Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

Benefits of a TESOL Certificate

Holders of a TESOL certificate and a Bachelor’s degree 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. Additional opportunities teaching English as second language exist in the United States as well.

Holders of a TESOL certificate and a Master’s degree are in a competitive position to teach English at the university level in numerous countries outside of the United States. Opportunities within the United States are also available. Mississippi State University graduates with TESOL Certificates have become:

  • Graduate students in TESOL, Foreign Language, Applied Linguistics, and other programs;
  • Public school teachers in Mississippi, New Mexico, Virginia, Washington, and other states;
  • English as a Foreign Language teachers in China, Cyprus, Guatemala, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and other countries; and
  • Instructors in university English Language Institutes.

The TESOL Certificate is open to undergraduate and graduate students in good standing. Non-degree seeking graduate students are also elegible for the graduate TESOL Certificate. Please contact Dr. Megan Smith with questions about the program. Current Mississippi State University students can register to complete the TESOL Certificate in one of the following ways:

Either of these options is sufficient; it is not necessary to do both.


The TESOL Certificate requires the completion of five courses with a grade of C or above in each course for undergraduate students and with a grade of B or above in each course for graduate students. The course options are listed below. Courses that are cross-listed in more than one department may be taken under any cross-listing.

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.