Marjorie Struck, School of Education alum, teaching students in her classroom.

The English as a Second Language Education program is for undergraduate students who are interested in teaching with a PK-12 ESL certification.

Program Type

Major

Program Format

On Campus
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A PK-12 English as a Second Language License Will Provide You With: 

  • Strategies and methods to support the linguistic and academic needs of ALL of your students. 
  • The tools necessary to modify/adapt your lessons and activities to ensure that ALL students can participate.
  •  An opportunity to develop/strengthen cultural competence to help you understand and support ALL of your students.
  • Tools and resources to become an advocate for English learning students and their families.
Members of the Hmong Student Association happily and enthusiastically pose for a group photo
Through UWM’s Hmong Diaspora Studies Certificate Program, first generation student Yang Pao Cheng learned more about his culture and found a home with the Hmong Student Association.

Who Is a PK-12 English as a Second Language Teacher?

  • An ESL teacher is a trained individual who can assist students who do not use English as their primary language to gain proficiency in the English language.
  • An ESL teacher works with students of all ages and in a variety of subjects to develop their skills in listening, speaking, reading and writing in English.
  • As an ESL teacher, you will join a network of dedicated teachers improving access to quality education for students for whom English is not their first language. 

Why PK-12 ESL Certification?

  • English language learners are among the fastest-growing groups in U.S. schools. According to the National Education Association, 1 in 4 children in classrooms across the United States will be an English language learner by 2025.
  • Several states, including Wisconsin, report a shortage of teachers qualified to serve language learners (U.S. Department of Education, 2018). This is where you come in!
  • As an ESL teacher, you are able to make a difference. ESL teachers play a key role in connecting the world and opening doors of opportunity to children and families.

Career Opportunities

This teacher certification allows program completers to work as a PK-12 English as a Second Language teacher/specialist.

This ESL certification is also a preferred credential for individuals who are considering teaching English abroad.

Multiliteracies, Languages, and Cultures Resource Library (MLC)

The MLC Resource Library provides interdisciplinary teaching materials for teacher candidates, practicing teachers, graduate students and faculty of the School of Education who are MLC related. Those seeking instructional materials for student teachings, field placements or course assignments are able to access this library.

For more information, visit the Multiliteracies, Languages, and Cultures Resource Library (MLC) webpage.

In this ESL certification program, candidates will explore the following topics:  

  • Linguistics and grammar 
  • Biliteracy
  • Theories of language acquisition  
  • Politics of language acquisition  
  • Teaching strategies to support English learners  
  • Advocacy 

In addition, candidates will have the opportunity to work with ESL students in multiple and diverse field placements.  

Program Requirements

Post-Baccalaureate Program

Students who already hold a bachelor’s degree can earn their teaching certification by successfully completing our post-baccalaureate teaching certification program. It’s possible that coursework completed as part of your bachelor’s degree could be applied toward our program. Please complete the web form below to find out if any of your previous coursework can be used to fulfill certification requirements.

Request for Transcript Evaluation Form (for post-baccalaureate students only)

The program is designed to be completed at your own pace; students generally take between one to three courses per semester, with evening classes, virtual and summer courses as options. Learn more about the program options by visiting the Post-Baccalaureate Program webpage.

Graduate Program

Please contact Dr. Tatiana Joseph, program chair and assistant professor, for more information. This is a focus area in the Curriculum and Instruction MS Degree program. See C&I Master’s degree program.

Add On License & Extension License

  • Initial Certification

Admission Criteria

Undergraduate Students

  • A 2.5 minimum cumulative GPA in all UWM and transfer courses at the time of admission application.
  • A 2.75 minimum cumulative GPA in any English as a Second Language (ESL) content courses.
  • A minimum of 48 credits (UWM and transfer credits) at the time of admission application.
  • Additional undergraduate requirements for admission — see academic advisor.

Post-Baccalaureate Students

  • A minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.5 on all coursework completed for undergraduate credit.
  • A 2.75 minimum cumulative GPA in any English as a Second Language (ESL) content courses.
  • For additional information, see your academic advisor

Graduate Students

Application Process

Undergraduate Program

Undergraduate Admission Application

Post-Baccalaureate Program

Please view the requirements and complete the application form linked below to apply. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Applications must be submitted a minimum of 6 weeks prior to the semester in which you wish to begin.

Post-Baccalaureate Admission Application

Graduate Program

Please contact Dr. Tatiana Joseph, program chair and assistant professor, for more information. This is a focus area in the Curriculum and Instruction MS Degree program. See C&I Master’s degree program. Applications must be submitted a minimum of 6 weeks prior to the semester in which you wish to begin.

Faculty

Tatiana Joseph, Assistant Professor in Teaching and Learning.
  • Assistant Professor, Teaching and Learning
  • Program Director, English as a Second Language Education
  • Program Director, World Language Education

Advising

  • (Last names A – L) – Tyree Bolden
  • (Last names M – Z) – Nikki Claas
Tyree Bolden, Academic Advisor in Office of Student Services.
  • Academic Advisor, Office of Student Services
Nicole Claas, Senior Academic Advisor in Office of Student Services.
  • Senior Academic Advisor, Office of Student Services
Important Dates
Program Information Session
Tuesday, Feb. 27, 5:00 – 6:00 pm
More Information and Registration

Application Deadline Undergraduate, Post-Baccalaureate, and Graduate
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Applications must be submitted a minimum of 6 weeks prior to the semester in which you wish to begin.
Contact
Dr. Tatiana Joseph
Assistant Professor and Program Director
josepht@uwm.edu

For information or questions about admissions, contact:

Maggie Kaczmarek
Undergraduate Admissions Manager
kaczmarm@uwm.edu

To discuss your academic plan and coursework, contact an academic advisor:

Office of Student Services Advising
soeinfo@uwm.edu
414-229-4721

Academic Advising
(Last names A – L) – Tyree Bolden
(Last names M – Z) – Nikki Claas