedagogy of world languages. We do not certify teachers for employment in U.S. public schools. Requirements and procedures vary in every state, but many states have alternative route programs for teachers who want to become certified after completing their undergraduate degrees. There are many websites that collect and provide that information. Here is one example: https://www.teachercertificationdegrees.com.  You should also talk to the advisors for education programs at universities near you. You can search for options in Michigan here: Michigan Department of Education – Provider DirectoryThis link will take you to the MSU College of Education guide for post-baccalaureate certification and alternate routes: https://education.msu.edu/certification/postba/If you need to explain the content of the program to them, refer them to the MAFLT Handbook and to the syllabi posted on the Course Descriptions page.

Graduate students in LiLaC, RCS, College of Education graduate programs, or other PhD or MA programs at Michigan State are welcome to enroll in FLT 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, and you will need to request an override. More information is provided on the Current Student FAQ page and the How to Enroll page. 

Yes. If you would like to take FLT courses but you do not wish to complete the full degree, there are a few options:

Graduate Certificate: You may be interested in the FLT Graduate Certificate. It consists of 10 credits and is designed for both early and later career teachers. Read through the program requirements to see if it is right for you. Details about applying can be found on the Admissions Guide page.

Continuing Education: If you are looking for continuing education credits, you can enroll in MSU and take FLT courses through a program called Graduate Lifelong Education. You must have a BA or BS to be considered for Graduate Lifelong Education student status. To apply as a Lifelong Learner, complete the simple 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. 

Still have questions?

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

Applicants: Contact the Program Assistant (maflt@cal.msu.edu) 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: We try to anticipate your needs! See the Current Student Resources page for suggestions about where you can find an answer. If you still need help, contact the Program Assistant (maflt@cal.msu.edu) or your course instructor.