ESL Students at NC State

Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

MA Concentration in TESOL at NC State

The World is your Classroom.
Your Classroom is the World.

English is the current lingua franca of international business, education, science, technology, diplomacy, and entertainment.  According to the British Council (2013), by 2020, two billion people will be speaking English – or learning to speak it. Consequently, there is a tremendous demand domestically and worldwide for qualified English language instructors. NC State University is poised to meet that demand by offering a Masters of Arts degree with a concentration in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), which will not only give candidates the terminal degree in the field but also the option to design their specialty areas according to their interests and career goals. What distinguishes NC State’s TESOL Concentration in the MA in Foreign Languages and Literatures degree from other MA in TESOL programs is the following:

  1. Candidates can design their course of study. They can take elective courses from NC State’s prestigious Colleges of Education and Humanities and Social Sciences. 

  2. Candidates can design their own Culminating MA Research Project to best align with their career goals.

  3. Candidates have unique and rewarding networking opportunities as members of the Wolfpack. Our candidates have field experiences with students and teachers in NC State’s TESOL Certificate Program, free community ESL classes, Intensive English Program and the FLE courses, credit-bearing academic courses for international undergraduate and graduate students.   

  4. NC State prides itself as a “global leader in education of international students.” It is home to approximately 4,000 international students. Candidates have the opportunity to work with NC State’s international student population through field experiences and as interns or as volunteer teachers.

The Master’s degree program with a concentration in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) prepares students for a wide variety of ESL/EFL teaching and related careers. Graduates will be qualified to research and teach English in university intensive English programs, community colleges, private schools and adult education programs, here and abroad.  Indeed, it is a pathway to a world of opportunity, exploration, and service. 

Graduate Courses in TESOL

Return to the main MA in Foreign Languages page

Non-native speakers of English outnumber native speakers by almost 2:1

Source: Ethnologue, 21st Edition

Featured Current Students

Jennifer Despain

I recently decided to return to graduate school after an extended hiatus raising my four kids while teaching part-time at NC State. I completed the NC State TESOL certification program Fall '19 which inspired me to change my original plan and to pursue a Master's degree in Foreign Languages and Literatures with a concentration in TESOL. For years I have volunteered with the local immigrant and refugee population and have just started working with the NC State international student and family population. I really look forward to applying my new knowledge and skills as well as teaching ESL abroad after retirement.

Louise Study

Years ago, I taught English to Japanese businessmen in Tokyo.  When I learned about the MA Program with a concentration in TESOL at NC State, I jumped at the opportunity.  My husband and I have plans to live and work overseas.  Upon earning this degree, I will have the tools and skills to instruct adults from numerous cultures and settings.

Scott Stanko

I've always enjoyed traveling and wanted in the next phase of my life to be able to combine my love of travel with my desire to teach.  The basic TESOL certifications are a good start but what I really like about this program is that I dive deeper into a topic and when I graduate I will have the flexibility to teach EFL students at almost any level and in whichever country I would like. For just a few extra credit hours, the possibilities are wide open.

Annabel Breen

After graduating with my B.A., I decided to pursue a TESOL Certification through NC State’s Office of Professional Development, with the mindset that I would like to teach abroad someday. During my observations and internships for the TESOL Certification, I had the opportunity to work with some of the FLE courses at NC State and developed a keen interest in working with ELL international students and adults. When I discovered that NC State was offering their flagship TESOL concentration in the MA in Foreign Languages and Literatures program, I decided that completing this program would be the next big step in my career and put me on the best path towards teaching ESL at the university level.


Dr. Jillian Haeseler, Director of English as a Second Language,  has taught English to Speakers of Other Languages for over 25 years at IEPs and universities nationally and abroad and has extensive experience in teacher training. Her expertise lies in foreign language pedagogy and program development. She is a two-time Fulbright scholar and English Language Specialist.

Robin Kube, ESL Program Coordinator and Senior Lecturer, has been an ESL teacher trainer at NC State since 2002. She has coordinated and supervised hundreds of internships in the highly successful TESOL Certificate Program. She has overseen innovative outreach programs such as free ESL Conversation and Pronunciation classes and ESP courses for housekeepers and groundskeepers. Her area of expertise is cross-cultural awareness and communication.   

Professor Mary Michaels Estrada is a teacher trainer in NC State’s TESOL Certificate Program and the ESL Add-On Program. Her degree and area of specialization is linguistics.  Professor Estrada’s approach to teaching American English Pronunciation to international students has drawn campus-wide attention due to the incorporation of WolfTales.  She is a 2020 DELTA grant recipient and nominee for Outstanding Lecturer in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Dr. Alison Turner, Assistant Teaching Professor, has taught English as a Second Language (ESL) in a variety of contexts including community college and universities. She has also done teacher training for a number of years including in her work with the TESOL Certificate Program and the ESL Add-On Program. She specializes in working with teacher candidates to develop pedagogy and culturally responsive teaching strategies to engage learners. Dr. Turner is a member of the Carolina TESOL Executive Board.