Curious about other languages and cultures? Want to help new English speakers in their language studies at home or abroad? Consider a TESOL major.

A major in TESOL (teaching English to speakers of other languages) prepares students to teach English to emerging bilingual speakers.

Coursework covers topics in linguistics, language acquisition, and language teaching, and introduces students to effective methods of teaching while encouraging an awareness of world languages and cultures.

This major offers excellent preparation for vocations such as teaching adult English-language learners both within the United States and in other countries, developing instructional materials – including resources for assessing language fluency – and working in government agencies and nonprofit organizations locally or internationally. A TESOL major pairs well with minors in French or Spanish or a certificate in Chinese.

In addition, students who complete the Professional Sequence for Teacher Education and who enroll in TESOL courses may apply a given number of TESOL credits toward an ESL K-12 Endorsement on an Iowa Teacher license.

Click here for more information on TESOL major classes and program requirements.

Students sitting at a table smiling.

Pass Rate

Our recent graduates in TESOL had 100 percent pass rate on Praxis II exam.



UNI is home to a top ranked teacher preparation program, known around the Midwest for excellence. Students gain 750 hours of classroom experience before graduation.


Convenient for students to complete endorsements in other disciplines to be more marketable to school districts.


Learn more about TESOL

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Contact us directly at:

Department of Languages and Literatures
1001 Bartlett Hall
Cedar Falls, Iowa 50614-0506

Phone: 319.273.2821
Fax: 319.273.5807

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Heather Jackson

Why study TESOL at UNI?

“I've always really liked languages. My senior year in high school, I was introduced to Korean. From there I got more interested in the culture. When I took a TESOL class at Soonchunhyang University in South Korea, I think I realized I've always liked teaching. I just really love figuring out how to explain things I know a lot about so other people can understand it, and I love seeing students pick up the language and start to get it and watching them progress. It's so fun and rewarding.”

Heather Jackson is a TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) major

Students from Korea in a classroom.

Study Abroad

TESOL majors are expected to study abroad during their time at UNI. We offer opportunities to study in Spain, Peru, Costa Rica, South Korea, China and more. Trips range from two weeks to semester-long.


This major offers excellent preparation for vocations such as:

  • Teaching adult language learners
  • Teaching English internationally (K-12 and adult)
  • Working for non-profit organizations that support immigrant and refugee communities
  • Working for language teaching companies (in-person and online)


Cultural Aspects of Language and Language Teaching Investigation of relationship between language and culture and the interactions among language, social institutions, cultural beliefs, and individual behavior. Applications for teaching English to non-native speakers.

Principles and Practices in Language Teaching
Pedagogical principles and practical guidelines for developing effective teaching practice including adaptations for varied cultural contexts. Topics include the following: lesson planning; acquisition, design, and adaptation of instructional materials; curriculum development; and classroom management.

Constructing Cross-Cultural Bridges
Within a Study Abroad experience, exploring multiple components of a specific culture firsthand; attention to the interrelationships among various cultural components such as history, religion, social values and practices, community organization, and language; course activities and requirements designed to increase intercultural understanding and effective interactions among individuals across different cultures. Satisfies LAC 6 Capstone Experience.


Students tutoring in a building.


Many TESOL majors participate in the TESOL club, a student organization dedicated to improving education for emergent bilinguals by engaging future teachers on all things TESOL and applied linguistics. This club can be a fun way to engage with the campus community and beyond while also practicing and refining one's skills in TESOL and linguistics skills through educational and recreational activities.

Languages and Literatures Features