English as a Second Language (ESL) Graduate Certificate Program

Graduate certificate

This graduate level certificate program is designed to prepare educators to meet the unique needs of English language learners in K-12 schools. Graduates of this certificate program will be eligible for the Michigan Department of Education’s English as a Second Language endorsement upon completion of one additional course (TEL 6220). This program is offered fully online.

This program is designed to meet the needs of teachers who:

  • Are interested in becoming ESL teachers (requires MDE ESL endorsement).
  • Want to meet both the language and content needs of their English language learners.
  • Want to teach in schools with a significant population of English language learners.
  • Desire to become a district ESL coach or coordinator (requires MDE ESL endorsement).

Reasons to choose our program:

  • Program completion leads to a Michigan ESL endorsement.
  • Western Michigan University’s ESL certificate program prepares educators to become K-12 English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers.
  • Provides a comprehensive program to meet the needs of culturally- and linguistically-diverse students in K-12 settings based on current theory and research.
  • Prepares educators to collaborate and engage in dialogue with content area and general education colleagues to better serve the academic and linguistic needs of English language learners.
  • Equips educators with knowledge of effective instructional methodologies to address English learners’ academic and linguistic needs.
  • Develops educators who are able to analyze and modify instructional materials and assessments depending on students’ English proficiency.
  • We are the only institution in the U.S. that includes an optional co-curricular designation known as the WMU Signature. Pathways include: Teaching & Student Success, Leadership, Health & Wellbeing, Diversity, Inclusion, Equity & Justice, and more! 

Admission requirements

  • Bachelor's degree, initial teacher certification and prior teaching experience.
  • One page statement explaining applicant interest in this certificate/endorsement program.
  • Meet university requirements for graduate level admission.

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Program requirements

Students will complete a planned program of study consisting of 21 credits of coursework for the graduate certificate and a total of 24 credits for the Michigan Department of Education’s ESL endorsement. An overall program grade point average of 3.0 or better is required to continue in this certificate/endorsement program. The required courses for certificate/endorsement include:

Certificate/endorsement course titles and numbersCredit hours
TEL 5150 Introduction to ESL/Bilingual Education         3
TEL 5200 Linguistic Principles for ESL and Bilingual Education         3
TEL 6210 ESL Teaching Methods         4
TEL 6220 Standards and Assessments in ESL Education*         3
TEL 6310 Advanced ESL Teaching Methods         4
TEL 6320 Advanced Standards and Assessments in ESL Education         4

*Required additional course for the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) endorsement.

Choose an elective from one of the following courses:

  • LS 5100 Differences in Literacy, Language and Learning
  • LS 6300 Teaching Reading in a Diverse Society


For more information please contact Dr. Virginia David or Dr. Selena Protacio.

Please visit the Department of Special Education and Literacy Studies website for more information.