Graduate Certificate in Teaching English as a Second/Foreign Language

As English has become the world’s premier international language, English teachers are in demand all over the world. Most in demand are college graduates with degrees in English, Linguistics, or other humanities or social sciences, with additional preparation in the field of Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL). Teaching EFL is a rich experience that can truly open the world, and individuals with experience living and working a year or two abroad have a competitive edge in any field.

The University of Arizona English Applied Linguistics Program in the English Department offers a 15 credit hour, five course Graduate Certificate in Teaching English as a Second/Foreign Language Research and Practice. The certificate can be completed in two or three semesters on campus, or in five 7-week sessions online (10 months), run through UA Online.  With permission from their advisor, undergraduates may apply to take 2 of these required courses in their senior year, and complete the certificate in just one or two subsequent semesters as graduate students.


The Shanghai skyline--Opportunities for teaching EFL in China abound.

Admission | Certificate RequirementsRecommended SequencesFrequently Asked Questions



Admission requirements are a completed Bachelor’s Degree with a final GPA of 3.0/4.0, a one-page statement of purpose addressing reasons for pursuing the certificate, and for international students, either an IELTS score of 7.0, a TOEFL score of 80, or CESL endorsement.  

All five courses (15 credits) will transfer to the UA MATESL, which requires separate admission. Students who complete the Certificate with a GPA of 3.5/4.0 will receive preferential consideration for admission to the MAESL. 

Interested students should contact Dr. Jon Reinhardt at for more information.

Apply through the Graduate College application website. A $85 fee is required.

Certificate Requirements:

The certificate requires 15 credit hours, comprised of 1) Introduction to TESOL Methods (English 555 or equivalent), 2) Linguistics and Grammar for TESOL (English 506 or equivalent), 3) Advanced Methods for TESOL (English 613 or equivalent, 4) Culture for TESL (English 620 or equivalent), and 5) an elective focusing on Technology and English Teaching (English 589), Community ESL Practicum (English 693a), Second Language Writing, or Second Language Learning Research. At present only the Technology and English Teaching elective is available online, and most on-campus students are encouraged to take the ESL Practicum. 

1) Introduction to TESL. (3 credits)

English 555: Methods I: Introduction to TESOL. This course serves as an introduction to the field of TESL, including discussions of global Englishes, basic teaching methods, and the skills areas. Students engage in tutoring, observations of a variety of ESL teaching contexts, and mock lesson teaching. No prerequisite.

2) Linguistics for TESL. (3 credits)

English 506: Linguistics and Grammar for TESOL. This course serves as an introduction to basic linguistics concepts for EFL teachers, including phonology, morpho-syntax, pragmatics, and sociolinguistics (varieties and global Englishes), with implications for teaching ESL/FL. No prerequisite.

Certificate students who have taken a Linguistics course may substitute another approved graduate level linguistics or applied linguistics course in place of English 506.

3) Advanced TESL Methods (3 credits)

English 613: Methods II: Curriculum/Materials Development and Assessment. This course covers materials and curriculum development and assessment. Prerequisite: English 555.

4) Culture for TESL (3 credits),

English 620: Cultural Dimensions of SLA. This course introduces cultural issues related to teaching English as a global language. No prerequisite. 

5) Elective (3 credits). Note that all of these courses have prerequisites.

Technology in TESL (only online elective available)

English 589: Internet Technologies in L2 Instruction.  This course explores theory, practice, and pedagogical application of the latest Internet and computer technologies in second/foreign language education. Prerequisite: Introduction to TESL. Prerequisite: English 555.

Community TESL Practicum (recommended for on campus students)

English 693a: Applied ESL. This course focuses on observation and practice teaching in TESL contexts around the UA and Tucson, and will include group discussion of classroom management and discourse. Prerequisite: Introduction to TESL. Prerequisite: English 613. Not offered online. 

L2 Writing

English 580: Second Language Writing. This course provides an introduction to the teaching of second or foreign language writing in a range of contexts. Topics will include L2 writing development, culture and identity, pedagogical approaches, feedback on student writing, and writing assessment. Prerequisite: English 555. Not offered online.

Research in TESL

English 596j: SLA Research. This course covers the foundations of doing research design in Second Language Acquisition and Applied Linguistics, including research methods appropriate to the study of Teaching English as a Second Language. Prerequisite: English 613. Not offered online.

