Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)

The Department of English offers a TESOL Minor at the undergraduate level, and a TESOL Certificate at the graduate level.

The TESOL Minor

Holders of a Bachelor’s Degree and a TESOL Minor are strategically placed for a career teaching English as a foreign language in various countries outside of the United States. Many of these positions are with private businesses, private schools, or public school districts. Opportunities also exist to work with English learners in the United States. Students who have completed the TESOL Minor have gone on to:

  • Graduate school in TESOL, Applied Linguistics, English, and other programs;
  • Volunteer with the Peace Corps;
  • Complete the Fulbright Program;
  • Complete the Japan Exchange Teaching Program;
  • Teach in public schools in Mississippi, New Mexico, Virginia, Washington, and other states; and
  • Teach English in China, Cyprus, Guatemala, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and other countries.

The TESOL Minor is open to undergraduate students in good standing. Please contact Dr. Megan Smith with questions about the program. Current Mississippi State University undergraduates can register to complete the TESOL Minor by downloading and completing the TESOL Certificate form (found HERE) and returning it to Dr. Smith, either via email (megan.smith at msstate.edu) or in her mailbox (Lee Hall, 2000).

The TESOL Certificate

The TESOL Certificate (https://www.online.msstate.edu/tesol) is offered at the graduate level and is available through a fully asynchronous online program administered by the Center for Distance Education. Graduate students in good standing at Mississippi State University can complete the TESOL Certificate by enrolling in face-to-face classes.

Prospective graduate students should contact Dr. Megan Smith via email (megan.smith at msstate.edu) with questions about the program. Applications for the online program should be submitted through Distance Education’s website: https://www.online.msstate.edu/tesol. Applications for the face-to-face program can be completed by downloading the TESOL Certificate form (found HERE) and returning it to Dr. Smith.

The TESOL Certificate program fulfills the requirements to add an ESL Endorsement to an existing Mississippi Teaching License.


Both the Minor and the Certificate require the completion of five courses. Each course must be completed with a grade of C or above at the undergraduate level, and a grade of B or above at the graduate level. The TESOL Certificate is only administered at the graduate level, so students completing the TESOL Certificate must take courses at the graduate, and not the undergraduate, level.

Two courses in theoretical background

  • EN 4403/6403 Introduction to Linguistics  (to be taken in your first semester in the certificate program) (offered fall and spring)
  • EN 4463/6463 Studies in Second Language Acquisition (fall)

One of the following courses on the grammatical structure of English

  • EN 4443/6443 English Syntax (spring)
  • EN 3423 Descriptive English Grammar (for undergraduate Elementary and Secondary English/Language Arts Education majors only) (fall)

Two of the following courses in language teaching methodology

  • EN 4433/6433 Approaches to TESOL (spring)
  • EN 4453/6453 Methods in TESOL (fall)
  • EN 4493/6493 TESOL Practicum

Note: On its own, the TESOL Certificate does not lead to K-12 ESOL certification, which is required to teach in the public school system in the U.S. However, the certificate can be added to a current or in-progress Mississippi educator’s license to obtain an ESL supplemental endorsement.