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.  

Admission | Certificate RequirementsRecommended SequencesFrequently Asked Questions


Admission requirements are a completed Bachelor’s Degree with a final GPA of 3.0/4.0, a 1-2 page statement of purpose (400-600 words) addressing reasons for pursuing the certificate, and for international students (non-native speakers of English), either an IELTS score of 7.0 or a TOEFL score of 80.  

All five courses (15 credits) are accredited graduate courses and will transfer to the UA MATESL and other degrees at UA or other universities. Admission to the MATESL is separate, but students who complete the Certificate with a GPA of 3.5/4.0 will receive preferential consideration for admission to the MA. 

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

Students interested in the Certificate should apply through the Graduate College application website and specify whether they are applying to the online or the on campus version. A $85 fee is required.

Certificate Requirements:

The certificate requires 15 credit hours, comprised of 1) Linguistics and Grammar for TESOL (English 506 or equivalent), 2) Culture for TESL (English 620 or equivalent), 3) Introduction to TESOL Methods (English 555 or equivalent), 4) Advanced Methods for TESOL (English 613 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. Only Technology and English Teaching is available to online students. 

1) Linguistics for TESL. (3 credits)

English 506: Modern English Grammar. This course serves as an introduction to basic linguistics concepts for EFL teachers, including phonology, morphology, and grammar, with implications for teaching ESL/FL. Students also learn the basics of English grammar from the perspective of a learner, and how to teach it accordingly. Students engage in discussion, exercises, and mock online grammar teaching. Students read 20-40 pages of graduate level material a week. No prerequisite.

2) Culture for TESL (3 credits),

English 620: Cultural Dimensions of SLA. This course introduces cultural issues related to teaching English as a global language, including cross-cultural communication and teaching culture. Students engage in discussion, exercises, and complete a learner case study, a teaching context evaluation, and a lesson plan for teaching culture. Students read 20-40 pages of graduate level material a week. No prerequisite. 

3) Introduction to TESL Methods. (3 credits)

English 555: Methods I: Introduction to TESOL. The course provides a general overview of the TESL profession introducing prominent theories, methodologies, and issues in the field. Coursework covers foundations for classroom practice including teaching by principles and communicative language teaching, as well as learner variables and contexts of teaching and learning. The course also covers issues surrounding Global English and the practice of Teaching English as an International Language. Students engage in tutoring, observations of a variety of ESL teaching contexts, and mock lesson teaching. Online students complete tutoring and observation in their own communities, and mock online lesson teaching. Students read 20-40 pages of graduate level material a week. No prerequisite.

4) Advanced TESL Methods (3 credits)

English 613: Methods II: Curriculum/Materials Development and Assessment. This course introduces practical classroom considerations like curriculum and course design, materials development, lesson planning, assessment, and teaching the skills areas: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Students engage in discussion and the development of materials and a lesson plan. Students read 20-40 pages of graduate level material a week. Prerequisite: English 555.

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

Technology in TESL (only online elective available) (3 credits)

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. Students engage in discussion, website evaluation, and online materials and lesson plan development. Students read 20-40 pages of graduate level material a week. Prerequisite: Introduction to TESL. Prerequisite: English 555.

L2 Writing (3 credits)

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. Students read 20-40 pages of graduate level material a week. Prerequisite: English 555. Not offered online.

Research in TESL (3 credits)

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. Students read 20-40 pages of graduate level material a week. Prerequisite: English 613. Not offered online.

Community TESL Practicum (3 credits)

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. Students read 20-40 pages of graduate level material a week. Prerequisite: English 613. Not offered online. 

On campus course sequence August 2018 - May 2019:

Fall 2018

Spring 2019

  • 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: TESOL and Culture
  • English 615: Second Language Acquisition


Online course sequence January - December 2019:

Spring 1 (Jan 9 - Mar 1, 2019)

Spring 2 (Mar 11 - May 1, 2019)

Summer 1 (May 13 - June  28 2019)

Fall 1 (August 26 - October 4, 2019)

Fall 2 (October 5 - December 11 2019)

English 506: Linguistics and Grammar for TESOL

English 555: Methods I: Introduction to TESOL

English 613: Methods II: Curriculum/Materials Development and Assessment

English 620: Cultural Dimensions of Second Language Acquisition

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. 

How much does the Certificate Cost?

For 2017-2018 on campus, Arizona resident students pay approximately $900 per unit, and the total cost of the 15 credit on campus Certificate is about $12,000. Non-resident students on campus pay about $1900 per unit, and the total cost is about $27,500. For 2017-2018 online, both residents and non-residents pay approx. $680 per unit, and the total cost of the 15 credit online Certificate is about $11,000. 

More information is on the Bursar's office Tuition and Fees page. While we do not offer financial support for Certificate students, students may qualify for financial aid independently. 

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. UA's CESL offers excellent non-credit TESL teacher training courses for individuals not sure if they want to commit to credit-bearing coursework. 

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, for both residents and non-residents.

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.

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. Online students complete the Certificate in 10 months, taking 5 subsequent 7.5 week courses. 

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 require 2 additional semesters (1 year) of coursework for those who've finished the Certificate.

Does the Grad Certificate in TESL count towards State of Arizona ESL Teaching Endorsement?

No. The Grad Certificate is designed for individuals interested primarily in teaching adults in the US, and teaching children and adults overseas. One course, English 555, counts towards official state endorsement. If you are interested in ESL endorsement to teach K-12 in the State of Arizona, please visit the College of Education's Endorsement Page

What assistance is available in job finding and professional development?

On campus Grad Certificate students may participate in all EAL student activities, which include professional development seminars and events. Online students can participate in a special online seminar for TESL job hunting, offered every Spring. 



College of Social and Behavioral Sciences