Graduate Certificate in Teaching English Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)

The Graduate Certificate in Teaching English Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) prepares educators to work with English learners in both U.S. and international contexts. Coursework provides students with knowledge of applied linguistics, language acquisition theories, and methods of teaching. Students have opportunities to apply foundational concepts in TESOL through critical discussions about issues facing English learners in today’s classrooms and direct experiences in classrooms in and around the nation’s capital.

The Certificate is designed for students at various stages in their careers, including:

  • Seasoned content area educators or leaders who seek to enhance their expertise in teaching English learners;
  • Recent college graduates or career-switchers who are interested in exploring the area of English language teaching without earning a full Master’s degree;
  • Individuals who wish to teach English internationally in private English language schools or through worldwide exchange programs; or
  • Current graduate students in education who would like to augment their skills and qualifications with documented expertise in teaching English.

The Graduate Certificate in TESOL provides coursework that can be counted towards requirements for official certification or endorsement of ESL teachers in the United States.


Small class sizes enable students to tailor assignments and field experiences to their interests and career goals. Professors collaborate with students to ensure coursework aligns with their career goals, from teaching in international settings to supporting English learners in U.S. elementary and secondary classrooms.

Coursework is designed to meet the needs of working professionals who have commitments during the day. All classes are held weekly in the evenings or online, and students have flexibility in arranging daytime school field experiences that work within their schedules. Classes involve direct student interaction with English learners from the first semester of the program.

Students enrolled in selected other GSEHD Masters programs may be eligible to integrate their the Graduate Certificate in TESOL with their work in other areas. Students should discuss these options with their academic advisor.


The Graduate Certificate in TESOL consists of four 3-credit courses, for a total of 12 credits.

Three of the courses are offered in a face-to- face format, and one course is offered online.

Core Courses

CPED 6551 Second Language Instruction
CPED 6557 Second Language Acquisition
CPED 6627 Teaching Second Language Reading and Writing
CPED 6556 Linguistic Applications in English as a Second Language

Career Outlook


Gaining expertise in TESOL opens the door to potential teaching opportunities within in the U.S. and internationally. With the influx of U.S. students who speak different languages, administrators prioritize hiring content area teachers who can demonstrate expertise in serving ELs. Paired with a content area specialization, the Graduate Certificate in TESOL makes prospective teachers competitive for teaching and leadership positions in school serving culturally and linguistically diverse students.

The Graduate Certificate in TESOL also prepares teachers to work internationally. Globalization has intensified the demand for qualified English language teachers across the world. Prestigious international exchange programs are increasingly selecting candidates with documented background in TESOL for teaching positions. The Graduate Certificate in TESOL positions teachers to pursue opportunities in the flourishing area of English language teaching.

Possible career directions include teaching and leadership positions in:

  • Elementary or secondary schools
  • Private language schools
  • Community volunteer language programs
  • International English language programs
  • International exchange programs (e.g., Fulbright English Teaching Assistants, Peace Corps)
Transformation Begins Here

Learn more about the Graduate Certificate in TESOL program located on campus (202-994-8411).