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Adult English as a Second/Foreign Language

Students with child

Globalization has created an international demand for English instructors. Certificate holders will meet this need by further developing their professional skills for the teaching, design, and coordination of ESL/EFL adult education programs locally and abroad in community colleges, profit/nonprofit institutions, and ESL/EFL programs.

This graduate certificate offers course projects and a practicum that helps professionals to further enhance their skills as ESL/EFL practitioners. 

This certificate program requires 18 hours to complete.

 Contact The Graduate College for general questions about getting started with your application, funding your degree, and more.
If you have program-specific questions after reviewing the program details, we encourage you to contact the following:

Graduate Advisor
Dr. Jeremy Bohonos
Academic Services Building South (ASBS), Room 306

Advisor Support
Kassi Redwine
Academic Services Building South (ASBS), Room 306

“The program helps you become highly trained as a language instructor and ready to meet the challenges of teaching adults.”

— Ghaith G. Al Dayni, M.A. ’15, Adult Education

Course Work

Through 18 hours of study, professionals enrolled in this certificate program will:

  • explore research related to contemporary adult ESL/EFL learning practices
  • update their skills through learning about innovative ESL/EFL methodologies and approaches to teaching, assessing and evaluating adult students’ language learning
  • articulate the relationships and connections between the assessment/testing of students and their performance
  • design instruction that supports and enhances inclusive adult ESL/EFL learning environments that cultivate respect for different cultural and linguistic backgrounds
  • design learning activities and materials that integrate and support the teaching of listening, speaking, reading, writing and culture to adult ESL/EFL learners
  • make informed decisions when choosing textbooks, teaching materials, and assessment and evaluation methods congruent with program and student needs
Education building

The program attracts local and international professionals. Certificate holders make a difference as instructors of ESL/EFL teaching adults in the nation and abroad.

Program Mission

The graduate ESL/EFL certificate program is rigorous and practitioner-centered, designed for individuals who are passionate about teaching adults from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds. The program prepares instructors and administrators who believe in implementing innovative teaching methods to create independent language learners who are also able to learn from each other. ESL/EFL certificate holders are knowledgeable of language acquisition theories and are able to infuse these theories in their teaching practice. They are reflective practitioners who are concerned about how to make their courses and programs more relevant to the lives of the adult ESL/EFL learners they serve.

Visit program website ›

Program Faculty

The faculty members in this program have 20+ years of experience training ESL/EFL instructors in the United States and abroad. They publish groundbreaking research, establishing the connection between theory and practice relevant for researchers and practitioners. Their research has been published in top-tier journals such as Journal of Studies in International Education, Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, The Modern Language Journal, Foreign Language Annals, Adult Basic Education and Literacy Journal, Adult Learning, and New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education.

Meet our faculty ›

Career Options

This graduate certificate prepares practitioners who work or will work in ESL/EFL programs as instructors, coordinators, administrators, and language proficiency testers. Certificate holders will be able to work in a variety of contexts such as community-based ESL/literacy, corporations, professional and voluntary associations, correctional institutions, libraries, museums, and cultural institutions.

Application Process

Step 1

Review Requirements

Application Deadlines

Deadlines U.S. Citizen International
Fall June 15 June 1
Spring October 15 October 1
Summer I April 1 March 15
Summer II June 1 No Admission

Application Deadline
This program has a flexible deadline, which means applications received after the posted deadline may be reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis, with no guarantees for admission consideration.

Decision Timeline
This program reviews applications on a rolling basis.

Application Requirements

The items required for admission consideration are listed below. Additional information for applicants with international credentials can be found on our international web pages.


  Review important information about the online application.

Application Fee

  • $20 nonrefundable application fee
  • $60 nonrefundable application fee for applications with international credentials

  Review important information about application fees.

Transcripts & GPA

  • baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited university
  • a copy of an official transcript from each institution where course credit was granted
  • minimum 2.5 GPA in your last 60 hours of undergraduate course work 
  • minimum 3.0 GPA in all completed graduate course work (if applicable)

  Review important information about transcripts. Official transcripts, sent directly from your institution, will be required if admission is granted. 

GRE Scores

  • GRE not required


  • resume/CV
  • statement of purpose
  • two letters of recommendation from individuals familiar with your professional work, including at least one supervisor

  Review important information about documents.


Applicants are required to submit TOEFL, PTE, or IELTS scores that meet the minimum program requirements below unless they have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or the equivalent from a country on our exempt countries list.

  • official TOEFL iBT scores required with a 78 overall and minimum individual module scores of 19
  • official PTE scores required with a 52 overall
  • official IELTS (academic) scores required with a 6.5 overall and
    • minimum individual module scores of 6.0

  Review important information about official test scores.