TESL Residency Licensure

Welcome to the UNCW Teaching English as Second Language Residency Licensure Program

Earn your North Carolina teaching license in Teaching English as a Second Language online at UNCW’s Watson College of Education.

UNCW’s 18 credit-hour Residency Licensure program can be completed in just over one year. Courses are taught by dedicated faculty with extensive teaching experience, and the program is designed to accommodate working professionals while providing preparation for effective teaching and learning in the classroom.

Our TESL Residency courses are offered at the graduate level and can be transferred into our master’s program.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Residency Licensure? Residency Licensure is an alternative pathway to teaching that allows qualified individuals to begin teaching while completing North Carolina licensure requirements. Residency licensure replaces the lateral entry pathway, which was discontinued by the State Board of Education as of June 30, 2019.

View more Frequently Asked Questions >

Overview of Courses


Semester offered


TSL 511
ESL Issues: Culture, Policy and Advocacy


Students will be introduced to the field of English as a second language. Students will research the cultural, social, legal, and political contexts of working with English language learners from both historical and critical perspectives. Students will use a social justice framework to investigate and compare how ELLs interact in academic environments. Requirements include a 10-hour participatory observation experience where students will investigate how ELLs and their families relate to the schools and communities in which they live. This field experience will be completed in your own classroom.

TSL 516
Second Language Acquisition Research and Theory


Students investigate and research important aspects of first and second language acquisition. Topics include how first language acquisition can impact second language acquisition, current research in both fields, the progression of theoretical developments in the field of Second Language Acquisition and how these developments compare to those in the field of educational psychology.

TSL 517
Methods for Second Language Learners


Students will critically examine the instructional cycle used with English as a second language students.  Topics include the design and implementation of instruction.  The course includes a 30-hour field experience component that will be completed in your own classroom.

TSL 537
Linguistics for Teachers


A study of current American English and of the principles of analysis of spoken and written language; emphasis on understanding that nature and structure of the language that students bring into the classroom. Includes exploration of language-related educational issues such as bilingualism, dialects, and disorders.

TSL 518
English as a Second Language Assessment

Summer Session I

In this course, students will explore issues related to the assessment of non-native speakers of English.  Topics addressed include program evaluation, classroom assessment, issues related to standardized assessment, and language proficiency assessment.

EDN 590
Student Teaching in Education

Any Fall or Spring semester after other coursework is completed

Designed to provide a supervised internship in a K12 school or adult education setting. Focus on execution and evaluation of instruction involving application of theory and pedagogical principles and practices studied in the graduate program. This course will be completed in the student’s own classroom, and is required for NC licensure.

Learn More!

For additional information, contact WCE TESL program coordinator Dr. Eleni Pappamihielat pappamihieln@uncw.edu or 910.962.2746 and view the UNCW Academic catalogue.


Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university, and a teaching position in a North Carolina public school (K-12).

To Apply

Ready to Apply to the UNCW Residency Licensure Program? Contact Kimberly Harris in Graduate Admissions, to get started!

The application deadline varies depending upon the semester you apply.

Program Coordinator

Dr. Eleni Pappamihiel