Adult/University-Level TESOL Graduate Certificate Program

The Adult/University-Level TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) Graduate Certificate Program is designed to meet the needs of graduate non-degree students or graduate students concurrently enrolled in a UWM master’s or Ph.D. program who wish to teach English as a Second Language (ESL) to adults or university-level students abroad. Requirements for this program are very similar to those for the “Adult/University-Level TESOL Certificate Program,” which accepts undergraduate students and post-baccalaureate special students, but training in the graduate certificate program is more rigorous and can be applied (concurrently or subsequently) to the M.A. program in Linguistics.

Eligibility and Admission

Applicants must possess a baccalaureate degree and have a minimum 2.75 cumulative undergraduate grade point average to be admitted in to a certificate program.


  • All graduate certificate applicants—even those already enrolled in a UWM graduate program—must apply to the Graduate School via the Panthera Admission Application.
  • Submit the following materials to the TESOL Certificate Program Coordinator in the Department of Linguistics:
    • Adult/University-Level TESOL Graduate Certificate Program application form (available from the Linguistics Department office).
    • Transcripts of all college-level academic work, with evidence of a GPA of 2.75 or better.
    • A statement of purpose.
    • Two letters of recommendation from persons knowledgeable about the applicant’s recent academic and/or work experience.
    • Applicants who are not native speakers of English should also submit TOEFL scores of at least 550 (paper-based test) or 79 (internet-based test), or at least 6.5 on the IELTS exam, and 45 on the TSE, or an equivalent means of demonstrating proficiency.
  • Graduate degree and previously admitted graduate non-degree students who decide to pursue a certificate program must submit the Panthera application before completing 6 credits in the certificate sequence.

Certificate Requirements

Credits and Courses
Students are required to complete the six courses (18 credits) plus teaching internship (3 credits) outlined below.

Linguis/MALLT 708 Proseminar in Linguistics
Linguis 410 Literacy, Grammar, and Methodologies in ESL Education
Linguis 420 Introduction to Second Language Acquisition
Linguis/English 565 Introduction to Adult/University-Level TESOL
Linguis 430 Language and Society or Linguis/Anthro 570 Issues in Bilingualism

One elective selected from the following:
English 404 Language, Power, and Identity
Linguis 415 First Language Acquisition
Linguis 460 Intorduction to Phonology
Linguis 464 Intorduction to Syntax
Linguis 468 Language in its Various Forms: (Subtitle)
Linguis 470 Historical/Comparative Linguistics
Linguis 560 Advanced Phonoloogy
Linguis 564 Advanced Syntax
Linguis/Ed Psych 748 Oral Language, Cognition, and Literacy
Linguis/English 806 Seminar in Linguistics: (Subtitle)
Linguis/English 569 Internship in Teaching ESL to Adult Learners

The teaching internship is completed at one of the internship institutions affiliated with the Certificate Program. The site of the internship will be determined by the Certificate Program staff. The student is expected to complete between 40 and 60 hours of supervised teaching over a period of four to eight weeks.

Grade Point Average Requirement
A minimum cumulative 3.00 grade point average in certificate courses taken at UWM is required.

Transfer Credit
No more than 6 credits may be taken at an institution other than UWM. These courses are subject to Graduate School transfer policy and must be approved by the director of the certificate program. Students who have completed any of the required courses for undergraduate credit must substitute other courses at the graduate level, selected in consultation with the certificate program coordinator to fulfill the credit requirements.

Articulation with Degree Programs

  1. Credits and courses required for a certificate may double count toward meeting UWM graduate degree requirements subject to the following restrictions:
    • Degree programs must approve the courses from certificates that can double count toward the degree.
    • All credits taken in completion of certificate requirements may count towards a UWM graduate degree as long as they do not contribute more than 90% of the total credits needed to obtain the degree. (Note: Students in Ph.D. programs must still complete the minimum residency requirements)
    • Certificate courses used toward meeting degree requirements must be completed within the time limit for transfer credit.
  2. Courses completed for a degree may be counted toward a subsequent certificate, subject to all certificate policy requirements.
  3. A course may count toward no more than one certificate and one degree.
  4. Students may not earn a certificate subsequent to a concentration in the same area.

Time Limit

Certificate program time limits shall be established as follows:

18 or fewer credits/Three years from initial enrollment in the certificate sequence.

19 or more credits/Four years from initial enrollment in the certificate sequence.

For certificates that are designed as add-ons to degree programs and are awarded concurrent with the degree, the time limit shall be the same as that of the degree program.