On campus course sequence:



  • English 555: Methods I: Intro to TESOL
  • English 506: Linguistics and Grammar for TESOL
  • English 613: Methods II: Curriculum/Materials Development and Assessment
  • English 620: Cultural Dimensions of Second Language Acquisition
  • English 693a: Community ESL Practicum


On campus specialization sequence:




  • English 555: Methods I: Intro to TESOL
  • English 506: Linguistics and Grammar for TESOL
  • English 613: Methods II: Curriculum/ Materials Development and Assessment
  • English 620: Cultural Dimensions of Second Language Acquisition
  • *English 580: Second Language Writing


  • *English 596j: Second Language Acquisition Research
  • *English 589: Internet Technologies in L2 Instruction


* one of the asterisked courses as specialization elective

Online course sequences:

starting August 2017 Fall 1 (Aug 21 - Oct 11 2017) Fall 2 (Oct 16 - Dec 6 2017) Spring 1 (Jan 10 - Mar 5, 2018) Spring 2 (Mar 7 - May 3, 2018) Summer 1 (May 15 - July  3 2018) Fall 1 (July 6 - Aug 12 2018)
  English 506: Linguistics and Grammar for TESOL English 620: Cultural Dimensions of Second Language Acquisition English 555: Methods I: Introduction to TESOL English 613: Methods II: Curriculum/Materials Development and Assessment English 589: Internet Technologies in L2 Instruction  


Frequently Asked Questions:

Why get a Grad Certificate in TESL?

A graduate certificate in TESL is recognized worldwide as the entry-level qualification to teach ESL and EFL--moreso than a single course or a non-credit certificate. It is less commitment than a full Master's degree, but is comprised of accredited coursework that is transferrable later to a graduate degree if needed. It is also ideal for graduate students in disciplines, like Linguistics, Rhetoric, Literature, Education, or the languages, who wish to have recognition for preparation in the field of TESL to complement their main degree. 

Why choose UA English for graduate TESL courses and the Certificate?

UA English TESL courses are designed by professors who are research experts in the fields of TESL and Applied Linguistics. Faculty together have over 50 years of ESL teaching experience all over the world. 

Why choose accredited for-credit courses over non-credit teacher training options?

UA English courses, both online and on-campus, are accredited and count towards graduate study. They may be applied in the future towards MATESL or other graduate degrees at UA or other universities. While they cost more than non-credit courses and certificates, for-credit options are a smart investment in one’s professional future. CESL offers excellent non-credit TESL teacher training courses for individuals not sure if they want to commit to a credit-bearing course. 

Why choose the UA Online option?

UA Online offers the five UA English TESL Certificate courses in five sequential 7-week sessions, meaning the entire Certificate can be completed in under one year. While coursework is intensive and graduate level, completion one at a time may be more convenient for working individuals. Online offerings also cost less than on-campus equivalents.

Assignments for all of the online courses include online materials development and online mock teaching practice. The online elective in Technology-Enhanced Language Learning is especially useful for individuals interested in teaching English online.

Why choose the on-campus option?

On campus courses are taught by professors and also taken by full-time MATESL and other graduate students. Students able to enroll full-time (3 courses one semester, 2 courses the second) may finish in two semesters, while students wishing to take one at a time can finish in two years.

The on-campus courses include face-to-face observations and mock teaching practice. The Community TESL Practicum course involves apprentice teaching at local Tucson community centers, and is especially useful for individuals interested in teaching community ESL. 

How many semesters does the program take?

An on campus student typically completes the Certificate in two or three semesters, taking 1 to 3 courses a semester. 

What if I have taken equivalent coursework already?

With program advisor approval, alternate or more advanced graduate courses focusing on the required areas may count towards Grad Certificate requirements.

Can I apply credits from other degrees?

Individual degree programs may restrict  application of credit to other graduate degrees or certificates. Six credit hours (2 courses) from other units may be applied to the Grad Certificate. Twelve of the 15 Grad Certificate CHs apply to the MAESL degree.

If I successfully complete the Grad Certificate in TESL, can I go on to an MATESL Degree?

Students who achieve a 3.5/4.0 GPA in the 5 certificate courses will receive preferred consideration for admission to the UA MATESL degree, which is a separate admission process. Completing the MA would normally requires 2 additional semesters (1 year) of coursework for those who've finished the Certificate.

What assistance is available in job finding and professional development?

Grad Certificate students may participate in all MATESL student activities, including REAL, the English Applied Linguistics Student Association, which hosts a variety of professional development seminars and events.



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