TESL Certificate

EFL Language for Professions TESL Certificate Program

The Certificate Program in TESL (or optional TESL/TEFL) offers students in the Master of Arts in English the opportunity to acquire training in teaching TESL without taking the specialized theoretical courses required of graduate students in the TESL track. The Certificate in TESL is not a teaching credential. It is recognized abroad as advanced training in English language teaching. In conjunction with an MA degree or a state teaching credential, it may also be helpful in obtaining employment as an ESL teacher in the United States. Universities throughout the area have recognized the demand for improved teaching for second-language students at all levels, from elementary, secondary, to post-secondary, as well from vocational/adult studies.
The certificate is designed for students with a focus on Literature or Rhetoric who might not be interested in specializing in TESL but want to show potential employers, especially community colleges, that they are trained to teach TESL and can do so successfully. The certificate is also intended for students interested in TESL but not in its theory, by allowing students to prove that they have received pedagogical training. Finally, the Certificate is intended for graduate students who may have decided to change tracks mid-way through the program, in which case the Certificate will attest to their year of training in TESL.

TESL Certificate Guidelines

  • A student may work towards a Master’s degree in any track except TESL while completing the TESL Certificate program.
  • Twenty-four (24) units of 300 and 500 level courses in TESL.
  • Students who completed their undergraduate degree at Cal Poly may already have completed some or most of these courses and may be required to take only the two graduate-level courses.  Students from other programs may be required to petition for articulation of undergraduate coursework.  Please check with Dr. Russikoff for equivalency.
  • Prerequisite: Acceptance in the Master’s program


Course work

  A.  Required Courses  
  ENG 320 Structure of English 4
  ENG 321 Modern English Grammar 4
  ENG 323  Language Acquisition 4
  ENG 525 ESL Writing/Composition 4
  ENG 599 Teaching English Abroad
(TEFL certification will be noted for students taking this course.)
  B. Elective (choose one of the following) 4
  ENG 318 Analysis of Conversation  
  ENG 319 Applied Pragmatics  
  ENG 521 Introduction to TESL Research  
  ENG 464 Multimedia Practicum  
  ENG 322 History of the English Language  
  ENG 523 Pedagogical Grammar for TESL  
  ENG 524 American English Pronunciation  

Application Procedure

Students need to fill out an application for the TESL certificate upon completion of all six courses. Please return form to Bldg. 24 – 207.