International Teacher Education for Secondary Schools (ITESS)

Bachelor’s Degree (4 years), Full-time

Would you like to study in an international environment? Would you be happy to work with young people in schools across the world? If so, teaching at international secondary schools may suit you. International Teacher Education for Secondary Schools (ITESS) prepares you for a meaningful job and for an adventurous career in the rapidly growing world of international schools.

  • Unique, four-year programme aimed specifically at international education.
  • Grow into a qualified and world-wise teacher, ready to work at various types of international secondary schools.
  • Great job prospects in a rapidly expanding field.
  • Teaching practice at international schools in the Netherlands, Europe and beyond.
  • One semester (half a year) of study at a partner university outside the Netherlands.

ITESS offers five main subject fields and expects to add new subject fields in the coming years.

  • Mathematics
  • Social Studies: History
  • English
  • Geography
  • Science

For more information about the five subject fields, go to Specialisations.

Stay up to date

For more information about ITESS, please send an email to

You can ask for a skype-meeting or a phone call if you like. Would you like join ITESS classes for a day? Write to An ITESS student will assist you. 

Full information about the steps you take to be admitted to ITESS.



  • Bachelor of Education

Study start

  • September


  • Groningen


  • English

Standard duration

4 years


This course amounts to a total of 240 ECTS.


  • EU students (per year) € 1.084,-
  • NON-EU students (per year) €8,350
View all costs

Application deadlines

EU: 15 August
Non-EU: 31 May
More information

On completion of this programme, you will be ready for teaching at international and bilingual secondary schools. In this creative and meaningful job, you will work with learners in the age group between 11 and 16.

You join up with colleagues in an international and intercultural environment. Many of your learners have parents who work in a country for some years, and then move on. Your classes often include local learners who want to improve their English and prepare for international higher education.

With your newfound professional skills, you will be a confident teacher to all kinds of learners. With your help, they will acquire the necessary subject knowledge and develop into eager, social, and balanced individuals.

Jobs open to you after graduation (and further specialisation):

  • Teacher at an international secondary school.
  • Coordinator of school programmes or projects.
  • School leader or deputy school leader.
  • (Careers) counsellor.
  • Special educational needs teacher.
  • Teacher in bilingual education.

The ITESS diploma does not include a Dutch teaching license. To obtain a teaching license for the Netherlands, Dutch or Dutch speaking students may choose to complete an additional programme in regular Dutch teacher education of 30 to 60 credits, depending on the situation and the specialisation.

Living in Groningen
Groningen is one of the best liked university towns in the Netherlands.
NHL Stenden will offer international ITESS students help in finding accommodation during their first year in Groningen.
Please send an email to for more information. The housing agency StudentStay gives priority to international ITESS students in Groningen.

See also for general information on student accommodation for international and Dutch students.

Academic Requirements

To be admitted to one of our 4-year bachelor programmes, you will need to meet the admission requirements as outlined in Dutch Higher Education law. For a 4 -year bachelor programme at NHL Stenden, you need a diploma that is at least equivalent to an NLQF 4/EQF 4 level (Dutch/European Qualifications Framework)* and comparable to the required Dutch diploma.

The Central Student Administration at NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences carries out an assessment on every individual application to our 4-year bachelor programmes. It generally recognises the international qualifications listed here**

If the qualification you will obtain or have obtained is not listed as a recognised qualification, you may still be eligible to study at NHL Stenden and should also apply for the programme through Studielink. Your qualifications will be assessed by an Admissions Officer at the Central Student Administration (CSA) department at NHL Stenden once you have submitted your application.

If it is unclear what the equivalent level of your secondary school diploma is within the Dutch education system, NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences will have your diploma evaluated by Nuffic, a Dutch organisation specialised in the assessment of international qualifications. For an indication of how your educational system compares to the Dutch system, please visit the Nuffic website.

* The European Qualifications Framework (EQF) is a tool for understanding and comparing qualifications awarded in different countries and by different education and training systems. Its eight levels are described in terms of learning outcomes: knowledge, skills and competences. The levels of the Dutch Qualification Framework (NLQF) are linked to the levels of the EQF.

** All applications are assessed on an individual basis by the Central Student Administration (CSA) even if your diploma is listed as a recognised qualification. Although this document has been composed carefully by NHL Stenden, rights cannot be derived from this overview.

All non-EU/EEA applicants are required to submit an English proficiency test with their application to show that their English language skills are at a high enough level to succeed in their studies.

Exceptions can be made for students who have had their preparatory education in a country where English is the only official educational language.

If you are applying for a bachelor degree and hold a diploma from a European institution listed here, and English was included as part of the final exam curriculum, then the additional English language test is not required. The same applies to students who have attained General Certificates of Secondary Education (enough O and A/AS levels with the sufficient score), the European Baccalaureate Certificate, International Baccalaureate Diploma, or an IB career-related programme taught fully in English.

All other applicants need to submit a valid and adequate English language test result with their application.

NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences accepts four kinds of official language tests in accordance with the Code of Conduct International Student in Dutch Higher Education:
• Academic IELTS 6.0 ** (with an advised minimum of 5.0 for each skill) 
• TOEFL 550 ** (paper-based), 213 (computer-based) or 80 (internet-based). Original test results must be sent directly from the Educational Testing Service to NHL Stenden. The TOEFL institution code for NHL Stenden is C652. 
• Cambridge ESOL score FCE-C (169, or higher). 
• TOEIC *670 (Listening and Reading) and 290 (Speaking and Writing). 

*We only accept TOEIC® certificates from public programs and not from institutional programs. Public programs are organized in public centers and delivers an official score report which is recognized worldwide.
** IELTS, TOEFL and TOEIC certificates more than 2 years old (at the start date of the study), will not be accepted. 

View the comparison of the different scores.

Please note: If you do not yet have the necessary level in English, you may enrol in our Preparatory English Language Course.

Algemene afbeelding testimonials

“My teaching and travelling passions really come together in this programme.”

Student International Teacher Education for Secondary Schools (ITESS) Read more


For specific questions about the ITESS programme, email
For questions to ITESS students, email

You are welcome to join ITESS classes for a day. Send us an email and make an appointment with an ITESS student who will be your guide.

Are you curious to find out how current students experience ITESS? Check out the website where they tell you all about their experience and community!

Study overview

First year

You explore what it means to assume the role of a teacher in international education. You become aware of your own cultural identity and acquire intercultural skills. You encounter the social aspects of learning and teaching in a global context through the course units of Democratic Citizenship and Educational Studies. You broaden and deepen your knowledge and skills in the main subject field. You apply what you learn in practical tasks and you gain experience by designing and developing educational activities in your subject field. In this year, you will gain an advanced understanding of the English language (C1). Additionally, you will experience life at an international school in Teaching Practice.

In the first semester, you prepare for nine weeks of Teaching Practice. You will teach the main subject of your choice at an international school abroad. The theory and practice of research is another point of focus in this year. In the second semester, you cooperate with incoming student teachers from partner universities in your main subject field.

In the first semester, you prepare for another nine weeks of Teaching Practice. This time around, the focus will be on differentiation and pedagogics. You do more advanced research into didactics based on your personal and professional view of teaching the subject in international education. In the second semester, you get the chance to study abroad at a partner university, choosing a programme to strengthen your profile and employability.  In this way, you can broaden your field: a student of Mathematics could add Science for example, and a student of History could add Social Geography. You can also specialise in Inclusion or Educational Leadership, which are special programmes offered at partner universities. For some students, this semester is part of an agreed individual track in ITESS.

You show all-round professional competences at bachelor level in teaching practice and by means of a final portfolio. You develop your English language skills even further (C2) and you round off your main subject field. You demonstrate your didactic know-how in a final paper and in an attractive educational event. You prove your academic capability in a bachelor thesis relevant to international education. 


You may choose to specialise in any of the following subjects.

ITESS Mathematics

There is a huge demand for mathematics teachers at international schools. They are much-needed to help young people develop their skills of logical problem-solving. With the ongoing technological developments, we will need many scientists and mathematicians in the future, and you can be the one to help educate them. As a math teacher at an international school, you will often use multimedia tools to bring the world of mathematics into your classroom. ITESS helps you to become a good mathematician, a fine teacher, and a source of inspiration to your students.

ITESS History

When studying History at ITESS, you are on your way to making young people aware of history’s influence on the world around them. Get acquainted with many topics like ancient history, world history, war and peace, and historical research and methods. You will discover links to social geography and other social studies as well. The didactics of teaching history will be thoroughly covered. Your teaching will enhance a learner’s understanding of what drives societies, past and present. It will enable them to think critically about created, historical myths.

ITESS English

English is spoken as a first language in many countries and is used as an additional language by millions of people across the globe. English is the language of communication in most international schools. At ITESS you will learn about English and about the various cultures of speakers of English. After graduation, you will be ready to teach English as an additional language.

ITESS Geography

Geography is all around you. The core of teaching Geography is helping students to give meaning to their nearby world while gaining insight into the physical, environmental and socio-cultural diversity of the wider world in which they learn to play an active role.

ITESS Science

Technological and scientific discoveries are rapidly changing the world. To face the global challenges of the 21st century, we need citizens who have a basic understanding of science. ITESS makes sure that student teachers obtain a helicopter view of the main science concepts to teach pupils aged 11-14. Moreover, ITESS offers an in-depth specialisation in biology, chemistry or physics to teach children aged 14-16.
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Personal Contact

Are you interested in ITESS and would you like to find out more? Request a personal skype call or inquire via email.

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With Design Based Education (DBE), ideas are turned into practical solutions, often in an international context. You will work in small interdisciplinary groups on assignments from actual clients. This is the best way to prepare for your future field. DBE places a strong emphasis on the personal development of our students. Guided by the academic staff, students will take charge of their own learning path. Our new educational concept will be used in a selection of our study programmes, starting in September 2018. It will also be implemented in all of our study programmes in the years to come.