Adult/University Level TESOL

The Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) Graduate Certificate Program is designed to meet the needs of UWM graduate students who wish to teach English as a Second Language (ESL) to non-English speaking adults. Requirements for this program are very similar to those for the undergraduate TESOL certificate, but training in the graduate program is more rigorous and credits can be applied (concurrently or subsequently) to the Master's degree program in Linguistics.

TESOL is an internationally-recognized acronym that denotes the holder of the certificate has received specialized training in the methodologies of teaching English, second language acquisition, bilingualism, and multicultural awareness.

The use of English as a common language of communication has risen dramatically in the last few decades, and the demand for TESOL trained instructors is high in certain parts of the world. Asia, Central America, and South America are three particular hot spots where people have a strong desire learn English or improve their English language skills.

Students who love to travel often make a career out of traveling the globe, picking up jobs in various nations. Others stay closer to home and find similar positions in the U.S. teaching English to immigrants, visitors, foreign students, or others who have not learned English as their first language. TESOL is a dynamic profession that combines innovation and creativity with interactions in culturally-diverse communities.

Certificate Requirements

Total TESOL Credits

18 credits

Admission Requirements

Students who wish to apply to the program should submit the following materials to the TESOL Certificate Program coordinator in the Department of Linguistics:

  • Adult/University-Level TESOL Undergraduate Certificate Program application form (available from the TESOL Certificate Program Coordinator);
  • Transcripts of all college-level academic work, with evidence of a GPA of 2.500 or better;
  • A statement of purpose; and
  • 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 also should submit scores of least 550 on the TOEFL exam and 45 on the TSE.

Required Courses (12 credits)

Linguis 350 - Introduction to Linguistics, 3 credits

Linguis 410 - Linguistics and Grammar in ESL Education, 3 credits

Linguis 420 - Introduction to Second Language Acquisition, 3 credits

Linguis 565 - Introduction to Adult/University-Level TESOL, 3 credits

One of the Following Courses (3 Credits)

Linguis 430 - Language and Society, 3 credits

Linguis 570 - Issues in Bilingualism, 3 credits (jointly offered with Anthro 570)

One of the Following Electives (3 Credits)

English 404 - Language, Power, and Identity, 3 credits

Linguis 415 - First Language Acquisition, 3 credits

Linguis 460 - Introduction to Phonology, 3 credits

Linguis 464 - Introduction to Syntax, 3 credits

Linguis 468 - Language in Its Various Forms: (Subtitled), 3 credits

Linguis 470 - Historical/Comparative Linguistics, 3 credits

Linguis 560 - Advanced Phonology, 3 credits

Linguis 564 - Advanced Syntax, 3 credits

Required Internship Course

The teaching internship is completed at one of the internship institutions affiliated with the certificate program. The site of the internship may be chosen by the student, but it must be approved 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.

  • Linguis 569 - Internship in Teaching ESL to Adult Learners, 3 credits)

Additional Requirements:

There is a time limit of three years from initial enrollment for completion of the certificate.

Additional Information

Undergraduate students concurrently completing a bachelor’s degree receive the certificate upon completion of their degree requirements; post-baccalaureate special students and non-degree students receive the certificate upon completion of the required coursework and internship.

Students who previously have taken any of the required courses while enrolled as non-degree undergraduate students or students in other undergraduate programs at UWM may transfer the credits earned into the certificate program, so long as the courses have been taken within the last five years. Students who have taken comparable undergraduate-level courses at other institutions may be allowed to transfer in up to 6 credits of coursework, upon approval of the certificate program coordinator.

GPA Requirements

The College requires that students attain at least a 2.5 GPA on all credits in the certificate attempted at UWM. In addition, students must attain a 2.5 GPA on all certificate credits attempted, including any transfer work.