Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) Certificate

  • The University of San Diego Graduate School Admission Application and $45 application fee
    • Upload the following to submit your online application:
      • Statement of Purpose
      • Resume
      • Copy of Official Transcript
      • Recommenders’ Contact Information
    • Letters of Recommendation and International Transcript Evaluations must be received by the program deadline to complete your application.
  • A copy of your unofficial transcripts from the university where you earned your bachelor’s degree is required at the time of application.
    • Unofficial transcripts from student portals without a registrar’s signature are not acceptable.
    • Students who earned their bachelor's degree from an institution outside the United States must submit a course-by-course degree evaluation conducted by a NACES current member.  
      • Applications for students educated outside the United States will not be considered complete nor can an admissions decision be made until this degree evaluation has been submitted.
    • NOTE:  If admitted to the School of Leadership and Education Sciences, you will be required to submit an official sealed transcript from all colleges and universities from which you received credit, including community colleges.
      • Official E-Transcripts are acceptable only if emailed to grads@sandiego.edu.
      • Transcripts from study abroad courses are not required.
  • Two professional letters of recommendation from a current supervisor or a professor attesting to both academic and personal skills, and if possible, to teaching abilities.
  • A current resumé or curriculum vita
  • Statement of Purpose. Address both of the following questions. Each response has a maximum length of 500 words, for a total maximum length of 1000 words for the Statement of Purpose. When writing your response please remember that this is an opportunity for you to demonstrate your writing skills and academic readiness.
    • What are your strengths and challenges as an educator? How do you want to improve?
    • Why are you interested in this program? Connect your response to the program's goals and your intended area of focus. 

Admission Requirements

Standardized Testing Requirements

  • Applicants who feel that their Grade Point Averages do not adequately represent their ability to succeed in a graduate program may find it helpful to submit Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) scores for consideration. However, the GRE is not required for admission.

Education Requirements

  • Applicants must complete a bachelor’s degree prior to beginning the program. Applicants may apply prior to completing their bachelor's degree. In this case, please submit your most up-to-date transcripts, and if admitted, submit a second set of official transcripts after your degree is conferred.
  • The minimum cumulative Grade Point Average is 2.75 (on a 4.00 scale) in all undergraduate and graduate coursework.
  • This program does not have any specific prerequisite courses. 

Experience Requirements

  • Professional teaching experience is helpful but not required.

International Applicants

  • International students are not eligible to apply to the certificate program because they must be enrolled as degree-seeking students in order to qualify for a student visa. However, international students are welcome to apply to our  M.Ed. in TESOL, Literacy and Culture, in which the coursework for this certificate is combined with the coursework for a master's degree. Because the M.Ed. in TESOL, Literacy and Culture program includes a degree in its course of study in addition to the certificate, international students may enroll in that program and receive a student visa.

Application Process

Application Deadline

All application materials, including transcripts, test score reports and letters of recommendation, must be received by the Office of Graduate Admissions by the final deadline in order for your application to be considered.  View current deadlines for admission.

Application Status and Decisions

To confirm that application materials have been received or to check the status of your application, please log in to the  MySanDiego portal with your applicant login or contact the Office of Graduate Admissions at (619) 260-4524. Admissions decision letters are sent via US Mail.

Submit all application materials online, or to:

Office of Graduate Admissions
University of San Diego
5998 Alcalá Park
San Diego, CA 92110-2492
Email:  grads@sandiego.edu


For questions about this program or the admissions requirements contact:

Office of Admissions and Outreach
School of Leadership and Education Sciences
University of San Diego
Mother Rosalie Hill Hall 149

Phone: (619) 260-7988
Email: solesadmissions@sandiego.edu

Students entering the University of San Diego and/or declaring a major during 2018-2019, should follow information contained in the printed course catalog (also known as the "catalog of record") published on May 1, 2018. Access the catalog of record at http://catalogs.sandiego.edu.

The Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) is comprised of 15 units of graduate level coursework designed to provide candidates with the knowledge, skills and dispositions needed to effectively teach English to English Language Learners.

Certificate candidates will acquire a working knowledge of linguistics, first and second language acquisition and the cultural and social contexts of learning listening, speaking and writing skills in English with speakers of other languages. TESOL certificate candidates will examine the latest theories, research and applications in TESOL and acquire the knowledge and cultural competencies to assume leadership roles in their areas of expertise. Two features that distinguish this certificate from other certificate programs are: one unit of practicum experience that candidates receive will be in various educational, public, private and community settings where English is taught and two units of a three-unit course will provide an international context and experience where candidates will learn about language, culture, education and traditions of a nation other than their own through international travel.

As a result of earning a TESOL certificate, graduates will have the expertise to be employed in various education settings as English as a Second Language (ESL) instructors in language institutes, in private and public international schools, businesses, nonprofit agencies and community agencies. A TOEFL score of 83 (Internet based) is required for admission of international students. National and international candidates seeking the TESOL certificate will need to meet the regular graduate admissions criteria for the corresponding master’s degree in TESOL, Literacy and Culture with the TESOL certificate option.

Course Requirements

EDUC 529Language, Literacy and Culture3
EDUC 540Introduction to the Nature of Language and Linguistic3
EDUC 541Second Language Acquisition and Development3
EDUC 543CMethods of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages6
Total Units15