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Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)

NC State is proud to be a diverse university with students from all over the world — and the TESOL program plays a vital role in providing support and resources to students, faculty and staff.

Program Overview

Whether you are an international student who needs to enroll in an English language course, a student interested in becoming a TESOL professional or a current professional interested in TESOL training, we can help you meet your academic and professional goals. 

Minor in Teaching English as a Foreign Language

Undergraduates at NC State have the opportunity to earn a minor in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL), which will give them a deeper understanding of English as an international language and formal training in teaching English as a foreign language in various cultural and/or educational contexts. The minor consists of 15 credit hours and is open to students from all disciplines. Here is a short video in which students explain their reasons for choosing this minor: Why minor in TEFL?

ESL Add-On Licensure for K-12 teachers

 The NC State TESOL program provides the ESL Add-on Licensure program for both undergraduates enrolled in teacher education (preservice) and for currently licensed North Carolina public school teachers (inservice). Please check out our recent recipient of the ESL Teacher Education Award.

TESOL Certificate Program 

This non-degree program is designed for those who are interested in teaching English abroad and in community colleges, and working and volunteering in immigrant communities. Students earn a TESOL Certificate in one semester. Over 300 professionals have completed the program and are teaching English in public and private institutions, nationally and internationally. 

MA in World Languages and Cultures with a TESOL Concentration

Those seeking a terminal degree should consider NC State’s TESOL concentration within the M.A. degree program in World Languages and Cultures. Candidates take 18 credit hours in TESOL and have the option of taking the remaining 12 credits in NC State’s prestigious English/Linguistics program and School of Education. We also offer a master’s degree with dual concentrations (TESOL and French or TESOL and Spanish). Each concentration consists of 18 credit hours. You will receive one diploma but your transcript will show both concentrations.

Credit-Bearing English Language Courses

We also offer credit-bearing courses for regularly enrolled undergraduate and graduate international students. You can find the classes listed in the NC State Course Catalog under the prefix WLEN (World Language English, formerly listed under FLE).

Non-Credit English Conversation Classes

NC State Global Café

This is a course designed for international graduate students, visiting scholars and their adult family members. The interaction is held online through Zoom. Please contact the facilitator, April Najjaj (, to register and obtain the Zoom link.

Conversation and Coffee Program

This program pairs international graduate students and visiting scholars at NC State with members of the NC State Osher Lifelong Learning Institute to share casual conversation, culture and friendship. The expectation is that pairs meet at least once a month per semester either at the McKimmon Center Coffee Shop, the Global Engagement Hub at 2123 Talley Student Center, another location near campus, or via Zoom. Please contact Robin Kube at to register.

Oral Proficiency Testing for International Teaching Assistants

The TESOL program offers language improvement courses for International Teaching Assistants. We also administer the Speaking Proficiency English Assessment Kit (SPEAK) test for potential graduate teaching assistants. The SPEAK test is designed to measure non-native speakers’ oral English proficiency.

Exploring Teaching English Abroad

Exploring Teaching English Abroad is an interactive online lecture series highlighting the real-world experiences of TESOL Certificate Program graduates who are currently or who have taught abroad recently. Please join us for the live events or access the recordings to learn more about how to choose and apply for accredited teaching programs, transitioning to the local culture, housing, expected salary, as well as specific teaching experiences.

  • China – Imari Colon (2023): RECORDING
  • Japan – Marissah Waggoner (2023): RECORDING
  • Korea – Katelynn Roark (2024): RECORDING
  • Thailand – Ken Morris (2023): RECORDING
  • U.S. Department of State: English Language Fellow, Specialist and Virtual Educator Programs, (2024) RECORDING

The Japanese section of WLC has also provided recordings to information sessions highlighting the following programs:

Contact us

Jennifer Despain, TESOL Section Coordinator
Office: Withers 313
Phone: 919-513-1482

Campus Box 8106
NC State University
Raleigh, NC 27695-8106

To gain perspective, teach abroad!

Jenny Choi, Fulbright English Teaching Assistant and 2016 NC State graduate in Elementary Education: “…I teach English to Korean students on a daily basis and thanks to the ESL Add-On program, I am able to foster cultural awareness and teach my students more effectively.”

Creating Global Community

When you can’t speak the language where you live and work, you’re at an extreme disadvantage. Graduates of NC State’s TESOL programs help non-native speakers overcome linguistic barriers in their personal and professional lives. As the programs prepare teachers to bridge language gaps, they foster a global community abroad, across the state of North Carolina and on our own campus.

Student taking notes