Department of Languages and Literatures

M.A. Program in TESOL/Spanish

About the Program

In this dynamic combined master’s program, students develop a strong background in Teaching Methodology for teaching both English and Spanish to speakers of other languages. Graduate students in the program have diverse language backgrounds, and include speakers of English, Spanish, and other languages from the U.S. and abroad.

In addition to courses focused on second language teaching methodology, the TESOL portion of the program includes coursework in several areas of Linguistics and Applied Linguistics, such as Second Language Acquisition, Bilingualism, and Bilingual Education, Computer Assisted Language Learning, and English Grammar. The Spanish side of the program includes a range of coursework in the areas of Language, Culture, and Literature, such as Translation, Latino/a Culture and Literature, Sociolinguistics, Language and Nationalism, Sports in Spain, the Structure of Spanish, and various topics in Latin American and Iberian Literature.


This major is available on the non-thesis option only. A minimum of 33 semester hours is required, including a minimum of 18 hours at the 6000-level. An approved research paper is also required. The student who has not completed FREN 3001/5001 / GER 3001/5001 / SPAN 3001 and either TESOL 4120/5120 or TESOL 4110/5110 (or the equivalent) before entering the master's degree program must add these courses to the requirements listed below. There is no separate modern language requirement.


The TESOL component of this M.A. program requires successful completion of a teaching portfolio and presentation at a UNI-sponsored or other professional conference/symposia as specified by the TESOL/Applied Linguistics faculty; see the TESOL Graduate Coordinator for details.


The Spanish component of this M.A. program requires successful completion of a final written comprehensive examination, as specified by the Spanish faculty; see the Spanish Graduate Coordinator for details. 


Click here for the M.A.-TESOL/Spanish program of study (Word document; last updated Spring 2018).


Faculty in TESOL and Spanish are actively involved in and passionate about their professions. They conduct and publish research, present papers throughout the world, and provide exceptional course experiences. With great importance placed on teaching, our faculty members provide students with opportunities for academic and professional development, empowering students to succeed in their careers.

Funding Opportunities

Applicants are encouraged to apply for Graduate Tuition Scholarships and/or Graduate Assistantships in the Department of Languages & Literatures. Students who are granted a Graduate Assistantship may gain professional experience in one or more of these areas:

  • Instructor of introductory Spanish classes

  • Instructor of English in the Culture and Intensive English Program

  • Research Assistant in diverse projects with faculty members

What Can an M.A.-TESOL/Spanish Degree Do for You?

  • Teach Spanish or English at community colleges or in intensive English programs.

  • Teach English abroad, particularly in Spanish-speaking countries.

  • Work in social services or the public sector.

  • Upgrade skills and employability for teaching in K-12 settings.

  • Go on to Ph.D. programs in Second Language Acquisition, Applied Linguistics, TESOL, Hispanic Linguistics, and other related fields.

What Our Alums Say

“The TESOL/Spanish graduate program not only increased my qualifications for my career goals but also increased my critical thinking, improved my ability to research, bettered my teaching abilities, strengthened my interpersonal communication skills, taught me a deeper sense of empathy for the people around me and in the world as a whole, and ultimately taught me how to apply my interests into academic content while having fun with it.” --Elizabeth Becker (recent TESOL/Spanish graduate)


“In TESOL/Spanish, I acquired the necessary knowledge for teaching learners of a second language. After graduating from UNI I easily found a job in the University of Central Missouri, IEP program. The TESOL/Spanish program created a solid foundation for my future studies and career growth. Go Panthers!” --Marine Pepanyan (international student from Armenia, Ed.D. candidate, University of Northern Iowa)


“Me gustó mucho la disponibilidad de los profesores con los alumnos para ayudar, responder y guiar no solo en horario de clases sino también fuera de este. El programa me preparó para enseñar sin importar los recursos tecnológicos o el grupo de alumnos a quien se les enseñará. ¡Todo es posible si se quiere!” --Daniela Zurita (ESL Instructor, Jackson County Read & Spanish Instructor, Ivy Tech Community College)


“UNI is a great community where professors are mentors and help their students to empower their education by facilitating learning and field experiences, cultivating critical knowledge, and praising students’ creativeness.” --Ángel Gabriel Franco (Spanish instructor, Linfield College)


Application Requirements

  • Students interested in this program must submit a completed Application for Admission to Graduate Study and should refer to their MyUNIverse Student Center To-Do list or contact the Department of Languages & Literatures for other application requirements. Graduate information and application for graduate admission can be found at

  • Other application requirements include

    • Statement of Purpose written in Spanish

    • Three letters of reference (in Spanish or English)

    • Official transcripts

    • Official TOEFL or IELTS scores (international students only)

Application Notes

  • The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is not required for admission to the program.

  • International students must have achieved a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score of 600 (paper-based)/250 (computer-based), or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) equivalent, in order to demonstrate English proficiency.

  • An international student may be required to take additional English language development courses at the discretion of the TESOL/Applied Linguistics faculty.

  • This program does not include licensure to teach at the elementary or secondary levels, but prospective students who are licensed teachers are encouraged to apply. 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.

Contact Us

Department of Languages and Literatures
University of Northern Iowa
1001 Bartlett Hall
Cedar Falls, IA 50614
Phone: (319) 273-5965
Fax: (319) 273-5807


TESOL Graduate Coordinator

Dr. Joyce Milambiling

(319) 273-6099


Spanish Graduate Coordinator

Dr. Elise DuBord

(319) 273-2183


Click here for information on assistantships within the Department of Languages & Literatures.