Graduate Certificate: English as a Second Language


Learn more about the graduate certificate in English as a Second Language.

About the Certificate

The population of English learners has been increasing dramatically across Pennsylvania. This significant growth has led to an increased need for trained ESL teachers. While the ESL graduate certificate is required for individuals to lead ESL classes, it is also strongly recommended for all teachers as Pennsylvania classrooms become increasingly diverse.

In response to the significant need for well-trained ESL and mainstream teachers, Temple’s ESL certificate program offers a set of four challenging and practical courses that prepare teachers to work effectively with ESL students. Through this program, students develop a foundation in English usage, linguistic awareness, and second language acquisition. They also learn to adapt and develop instructional materials for ESL students; administer and interpret a variety of formative and summative assessments; become knowledgeable about support services for English language learners; and develop cultural awareness and sensitivity. Because each course includes fieldwork, students have frequent opportunities to teach ESL students throughout the program, immediately applying newly learned concepts and skills. Courses are taught by full-time Temple faculty to ensure students are guided by experts in the field and receive a high-quality education. ESL certificate course credits can also be applied toward Temple University’s MSEd in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL).

The ESL graduate certificate can currently be added to any valid Pennsylvania Instructional I or II teaching certificate. However, to obtain a position as an ESL teacher in a public school, individuals must be certified in Early Childhood Education, Middle Grades English, or Secondary English. To add this credential, students with certificates in other Middle Grades or Secondary content areas should take the Praxis® English Language Arts: Content Knowledge (5038).

Time Limit for Certificate Completion: 4 years

Campus Location: Main

Full-Time/Part-Time Status: The graduate certificate can be completed on a part-time basis. NOTE: International students may not be eligible to apply for a student visa based on admission to the certificate program. Please contact the Office of Enrollment Management for more information.

Admission Requirements and Deadlines

Application Deadline:
Applications are accepted for the Fall, Spring and Summer terms and are reviewed on a rolling basis.

Prospective students should hold an Instructional I or II certificate that is valid in Pennsylvania. Alternatively, students may be accepted if they are matriculated in a certification program at Temple University:

  • Undergraduates currently matriculated in a Temple teacher certification program are eligible for the certificate program after achieving candidacy with a minimum GPA of 3.0.
  • Graduate students with good academic standing while enrolled in a teacher certification program are also eligible for the certificate program.

Prospective students not currently matriculated in a Temple University teacher certification program must APPLY ONLINE to this certificate program.

Letters of Reference:
Number Required: 2

From Whom: Letters of recommendation should be obtained to provide insight regarding the applicant's academic competence. References from college/university faculty are recommended.

Bachelor's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline: A bachelor's degree is required. A minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 is expected.

Applicants who have taken some TESOL courses, who have experience as an ESL teacher, and/or who participated in ESL-related professional development activities may request a credential review.

International applicants should also submit an official document that validates completion and conferral of a degree, diploma and/or certificate. While not required, international applicants are encouraged to submit transcript(s) to the World Education Services (WES) for evaluation.

Statement of Goals: Write a 500-1,000-word statement of purpose outlining your interest in seeking a graduate certificate with a specific focus on the career to which you aspire, your interests, and your academic and job-related experiences that are relevant to the program. 

Standardized Test Scores:
Applicants who earned their baccalaureate degree from an institution where the language of instruction was other than English, with the exception of those who subsequently earned a master’s degree at a U.S. institution, must report scores for a standardized test of English that meet these minimums:

  • TOEFL iBT: 79
  • IELTS Academic: 6.5
  • PTE Academic: 53

Resume: Current resume required.

Other Requirements: 

  1. Official undergraduate and graduate transcripts from all accredited institutions attended and/or from which credit was earned must be submitted.
  2. A copy of a valid Pennsylvania Instructional I or II Teaching Certification or evidence of enrollment in a certification program must be submitted.

Certificate Requirements

Number of Credits Required to Complete the Certificate: 12

Required Courses:

TESL 5613Multilingual Students' Literacy Development3
TESL 5616Designing Assessment and Curriculum for Multilingual Students3
TESL 5621Contexts for Teaching and Learning Language3
TESL 5631Foundations of Language Teaching: Meeting the Needs of English Language Learners3
Total Credit Hours12

GPA Required to be Awarded the Certificate: 3.0 minimum


Certificate Program Web Address:

Department Information:

Dept. of Teaching and Learning

College of Education and Human Development

1301 Cecil B. Moore Avenue

Philadelphia, PA 19122-6091


Submission Address for Application Materials:

Department Contacts:


Office of Enrollment Management


ESL Certificate Program Coordinator:

Dr. Jill M. Swavely


245 Ritter Hall