Department of Languages and Literatures


(Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) 

The TESOL MA degree is designed primarily for individuals who wish to teach overseas, at community colleges and intensive English programs, and for K-12 teachers wishing to upgrade their skills and employability. The TESOL professional not only provides an invaluable service, but also gains a richer understanding of both language in general and the many different languages and cultures of our world. Perhaps no other academic program offers such a direct opportunity for multicultural and international experiences, as well as service to local communities.

A graduate degree in TESOL prepares students for an exciting future. With an increasing demand for English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers, TESOL graduates will continue to have a wide variety of career possibilities. UNI graduates are teaching in more than 25 countries.

TESOL Conversation

Recent graduates of the program include

           Teachers of English in the Middle East, Latin America, Europe, Africa, and Asia

           K-12 teachers in the U.S. (licensure required)

           English teachers in community colleges and in Intensive English programs in the U.S. and abroad

           Professionals in government agencies and on grant-funded projects

           Students and graduates of doctoral programs in second language acquisition, curriculum and instruction, linguistics, and other fields

Getting Started

Students interested in this program must submit a completed Application for Admission to Graduate Study and should contact the Department of Languages and Literatures for any other admission requirements. Graduate information and application for graduate admission can be found at Click here for detailed information about application and program information. Click here for information on assistantships within the Department of Languages & Literatures.

Native speakers of English must demonstrate proficiency in another language by earning at least a C grade in a second-semester, college-level course or by passing a specially designed examination. International students must have achieved a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score of 600 (paper-based)/250 (computer-based), or the IELTS equivalent, in order to demonstrate their proficiency in English. An international student may be required to take additional English language improvement courses at the discretion of the TESOL/Applied Linguistics faculty. Work taken to satisfy the language proficiency requirement does not count toward the 33 semester hours required to complete the major program. 


Students who wish state licensure to teach should request information concerning licensure requirements from the Director of Teacher Education, University of Northern Iowa, or from the Department of Education in the state in which they plan to teach.